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International driving license New Zealand

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IDP is essential when driving abroad

driving abroad with idp

International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.

documents needed for international driving permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.

How to get your IDP

01

Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy

02

Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license

03

Get approved

Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

Apply now
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What is an International Driver’s License for New Zealand?

An IDP in New Zealand, is a useful document which translates your native driver’s license information into ten (10) or more languages. Since the primary language of New Zealanders or Kiwis are English and Te Reo Maoiri, it is highly recommended to secure a printed and digital copy of an International Driver’s Permit to drive in New Zealand.

Do You Need An International Driving Permit for New Zealand?

The International Driver’s Permit’s main function is to translate your native driver’s license data into ten 10 or more languages. However, if you are coming in from Australia, you do not need an International Driver’s Permit, but it may come in handy when renting a vehicle. So yes, Australians may need an International Driver’s License in New Zealand or your overseas driver licence indeed.

As for foreign tourists native to a country whose main language is not English, an IDP is highly recommended. To avoid miscommunication between law officials, an International Driver’s License for New Zealand is an essential item to bring.

How to Get an International Driving Permit for New Zealand Online?

To get your IDP processed immediately, you need to fill out the application form accurately in the International Drivers Association. Take note on avoiding any mistakes as these IDPs will be ordered, processed, printed, and shipped to your address.

So, before you travel to the country of New Zealand and rent a car, get an IDP ahead of time. Nothing beats being prepared for your travels to save time and explore the following top destinations.

  • Fill out your information for your International Driver’s Permit for New Zealand by completely writing your name, birthdate, address with zip code, and other essential data.
  • Pick a package or year of validity for your IDP do you prefer: 1, 2, or 3 years.
  • Attach a copy of your home country/overseas licence.
  • Select whether you want both printed and digital copies or simply the digital copy.
  • If you want to get your digital copy within 20 minutes, top up your total costs with $30.
  • Expect your printed copy to get shipped within 24 hours if you’re living in the states or 30 days, internationally.

Do US Citizens Need to Get An International Driving Permit?

It is not necessary for US Citizens to get an International Driving Permit to drive in New Zealand. However, it does benefit you if you encounter New Zealander law officials that do not speak English well. If their accent isn’t as clear as American English, it would cause miscommunication between the two.

When you’re planning to extend your stay and drive in the country for more than three months, then you will be needing a New Zealand driver licence since your current driving licence from your home country, regardless of it being in English translation may be considered invalid. In addition, not many locals thoroughly understand the language since most of them primarily speak Kiwi.

So before you can go on a camping trip with a campervan via local car rental companies, you will need to pass the practical test, then driving test to get a drivers permit/nz licence in the country through New Zealand transport agency. As licence holders, regardless of being a local driver or foreigner, you must always adhere to the New Zealand road rules or the road code.

Top Destinations of New Zealand

New Zealand Photo by Ketan Kumawat

In the southwestern Pacific Ocean lies a fascinating island country called New Zealand, where photos aren’t enough to capture its alluring charm. Driving in the country seems like you’re in a whimsical fairy tale adventure where nothing could go wrong.

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is the home of the highest mountains and longest glaciers in the country. The park is the best climbing region in Australasia, with stunning views of the peaks and star-filled sky. If you’re an adventure-seeking individual, you can engage in mountaineering and skiing activities in the area. If you want less adventurous activities, you can take mountain walks or do glacier viewing in the park.

Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier

The Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier still flow almost to sea level, a feat considering that most glaciers in the world are gradually melting. The glaciers are famous for the temperate climate, making them two of the most convenient glaciers to visit in the world. You can take walks at the foot of Franz Josef Glacier along the river valley or journey onto the ice with professional guides.

The glaciers were named after important people in New Zealand History. The Franz Josef Glacier was named after the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Josef, while the Fox Glacier was named after Sir William Fox. The best time to visit the glaciers is between December and February, when the temperature is cooler. Tourists coming from tropical countries will surely enjoy the climate here.

Kaikoura

Located between Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean, Kaikoura is a picturesque coastal town famous for marine life encounters and is considered the best place to eat crayfish. As a two-hour drive north of Christchurch, the town is a perfect day trip destination for wildlife-loving tourists. You can take whale and seal watching trips or take peaceful coastal walks while in town. You can also check out the lovely cafes and restaurants here.

