Getting Around New Zealand
New Zealand has good air, train and bus links, schedules are available at most Information Centres.
Driving in New Zealand is usually easy. Roads are good, congestion is low, speeding is not common and drunk driving incurs heavy penalties. However city traffic can be heavy, especially in ‘rush hours’ on the Auckland and Wellington motorways. Most ‘State Highways’ throughout the country are not large by overseas standards, many only have 2 lanes. Rural roads require special care, because many are winding, some have a gravel or ‘metalled’ surface and you need to be aware of livestock that may be on the road.
All drivers need a driver licence. You can be fined if you do not have your licence when stopped by the Police so you should always carry your licence with you when you drive. If you have a driver licence in your home country or an international driving permit or driver licence, you can drive in New Zealand. However you will need to apply for a New Zealand driver licence and pass an eyesight examination, as well as a driving theory and practical test within 12 months of arrival in New Zealand.
The road code in New Zealand is similar to that in most Western countries, but there are a few important features that need to be noted in advance of your arrival.
Keep Left! New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. This is easy to forget when you first arrive, as old habits die hard, but such lapses can be fatal. KEEP LEFT AT ALL TIMES!
Towns and cities have speed limits of 50 kilometers per hour and the open road is 100 kilometres per hour.
All people in a car (in the front and rear seats) must wear safety belts at all times. If you are driving a car, you are responsible for ensuring that all children less than 5 years old are restrained in an approved child seat. They only exception is when you are travelling in a taxi. If the taxi has no restraint available the child must sit in the back seat.
Safety helmets are compulsory for all cyclists and motorcyclists. This includes passengers and children being carried on bicycles. The helmets must conform to the New Zealand Standard and be securely fastened. Approved safety helmets can be purchased from cycle shops. A fine is imposed if a cyclist is caught cycling without a helmet.