Self Drive New Zealand

Planning a self drive holiday to New Zealand? You've come to the right place. Our helpful NZ self drive guide details everything you need to know about New Zealand's road rules, fuel prices and driving distances to popular NZ destinations. Seld-driving holidays are one of the best ways to see New Zealand's spectacular landscapes. Whether you want to hire a campervan and hit the open road, or just want to know how to get from A to B, our guide will point you in the right direction.

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Licenses and Permits

To rent a car in New Zealand you will need to have a valid full national driving licence which has been held for at least 12 months. International Driving Permits (IDPs) are also accepted, however they are not required in order to drive in New Zealand.

Due to recent changes in the law, all drivers must carry their license or driving permit with them at all times they are behind the wheel. Drivers should also note that you are only licensed to drive the same type of vehicles your license permits you to in your own country.

It's important to note that most car rental agencies require drivers to be aged 25 years or older in order to rent a car. So be sure to check with your preferred provider before arriving in New Zealand.

Road Rules

In New Zealand, driving is on the left hand side of the road and speed limits are expressed in kilometres. Speed limits range from a maximum of 50 km/h in towns and cities to 100 km/h on highways and open roads (unless otherwise indicated). Speed cameras are also operational throughout New Zealand.

Drink driving laws should be strictly adhered In New Zealand. Tough penalties apply to any driver who is found to be driving with a blood alcohol reading of more than 0.8 grams of alcohol per litre of blood. Random breath tests can be carried out at any time and all insurance is deemed invalid if the driver exceeds the legal alcohol limit.

Seatbelts are legally required to be warn at all times by all occupants of the vehicle. Children less than five years of age MUST use a child car seat by law. Car seats can be included with car hire from rental companies.

Fuel prices

Petrol is sold by the litre with both leaded and unleaded grades available. All cars run on unleaded with most campervans, mini buses and 4WDs running on diesel. Petrol costs between NZ$2.30 and NZ$2.40 per litre (estimated March 2020) and there are plenty of petrol stations throughout the country. All major international credit cards are accepted by most petrol stations.

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Driving Distances

New Zealand North Island travel distances and times

The below New Zealand North and South Island travel distances and times charts have been included to help you plan your journey. Distances are expressed in kilometres and are designed to take in major roads and highways so may not be the shortest route but will offer the best road conditions. Times are expressed in hours and minutes and are approximate times only.


New Zealand South Island travel distances and times

330/4.45319/4.35578/8.55Mt Cook     
650/9.15289/4.15121/2.20426/6.351024/13.50166/2.45Te Anau  

To convert these distances to Miles use the following calculation: Kilometres x .625 = Miles

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