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Tips for Expats Driving in Auckland

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Auckland.
Tips for Expats Driving in Auckland

1. Understanding the Driving Rules

Driving in Auckland is on the left-hand side of the road. This can be a significant adjustment for those from countries where driving is on the right. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations, including speed limits, road signs, and parking rules. The New Zealand Transport Agency provides a comprehensive guide for this.

2. Choosing the Right Car

Compact cars are recommended for driving in Auckland due to the city’s narrow roads and limited parking spaces. However, if you plan to explore the countryside or go on road trips, an SUV or a 4WD might be more suitable. New Zealand has strict emission standards, so consider choosing a car that is fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.

3. Parking in Auckland

Finding parking in Auckland can be challenging, especially in the city center during peak hours. Most parking spaces are metered, and the cost can add up quickly. However, there are several parking buildings and some residential areas with free parking. It’s advisable to use public transport or walk when possible to avoid parking hassles.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in New Zealand with an international driving permit or a valid overseas driver’s license for up to 12 months. However, the license or permit must be in English, or you must carry an accurate English translation. After 12 months, you will need to obtain a New Zealand driver’s license.

5. Obtaining a New Zealand Driver’s License

If you’re planning to stay in New Zealand for more than a year, you’ll need to convert your overseas driver’s license to a New Zealand license. This process involves passing a theory test and a practical driving test. You can book these tests online or at a local driver licensing agent.

6. Be Prepared for Traffic

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, and traffic can be heavy, especially during rush hours. Be prepared for delays and plan your journey accordingly. Using a GPS or a navigation app can help you find the quickest route and avoid traffic jams.

7. Be Aware of the Weather

New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable, and conditions can change quickly. Be prepared for all types of weather, especially if you’re driving in rural areas or on mountain roads. Always check the weather forecast before setting off on a long journey.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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