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|Driving Information and Tips in New Zealand|
New Zealand because of its size, is an easy country to travel around by car. A few hours drive will take you city to city on either island and there are many small towns and points of scenic or historic interest in between.
Good quality accommodation is readily available and it's a good idea to get off the beaten track and meet the locals and check out New Zealand's unique beauty.
There is no national network of multi lane motorways so travel is on standard 2 lane highways where the speed limit is 100 kph and is rigidly enforced by the authorities. With the exception of the high density population areas around Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, traffic is generally light.
If you're accustomed to driving in Europe or the USA where traffic drives on the right hand side of the road, you need to be particularly careful to stay on the left when driving in New Zealand.
Visitors are often surprised to find that they can travel from the east coast to the west coast in a matter of only a few hours. Of course how much you see of the country will depend on how much time you have available and what your interests are.
If you're just
wanting to drive around and enjoy the scenery and have a relaxing
holiday through either or both the North and South Islands - these
are just some general tips.
Travelling by Ferry - North and South Islands
There are regular
ferry services from
Picton or vice versa providing
roll on/roll off passenger, car, campervan and freight services.
If travelling by rental car, you leave your car at the ferry terminal and collect another car at the other side. When you check in, your bags are taken care of and you're free to relax on the ferry and enjoy the views.
If you are picking a rental car in Picton, you will need to have a reservation on an Interislander or Bluebridge ferry in advance, as most rental car operates in Picton will have vehicles available for prebooked hires only due to the isolated nature of Picton.
If you are dropping
off in Wellington and picking in Picton or dropping off in Picton
and picking up in Wellington, it is strongly recommended that you
have a confirm reservation on an Interislander or Bluebridge ferry,
so you can advise your rental car operator of your reservation when
you first pick up your rental car.
Travelling on The TranzAlpine train
If you want to travel on the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, you will need to drop off your rental car the night before your travel date on The TranzAlpine train and pick up your new rental car in Greymouth. If you pick up your new rental car within 24 hours of the drop off, there will be part of the rental rate that your have booked for. If you pick up your rental car in excess of 24 hours, this will deemed to be a new hire and you might have to pay different rate compared to the original rate as originally booked.
If you are picking a rental car in Greymouth, you will need to have a reservation in advance, as most rental car operates in Greymouth will have vehicles available for prebooked hires only due to the isolated nature of the West Coast of the South Island.
Please make sure that you a rental car more than 7 days if picking up in Greymouth or you will pay a Pick Up Fee of NZ$75 to NZ$150.00 (depending on rental car operator used) if hire is less than 7 days. This also applies if dropping off in Greymouth and if the hire is less than 7 days.
If you are dropping off in Christchurch and picking in Greymouth or dropping off in Greymouth and picking up in Christchurch, it is strongly recommended that you have a confirmed reservation on The TranzAlpine train, so you can advise your rental car operator of your reservation when you first pick up your rental car.
operates once a day from Christchurch to Greymouth and back to
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