Guide to Driving In New Zealand - Drive Safe in New Zealand

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in New Zealand and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.


50 kph

More info  


100 kph

More info  

motorway speed limit

100-110 kph

speed limit
More info  

Drink Drive Limit


drink and drive limit
More info  
You drive in New Zealand on the Left side  
The currency in New Zealand is NZD
To rent a car is  21 years and to drive is 17.5 years of age
Current fuel price in New Zealand 1.36 €/Ltr

Driving Laws in New Zealand

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in New Zealand?

Driving in New Zealand
Pocket guide to driving in New Zealand
New Zealand
Driving in New Zealand
SPEED: (kph)
Speed limit in New Zealand
Rush hour in New Zealand
Speed cameras in New Zealand
Fuel prices in New Zealand
Drive LEFT in New Zealand
Min driving age in New Zealand
Blood alcohol content
Drink driving in New Zealand
Emergency phone number in New Zealand
Driving documents in New Zealand
Hands free only
Mobile phone driving in New Zealand
Seat belt in New Zealand
In New Zealand, driving is on the left with overtaking on the right. New Zealand has the same system of signs and road rules as you would find in the United Kingdom so you'll feel at home. Winter conditions, especially in the mountains or on South Island can be tricky so consider renting some snow chains and tyres at that time of year and also maybe a 4x4 rental in New Zealand. Care should also be taken on the country's gravel roads with your speed reduced accordingly.

Rules of the road

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Emergency Services Numbers

Police Police: 111

Police Fire: 111

Police Ambulance: 111


Fuel Prices in New Zealand by Month

Parking Information

Parking regulations

Parking regulations
Parking is fairly relaxed in New Zealand as there aren't that many cars for the size of the country. You must remember to only park in the direction of the traffic unless it's a one way street.
Paid parking
Paid parking is easily found whether it's on a meter, in a parking lot or in a multi-storey car park. Parking isn't generally expensive except in the big cities.
You must not park on broken yellow lines, on clearways, bus or taxi stops. Enforcement of parking is done by the police and you may get a fine or, if causing an obstruction, you'll be towed.
Disabled parking
EU Blue Badges for the disabled aren't recognised but New Zealand does its best for less mobile drivers. Find a convenient spot in an attended car park and ask for assistance; it'll be willingly given.

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

Police Police: 111

Police Fire: 111

Police Ambulance: 111

The emergency services number is 111. If you try dialling any other emergency number such as 911, 112 or 999 you'll be directed to phone 111.

What to do in an emergency

If you are involved in an accident, call the police on 111 or 555 (traffic police) Do not move your car, unless it is in a dangerous position which might lead to another accident, until the police arrive. In the interim, photograph the accident scene and get witness details as well as details of the other driver's insurance and wait for the police to arrive. The police will give you a copy of the accident report which is needed for insurance purposes.

Handy Guides

World Driving Guides

Road Signs

Handy Phrases

  • Highways – Arterial roads which go through New Zealand. Not to be confused with motorways.
  • Logging Trucks – Carry timber and can be hazardous.
  • Unsealed roads – Gravel roads.
  • Level Crossings – At railway junctions.
  • Dual use bridges – For both trains and cars. Make sure nothing is coming before you use!
  • Slips – Small avalanches
  • Centennial Highway – This road has gained a reputation as an accident blackspot.
  • Drainage ditches – Can be covered with grass at the side of the road so take care not to fall into them.

New Zealand Fuel Price History

Fuel Prices in New Zealand by Month
Month, YearDiesel €/ltrUnleaded €/ltr
Jun, 2019 0.94 1.36
May, 2019 0.96 1.41
Apr, 2019 1.01 1.43
Mar, 2019 0.97 1.35
Feb, 2019 0.90 1.30
Jan, 2019 0.90 1.28

Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in New Zealand and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.
Phil Partridge
Posted by Phil Partridge
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

Visitor Comments

  • 10/31/2018


    Actually you need to be 16.5 to hold a full NZ licence and 15 to apply for restricted. NZ accepts from international drivers,any age, with restriction only on category held
  • 10/31/2018

    Steve Taylor

    It's actually not compulsory to have third party insurance in New Zealand, although it should be!
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