Include the lovely town of Kaikoura in your itinerary for road trips in the country and be amazed by the abundant mammal encounters here. If you want to immerse yourself in the Maori culture, visiting the town allows you to meet the country’s indigenous people. Kaikoura is known as one of the early Maori settlements.

Lake Tekapo

As part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo is the perfect spot for stargazing and southern lights viewing. Lake Tekapo is famous for its clear night sky and lack of light pollution. The magnificent turquoise color of the lake adds a dramatic effect to the Southern Lights in the area. You’ll also find the stunning Church of Good Shepherd on the shores of the lake, making the whole area look like a romantic scene in a painting.

Lake Tekapo was discovered by a Scottish shepherd, James McKenzie, who later became a sheep stealer when he brought flocks of sheep inland to avoid being discovered. The best time to visit Lake Tekapo is in spring when lupins are in full bloom, and the skies are clearer, offering a magnificent view.

Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Hills is the home of caves, sinkholes, and underground rivers where fun adventures happen. For adventure-loving tourists, try the Black Water Rafting, where you’ll crawl, swim, and float through the caves on a rubber tube. You can also take a walking or boat tour if rafting seems unappealing to you. You can also take walking tours at the Marokopa Falls, Mangapohue Natural bridge, and Waitomo Museum Caves.

The caves had been unexplored until 1887 when the local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau, accompanied by an English surveyor Fred Mace extensively explored the caverns. Aside from extreme water activities, the caves are also famous as the home of glowworms. The best time to visit the caves is during the summer when caves are warm and humid. It’s quite cold to visit the caves during the colder months.

Kaikoura Photo by Sylvain Cleymans

Most Important Rules of Driving in New Zealand

The New Zealand roads in the North and South Islands are easy to navigate as long as you follow the driving directions. Besides learning the tips on driving in the country, it’s essential to be familiar with the country’s most important road rules.

Do not drive over the speed limit

Overspeeding has been one of the significant road killers in the country. Overspeeding is extremely dangerous, especially on hilly and narrow roads. The speed limits in New Zealand are imposed, accounting the varying road, weather, and traffic conditions throughout the country. Although it can be tempting to drive fast on quiet, empty roads, speeding is highly discouraged to avoid accidents.

Maintain a speed limit of 50 KpH in cities and towns and a speed limit of 100 KpH on open roads. It’s compulsory to follow the speed limit in speed limit signs with red borders. If you’re caught overspeeding, you can get fined up to $630 or get your license suspended. It’s essential to follow the road rules when driving in New Zealand to ensure everyone’s road safety.

Drunk driving is strictly prohibited

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime in the country. It’s extremely dangerous to drive after drinking alcohol as it impairs your senses and reaction. The country imposes a zero alcohol limit on drivers under 20 years old. For drivers over 20 years old, the legal alcohol limit is 50 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood or 250mcg alcohol per liter of breath.

The police can conduct breathalyzer tests at checkpoints to ensure all drivers follow this road rule when driving here. If you’re caught drunk driving, you’ll lose your license for six months, get a hefty fine, and gain a criminal record in the country.

Seatbelts are Compulsory

Wearing seat belts can reduce fatalities in road accidents as it supports your body during a crash or sudden stops. If you’re driving a car in New Zealand, always wear your seatbelts. All modern vehicles should be fitted with seatbelts in the front and rear seats. Children under seven years old should be buckled up in an approved car seat. For children aged seven to fourteen years old, they must be seated at the back wearing seat belts.

Wearing seat belts is a compulsory rule when driving in New Zealand. You can face a fine of $150 per person. The driver has to pay for the penalty for passengers under 15 years old that are caught not wearing a seatbelt. For passengers who are 15 years old and above, they would be responsible for paying the fine.

Drive on the left hand side of the road.

Keep in mind that the driving position in New Zealand is at the left-hand side of the road, and the driver sits on the right. The driving position can be confusing for people coming from countries that drive on the right-hand side of the road, especially when you’re pulling out into the traffic. It may take a few days to get used to driving on the left side, but it gets easier to navigate New Zealand roads once you get familiar with it.

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