What are winter driving conditions like?
Driving in winter in New Zealand is for the most part no different from any other time. Indeed, winter can be a great time to travel with less traffic and clear days. Extra care does need to be taken in some places where at times roads can be affected by snow and ice.
If there is potential for ice on a road avoid nighttime or early morning driving if possible. Icy road conditions are generally signposted, with regularly ice-affected corners permanently signposted and temporary conditions marked.
Some southern regions' roads can be affected by snow. But road conditions will be clearly signposted and, when necessary, roads will be closed. Main highways usually re-open within a few hours of a heavy snowfall after road crews clear them.
In winter, you will need to carry snow chains to travel on some roads when they are likely to be affected by snow. These include some popular and recommended routes like the Crown Range road, between Queenstown and Wanaka, and the road to Milford Sound. Snow chains are available to hire when you collect your rental car.
Driving in winter can be very enjoyable. Quiet roads and clear days make for some of the best scenery. Simply adjust your driving to suit the conditions.