There are a number of important rules to remember when driving in New Zealand. For a full list of road rules please see the official NZ Transport Agency website.
Keep to the Left
You must always keep to the left when driving on roads in New Zealand.
Give Way to the Right
The general rule is “Always give way to traffic coming from your right”.
Recent Law Changes: A recent law change in New Zealand affects two of the driving rules:
Left Turning Traffic versus Right Turning Traffic
This new rule requires all right turning traffic to give way to vehicles coming from the opposite direction and turning left. This applies at cross roads, T-intersections and driveways where both vehicles are facing each other with no signs or signals, or the same signs or signals.
At an uncontrolled T-intersection, all traffic from a terminating road should now give way to all traffic on a continuing road. This will bring it into line with T-intersections where there are Stop or Give Way signs on the terminating road.
Road Speed Limits
You must keep to the set speed limits as indicated by road signs, when you drive around New Zealand. If you cannot see a speed sign, the general rule is:
Urban, Residential, City Areas
If you are in an urban, residential or city area of New Zealand, the speed limit is generally 50 kilometres per hour. If you are driving past a school between the hours of 9am and 3:30pm, the speed limit is generally 10 kilometres slower (generally 40 kilometres per hour). If you pass a school bus, you should slow down to 20 kilometres per hour.
If you are in a rural area of New Zealand that does not have built up residential housing, the speed limit is generally 100 kilometres per hour.
Towing a Trailer
If you are towing a trailer or driving a vehicle with more than two axles in New Zealand, you are limited to 90 kilometres per hour (rather than 100 kilometres per hour). All other speed limits apply as shown on the speed signs.
You must hold a current drivers licence to drive any vehicle on New Zealand roads. Your international licence may be valid for a certain period of time in New Zealand, or you may need to apply for an international driving licence so you can drive on New Zealand roads.