Planning Your Trip

Planning a journey around New Zealand? Here are a few things you’ll need to know before your New Zealand driving holidays begin.

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  • Driving in New Zealand is permitted if you hold a current valid driver licence (in English). Any restrictions or conditions on your licence will continue to apply in New Zealand.

  • If your licence isn’t in English, you must obtain an international driver permit or an approved translation of your licence. You must also carry your original driver licence with you when driving in New Zealand on an international driving permit.

  • New Zealand is a small country, but driving times can often take longer than expected due to our winding roads. We recommend you use this Driving Time and Distance Calculator to get an accurate idea of New Zealand driving times while planning your trip, allowing additional time for rest stops.

  • There are many great places to visit in New Zealand, so it’s important to plan in advance and give yourself plenty of time to see everything on your wish list. We have put together some suggested New Zealand driving routes and itineraries for journey inspiration.

Planning Tips

  • Plan to spend your first night in New Zealand in your arrival city to ensure you are rested after your flight.
  • Contact your local transport authority to arrange an international driver permit if your licence isn’t in English or organise a translation from an approved service.
  • Plan to drive only 1-2 hours at a time, with regular breaks. There is a lot to see in New Zealand, so stop often, stretch your legs, take some photos, or enjoy a bite to eat with the locals.

Come back to DriveSafe after you arrive in NZ for more information on New Zealand road rules, driving laws and driving etiquette.