New Zealand has a good motorway system, but terrain, narrow secondary roads and bridges require vigilance from the drivers. The roads in towns and motorways are covered with asphalt which gives smoother surface. Some roads have gravel surface.
Although New Zealand is a relatively small country, you can drive between cities and other destinations for many hours. Even though a distance is short due to the hilliness, windings, and narrow roads, your journey must be very slow. Never drive if you feel tired, especially, if you have just completed a long flight. It will be better if you make breaks every 1-2 hours.
The main road traffic rules:
- The legal age for driving in New Zealand is 21 years.
- Cars must be driven on the left side.
- The speed limits are 100 km/h (63 mph) on open roads, 50 km/h (31 mph) in towns.
- Drivers and passengers must always wear seat belts.
- Children under five years must wear seat belts and secured in special children seats. Children from 5 to 7 years who is sitting in the front seat must be secured by a child restraint or seat belt. Children of 8 years and over must only sit in the front seat with a fitted seat belt, otherwise they must occupy the back seat.
- You must not turn left if the traffic lights are red.
- Driving under alcohol influence or drugs is a crime and punished by police.The permitted blood alcohol level is 0.08%.
- You have to park only in special places.
- Drivers must not use hand-held mobile phones while driving. Writing, sending, or reading text messages with mobiles while driving are also illegal.
There are so many cameras which fix over-speeding. They are installed on poles besides the roads or as mobiles in the back sides of wagons. In the past it was easily to find out such device due to the back door was raised, however recently they have begun using tinted glasses and left doors closed.
You can legally drive in New Zealand for 12 months if you have your home driving license with its translation or International Driving Permit. After 12 months you are required to receive a New Zealand driver license.
The common legal age for renting a car in this country is 21 years.
New ZealandRoad Traffic Signs
Driving Overseas - Short Information