11 Tips for Driving in QT

Travel Safely While Driving in Queenstown

Welcome to Queenstown, New Zealand! 

We look forward to having you stay at Spinnaker Bay Apartments and wish you every travelling success!  Here are our top tips to keeping you safe on the roads this Xmas!

  1. Is your licence valid in New Zealand? Check first! There are a number of rental agencies in Queenstown that only accept an international driver's Licence alongside your national driver's licence. We have seen time and time again many visitors to Queenstown, New Zealand, being turned away from the rental desk because they didn’t have an International Drivers Licence!
  2. Keep left! Top tip: the easiest thing to remember is the driver is ALWAYS closest to the middle of the road.
  3. Mobile Phones: It’s illegal to use your mobile while driving. There’s a whole set of rules around this law in New Zealand which you should absolutely read before getting behind the wheel. Check them out at this link.
  4. Wear your seatbelt. It is LAW in NZ that ALL passengers must wear their seatbelt at all times and wear it correctly! That includes your passengers. As the driver, you are legally responsible for the people in your car, so YOU will be fined if a passenger is not wearing the seatbelt or the seatbelt CORRECTLY.
  5. It’s Better to Arrive Late Than Dead on Time; The message here is ‘don’t speed’! Not only are our roads not designed for speed, but our communities do not embrace it. That means we stick to the speed limit - it’s a MAXIMUM amount. Anything over, and I mean as much as 4km/h over, and you will be fined. Much more than that, and you will lose your licence, and your car will be impounded. We take this very seriously, so we ask you to practice both respect and patience on our roads and obey the speed limits everywhere!

Driving in Queenstown New Zealand with Spinnaker Bay Apartments Hotel Accommodation 1

  1. Don’t Drink and Drive. This should be a universal understanding for all drivers, but you should know that we have zero tolerance for drivers ‘over the limit”. The limit in New Zealand is: For drivers aged 20 years and over: 250 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath, and the blood alcohol limit is 50 milligrams (mg) per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood. For drivers under 20, the limit is Zero. In Queenstown, we have checkpoints on all routes into and out of Queenstown frequently, and not just at night time. So, respect yourself, and respect others, and if you are enjoying a vineyard lunch or an evening dinner in town, keep the beer and wine to one glass! Spinnaker Bay Apartments are an easy walk or Uber into town - just ask us at reception, and we will help you organise alternative transport. For more information on New Zealand and Queenstown’s driving regulations,  click here 
  2. Stop means STOP! You will be given a ticket if you roll through a stop sign. It’s a stop sign for a valid reason! It’s also a great chance to stop and reset your mind regarding which side of the road you are driving on!
  3. Overtaking: If there is a yellow middle line on your side, you CAN NOT overtake. It’s a simple rule. And again, it’s there for a reason - it usually means a hazard or dangerous part of the road ahead, and there is no time for an overtaking manoeuvre. We beg you to please be patient and wait for time and space.
  4. No tailgating! That's what we call it when you travel too close to the car in front. It’s not in our Kiwi Culture to drive close to the car in front, not to mention it comes under the dangerous driving umbrella, which is a ticket able offence, so it creates an angry driving response and really, is that how you want your holiday to play out? We are quick to inform you verbally that you are travelling too close… it’s so not worth the angst and not worth jeopardising the safety of you, your passengers and the other travellers on the road!
  5. Drive to the conditions. A wee note on this one. In the mountains of Europe, if it snows or's icy, the local council quickly manages the roads. In most areas, it’s compulsory to fit snow tyres and/or snow chains. That’s not the case here in Queenstown. The council do their best, but Queenstown is a tourist destination with many first-time travellers to an alpine environment, which may include you. Take time to understand the handling of your car. Practice fitting your chains. And in adverse weather conditions, slow down and drive safely!
  6. Share the road - be pre-warned: it isn’t just Kiwi divers on the road, but also cyclists and a whole host of other users, such as farmers shepherding sheep, tractors and pedestrians!   Be attentive and vigilant and enjoy your holidays!

Driving in Queenstown New Zealand with Spinnaker Bay Apartments Hotel Accommodation 2