If you are visiting from overseas the roads may be different to what you are used to. Distances on maps may appear shorter than they actually are due to narrower roads and often hilly terrain. Roads can include a mix of sealed and gravel in some areas.
Weather conditions especially in the winter can change suddenly. It is important to drive to the conditions and to watch your speed. Due to the ever-changing scenery, road conditions and weather it can take a lot of concentration to drive. Make sure you allow plenty of time and take regular breaks on your journey. Learn more about driving to the conditions.
It is also important to allow plenty of time to rest when you first arrive in New Zealand before heading out on the road to avoid fatigue. If you find you are getting tried while driving, pull over to the roadside to have a rest.
Other points to note when driving in New Zealand
We drive on the left-hand side of the road
Not all railway crossings have an active warning signal
Safety belts and infant/child car restraints are compulsory in New Zealand
It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving
Be sure to follow the recommended speed limits
In order to be able to drive in New Zealand you must have a current and valid overseas drivers licence or international driving permit. If you intend on staying in New Zealand for over 12 months you must gain a New Zealand driver licence.