Your full Singapore driving licence permits you to drive in New Zealand for 12 months from the date you enter, without having an international driving permit. If you stay past 12 months, you will need to convert to a New Zealand driver’s licence. Unfortunately, a Singapore provisional driving licence (PDL) is the equivalent of a learner’s licence and does not permit you to drive in New Zealand.

Singaporean Flag

What are the limitations of driving in New Zealand with my Singapore licence?

Driving overseas can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. With the freedom of the open road and so many places to explore, it is important to understand all the road rules and limitations so you can concentrate on enjoying the trip. Read through all of our New Zealand driving rules so you can get GOing with a trip of a lifetime.

  1. You do not need to apply for an international driving permit
  2. You can drive for up to 12 months before you need to apply for a New Zealand licence.
  3. You must not have received a disqualification or suspension in New Zealand.
  4. You must carry your driver’s licence with you at all times whilst driving in New Zealand.
  5. A Singapore provisional driving licence is classed as a learner’s and therefore not a valid overseas licence. Unfortunately, it does not permit you to drive in New Zealand.

Vehicle Limitations

Your valid overseas licence is equivalent to a New Zealand class 1 licence and the weight and size limitations may differ from Singapore. The vehicle’s maximum gross weight must not exceed 3,000kg plus up to 7 passengers under a Singapore driving licence, but a New Zealand licence and equivalent allow you to drive a vehicle up to 6,000kg gross laden weight. Be assured that all the cars and vans available to hire with GO Rentals are within the New Zealand weight limit.

How do the road rules differ between New Zealand and Singapore?

There are some differences between Singapore and New Zealand roads so you should get familiar with the road rules ahead of your trip. No adventure is fun without safety, so read up on how to drive safely in New Zealand.

Road Safety Banner

Similarities with New Zealand Road Rules

  1. New Zealand also drive on the left-hand side
  2. By law, every passenger must wear a seat belt.
  3. It is illegal to use your mobile phone or GPS whilst driving, it must be completely hands-free, just as it is in Singapore.
  4. The roads can be steep and winding through mountainous areas, so driving slower is necessary to be safe.
  5. New Zealand can get snowy and icy weather conditions and it is recommended to attach snow chains to your tyres in winter.

Differences with New Zealand Road Rules

  1. The rural speed limit is 100km/h in New Zealand unless a sign indicates a different limit. The maximum speed limit in Singapore is 80km/h so take care when getting used to the new speed limit.
  2. By law, children under 7 must be properly restrained with a child seat. In Singapore, anyone under 1.35m in height must be restrained but this does not apply in New Zealand.
  3. It is recommended that you do not drink alcohol and drive. Under 20, there is a strictly enforced zero alcohol limit. For over 20, the limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood, which is a lot less than the 80mg allowed in Singapore.
  4. The road signs can differ in Singapore and it is best practice to familiarise yourself with the signs before driving in New Zealand.
  5. The rural roads in New Zealand tend to be narrower than most roads in Singapore, with only a single lane in each direction, no speed lanes and fewer highways.

Things to know before driving in New Zealand

Self-drive holidays are a New Zealand tradition and the best way to admire the vast beauty of our landscapes, lakes and national parks. We are experts in planning road trips so let’s cover some things you should remember:

  1. You don’t have to spend your whole holiday driving, we have incredible scenic drives very close to our major cities. Check out our top places to visit near Dunedin or our day trips from Auckland.
  2. You don’t need to spend a night in every scenic spot, you can admire the beauty of the area during a rest or lunch stop. Check out our iconic Queenstown to Franz Josef itinerary to see how we plan hidden gems into our driving route.
  3. Whether you are going on multiple day trips or an epic self-drive holiday, always pack the car with road trip essentials.

Car driving in Dunedin New Zealand

Things to know before hiring a car in New Zealand

We make the process of hiring a car with GO Rentals as smooth as possible, so let’s cover some essential things to know before you book.

Can you drop off your car at a different location?

Take the stress out of rushing back to your starting location, you can simply book ahead to drop off at any of our GO Rental locations in New Zealand.

Will you need insurance?

As standard, we include a basic insurance policy into the price of our car hires which includes a maximum excess. There are 2 upgrade insurance options to reduce your excess liability. If you wish, you are able to cover your excess with a third-party insurance policy or travel insurance, but you would be liable to pay the full amount and then claim the amount from your insurer.

What are the rules about returning the car with a full tank of petrol?

All hire vehicles must be returned with a full tank of petrol. However, if you find yourself running low and you can’t find anywhere to fill up then don’t stress. Our team can fill this up for you and charge you the cost to fill and a possible $50 service charge.

What’s the best car for you?

Another thing to consider is the car you will need to make your road trip as comfortable as possible. All of our vehicles are within the size limit allowed on your Singapore driver’s licence so you can focus on choosing the car for you.

Small Car

Urban areas can get a lot of traffic and it can be harder to park so if you are basing yourself in a city, try and hire a smaller car. We have a location in Auckland City with a range of cars to suit city driving.

White Toyota Yaris


If climate change is as important to you as it is to us, then you will be happy to know we have a GO Zero rental plan. With a full fleet of Tesla cars, drive with peace of mind that your journey will be completely carbon neutral.

Tesla Model 3

Business Trips

If you are only here for a business trip, the full luxury and navigation system of our Tesla rental cars would make your trip as smooth as possible.

Tesla Model 3 Visibility


Consider whether you will need an SUV or people carrier to fit in your whole family and all of your gear comfortably, we have a whole fleet of family cars in New Zealand.

Mitsubishi Pajero

Check out all of our vehicles for rent and get GOing on your New Zealand trip of a lifetime!