New Zealand Warnings Or Dangers Tips by kiwi Top 5 Page for this destination

New Zealand Warnings and Dangers: 147 reviews and 102 photos

Camping on Side of Road

If you intend to camp on the side of the road ("Freedom Camping"), you will need to be aware whether or not this is allowed in the region concerned.
Some regions require you to have an onboard toilet to Freedom Camp. Therefore small vans without and people planning to tent, should not Freedom Camp.
The website has been set up to help you research the locations you wish to Freedom Camp. It provides useful links to help you become aware of regulations.

2011 - new laws in some regions, so be sure to check the region you will be visiting.


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  • Updated Jan 31, 2012
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NEVER Hitchike alone!

PLEASE NEVER HITCHIKE ALONE!! We are at present shocked at the murder of a young German backpacker, who was hitchiking alone in New Zealand, Sept 2005. Of course we are proud of our safe country. However don't be lulled into a false sense of safety, never drop your defense and alertness while travelling around here.
Despite at least two New Zealanders who this girl came in contact with, warning her against the dangers of hitching alone, she went ahead and did just that. She paid with her life, in a far away land, far from her family and so very unexpected and tragic. She told both those people, "I'll be fine". Well she wasn't. This is not the first time such a story could be told, and we can only ask you all and advise that you do not hitch alone.
Most of the time you are very safe here, but it's not guaranteed.

Another trap is this. You put your pack into the rear of the vehicle, and they drive off with all your belongings, and leave you standing on the side of the road!! It happens, be aware!!

Phone: 111- Police/Ambulance

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  • Updated Nov 2, 2006
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Road sign - New Zealand

Road sign

Cows on the road.

If you see one of these signs with a cow, it indicates that nearby there is a place where cows often cross the road. Normally it is when the farmer owns land on both sides of the road and needs to take the cows across the road to be milked in a cowshed.
Often this happens at 5.30am - 9.00am and again between 3.30pm and 7.00pm.
You must slow down and preferrably stop. sometimes is it possible to slowly drive through the line of cows and carry on your way, but you must drive very slowly and be alert the whole time so you don't him any of the animals.
Remember in the countryside of New Zealand cows and dairy farming is a traditional way of life.

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  • Written Nov 16, 2005
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$200 instant fine for illegal food importation. - New Zealand
$200 instant fine for illegal food importation.

$200 Instant Fine. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has imposed this instant fine at all entry points to New Zealand. We are an island nation dependent on primary produce, therefore it is vital that we protect our environment from foreign diseases and pest etc. Here is a brief list of what they are targeting:
-All Foods.
-Any and all live animals, animal equipment, outdoor and camping equipment.
-Soil and water.
-Any plant material, plant matter and things made from plants.
-Any and all items made from wood, wool, hair, shell, fur, skin, ivory, feathers, bone, horn, and tusks.

Now this doesn't mean you can't bring these items in to the country. You just have to declare them so they can be checked before entry. Some will be confiscated if they are deemed a threat or danger. And some are automatically banned.
Remember to check you luggage, for example shoes can be made from wood, and some toys are filled with water. All shells need to be shown to the officers and are usually ok. My daughter and I often return with shells. Clams and coral are banned as they are protected in their native countries.
I've listed both Agriculture and Customs websites here for your information.

Other Contact:


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  • Updated Sep 6, 2004
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Roadsigns - New Zealand


Sharp corners and windy roads

If you do see these roadsigns, showing a sharp corner and a number, please be aware of them.
This indicates there is sharp corner and that the recommended speed in this case, is only 15 kilometres per hour. Please take notice of these speeds, as they are not joking. OK you may be able to negotiate the corner at a slightly faster speed, but at least you should know to slow down when approaching.
The nature of the terrain of New Zealand is such that there are many examples of these signs, this one is an extreme.

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  • Written Aug 31, 2004
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Arrows on road. - New Zealand

Arrows on road.

We drive on the left side of the road!!

During summer time, hence tourist season, it's pertinent to remind you we drive on the left side of the road.
Please be very careful about this, for both driving and when a pedestrian.
Every year we have tourists involved in head-on collisions due to them driving on the wrong side of the road. This often happens because our roads have so few cars on them, so you sail along on the wrong side. Then you go round a corner and bang! into a solitary car on the same side.
It's not a pretty outcome, for the tourists or for the locals.
Safe journey and enjoy your trip.

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  • Updated May 21, 2004
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Gravel road - New Zealand

Gravel road

Caution on gravel roads.

You may come across a gravel road from time to time. Please take extreme care, as driving on these is quite dangerous. The tyres on most rental cars are not designed for these roads, and you will experience quite slippery conditions. It's very easy for your car to skid on corners, especially when you apply your brakes.
Just drive very slow and take your time on these roads.
And remember to keep to your side of the road, there just may be someone coming the other way on a corner. Often these roads are not very wide and of course they don't have a white line in the middle!

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  • Updated May 21, 2004
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Parking Sign - New Zealand

Parking Sign

Don't Get Fined!

If you see this P5 sign, remember it means Parking here for only 5 minutes!! If you park longer you risk receiving a substantial fine or having your car towed away.
You may also see P60 or P120 etc. The numerals refer to the number of minutes you may park here.

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  • Written Apr 18, 2004
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Fatigue warning sign. - New Zealand

Fatigue warning sign.

Driving fatigue.

One of the forgotten dangers of driving in New Zealand, is fatigue.
Our roads can be very long and lonely between towns. OK we are a small nation, however the roads seem to be longer than imagined. It think it is because of the lack of towns along the way.
Fatigue can Kill. It can kill you and your loved ones as well as some innocent other people.
When you are touring our country, so often you are trying to fit a lot in a short time frame, hence the long driving hours.
This is when fatigue can hit unexpectedly, so PLEASE remember this and take some breaks in your journey.

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  • Updated Feb 22, 2004
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Mountain parrots, Keas - New Zealand

Mountain parrots, Keas

Destructive Parrots!

These mountain parrots are among the few species of parrot familiar with snow. Unlike most others, they are not brilliantly coloured but do have some lovely colours hidden under their wings.
They are very friendly, or should I say, they are not afraid. Perhaps this is because they know they have a powerful weapon in their beak!!
Keas have been known to almost dismantle a vehicle! They can remove hubcaps, take out complete windscreen seals, making the screen dislodge. They can carry off a whole boot leaving trampers (trekkers) with one boot! They can take off with a heavy SLR camera and fly off with it.
They have been known to reach into a pack and remove items. Don't ever underestimate their ability, so always be aware and prepared. Keas live to 20 yrs of age or more, so they know about things!!
Their mischieviousness and playfulness has been described as a sign of a higher level of intelligence, so always respect these wonderful birds. They are quite happy walking around, and don't fly to move from A to B if they can walk.

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 12, 2003
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