Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Australia & the Pacific (
-   -   speeding tix in NZ (

sharon815 Nov 24th, 2004 05:49 AM

speeding tix in NZ
We're leaving in 2 weeks for a 3 week self-drive on the north and south islands. I've noticed several people commenting about getting speeding tickets in NZ. Does anyone have any info on how strict they are about enforcement? Do they make you pay tickets on the spot? BTW, I'm not looking to drive like a lunatic - just want to get a sense of how rigidly they look to enforce. We've got a number of our own speed trap towns around the US and I'm just hoping to avoid potential problems.

WA Nov 24th, 2004 06:44 AM


Spent a comparable period of time driving up and down both islands and had only one ticket. My feel is that they do make use of radar but they do not seem to be heavy handed with enforcement. I got a ticket leaving Dunedin - I was certain it was a speed trap - but I was going about 10 mph over the spd limit. I understand from talking to Kiwis that up to 10 Kph and you may get some slack (6-7 mph). I am a fairly steady and conservative driver - so to avoid any repeat of the same - I just used my cruise control and set it at or within a couple of kph of the posted limit. Usually when entering a town, you wil drop from 100 to 80 to 50 kph. Just remember "unless otherwise posted" the spd limit in towns is always 50 kph.

Outside of urban/town areas I rarely saw a patrol car.

As far as paying the ticket - you don't pay the officer, you can pay (and I chose to pay) at a designated bank (West Pac - I think it was called). Really simple just go in give them the ticket they smile and sympathize and give you a receipt. Keep the receipt - the rental car company may want to see it. I do not believe that it is reported to you DMV in the states.

Finally, a personal word about driving in NZ. It great. Outside of major urban areas there is not much traffic to speak of. The roads are quit good. The fellow drivers were all very courtious, maintained safe distances and speeds. We really like the fact that on multi lane roads, the center lane is actaully used just for passing and no one passes on the outside.

And, least I forget - something that we happily noticed - clean bathrooms....I do not know how they do it, but with very rare exception, even toilets on road side rest areas, gas stations etc were quit clean (kinda reminded me of Swtizerland.)

tropo Nov 24th, 2004 11:03 AM

Sharon, if you plan your NZ trip, so that you don't have to drive long distances each day, then you wont have problem with speeding or radar traps.
I always think its important to allow adequate driving time each day, to allow for numerous stops along the way, so the journey becomes pleasurable, and not a task. As they say, "stop & smell the roses"

tropo Nov 24th, 2004 11:07 AM

I forgot to mention - I notice in a lot of postings on this travel board, that some members try to "See as much as they can see in a short time frame", by driving long distances, thus causing themselves to probably speed a bit to make up for any lost time.
I am great believer in seeing a portion of country properly and in depth, rather than racing around like a blue eye fly trying to see all there is to see.

sandi Nov 24th, 2004 11:26 AM

Hi Sharon -

Don't know whether this is true in NZ, but in Australia they use "camera" patrols throuhout the country watching for speeders. If they do likewise in NZ, you won't know whether you are speeding until you arrive home and have a "camera ticket" in the mail. We had one waiting for us when we returned from OZ. Should you receive one of these, I would suggest you pay it or your rental company won't let you rent with them again.

Maybe some Kiwi can let us know whether cameras, are indeed, in use in NZ. Thanks.

Kiwi_acct Nov 24th, 2004 01:50 PM

Hi Sandi and Sharon

I don't know what is up with this site, but this is my second attempt at posting this.

Yes we do have mobile speed camera patrols her in NZ. Generally they are either in Toyota Hiaces (Any colour) noticable for there tinted windows. These are parked on the side of both highways and residential roads. The other type of camera car is the Toyota Camry. These are invariably white. Distinctive by the fact that generally you see them on the side of the road with the back door up and the camera sitting in the luggage area.

