Driving in New Zealand

Sep 26th, 2005, 06:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1
Driving in New Zealand

I plan to be in NZ for March 2006 and would like to rent a car. Is it difficult to drive in NZ? Are cars with automatic transmission readily available for rent? Is traffic heavy in the bigger cities? Are there any good references for scenic routes to drive on north and south island. thx.
Chalcraft is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 327
We didn't have really any trouble driving on the left side. Once you're on your side of the road, it's not hard to follow a car or keep from drifting over. When you're making a turn, think about staying left and a LOT of places had signs saying "keep left".

Automatic is readily available. We rented from Apex, which I highly recommend.

We started in Queenstown which was ideal since the roads down there are quiet. Of course we did flip the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal on a few times, mostly when we were about to miss a turn. By the time we got to Christchurch which was quite busier with lights and all, we were very comfortable. On the south island we never encountered anything we'd call "traffic".
pb_and_j is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 12:55 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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Just to endorse pb and j's comments - NZ is one of the easiest places imaginable to get around. Roads are good, very little traffic. (Well, depending on your experience & where you're from - it's all relative isn't it?)(LOL) Of course, traffic is a little heavier in the major cities - but, compared to what .... NY, or a small town / village?

I find it usually takes me an hour or so to feel really "natural" when driving on the "opposite" side of the road to my normal, but it's not nearly as difficult as one might imagine. When the controls are on the appropriate side, and everyone else is driving on that side, you'll find it comes naturally.

Just take particular care at "T" intersections & round-abouts. Oh, yes, and don't dawdle in the right hand lane on freeways (LOL).

They also have very good roadmaps which show driving times as well as distances.

Automatics are readily available and very little, if any, more expensive than the manuals.

Just about every road you're on will be scenic - both islands are picture-post-card beautiful. (And I'm not even a Kiwi )

Bokhara is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 12:01 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
the only problem i had was pulling into parking lots or gas stations, never did get it but no other problems and the roads are great and well marked.
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 11:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,084
Have a look at newzealand.com

It has recommended itineraries, and some good recommendationz, links to hotels, etc.

I'll be there in a cuppla weeks! Wheeee!!!
margo_oz is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 01:33 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 424
Thank you for mentioning newzealand.com . I've never seen it before, so have just had a quick nosy at it. What an interesting site with a variety of topics. Thank you.
Where are you visiting in NZ? I recall you mentioning it but for the life of me can't remember.
Have a great time while here. The weather is picking up, daylight saving starts in 4 1/2 hours from now, and still another week of school holidays to go!
dotty is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 101
Driving in New Zealand is very simple. This is why so many people hire Motor homes. There are scenic routes at www.adventurekiwi.co.nz
Remember to give way to the vehicle coming from your right. At any situation you are not sure about, round about give way, etc, give way to the right.
With only 4 million people in the size of Great Britain, there is not much traffic. Auckland is the exception with just over 1 million people.
Cheers, Dougie
GBZ is offline  
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