Traffic in New Zealand

Hello everyone,

Which city or area do you live in in New Zealand, and how do you find the traffic?

How long does it take to commute to work or run errands?

Is there a rush hour in your city? What times of the day would you recommend people to avoid driving if they can?

Are there any ways to avoid spending too much time in traffic in New Zealand?

What is parking availability and cost like?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Hi Priscilla,

I live in Wellington which is the capital of New Zealand. There is traffic in the city on weekdays during office hours. There is heavy traffic towards city in morning hours and there is traffic towards the suburbs in the evening hours around 5pm.

But having lived in major metro cities in India and some middle east cities, I don't consider the traffic in Wellington as a big concerns. The main issue in Wellington city is in finding parking space also the money you have to spend for parking spaces.

If you are living in any of the suburbs with public transport, it is advisable to travel towards train or bus to avoid traffic and also avoid the hassles in finding parking space. I don't have much idea about parking cost.

I have visited Auckland few times and the traffic of Auckland is much more than Wellington.

I live in a small town on the South island and like most towns and villages on the South island the main North South road goes down the middle of your high  street where all traffic heading North/South has to pass through, this includes tractors/ farm machinery  etc and tourists are not used to doing 100 k an hour and suddenly finding a tractor doing 20 k an hour round the next corner. where I live  there is a large population of older people by older I mean 70+ and they either crawl along at 50/60k on the main road or they just pull out on you from a side road when you are doing 100k . this happens regularly,you watch cars stopped at side roads like a hawk. there are regular medical test for older drivers but you do sometimes wonder wether eye sight is included in the tests. The other biggest danger is tourists!. I wont single out any particular country but each year  many many Kiwis are killed by tourists who come from countries where they drive on the right and having arrived in NZ absolutely knackered after 2 days flying and 12 hour time differences and decide they are fit enough to drive!. I personally have seen drivers in hire cars/campervans come round corners on the wrong side of the road, and if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time!. lots of tourists die when they are hit by the massive trucks that operate here because 90% of the roads on the South island there is nowhere to go  due to being normal 2 lane roads. You do not have to have car insurance by law in NZ. to put it bluntly NZ has twice as many deaths per 100,000 people as the UK and that figure is taken from official figures

I live in a suburb close to Wellington city. I find the traffic very congested.
One major reason for this is due to there being the lack of a flyover the Hatiatai tunnel. The plans have been approved for 10 years now but the council won't give the go ahead due to a group of protesters and a woman of the council that is afraid of change. The argument is that a flyover will "ruin the beauty of the basin reserve" This is absolute rubbish. A flyover would be attractive and greatly help ease congestion.

How long does it take to commute to work or run errands? It depends on the day and time. Usually, people here are on the same 8-5 weekday work schedule which means a work commute from 7-9 would take 20-40 mins depending and that a weekend commute would take even longer as most everyone is in their cars running errand etc on the weekends.

Is there a rush hour in your city? From 7-9 or 4-6 pm. What times of the day would you recommend people to avoid driving if they can? Avoid driving from 7-9 am or 4-6 pm in the city or on SH1.

Are there any ways to avoid spending too much time in traffic in New Zealand? Walk or take public transport.

What is parking availability and cost like? Parking availability is scarce and even in Wellington's surrounding suburbs. Parking in the city if you are lucky enough to find a park will cost you a small fortune.

I think one's experience of traffic is relative to what you are used to. I travel from North Shore, Auckland, through city centre, down to Mount Wellington every day. It's congested for sure and takes me 45 minutes to get to work, but it's still much better than Johannesburg where I came from.

When i arrived in Auckland in 2003/4 the traffic into Auckland was considered bad but really was just heavy into Auckland central. However, in the 15 years since it has become much worse now it's  heavy into and out of city centre and for much longer periods. If you start early you can avoid the worst of it but even an early run to the airport means some traffic now. I went into the city last week leaving laye and hit slow moving tail end at 10am. Areas such as Whangaparoa peninsula and Devenport always have single lane jams almost any time. Main issues are very poor driving habits such as lane hogging, very long traffic light changes, forced traffic light controls at entry points to motorway (means motorway runs a bit more freely but the traffic backs up before entry) plus macro issues such as huge immigration, high tourist levels and lack of investment in roading. Bus services are average but once parking is an issue council wants to charge. So now traffic is much heavier for linger periods and all through the day and in and out of Auckland and surrounding areas. Rail commuting exists in pockets but is largely unavailable and the bridge into Auckland is a bit of a joke by modern standards. And you'd be nuts to cycle on Auckland roads.

Out of Auckland towns are much better but will soon experience worse traffic. I was collected at Queenstown airport recently and we immediately hit a peak hour traffic jam. So as people get out of Auckland it will catch up.