Highways are also patrolled with marked cars. Paticularly black spots like State Highway 2 through the Western Bay of Plenty and State Highway 27 through the Waikato. There is also increased use of mufti cars (unmarked patrol cars) always either Holden Commodores or Ford Falcons.

As well as the above, in buit up areas there are speed cameras in fixed positions. These are sand coloured camera boxes perched on similarly coloured poles.

Easiest way to avoid a fine of course is to not speed. Just wish I listened to my own advice occassionally haha.

Apart from the two hotspots for patrol cars mentioned above, I would also exhibit caution in driving in Southland as the speed patrols are prolific there. (Low crime rate I suppose so nothing else for them to do). Personal, expensive, experience has taught me not to speed whilst there. A stance reiterated on Tuesday as I saw a patrol car and an unmarked car along state highway 99 (hardly a busy road at the bets of times) whilst I was travelling to Otautau.

Hope this helps a little.


sharon815 Nov 24th, 2004 04:40 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone and Steve, for the specifics. I do promise that we're not planning to wreak havoc on the roads of NZ. I figure it'll be tough enough driving on the other side of the road! We've tried to minimize the amount of driving we do each day and stay in most places at least 2 nites. Sometimes empty roads just call to the car and make it do something totally incompatible with what I might want it to do;-)! Just want to avoid any problems and extra expense - and be a good guest!

Neil_Oz Nov 24th, 2004 05:06 PM

I find empty roads to be the most dangerous when you're driving on the "wrong side", especially if you're turning into a road free of traffic. It's easy to have a concentration lapse and end up in the lane you're used to, not the one you should be in, if there's no other traffic around to serve as a reminder.

One of the pleasures of driving in New Zealand is the courtesy of truckies, who will often pull over onto the shoulder to let faster traffic past. Make sure to give them a wave of thanks - civilised behaviour should always be reinforced.

Kiwi_acct Nov 24th, 2004 05:33 PM

Hi there Neil

It is interesting that you mentioned the problem faced by people who usually drive on the other side of the road when they come to NZ or AUS and drive here. Especially when the roads are near deserted and the driver cannot take reference from other users. Rental car companies here in NZ are attempting to address this by doing things such as placing stickers on the dashboard which says "drive on the left". The rental I had from Hertz whilst I was on a business trip in Southland earlier this week had one.

Conversely I have not noted that cars I have rented in North America or Europe had had stickers encouraging me to drive on the right. May be an opening there.

BTW I note you have had good experiences with truckies pulling over and letting you through. It seems that courtesy is fading a little from the roads here, though in more rural areas and with older truck drivers you do still find a good level of courtesy on the road.



dugi_otok Nov 24th, 2004 08:07 PM

The post by WA is right on. It is not a matter of driving long distances per day. It is the sudden slowing down in towns from 100(62 MPH)to 50(32 MPH). I also got a traffic ticket south of Dunedin doing 67 in a 50 zone(41MPH).These are standing still speeds in California. I guess I am a fugitive because I have not paid it. The officer was very nice, asking me why I was speeding,asked if I wanted to see the meter on his radar gun, telling me that if I did not pay it($120NZD) in 30 days I would get a letter reminder, and he warned me that the next town used cameras.

sandi Nov 25th, 2004 05:40 AM

Thanks Kiwi_act -

Good info to know, and I will take this thread for when we travel.
As to the sign in the vehicle reminding drivers to keep to the left, they should also have one that says "Turns - wide right, short left." When in OZ I had to keep reminding my partner/driver of this. And boy you should have seen what the left front hubcap looked like when we returned the vehicle - surprised we weren't charged for the damage, though I'm sure the agency sees this often and have replacements in the back room.

As to courtesy on the road - remember those few times when we didn't make that "wide right" and found ourselves about to enter oncoming traffic... the Aussies were just so pleasant, waving and saying "Americans, welcome!" Here at home this would have caused an incident of "testosterone rising."

We look forward to visiting your beautiful country.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:31 AM.