DRIVING IN NEW ZEALAND
There are some rules of the road that are helpful for you to know when planning your touring holiday in New Zealand, below are a few pointers regarding driving licence requirements, insurance, speed limits and some of the travelling costs that you can expect to incur.
Vehicles drive on the left hand side of the road in New Zealand and seat belts are compulsory. New Zealand’s roads are very pleasant to drive on in comparison to many in the UK. Once out of the few major conurbations, you will find the open road perfect for travelling. Distances are given in kilometres. Signs follow standard international symbols.
Please be aware that parking facing against the direction of traffic is illegal.
The legal speed limit is 100 km/h (60 mph) on the open road and 50 km/h (30 mph) in built up areas.
New Zealand has a reciprocal agreement to automatically recognise full UK driving licences. If you hold a valid overseas driving licence, or an international driving permit, you can drive for up to a year after you first arrive. You will only be able to drive those types of vehicles for which you are licensed in your country of origin and must carry that licence or permit with you whenever you drive.
For more information about driving in New Zealand, please consult the Drive Safe
On individual, tailor-made holidays, basic public liability coverage is included in your vehicle rental fee, but details may vary between rental companies. A typical arrangement is that you leave a NZ$7,500 vehicle security deposit. This is debited from your credit card and held as your excess for damage to your vehicle or the property of a third party.
There are, however, two excess reduction options available. With option one you pay a daily charge, thereby reducing your bond and excess to NZ$2,500. If paying by credit card, an imprint is taken.
Excess Reduction Option two is the most comprehensive available. It enables you to benefit from a reduced vehicle security deposit of NZ$250. You will not have to pay any excess for damage to your vehicle or the property of a third party if this damage is not from misuse of the vehicle under the ‘exclusions’ clause.
If joining one of our New Zealand Escorted Tours, your vehicle rental includes Excess reduction 2 (nil excess) insurance.
Many petrol stations are open 24 hours a day and credit cards are an accepted method of payment. If long stretches of particularly sparsely populated country lie ahead of you (e.g. the South Island West Coast) it is advisable to tank up when you have the opportunity, even if you still have half a tank or so of fuel.
The legal blood alcohol limit is 80mg in New Zealand and drink driving laws are strictly enforced.