How to drive in New Zealand

Start by staying on the left. :)

I found some great resources to prepare for driving in New Zealand.

Check out this interactive driving video/game, which is a good chance to practice for any driver. It definitely tests your observation skills!

Some of the road signs that I found interesting or unusual are:

Speed limit sign indicating that there is “no restriction” so the national speed limit of 100 kph applies
One-lane bridge ahead. The little red arrow means that you do NOT have right of way but instead traffic from the other direction (big black arrow) does.

There are lots of warnings that it will take you longer to drive somewhere than you may expect. I saw this billboard a lot:

and this great reminder to take breaks:

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the extensive construction going on everywhere I went, which certainly did make it take longer to get places. Many of the roads between cities were being resurfaced in various areas, so there was a lot of slow driving on gravel. In one place, there was a sign that we were driving on “wet concrete – wash car today” (!).

I also found that gas was much more expensive. Somewhat confusingly, prices are displayed in cents per liter (e.g., “199” instead of “$1.99”). I paid between $1.99 to $2.06 per liter, which works out to $7.50 to $7.80 per gallon (!). Giving how much driving I did, this ended up being a non-trivial part of my trip costs. An electric vehicle would make even more sense there :)