Driving in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand

This Article is courtesy of  www.drivingtests.co.nz

When you drive in New Zealand you will be overwhelmed by the stunning scenery, so it pays to know the rules of the road (known as the ‘road code’) before you arrive.

This article covers off the main points about driving in New Zealand, but it advised that you also take a look at these free New Zealand road code quizzes so you can learn specific signs, intersection and parking rules, and what to do in emergencies.

We drive on the left in New Zealand which means the steering wheel is on the right. If you are used to driving on the right in a left-hand drive vehicle, learning to position a campervan or car correctly in the lane is important as you’ll now have a metre and a half of vehicle on your left.

Speed limits

The maximum speed limit on New Zealand roads is 100kph (62mph). Urban areas are generally 50kph (31mph). There are both fixed and movable (generally fairly well hidden) speed cameras and the tolerance is as low as 4kph over the limit on public holiday weekends. Most traffic travels at between 90-100kph.

If you are travelling slower than this, keep an eye on your mirrors and let following cars pass.

The road network

As New Zealand is a country the size of the United Kingdom, but with only 4 million people, the road network is not as developed as in some other countries. Motorways and dual carriageways exist only usually for a short distance outside major cities. This means that you should allow more time to complete your journey than you would usually expect.

New Zealand’s roads, as well as being quite narrow in places, are also particularly hilly, and can sometimes vary from smooth blacktop to coarse gravel.

Given that our population is spread out, so are facilities. There are some places in New Zealand where there are no petrol stations for well over 100km, so watch out for signs warning of this.

Using your phone

It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile phone when driving in New Zealand. If you can connect a hands-free kit then you can make and receive calls. Texting is not allowed at all while you are on the road.

Giving way at intersections

In general, if you are turning, you give way to any vehicle not turning. If you are going straight through, then you give way to your right. If you are on a stop sign, drivers on a give way sign have right of way over you, regardless of which way you are turning.

If there are traffic lights, red means stop at all times. You cannot turn left on a red light unless there’s a green arrow indicating you can. This is different to North America.

Seat belts

Wearing seat belts is compulsory if they are fitted, whether they’re in the front or back. Children under five years of age must be seated in an approved child restraint. This age will increase in 2014.

Your licence

If your driving licence is in English you can use it on New Zealand roads to drive for up to 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. If your licence is not in English you will need to get an approved translation or International Drivers Permit.


In rural areas it is common to find uncontrolled railway crossings (in fact, around half of all New Zealand’s railway crossings are not controlled).

You might come around a corner to find a farmer moving several hundred cattle down the road.

In all rural areas you will find one-way bridges with signs indicating who has the right of way.

Unsealed (gravel or ‘metal’) roads are common in remote areas. When it’s hot and dry, slow down so you do not blind people with your dust.

Enjoy yourself

We hope you enjoy your driving in New Zealand. It really is a spectacular country, so take your time and see as much as you can.

Fresh Rentals has a range of campers and cars to suit your travelling requirements. We look forward to helping you have a great holiday in New Zealand.

Six Essential Things to Consider When Hiring a Campervan

Campervan View

Campervans come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so make sure you’ve considered a few of the basics before you book that dream New Zealand holiday.

1 – How big?

Under New Zealand law, everyone travelling in a campervan must have a seat – including babies and children. The easiest way to work this out is book as many berths as you have people. So a couple will need a two berth camper, while a family of two adults and three children will need a five berth camper, and so on.

Watch out for specific regulations too! Some motorhomes have a restriction on how many baby seats and booster-seats can be fitted.

If you have more than six people in your entourage, you’ll need to look at booking a second campervan as six berth motorhomes are largest available in New Zealand.

2 – Comfort or savings?

If you get a little claustrophobic in small places, you might want to consider hiring a bigger campervan than required to get a chance to spread out. Some of the smaller models, especially the two and three berth campers, can be a little cramped.

