Driving NZ


It is important to take notice of subtle differences when driving in a foreign country. The following are some general highlights and rules when driving in New Zealand.

Vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road

... in New Zealand as they do in Australia, Brunei, Bangladesh, Fiji, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, Pakistan, PNG, South Africa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Driver's licence

Visitors who have a current overseas driver licence or international driving permit, you can drive in New Zealand for a maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand

Speed limits

Speed limits are in kilometres per hour (kph). Speed conversion: 1km equals 0.61 mph. The speed limit in towns and cities is usually 50 kph (30 mph) unless otherwise specified. The speed limit on the open road is 100 kph (61 mph) unless otherwise specified

Alcohol consumption

Drink driving laws in New Zealand are very strict and there are often random checks made on drivers to test their blood/alcohol levels. You must not drive if you have more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, or more than 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. This level is lower if you are under the age of 20.

Seat belts

Drivers and all passengers must wear seat belts at all times driving in New Zealand.

Road rules

Generally New Zealand rules are very similar to international driving rules, however following are 2 key differences:

  • If you are turning, give way to all vehicles that are not turning
  • In all other situations, give way to vehicles crossing or coming from your right.

No left turn on red:

In New Zealand you are not allowed to turn left at an intersection when the traffic lights are red.

Fuel costs

Petrol costs approximately NZ$2.10 per litre and is available in at least two grades (91 octane and 96 octane). Diesel costs approximately NZ$1.50. For a copy of the New Zealand road code click here.


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