Summer in NZ means long roadtrips country-wide, but with everyone heading off to all the beach hotspots and visiting family, the roads tend to get jammed up pretty badly.
NZTA have been kind enough to provide us with interactive and downloadable maps that show when they expect traffic to be heavy based on travel patterns from previous years around the country. This will help you to plan your holiday journeys in advance and help to make everyone's travels safer and more enjoyable.
You can check out the full interactive map of NZ to check the expected traffic for each area on particular days across the holidays. As we know though, peak traffic periods can change due to incidents, weather or even driver behaviour, so you can check the up to date travel info before you leave as well to make sure everything goes to plan.
We've put together some of the most common journeys, and info on when you should avoid travelling to make your life a little easier:
Auckland to Whangarei
Before Christmas - If you're heading to Whangarei in the days leading up to Christmas you'll want to avoid travelling between 11am and 4pm - this will get really busy around Warkworth. The best times to travel will be early in the morning, or after 6pm.
After Christmas - Any time after 9am through to 5pm is going to be busy all through the days leading up to New Years. Again, early morning or after 6pm at night will be your best bet.
Early January - Traffic will be busiest on the 2nd January Northbound, so avoid heading up this day if you can. Your best bet of a straight run will be the 1st or the 5th, with minimal traffic these days.
Whangarei to Auckland
Early January - Before New Year traffic is looking mostly smooth, but the early days of January will be particularly bad. Traffic will be extremely heavy from 10am every day, going all the way through til 8pm on the 1st and 2nd. It will start to ease off each day, but you should still avoid travellin between 10am and 3pm all the way up until the 6th of January.
Auckland to Tauranga
After Christmas - Avoid travel on the 26th-28th December between 12pm and 5pm. The 29th will be more smooth flowing, then the 30th and 31st will be busy between 12pm and 6pm.
Early January - The worst day for travel will be the 2nd January, heavy between 8am and 4pm.
Tauranga to Auckland
Early January - The worst days for travel will be the 1st - 3rd January, with people heading off from Tauranga heavily from 9am every day, which means heavy traffic back to Auckland right up until 7/8pm each night.
North of Wellington (SH1)
Northbound - Unfortunately every day from 9am will have heavy traffic from the 21st til the 30th December. Christmas Day will be the quitest day to travel. Early January will be busy from 10am until 5pm each day.
Southbound - Avoid travel between 10am until 6pm daily between 22nd December and 6th January. Your best bet will be Christmas Day or New Years Day with the quietest roads these days.
North of Christchurch (SH1)
Northbound - Avoid travel between the 27th - 29th December with heavy traffic from 9am to 5/6pm daily. Early January the times to avoid are 2pm - 6pm from the 3rd til the 6th January.
Southbound - Peak times daily will be between 10am - 5pm. The busiest day will be 2nd January, especially from 2pm - 5pm.
South of Christchurch (SH1)
Southbound - The 26th til the 30th December will be busiest from 9am - 2pm. The 3rd January is the most popular post-New Year day to travel.
Northbound - The 2nd - 4th January will be particularly busy, from 12pm until 6pm. January 5th and 6th will also be heavy during these times.
North of Queenstown (SH6)
Westbound (into Queenstown) - Avoid travel between 11am and 6pm daily from the 27th - 31st December, and between 12pm and 5pm on the 3rd and 4th January.
Eastbound (out of Queenstown) - 30th December and 1st January will be particularly busy, especially between 11am and 3pm. 2nd January will be heavy traffic from 9am til 2pm, and 5th and 6th January will be busiest between 10am and 1pm.