Driving in Auckland

Driving in Auckland

Find out how to enjoy a safe and comfortable journey to and around Auckland, including road rules, and licences and permits. Road rules are the same throughout New Zealand.

Important road rules

  • Always drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • All speed limits are shown on speed signs in kilometres (km). The maximum speed on motorways and open roads is 100km/h, and 50km/h in urban and suburban areas. Always stay on or below the legal speed limits.
  • Drivers and all passengers must wear seat belts or child restraints at all times.
  • You must stop when traffic lights are red. When traffic lights are amber/orange, slow to a stop (the only exception is if you are so close to the intersection that it is unsafe to do so).
  • At roundabouts, give way to cars on your right.
  • There is no passing/overtaking in urban and suburban areas. Where there are double yellow lines on motorways and open roads, do not pass other cars – these are areas where it is too dangerous to overtake.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand. This rule is strictly enforced by New Zealand police, with harsh penalities for offenders.
  • Auckland signposting follows international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km).

Driving to road and weather conditions

  • Always drive to the conditions, particularly in bad weather. We hope you get sunny weather for your visit to Auckland, but if it is raining, reduce your speed and following distance and put your headlights on to increase visibility. If you feel unsafe, pull over until the rain has passed.
  • Auckland isn’t just a city, it’s a whole region of diverse landscapes and terrain. Take care when driving through the countryside, particularly on narrow or winding roads. Be careful not to cross the centre line.  Ask your rental car company if any roads you plan to travel on are not safe or not covered by insurance.
  • Never drive tired, particularly if you have been on a long haul flight.
  • If you’re travelling for longer distances to or from elsewhere in New Zealand, take regular breaks, ideally every two hours.

Cycles and motorbikes

  • Cycling is not permitted on motorways.
  • Bicycle and motorbike riders must wear helmets at all times.
  • Motorbike drivers should drive with a headlight on day or night, to maximise visibility.
  • Lights on both the rear and front of cycles are required at night. We strongly advise you to wear high-visibility cycle gear.

Find out more about road rules and tips at DriveSafe.org.nz.  If you’re hiring a rental car or motorhome, speak to the hire company before you drive.

Find out more about driving in New Zealand on the NZ Transport Agency website.

International driving licences and permits

  • You can legally drive in Auckland and New Zealand for up to 12 months per visit, with either a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). Make sure you have these organised before you arrive in New Zealand. You will need to convert to a New Zealand licence after 12 months.
  • All drivers must carry their current licence or permit at all times when driving In New Zealand.
  • You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country.
  • The legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is usually 21 years. Ask your rental car company before you book.
  • If your licence is not fully written in English, you must bring an English translation with you or obtain an IDP. You may be prosecuted for driving without an acceptable English translation or an International Driving Permit.
  • A translation of your overseas licence or permit can be issued by a translator approved by the NZ Transport Agency, the authority that issued your overseas licence or a diplomatic representative at a high commission, embassy or consulate.

Enjoy exploring Auckland.