Driving in New Zealand

If you’re visiting Nelson Tasman from overseas, you’ll probably find that New Zealand roads are different to what you are used to. We have everything from multi-lane highways stretching for miles to narrow, unsealed country roads and hilly, winding terrain.

To be eligible to drive in New Zealand, you must either have a current New Zealand drivers licence, or meet the requirements set by the New Zealand Transport Agency for international drivers. It is important that you understand the New Zealand road rules, so that you can keep yourself and other road users safe and free from harm.

Some handy tips for driving in New Zealand, and in Nelson Tasman in particular:

  • We drive on the left hand side of the road at all times
  • We have many hilly, narrow and winding roads which may mean it can take longer than expected to get to your destination – plan your journey accordingly, allow time for rest stops and include some buffer time in your itinerary
  • You must carry your drivers licence on you at all times
  • Most of the roads in Nelson Tasman have one lane going in either direction, although we do have some double lane highways – ensure you take care when overtaking and do not cross into lanes unless you are sure there are no vehicles travelling in the opposite direction
  • Seat belts are compulsory for everyone in the vehicle
  • It is illegal to use a phone whilst driving
  • You must not cross a solid yellow line that is on your side of the centre line to pass another vehicle
  • Watch out for farm stock and wildlife on the roads, particularly in some of Nelson Tasman’s country areas such as Tapawera and Golden Bay. Stick to the speed limit and stay alert at all times
  • Always slow down near cyclists and give them space on the roads, only passing when it is safe to do so.

We recommend you refer to the New Zealand Transport Agency website and watch the video below to find out more about driving in New Zealand before your visit.

Westhaven Golden Bay 1

Watch The Video