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Wednesday 19 June 2024

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Hitting the road in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand

Valuable driving tips for the world’s biggest beauty spot

Open country, stunning scenery, the road trip of a lifetime… a driving holiday in New Zealand can be a dream holiday. As with all trips, though, it’s essential that you’re prepared, so we’ve compiled some key pointers to help you make the most of your time on the road.

Driver licence

A lot of the preparations are plain old common sense, and many of the familiar rules apply, such as the need for an up-to-date, valid licence; this must be in English, or be accompanied by an approved translation. You can only use an overseas licence in New Zealand for one year, so if you’re planning on staying longer, you’ll need to convert it to a New Zealand licence.

Drive on the left

It may seem a basic point to mention, but that makes it all the more important to be aware of… in New Zealand, you drive on the left. If you’re used to driving on the right, take extra care when you set off!

Plan extra time for driving

Also bear in mind that although your journey might look straightforward on a map, with no busy junctions or urban areas, the map won’t tell you the whole story. Rural roads in New Zealand can be hilly, narrow or prone to crosswinds, so a journey that looks easy on paper might take you a lot longer than you expect. Be sure to over-estimate the time your journey will take you.

Weather conditions

Weather conditions can change very quickly, and if you’re heading to the South Island in the winter months, you’ll probably encounter snow, ice or fog – or potentially all three. Make sure you’re well equipped. Most New Zealand car rental firms will be able to advise you on the additional precautions you need to take.

One of the most important tips – not just for driving in New Zealand, but for driving anywhere – is to remember your responsibilities as a driver. If you feel tired, take a break, especially if you’ve been on the road a lot or are still jet-lagged, and don’t take anything for granted. You might be on holiday, but that doesn’t mean you can be any less vigilant behind the wheel.

Take care, drive safely, and discover a wonderful country!

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