Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
While it is not necessary, the typical family in Nelson owns a personal car. In the suburbs, having your own vehicle makes life easier and provides more freedom. Nelson has a well-designed network of roads and is very easy to get around. Parking is not an issue in the suburbs. In the city, you may find that parking is not always easily accessible and that it can be expensive. Many residents that work in the city tend to choose public transport instead to avoid parking issues and expense.
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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, you must carry an acceptable translation. If you wish to drive after one year, 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.
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What side of the road do people drive on?
Motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road.
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Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
The public transportation system in Nelson is wonderful and reliable. Buses and taxis are the most popular forms of public transit.
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Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
Yes. The bus system has routes covering shopping, sports and other recreational complexes throughout the city and the outlying areas.
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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 limit 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 requires 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 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
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Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
You may either pay cash to the bus driver or get your ticket/tokens from the bus stations or agents. If you decide to pay with cash, please try to have close to the exact change for the driver as they are unable to provide large amounts of change.
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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.