If you’re travelling as a small family a four berth could be a tight fit, for example, and may choose to travel in a six berth to give kids a bit of space. Couples may enjoy the extra space and freedom that a three or a four berth, too.

3 – A clear view

Do you prefer privacy or a good view? Your holiday will take you through some of the most beautiful roadside scenery in the world, so most like to make sure they have a clear view! Others prefer the more private and secure feeling of have less windows, which can keep things safe at night.

4 – Is it self-contained?

Campervans come in various states of self-containment, with options ranging from nothing to a moving hotel room. Many travellers prefer to go for the more luxorius options, which provie a shower, sanitary bathroom, sink and cooking equipment. This minimises enviromental impact and means you can go for hours at a time without having to stop at a camping ground
to empty the toilet.

5 -Storage Space

Will you have enough storage in the vehicle you’re planning to book? Often, some compartments are only accessible from outside the campervan and storing extra bags inside can keep things crammed. If you think you’re going to have excess stuff, book a bigger camper.

6 – How much will it cost?

Really, this is the be all and end all, how much do you want your trip to cost? There are a few tricks of the trade to keep costs down, but you’ll have to decide if you want to compromise on a little comfort or just lay back and enjoy the trip.

Booking early is often a good way to get an discount, with many campervan rental companies offering early bird discounts (around 5%) if you book a few months in advance. It might not sound like much, but it can really add up if you’re travelling over a longer time. Aiming for “all inclusive” packages, which bundle up all your associated rental costs into one price, can keep things down too – make sure to make inquiries when booking.

Fresh Rentals is part of The Adventure’ Group, a member of TIANZ (Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand)

Please ‘Like’ our Facebook Page    www.facebook.com/freshrentals




Alpine Pacific Triangle

Alpine Pacific Triangle Tour – (Christchurch – Hanmer Springs – Christchurch)

Start Christchurch / Finish Christchurch
Recommended Length: 3 Days
Distance: 451 km (282 miles)

Alpine Pacific Triangle

Map of the Alpine Pacific Tour

View Alpine Pacific Triangle Tour(Christchurch – Hanmer Springs – Christchurch) via Fresh Rentals

What you’ll see

The Alpine Pacific Triangle tour will take you from Christchurch, New Zealand’s garden city  with a strong focus on the arts and heritage. Once Christchurch is explored you’ll then head up the coast towards Kaikoura and enjoying the unspoilt beaches along the way. Kaikoura is famous for the wildlife in the area which include, whales, seals and dolphins, don’t forget to enjoy the local food.

The drive to Hanmer Springs will be highlighted by Waipara’s vineyards and olive groves. Once in Hanmer Springs, it’s time to relax with the hot pools, massage therapies and much more for preparation for the drive back to Christchurch.

Travel time: Km/Miles

Day 1
Christchurch to Kaikoura 2.25 hrs 184km/115m

While in Christchurch

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

7 Rolleston Ave, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand

Christchurch is famously know as the Garden City and it’s these gardens that are at the heart of this reputation. The botanic gardens boast of thousands of plants from around the world supported by a temperate climate since 1863.

The garden also contains some of the tallest and oldest tress in New Zealand. Complete with art works and memorial plantings which reflect the local and international history of New Zealand. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens showcase some of the flora of New Zealand and other parts of the world.

Day 2
Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs 1.5 hrs 132km/83m

Famous for its wildlife Kaikoura is a must for people travelling in New Zealand. With dolphins, whales and seal colonies. The local cuisine is a great way to try crayfish and a favourite with travellers to the area. You can also walk to see fur seal colonies and spy on big seabirds such as mollymawks, albatross and petrels.

The most scenic route to get to Hanmer Springs from Kaikoura is via the Inland Road which takes you pass the Mount Lyford ski village. There’s also the Leader Road which finishes at the Waiau Township. The Leader Road incorporates coastal and rural farming views.

