Join thousands of fellow campervan travellers
Sign up for our Britz newsletter to receive inspirational travel content and awesome deals, and we'll send you a copy of our Ultimate RV guide!
Please confirm subscription in your email.
Safety tips for Driving in New Zealand
Watch the video below to find out some of the top safety tips for your self drive experience in New Zealand. Remember in New Zealand, we drive on the left side of the road!
- Keep LEFT! We drive on the left-hand side of the road
- Always wear your seat belt. Everyone in your vehicle must wear a seatbelt, and children must be secured in an approved child seat. Your rental vehicle company can rent child seats to you if you didn’t bring your own
- Keep to the speed limit and always stop at STOP signs
- Always slow down to observe recommended speeds around bends
- Overtake other vehicles only when it’s safe to do so. Use passing lanes whenever possible, and never cross a solid yellow line on your side of the centre line
- Stay well-rested. Plan to only drive 1 - 2 hours at a time, and take regular breaks during your journey to stretch your legs
- Drive to the conditions. You’ll need to reduce your speed if it’s raining, icy or snowing, windy, or if you’re in a roadworks area. Ask your accommodation provider if in doubt
- Use this Driving Time and Distance Calculator or GPS to estimate driving times while planning your journey. Driving in New Zealand can often take longer than expected due to our winding roads
- Do not drink and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders
- It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in New Zealand. If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over at a rest area or in a safe place
For more information on what's different about driving in New Zealand, follow the link here.
Make sure you have a valid licence to drive in New Zealand.
If you have a foreign licence in a language other than English, please ensure
- It is current
- appropriate for a full size motor vehicle (not restricted or learner)
- and you must also present an accredited English translation.
The translation must be provided by a NZ Transport Agency authorised translation service or a diplomatic representative at a high commission, embassy or consulate, or the authority that issued your overseas licence (an International Driving Permit may be acceptable as a translation if in English).
We can arrange a translation for you at the branch but it will cost you NZ$58 and will create delays with your pick up process.
To find an authorised translation service click here
Keep yourself safe
New Zealand is a relatively safe travel destination but we are not crime free. It is important you take the same precautions to look after yourself and your possessions as you would at home. The emergency number for fire, ambulance and police is 111. Calls are free.
Remember these key things:
- Don't walk alone late at night and avoid unlit areas.
- Don’t carry lots of cash, valuables or expensive jewellery with you.
- Always lock your vehicle and keep windows secure.
- Don’t leave valuables, maps, luggage, GPS devices or visitor brochures visible in your parked campervan, especially at scenic spots or trail heads.
- Don’t leave bags, backpacks, wallets, mobile phones or cameras unattended in public places, especially at airports, railway stations or ferry terminals.
- Park your campervan overnight in a holiday park, Department of Conservation camping ground or other specially designated area. If in doubt, ask at the nearest i-SITE (official visitor information office).
- Report lost or stolen possessions as soon as possible to the nearest police station. For more information please go here.
Be prepared, take the Quiz - Essential Tourist driving theory
Hiring a car or campervan for your New Zealand holiday? Familiarise yourself with our Road Code rules by taking the Quiz. The questions are designed to help tourists stay safe while travelling in New Zealand.
- Reading traffic signals, stop signs and give way signs at various intersections.
- Learn who has the right of way. Where should your car be on the road when driving - intersections and unlaned roads, and more.
- Basic road code driving knowledge - following and passing rules, give way rules and more.
Keep to the Left
Remember, in New Zealand we drive on the left side of the road.
If you are used to driving on the right remember to:
- Look over your right shoulder for traffic coming from behind; and use all your car mirrors to check that it is safe before you move into traffic, change lanes or pass other vehicles.
- When approaching roundabouts remember to give away to traffic coming look over your right shoulder.
- When driving in two or more lanes of traffic, keep in the left lane as much as possible. Use the lane(s) closer to the centre line only to pass other vehicles or to turn right.
- Be extra careful when you are driving in rural areas where there is less traffic.
Keep to the speed limits and drive carefully.
In urban speed limit is 50 km/h or 30mph. The rural speed limit is 100 km/h or 60mph.
Please note: for 6 Berth Britz Campervans this speed limit is reduced to 90km/h, or 55mph.
Helpful Links for Safety, Rules and Penalties
The New Zealand Road Code The Official New Zealand Road Code website helping you to understand New Zealand traffic law and become a safe and courteous road user.
AA (Automobile Association) Roadwatch This website is kept up to date with major incidents around New Zealand. You can browse by region, and see if there are any road closures.
Land Transport New Zealand Detailed information about land transport in New Zealand, including safe driving tips, driving rules, and regulations
Alcohol Advisory of New Zealand Come here to find out the alcohol content of a standard drink to allow you a better understanding of your limits
New Zealand Police Come here to find out how to stay safe on New Zealand roads.
Please ensure that when you are driving a Britz campervan or rental car in New Zealand, you drive responsibly and safely. If you drink, don't drive.
Petroleum and Diesel prices fluctuate regularly. We suggest you check out Petrol Price Watch to keep an eye on prices so that you can successfully budget for your holiday.
New Zealand’s toll roads use an electronic tolling system. You don’t need to slow down, stop or hunt for loose change. There are three toll roads in New Zealand, all located in the North Island:
- Auckland Northern Gateway between Orewa and Puhoi (7.5kms area)
- Tauranga Eastern Link between Papamoa and Paengaroa (15kms area)
- Tauranga Takitimu Drive between State Highway 29 (SH29) to State Highway 2 (SH2) in the direction of the Port of Tauranga and Mt Maunganui (5kms area)
You will be responsible for paying any toll fees that you incur when driving these routes. There are no toll booths so we recommend using the easy online payment option, go to www.tollroad.govt.nz.
Toll Roads Brochure can be found here.
Road maps can be purchased at all of our branches or for even easier navigation around New Zealand, you may want to hire a NavMan (GPS unit), this can be done when you make your booking or at the branch on pick up (subject to availability).
Britz offer 24hr roadside assistance, so no matter where you are, we’re only a phone call away to help you out. Just call 0800 831 900 and we’ll get you back on your holiday in no time.