Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
Having your own vehicle makes it easy to get around and parking is not usually too much of an issue around the suburbs. If you take your own vehicle into the city for work purposes, you may have to pay for parking, which can be expensive. You may choose to use our bus service instead, which leaves from the central point (Bus Exchange) in the city to all suburbs.

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 maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand. If your overseas license or permit is not in English, 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.
The Christchurch bus system is both efficient and reasonably priced, with discounted off-peak fares and a metro card that allows unlimited travel per week.

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 most popular form of local transport is the bus, which has routes covering all of the shopping, sports and other recreational complexes throughout the city and the outlying areas. Bus transport is used both for city and outlying areas. The green orbiter buses in the city have routes that service the shopping malls, recreational complexes, hospitals and university. Trains are used for longer journeys
(i.e., Picton or Greymouth). Shuttles and buses are also available around the South Island.

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. In addition, pedestrians who are not used to this system should be cautious when crossing the road. Seat belts must be worn by 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 be 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 pre-school 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, 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?
You can buy tickets and Metro cards from the Bus Exchange. You can also pay cash to the bus driver.

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.