Hanmer Springs gives you the option of relaxation and indulgence. It offers many hot springs as well as spas. But it’s not just for relaxation, you can also find many outdoor adventures in Hanmer such as forest walks, horse trekking, trout fishing, jet boating, bungy jumping and golf are some of the options.

Day 3
Hanmer Springs to Christchurch 1.75 hrs 135km/84m


On the way back you can follow the Waiau River which will lead you through the Balmoral Forest and across the Hurunui River. You’ll enter the Waipara region which is famous for its wine and food to stop for refreshments. The last leg of your journey takes you past the surf beaches of Amberley, Leithfield, Waikuku and Woodend.

The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch is an entertaining mixture of refined lifestyle and cultural excitement. The tranquil Avon River meanders through the city, historic buildings house a lively arts community and restored trams make it easy to get around. Visit heritage sites, museums and art galleries, and enjoy the highly developed restaurant scene.

They say you can’t beat ‘asking a local’. Well that’s us, we’re proud local Kiwi’s.

Driving New Zealand – Wellington to Nelson to Wellington – a Mini-South-Island Adventure

This mini-adventure will give you a taste of the south for tourists on a strict budget or timeframe.

View Wellington – Nelson – Wellington in a larger map
Wellington, (The Windy City), is the capital of New Zealand, and absolutely packed with vibrancy. A city renowned for art and theatre, you could do worse than exploring some of the local galleries, catching a matinee at one of the tiny theatres, or strolling through the halls of Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. Before you know it, it will be time to board your ferry to Picton.

Day 1:

Wellington – Picton - Nelson

98 km (61 miles)

Cook Strait

Enjoy a ferry trip across the Cook Strait, where you’ll encounter the Tory Channel, Cook’s Lookout and the Red Rocks seal colony. Drive your vehicle off the ferry and get ready to explore Picton.


A world-away from cosmopolitan Wellington, Picton is quaint and charming, and a lovely place to enjoy the vineyards, hiking and beautiful sheltered inlets of the Marlborough Sounds.


The drive to Nelson will take you through many interesting places, including the town of Havelock (the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World) and the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve.

Day 2: Nelson to Blenheim

In Nelson you’ll find a true view into New Zealand life, with beach, bush and art cultures co-existing happily together. Nelson is the home of the Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards.


From Nelson, take State Highway 6 toward the Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand’s second-largest National park. From the vibrant, alpine city of St. Arnaud, you can explore the hiking trails, kayaking, river rafting and mountain-biking around the mountains.


Follow the Wairau River to Blenheim, stopping beside the river for a picnic and a spot of fishing.

Blenheim is at the heart of the South Island’s wine country – and you’ll find the local vintage on every menu. Blenheim is a food lover’s Mecca, with a bustling café and restaurant scene and many beautiful B&Bs and homestays to enjoy. Take a tour of some of the 20 wineries within driving distance (although if you’re going to do tastings, make sure you have a sober driver), or take a more adventurous route and walk the Queen Charlotte track.

Day 3:

Blenheim – Picton - Wellington

28 km (18 miles)

After enjoying all that Blenheim has to offer you’ll start to make your way back to Picton. This drive back will take you across the Wairau Plains past the wineries and vineyards that Blenheim is famous for.

You’ll catch your ferry back to Wellington from Picton enjoying one of most scenic ferry trips in the world passing through the Marlborough Sounds and across Cook Strait.

What are you waiting for? Visit Nelson and Blenheim today!

Edoras Itinerary

Edoras the mythical hill fort of the Rohirrim in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. In the books, Edoras lies north of Gondor and northeast of Mordor, the kingdom of the dark lord Sauron. But to New Zealand, home of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of Lord of the Rings, Edoras is a real place – the set was built on top of Mount Sunday, lying on the upper reaches of the Rangitata Valley (near Erewhon).

