Driving in New Zealand

Our number one priority at Wilderness is to get you home safely at the end of your holiday. That's why we strongly recommend that you take a few minutes to learn about driving in New Zealand. There's a few things that you may not be used - not in the least, driving on the left side of the road.

Drivers Licence

You first need to make sure you are legally permitted to drive in New Zealand. You need a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can drive a motorhome rental with a TARE weight of up to 4.5 tonnes on a full car driver's licence even if there’s a lower weight limit on your car driver's licence. You can only drive vehicles which are covered by your driver licence or international driving permit.

If you plan to use a foreign driver's licence that is not in English, you must get an English translation or an IDP and carry it with your foreign driver's licence. Your foreign driver's licence is valid for one year from the date you enter New Zealand.

Start with watching this video for an overview of driving in New Zealand.


Now download this booklet produced by the New Zealand Government. It is written in English as well as Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Arabic. 

Here's some more information our team have put together to help you learn about driving in New Zealand. Be prepared and make sure you have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Take the Test

Now you've studied what's different about driving in New Zealand, test your knowledge by taking this short tourist road code quiz. The quiz is specifically designed to help international visitors get to grips with the important bits of the New Zealand Road Code. There's only 65 questions and it's FREE so do it now and make your road trip safer!

Toll Roads

The New Zealand Transport Agency currently has three toll roads: the Northern Gateway Toll Road north of Auckland, the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and the Takitimu Drive Toll Road, both in Tauranga.

Northern Gateway Toll Road

The Northern Gateway Toll Road is a 7.5km motorway extension just north of Auckland. Heading north the toll road begins just before Orewa and ends after the Johnston Hills near Puhoi. The toll road gives motorists a choice between a more direct route and the scenic State Highway 17 via Orewa. There are two free alternatives – along State Highway 17 (Hibiscus Coast Highway) or State Highway 16 (via Helensville). The Hibiscus Coast Highway is a more scenic drive, following the attractive coastline between the popular holiday spots of Orewa and Waiwera. If you are in no hurry and want to explore the region, the Hibiscus Coast Highway may be the way to go.

Takitimu Drive Toll Road

The Takitimu Drive Toll Road is a 5km road that bypasses the Tauranga city centre and takes traffic from State Highway 29 (SH29) to State Highway 2 (SH2) in the direction of the Port of Tauranga and Mt Maunganui. The alternative routes are via Cameron Road or Cambridge/Moffat Roads.

Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road

The Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road is a 15km tolled section of State Highway 2 (SH2) running between the Domain Road interchange, near Pāpāmoa, and the Paengaroa roundabout (SH2 and SH33 to Whakatāne and Rotorua). The free alternative route takes you on the Te Puke Highway, through Te Puke.

How to pay

All our motorhomes are registered with the toll road service. If you decide to use a toll road, the charge will be added to your booking unless your rental package includes toll road charges.