All You Need to Know about a Driving Licence in New Zealand

Nowadays, it is crucial to learn to drive in New Zealand. Driving is a complex skill to acquire and requires sufficient instruction. To receive the appropriate instruction, one should consider enrolling in a reputable driving school to give oneself the necessary training and education. In that way, you’ll also be able to obtain your driver’s licence in NZ.

What is a Driving Licence?

If you hold a valid driver’s licence from your home country or an international driving permit, you can lawfully drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months (IDP). You must upgrade to a New Zealand licence after one year, and it holds a permit for every trip to New Zealand. 

All drivers in New Zealand, even tourists from foreign countries, must always have their driver’s licence or permit on them. You can only operate the same kinds of vehicles that you are authorised to use in your native country. In New Zealand, you must generally be 21 years old to rent a car.

It would be best if you also verified the validity of your driver’s licence. If your driver’s licence is not in English, you must either get an international driver’s licence or have an English translation with you.

What Are the Types of Licences in NZ?

To become an expert Kiwi driver, you must first obtain a driver’s licence in New Zealand by passing practical tests like a simulated driving test and a defensive driving course. To maintain everyone’s safety on the road, we must all abide by the traffic laws in the nation. 

Here are the types of licences in New Zealand according to the stages of obtaining one:

Blue Licence

For at least one licence class, this driver is still undergoing driving classes to learn to drive in NZ.

You must be 16 years old to apply for a learner’s permit. You will be given a 35-question computerised theory test to gauge your understanding of traffic laws and safe driving techniques. To pass the test, you must earn at least 32 accurate answers.

Yellow Licence

This driver’s restricted phase for one or more licence classes is currently in effect. The letter “R” will be next to any licence classes for beginners. 

You must be at least 16 and a half years old and have had your learner’s permit for at least six months before applying for a limited licence. By passing a practical driving test, you must demonstrate that you can operate a vehicle safely on New Zealand roads.

Green Licence

A green driver qualifies for a valid licence in at least one class. The letter “L” will be next to any classes for beginners. 

To determine whether your driving abilities are appropriate for operating motorcycles, cars, or medium to heavy rigid vehicles, you can obtain your full driver’s licence and take another practical test for any driving classifications, from Class 1 to 6, before receiving your full driver’s licence. It would help if you were at least 18 years old and had your limited permit to qualify for at least a year.

Eligibility for a Driving Licence (Qualifications in Getting a Licence)

Once you turn 17 and a half years old and have successfully finished an approved advanced driving course, you can obtain your full licence. You must be 18 to get your full licence if you still need to complete an advanced driving course. You must also meet the medical and eyesight conditions required to ensure driving safety.

What Makes Driving in New Zealand Different?

A few of the regulations may differ from how you would drive at home. Due to recent tourist-related incidents, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Police are taking stricter enforcement measures against foreign drivers who break traffic laws. In certain circumstances, the rental agreement with the automobile firm has been broken, leaving the vacationer without a vehicle.

Things to Consider When Driving in New Zealand


In New Zealand, gasoline often costs 30–40% more than diesel. Instead, the government assesses a Diesel Fuel Tax Surcharge based on the vehicle’s size and the number of kilometres driven. This tax is levied after the rental by some (but not all) motorhome firms, but it typically amounts to far less than the savings over petrol cars. Even with the tax, renting a diesel motorhome as opposed to one with a gasoline engine can result in significant financial savings. Therefore, it is frequently preferable to rent a bigger diesel car with a higher daily rental fee to save money on fuel and get a lot more space and comfort.

Road Laws

Driving is done on the left side of the road in New Zealand. Drivers must yield to all oncoming or crossing traffic that is coming from the right. 

On open roads, the speed limit is 100 km/h, while in cities, it is 50 km/h.

Drivers and passengers alike must buckle up in the front and rear. All children under seven must be restrained in a child safety seat when riding in automobiles or recreational vehicles. Children must utilise a kid safety seat or, in the absence of one, a seat belt between the ages of seven and eight.

Since drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced, avoid drinking before driving.

Traffic Safety

Driving while tired is never a good idea, especially after a lengthy flight. We advise reserving lodging for the first night and picking up a vehicle the following day. Most automobile rental agencies will pick you up from your hotel or deliver your car there. 

Despite New Zealand’s tiny size, travelling by car might sometimes take longer than anticipated. Although most highways are adequately maintained, they occasionally include winding, mountainous, and narrow terrain.

Get Your Driver’s Licence Today!

The country has a system for issuing driver’s licences to ensure everyone using New Zealand’s roads has the abilities and information required to drive safely. Our streets will be safer than the drivers will be. 

With well-planned courses and knowledgeable instructors, you can learn to drive in NZ and develop into a proficient and responsible driver at a professional driving school. Gain all the knowledge and abilities you need to drive more safely by making learning enjoyable and entertaining.

You might be asking this question now, “Are there driving lessons near me?” Yes, there is. Right First Driving School is the nearest driving school in New Zealand that can help you with your driving classes and obtain a driver’s licence in no time.