New Zealand has three main islands - North Island, South Island (also known as the Mainland) and Stewart Island (Rakiura). You can drive freely between North and South islands, crossing the Cook Strait by ferry.
There are two companies operating drive-on-drive-off ferries between Picton and Wellington. The journey takes about 3 hours plus an hour at each end for loading/unloading. It is advisable to book ahead for busy periods like summer and school holidays.
It costs approximately $350 one-way for one of our motorhomes on the ferry.
New Zealand Information
View information options by clicking on a region
Bluebridge operate two ships on the daily service between Wellington and Picton. Get a quote and/or make a booking
Interislander operate three ferries with four to six daily sailings in each direction. Get a quote and/or make a booking
Driving Safely in New Zealand
It's a good idea to have a read through our local road safety rules before you arrive. In New Zealand we drive on the left hand side of the road and our hilly, windy and narrow roads can mean that the journey may take you a lot longer than expected. To have a safe and enjoyable driving journey in NZ, check out Drive Safe. Have a look here for driving tips and here for the driving rules. When you're ready, have a go at our road code quiz and keep safe while you are driving here.
Automobile Association (AA) www.aa.co.nz
We’ve partnered with the Automobile Association (AA), New Zealand’s
leading roadside support company to offer 24 hour, 7 day support
wherever you need it.
And the calls are free
dial 0800 734 543 toll free, even from a mobile phone.
The assistance covers any mechanical faults with the vehicle. It does not cover the following and any associated costs will be the responsibility of the hirer. (They will still come and help you out, the non-mechanical call out charge is $65 in city areas, $140 in rural areas and after hours (11pm-7am), and credit cards are accepted)
- The vehicle running out of fuel
- Keys being locked inside the vehicle or lost
- Flat batteries as a result of the lights or keys being left on
- A breakdown as a result of damage caused in an accident
- Flat tyre/s
Where Can I Camp? interactive map
Check out the I Respect NZ Camping Map. More than 500 freedom camping locations and 1000 camping areas are pinpointed throughout the country.
Rules about the site, camping facilities, costs and reviews are also listed for each place.
101 Must do Weekends in New Zealand www.aatravel.co.nz/101
Take a look at the AA Travel website and choose a category or a region, then hit the road for a must do weekend getaway adventure. Here you’ll also find New Zealand travel itineraries, roadtrips and sightseeing guides. Local attractions that have made the 101 Must Do list are: Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Town, New Chum’s Beach, The Pinnacles in the Kauaeranga Valley and the Karangahake Gorge.
Wises interactive maps www.wises.co.nz
...show local amenities, banks, campsites, museums, walks, vineyards and much more.
Some roads in NZ take you off the beaten track and show you some real hidden beauty spots. While we have no road restrictions, extreme care is needed on unsealed, gravel roads which can be steep, narrow & windy. Safety tips for driving on these roads can be found on the Department of Conservation website.
is a family travel web guide to New Zealand. It includes activities, where to eat and shop as well as information you need to make the most of your holiday here.
Camping Our Way, Love NZ www.camping.org.nz/new-zealand
provides information about freedom camping and eco-wise tips so you can leave gentle footprints when travelling in New Zealand
Travel Calculator www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php
will give you an indication of the time it takes to travel between your destinations
Driving Routes: a good selection of NZ road trips can be found here
Mobile Apps to download
AA Tourism: The new AA Tourism iPhone Mobile App is here! - aa.co.nz
Campermate: CamperMate | New Zealand Travel and Camping Information
I Travel NZ: For instant, up to date local information and interactive maps available in more than 30 languages, try this app
Google Googles: Google Goggles simply take a picture of something while you are travelling and it will search the web and give you more information
Essential New Zealand: Make the most of your New Zealand holiday with the official Essential New Zealand travel guide, from Tourism New Zealand.
The Little Green Kiwi Guide to NZ: A great app packed full of essential information, discount deals and more. You'll find one of these helpful guides in all of our Motorhomes.
Visitor Information Centres www.newzealand.com/travel/i-sites/newzealand/
are found throughout the country. Look out for the green logo.
Business hours are generally Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. Petrol (gas) stations are often open 24 hours. They will all have diesel & water and some will have LPG. Shops are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Many will open on Saturday mornings and the bigger malls, retail chains & supermarkets are open on Sundays.
Banks are open Monday to Friday (except public holidays), 9.30am to 4.30pm. Automatic teller machines operate on a card PIN number system. Cash can be withdrawn 24 hours a day. Use of EFTPOS is common. Goods & Services Tax (GST) is 15% and is usually included in the advertised price.
| IMPORTANT NUMBERS:
(Police, Fire or Ambulance) - dial 111 (no charge)
Local operator 010
International operator 0170 |
NZ Directory assistance 018
International directory assistance 0172
National direct dialing full area code (with the 0 prefix) and local number
International direct dialing 00 followed by country code, area code and local number.
Medical centres are found in most towns and the bigger cities have hospitals & ER services. A chemist is the NZ term for a pharmacist or drug store. Their shops are open during normal business hours & most cities have urgent dispensaries open outside these hours, listed in the front of the telephone book under Hospitals. Chemists also sell cosmetics, sun protection creams & insect repellant.
Sunburn: Please be aware that ultraviolet radiation from the sun can be harsh. It is important to wear sunglasses, a hat and sunblock. The burn time between 11am & 3pm can be as little as 10 minutes, so seek shade or cover up during the middle of the day. Outdoor stores sell Rash tops which have built in sun protection & they are available for adults & children.
Bites & Stings: While NZ doesn’t have any dangerous wildlife, sandflies & mosquitoes can be annoying in some areas. Insect repellant will take care of them. No serious diseases are carried by them, though travellers from overseas may come out in itchy lumps in reaction to being bitten by them until they adapt. Wasps can be a nuisance in some areas, if allergic to their stings, carry medication.
Other useful information for travelling in NZ is supplied in every vehicle along with a full list of dump stations.