How to Get an International Driving Permit in New Zealand?
An International Driving Permit is a translation of your national driving license. The IDP allows motorists to drive vehicles in foreign countries. You must always have your IDP along with your national license at all times. To get an International Driving Permit in New Zealand, visit www.aa.co.nz.
From anywhere in New Zealand, you will be able to use the NZAA’s freephone numbers:
Other New Zealand Emergency Phone Numbers:
For more information go to the New Zealand Automobile Association(NZAA) website: www.aa.co.nz
Brief Description of New Zealand
New Zealand is a multi-cultural country with a wide variety of landscapes including mountains, lakes and rivers, beautiful beaches, forests, and a lot of rolling farm land.
The country has two main islands – the North Island and the South Island. Three quarters of the population live in the North Island, with most living in the top half, centred around Auckland.
Smaller Stewart Island (off the bottom of the South Island) and several other islands around the coast are wonderful places to visit. They have small populations, limited shops and services and more basic infrastructure.
Wellington (at the bottom of the North Island) is the capital city. Auckland (near the top of the North Island) is the country’s biggest city. Christchurch (in the middle of the South Island) is the South Island’s largest city, followed by Dunedin (near the bottom).
Particularly in the South Island, many settlements are small to very small and there can be large distances between major towns, even along some of the main highways.
Be Prepared for Travelling Around New Zealand
If you venture off a main highway in either the North or South Island, make sure you have done your research and are prepared to be somewhat self-sufficient. There are places that may look more established on a map than they actually are.
Distances can be deceiving and it’s easy to underestimate travelling times. The nature of our terrain and our roading network means that it can take longer to drive between distances that you think. Plan your drives carefully.
You cannot always expect to get mobile phone or internet coverage in remote areas.
Do not plan on driving far immediately after arriving off a long flight. Plan your trip with sensible distances between destinations because you are more likely to crash if you are tired.
International Road Traffic Conventions
New Zealand has signed the United Nations Convention of Road Traffic (1949), which recommends visitors have an International Driving Permit (IDP).
An IDP can be obtained in your country of residence before travelling to New Zealand.
It proves that you hold a valid driver’s licence in your home country. It can also help protect you and your family in an event of an accident or loss of identification.
If your overseas licence or permit is not in English, you must also carry an accurate English translation.
You must have your current driver licence and/or driver permit with you at all times when you are driving.
The IDP is only valid for 12 months in New Zealand. After this you need to apply for a New Zealand driver licence. For more information click here
New Zealand Road Conditions
Rules of the Road
We drive on the left-hand-side of the road. Vehicles have the steering wheel on the right-hand side (remember the driver should always be closest to the centreline).
The driver and all passengers must wear a seat belt.
Speed limits are strictly enforced. Always check for speed limit signs.
- Speed cameras are used to manage driver speeds and rental companies will charge you for any speeding tickets incurred while you are
renting the vehicle.
You can overtake/pass other vehicles on their right.
- On larger roads there will be occasional passing lanes. Wait for these if possible.
- When there are no upcoming passing lanes, you can pass on the right if you can see the road ahead is clear of oncoming vehicles for at least 100m throughout the whole passing manoeuvre.
- Never overtake if there is a corner coming up.
- Never overtake if there is a solid yellow centre line on your side of the road, or a double yellow centreline.
- If there is traffic building up behind you, find a safe place to pull over to let faster vehicles pass.
Helmets must be worn if riding a motorcycle or bicycle.
Learn More — Video Training for Visiting Drivers
«Ready to learn how to drive in New Zealand? Start with our free quiz — try an online AA Road Code Practice Test. «
More Information about NZ Road Rules visit this website
The NZAA has a breakdown service which operates 24 hours a day.
If you belong to an international automobile club affiliated to the FIA/AIT, and present your membership card to the NZAA when you arrive in New Zealand, you can use the NZAA breakdown service and get other benefits at no cost while you are travelling around New Zealand.