Many scenes from Lord of the Rings were shot in regions of the South Island. Jackson chose these locations for their stunning natural beauty and their lack of man-made landmarks. The central Canterbury alpine region – containing some of New Zealand’s most stunning glaciers and peaks – was used for many of the more remote locations in Middle Earth.

Although the set has been demolished (part of New Line Cinema’s agreement with the NZ Government was that all areas used for filming were to be left as they were found), the location is still evocative and beautiful, and makes for a wonderful side-trip for any tourist visiting the South Island of New Zealand.

We recommend the following itinerary for drivers starting from Christchurch:

Start Christchurch / Finish Christchurch
Recommended Length: 2 Days
Distance: 270 km (169 miles)

View Edoras Itinerary in a larger map

Day 1:


As the largest city in the South Island, Christchurch offers plenty of attractions for tourists, from cultural experiences to fine dining and beautiful natural scenery. Visit the Red Zone and learn about the devastating after-effects of the Canterbury Earthquakes, enjoy the divine colours and heavenly smells in the Botanic Gardens, and explore the volcanic landscape of Mount Somers Conservation Area.


Lying between the Rangitata and Rakaia rivers, Ashburton is a vibrant rural town with a character all of its own. Enjoy the local museums and art galleries, or try your hand at fly-fishing – the local obsession!

From Ashburton you can explore the Canterbury plains and the Southern Alps, including tours to Edoras and other Lord of the Rings film sites.Enquire at the local Information Centre (I-Site) for directions.


Only a half-hour’s drive from Ashburton, Methven is a great place to stop for the night. Dinner options are endless – choose from a range of different local and international cuisines.

Day 2:


Time for a bit of adrenaline-pumping action – head out to one of Methven’s adventure attractions. Ski bunnies can hit the slopes of Mt. Hutt, and in the summer nothing beats exploring the Southern Alps by hot air balloon. Hiking, bike trails, jet boating and skydiving are a few of the activities Methven has to offer.

When you’re ready, you can return to Christchurch via the scenic drive through Ashburton and the Canterbury plains, or take the more scenic route via the Rakaia Gorge.

What are you waiting for?

North Island Attractions

North Island: 5 Un-miss-able New Zealand Attractions

The North Island of New Zealand is the most built-up area of the country, featuring our two largest cities: Auckland (1.5 million) and Wellington (400,000). It’s a great place to visit with lots of interesting places to see. Here are five of my favourite spots to visit.


A vibrant city with an artistic soul, Wellington will capture your heart like no other city. Filled to the brim with theatre, street performance and live music, Wellington is a city for urbanites and adventurous souls. Spend your days enjoying shows, visiting art galleries and indulging in some of New Zealand’s finest restaurants and cafes. Top of my list are Te Papa (NZ’s national museum), The Museum of Wellington City and Sea, The Artrium Gallery and shows at the Michael Fowler Centre, Shed 6 or the St. James Theatre.


Nicknamed The City of Sails because of its water-loving population, Auckland seems a world away from the rest of the country. Aucklanders are a different breed, and even have their own nickname – JAFA (Just Another Fabulous Aucklander). The city is a great place to spend a few days – shop up a storm in Newmarket, enjoy the café lifestyle in Ponsonby, and visit the famous Matakana markets. Don’t forget to spend a day out on the water.

Hawke’s Bay

Dubbed “Hawke’s Bay Wine Country” this eastern bay is one of the often-overlooked gems of the country. An area of lush vineyards and productive farmland, you’ll find the Hawke’s Bay a food-lover’s paradise: restaurants and markets brimming with local produce, and local wines among the best in the world. The jewel of the Bay is Napier, the “art deco city” with its beautiful period architecture and laid-back style.


The perfect location for family fun and adventure, Rotorua boasts some of the most impressive attractions in New Zealand. Explore the natural geysers and areas of thermal activity.

