New Zealand can be considered as a small country but driving around New Zealand would take much time than you expected as the road is winding, narrow and hilly. It is very common to see cattle and sheep on the road.
You need to have a full valid driving license written in English. Other than that, if you don’t have one, you will need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) or a translation approved by the New Zealand Transport Agency. Please bring together your Driving Licence with IDP while driving around NZ.
Driving on the left-hand side of the road
Driving in New Zealand is similar to Malaysia which is on left-hand side of the road. Having mentioned that, the regulation is a bit different and you must know the details before you embark on your journey. For more info, you may go to the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Plan extra time on your journey
Please provide an extra provision of time for your journey as the road is winding and you would take a longer time. With the charm of the natural beauty of NZ, you will stop a million times to take photos.
One thing that I noticed is that some part of the roads particularly at the remote area, the road is narrow and sometimes can just fit one vehicle only. It is common in New Zealand to give away for the incoming vehicle to pass through first especially at narrow bridge. Hence, the driver must be extra vigilant and get ready to stop for a while if there is an incoming vehicle.
This is a bit different from Malaysia. For your info, it is illegal to pass other cars where there is yellow line instead of a white line marking the middle of the road. The yellow line indicates that it’s too dangerous to overtake.
We as a tourist, of course, wanted to enjoy the natural beauty of NZ as much as we can. And off course, we, the tourist would drive slower than usual in our home country. Further to that, if we drive a big caravan, surely we will drive slower than others. Hence, please pull aside off the road if you see cars behind you queue up. Give way to them. The locals usually drive quite fast including the big trucks. Please bear in mind.
Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts or child restraints at all times, in both front and rear seats.
Driving in Winter
If you are driving in winter, please ensure to get tyre chain and you must know to install it. Drive at a safe traveling distance as it takes longer to stop on slippery roads. Avoid sudden braking or turning that could cause you to skid.
Okay, this is the place that I have been honked many time. I guess, I still followed Malaysian style and that’s why I got honked many times. Many accidents happened at the roundabout in NZ. Due to that, I share here the diagram on driving at roundabout from DriveSafe.