Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
It is more convenient to have your own car, especially for work or dropping the children off at school.
However, it is not absolutely necessary. Hamilton has an efficient bus system that services the shopping malls and most of the residential areas. Buses now run every half hour between the city and the suburbs and vice versa. A great effort has been made by the Council to improve the public transport system.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
If you have a current and valid overseas driver's license, you can drive with it for a maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. If your overseas license or permit is not in English, then you must carry an acceptable translation. If you are staying for more than 12 months, you must obtain a New Zealand driver's license. Depending on the country you have come from, you may have to pass a theory and or practical test.
Please visit your local Automobile Association office to obtain an application for a New Zealand driver's license.
What side of the road do people drive on?
Motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
Buses are the only means of public transport available within Hamilton city. Most Hamiltonians use private motor vehicles as their primary form of transport due to the infrequent service of public transport.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
The surrounding towns are not easily reached by public transport. However, there is a network of buses that depart daily to most major cities. Trains can take you as far as Auckland, Wellington or Tauranga.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
There are no additional safety issues apart from remembering that New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. Pedestrians who are not used to this system should be cautious when crossing the road. Seatbelts are required for all passengers. Motorcyclists are required to wear crash helmets. Maximum legal speed on highways and motorways is normally 100 kph (61 mph). In cities and towns, the limit is 50 kph (30 mph). Speed limits are posted on signs. Exceeding the speed limits is considered a serious offense and carries heavy penalties. At a "Give Way" sign, be ready to stop and give way to all traffic. At a "Stop" sign, stop completely and then give way to all traffic.
For a more detailed explanation of New Zealand's driving rules, copies of the New Zealand Road Code can be purchased from most bookshops and stationery outlets. New Zealand laws require that all children under the age of five are properly restrained in an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and weight. Approved child restraints include:
- infant restraints for young babies (often called baby capsules)
- restraints for older babies and toddlers (often called car seats)
- harnesses and booster seats for preschool and school-aged children
Child restraints are sold by retailers such as department stores, larger toy shops and shops that sell baby supplies. You can rent child restraints from the Plunket organization and other community groups and some companies. Plunket Car Seat Rental Schemes have booster seats, infant and child restraints available for short- and long-term hire suitable for newborns and children up to seven years.
They are available for a minimal cost to ensure all families can afford to keep their children safe while traveling. You can visit Plunket's website for further details: www.plunket.org.nz
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
Go to the Hamilton Visitor Information Center downtown. They can provide information on things to see and do around the Waikato Region and throughout NZ and make your bookings at the same time. They can help you with coach travel/tours, sightseeing tours, accommodation, activities and attractions, inter-island ferry and rail travel. It is common to purchase bus tickets upon boarding.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.