The Coromandel

Relax by the beach and enjoy one of New Zealand’s favourite holiday destinations. The Coromandel area is famous for its fascinating mining history, pristine beaches and lush forests you can explore. Rent a house for a few days and relax in one of the North Island’s most beautiful areas.

Where will you go in the North Island of New Zealand? 

Cultural Attractions In New Zealand

New Zealand is known internationally for stunning natural landscapes, but we’ve also a centre for arts and culture. Here are some of the top cultural attractions in New Zealand:

Te Papa Museum

Located on the waterfront in Wellington, Te Papa is a purpose-built museum housing permanent and changing collections about different aspects of New Zealand’s history. Everything from our natural history and wildlife through to cultural studies, Maori artefacts and art and science are covered, with travelling exhibitions from all over the world attracting a steady stream of visitors.

Marae Visit

For an authentic cultural experience, visit a marae to learn about the traditional culture of the Maori people. Take part in a welcoming ceremony on the marae, witness a performance of the Haka (a Maori war dance) and enjoy a delicious hangi (a meal cooked in the earth). Marae visits can be organised in most areas of the country through the local tourist centre.

Farm stay

Around half the population of New Zealand has something to do with the farming industry, and our rural heritage is an important part of our cultural identity. Experience life on a farm with an authentic farm stay: get up early to feed the animals, have a swim in the farm creek and watch the sunset over uninterrupted vistas. Farm stays are wonderful educational holidays for the kids and can also be a unique romantic weekend away.

Auckland Art Gallery

Home of the visual arts in New Zealand, the Auckland Art Gallery has recently been refurbished to a stunning international standard. The complex houses more than 15,000 artworks from New Zealand and around the world, and a changing exhibition programme ensures there’s always something new to see. Soak up the culture in the heart of Auckland, and finish your day at one of the fantastic cafes or restaurants just around the corner.

 Civic Theatre, Auckland

Originally built as a cinema for Auckland, the Civic Theatre is one of the city’s top cultural centres. Built in a Rococo design, the theatre bankrupted its original owner, and was reopened in 1999 after extensive restoration work. Now the Civic hosts a yearlong program of music, theatre, cinema, comedy and lectures, and remains one of New Zealand’s most iconic architectural statements.

With so many different cultural events to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice when visiting New Zealand. Whatever your interest, there are museums, centres, galleries, theatres, and cultural experiences for you to enjoy.

What New Zealand attractions are you going to visit first?

Which is best for you ?

All year round, here at Fresh Rentals, we are asked the question; what do you think we should do?

Should we hire a campervan, or should we hire a car ?

This is not an easy one, as no one answer fits all. There are many factors to take into account, i.e

-How many people are travelling?2 berth budget campervan

-What time of year are you visiting?

-Do you have very young children with you?

-Do you enjoy the freedom of perhaps camping (in comfort) beside a beautiful river or lake, or is TV and a restaurant nearby your priority

New Zealand is, even allowing for personal bias, one of the most naturally beautiful  countries anywhere in the world. The mountains, lakes, National Parks and rivers, a temperate climate, clean water, low pollution levels and not a snake or crocodile in sight, combine to provide an outdoor experience that is truly unique. So how to make the most of it?

It’s hard to beat a campervan/ motohome  holiday of New Zealand. For  the  young couple keeping costs down in a budget 2-berth camper, through to the family of 6 wanting a luxury ‘hotel on wheels’ the campervan allows you to get close to nature, mix with the locals, and travel ‘fancy free’ without being tied to a set itinerary.6 berth luxury camper

So what’s the downside?

-New Zealand, particularly South Island can be very cold in the winter. You are never very far from the mountains in the south so be prepared. (Make sure you request  extra blankets and a heater). In the height of summer, campervans in New Zealand, particularly the 4 and 6 berth campers can be hard to reserve if you don’t book early. In the colder months, there are plenty of campers available at low prices. Over the peak of summer, there are not enough to meet demand.

-If someone in the family snores loudly, you will all know about it. Best to talk to the pharmacist before you leave home.

