Driving in New Zealand

Scenic beauty of New Zealand can be best explored by road in acampervan.Pack your camper, map out your route, download your favorite road trip songs and get ready to hit the road. But before starting your campervan adventure in New Zealand, familiarize yourself with driving and safety rules in NZ.
Although you are confident about driving in NZ, Campervan/Motorhome driving can be little different than driving a car. Therefore, here are some points to consider while Campervanning inNew Zealand.

  • Drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand
  • If you have just arrived in New Zealand after a long flight, take quality sleep before hitting the road.
  • Many roads are hilly, narrow and winding so some distances may take longer to drive than you expect
  • Speed signs are in kilometres per hour
  • Seatbelts are compulsory for all passengers (front and back seats), as are child restraints
  • It's illegal to drive while using a hand-held mobile phone
  • Speeding and drink driving can result in strict penalties from the New Zealand Police
  • Familiarise yourself with road signs.
  • Familiarise yourself with New Zealand Road Code online and know important rules around the right of way, passing, and giving way.
  • Take breaks
  • Avoid driving during dusk and dawn
  • Keep your eyes on the road, not the scenery. If you want to stop and look at theview, make sure you find a safe place to pull completely off the road and stop.
  • Do not use a hand-held mobile phone when driving. If a phone is used it must be hands free. Texting on any mobile phone while driving is illegal


Guide for Driving Safely in New Zealand


Travelling Time
Distances on map might seem short but New Zealand roads are narrow with curves and hills and therefore travelling times can be easily underestimated.
In rural areas, roads are mostly two-way with only one lane in each direction.
We recommend calculating your travel times at https://www.aa.co.nz/travel/time-and-distance-calculator/ to get proper idea of driving time and distance.

You must never cross a solid yellow line on your side of the centre line to overtake a vehicle, as this indicates it's too dangerous toovertake. A double yellow centre line means that no traffic (on either side of the road) can overtake.
If you do not have a solid yellow line on your side of the centre line, it is only safe toovertake when you can see that the road is clearfor 100m throughout entire manoeuvre.

Speed Limit
The speed limit signs on New Zealand roads will let you know what the maximum speed limit is for the stretch of road you’re on.
On many of New Zealand’s main rural roads, the speed limit is 100km/hr unless a sign says a different speed applies.
For campervans and motorhomes, speed limit in rural areas in 90km/hr irrespective of what speed limit sign on road says. In urban areas, the speed limit is 50km/hr (30mph).

Seat Belts
By law, everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt– whether they’re in the front or back.Children aged up to 7 years are required to sit in a baby/booster seat.You can hire this at the time of booking campervan.

Take Breaks
We understand you are excited to start your campervan road trip in New Zealand but it is recommended to get enough sleep before hitting the road if you’ve just arrived in New Zealand after a long flight.
Take a break from driving every two hours. Allowing yourself to stretch your legs, see the sights, have a drink or a snack, and take in some fresh air will help you stay alert and focused for the drive ahead.
If possible, share the driving with someone else.

At a stop sign, you must come to a complete stop, then give way to all traffic.
At a give way sign, you must give way to all traffic on the intersecting road. If turning, you must also give way to vehicles that are not turning.
At roundabouts, you must give way to traffic from your right. You must travel around the roundabout in a clockwise direction.
Always give indicator at least 3-4 seconds before making a turn. If turning at traffic signals when green, give way to traffic that is not turning and to people crossing the road.

Weather conditions in New Zealand can change quickly so driving takes skill and concentration. If you are travelling during winter or rainy season, check the weather forecast – www.metservice.com – and road conditions – www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic – before you travel and be flexible with your journey.
During winter, snow and ice can make roads even more hazardous, particularly around hilly regions. If you’re likely to be driving in these conditions – make sure you rent snow chains from campervan rental company and know how to fit them before setting out.

Be courteous
Slow-driving motorhomes can cause frustration in other drivers which can lead to dangerous overtaking, so take advantage of slow lanes and safe areas to pull over and allow other vehicles to passand you’ll often get shown appreciation with a 'thank you' toot or wave from other drivers as they pass.
Driving a larger vehicle such as a motorhome means taking extra care and being aware of other drivers around you. Indicating early to show you are turning or changing lanes is always appreciated and makes it safer on the roads for everyone.

Give Way
Some roads in New Zealand have one-lane bridges where vehicles must stop and wait for vehicles coming from the other direction.
The signs below warn that there is a one-lane bridge ahead. Slow down and check for traffic coming the other way. Stop if you need to give way.
The red (smaller) arrow shows which direction has to give way.

These two signs show you must give way to traffic coming the other way across the bridge. This sign indicates that if no traffic is approaching, you can proceed across the bridge with caution.

Ready to Rent Campervan in New Zealand for your ultimate road trip adventure? We have wide range of 2,3,4 and 6 berth budget and luxury well equipped campervans to make your self-drive camper holiday comfortable. Book your long awaited New Zealand Campervan holiday now.