–You are away from the cities, and at one with nature. But so are the midges and mosquitoes in a few places. Stock up on the repellent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     –Even a  6 berth luxury camper has just one shower/toilet for all. Most people overnight in a camping ground every few nights to fill up water tanks, dispose of refuse etc.

Cost/ Convenience

There is no doubt the camper is the most convenient way to travel, but what about cost? It’s very seasonal. In the off peak months, particularly May to September, camper prices will be around 70% cheaper than the summer peak. A  6-berth luxury campervan that rents for $350 per day in mid-summer will be $100pd in June. Cars, Hotels and Motels will be around 20% cheaper off peak, although in the ski  areas like Queenstown and Wanaka, the prices will actually go up in Winter!

So, if cost is a major factor but you love the idea of a fabulous motorhome holiday in New Zealand , book your campervan  May to September, and a car/motel combination in the summer months.

Fullsize car rental

If comfort and convenience are more your style, book a car and motels in the winter, and a campervan in the shoulder and peak season…..but remember, campervans will be in short supply, so the earlier you book, the more chance you have to get the campervan you want at the best price.

Whichever way you decide to travel, you will love our beautiful country and we will all make you feel welcome.

Todays Maori (native New Zealander) Language Lesson

Kia-ora…..hello                                                                                                                                                      Ka kite anō….See you again.

They say you can’t beat ‘asking a local’. Well that’s us, we’re proud local Kiwi’s.


- A Selection of just some of the dozens of Campervan/Motorhome styles on offer. Click any for more details on these and many others.

2-berth-campervan-rental-new-zealand 6-berth-campervan-rental-new-zealand
2 berth budget campervan
(no shower and toilet)
2 berth campervan 4-6 berth campervan

Fresh Rentals is part of The Adventure Group, a member of TIANZ (Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand. Please ‘Like’ our Facebook  page  www.facebook.com/freshrentals

Unraveling the mystery.

If you have never hired a New Zealand Campervan or Motorhome before, it can be a little daunting.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from a Budget 2 berth camper all the way up to a

6-Berth Interior

Luxury 6 berth camper, with all manner of varieties in between.

You can hire a Maui, Kea, Apollo, United, Alpha, Kiwi, Cheapa, Jucy, Pacific Horizon or Spaceships Campervan. It could be a 2 berth with just the basics, a 2 berth with shower and toilet inside, a 4 berth Ford Economy Manual, a 6 berth luxury Mercedes Automatic…..the list goes on (and Fresh Rentals has all of them).

Fresh Rentals is a leading broker of Campervan Hire, Motorhome Hire and Car Hire throughout New Zealand and hiring these vehicles is what we do everyday. And we are very good at it.

Over the next weeks we will clarify and simplify the task of hiring a Campervan, Motorhome or Car in New Zealand.

A 2 berth camper is designed to sleep two, however it may only have one bed. Some 2 berths have the option of one big bed, or two singles. Some 2 berths have seatbelts for 3, some only for two. Some New Zealand 2 berth Campers can be fitted with a Baby seat, some cannot.

4 Berth budget campervan

We will take the mystery out of it all for you, and as ‘The New Zealand Travel Experts’ will also provide you with tips on what to see, where to go, what to do and just some good old Kiwi know how on getting the most out of your New Zealand Campervan or Car Holiday.


They say you can’t beat ‘asking a local’. Well that’s us, we’re proud local Kiwi’s.

- A Selection of just some of the dozens of Campervan/Motorhome styles on offer. Click any for more details on these and many others.

2-berth-campervan-rental-new-zealand 6-berth-campervan-rental-new-zealand
2 berth budget campervan
(no shower and toilet)
2 berth campervan 4-6 berth campervan

Fresh Rentals is part of The Adventure’ Group, a member of TIANZ (Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand)

Please ‘Like’ our Facebook Page    www.facebook.com/freshrentals