Are you heading away this long Labour Weekend? Know before you go!


This Labour Weekend the NZ Transport Agency encourages everyone heading off for a break to “know before you go” and check the Labour Weekend Hotspots map.

The Hotspots map link) collates information from previous Labour Weekend journeys on the times where traffic is heaviest.

The Transport Agency advises people to consider avoiding travel during the times of heaviest congestion.

“Increased traffic volumes, tiredness and driving in unfamiliar environments can make driving over these long weekends not only more stressful but also more risky,” says the Transport Agency’s Journey Manager Lee Wright.

“Remember you’re sharing the road with many others, you have a responsibility to be courteous and patient to ensure you look after yourself, your families and other road users.

“When traffic is heavy and driving conditions are less than ideal a safe speed might be lower than the posted limit. We’re urging everyone to be patient, relax, and enjoy the journey.”

The Transport Agency will stop all maintenance road work for the holiday weekend unless there is an emergency, but there will be speed restrictions in some places.

“Our weekend shutdown will help keep traffic flowing smoothly, but we do ask people to observe speed limits and watch their following distances through work sites.

“Planning before leaving home together with considerate driving will help people reach their destinations safely, enjoy the spring break, and then have a safe trip home.”

NZ Transport Agency’s top tips for a safe Labour Weekend

  • Take the time to check your vehicle is safe –tyres/ spare tyre, indicators, windshield wipers, lights.
  • Allow plenty of time – make your journey part of the holiday.
  • Rest stops are important for the driver and passengers.
  • If possible, share the driving.
  • Many drivers will be on unfamiliar roads, so please be patient as we are all in this situation at some stage.

If you are driving near these places, be aware there may be delays:

North of Christchurch

Many people will leave Christchurch and head north up SH1 on Friday afternoon. It is likely to be a slow journey from 4pm to 7 pm, Belfast to Amberley.

The 150 Years Rangiora A&P Show(external link) - Be prepared for heavy traffic in North Canterbury Friday night and Saturday morning.

Kaikoura/ Oaro – Hikoi near the highway

Drivers on State Highway 1 travelling between Christchurch and Kaikoura might spot a family Hikoi with support teams walking and driving north. Please take care around this small group of people, including children. They should be in Oaro on Saturday and Kaikoura on Sunday. Rest day is Monday for them.

South of Christchurch

Heading south, busiest times start earlier from 3pm-6pm on Friday afternoon. We encourage motorists to use the Christchurch Southern Motorway.

Electronic message boards and the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre (CTOC) will advertise any delays via social media and radio updates. Police and contractor crews are ready to help keep traffic flowing.

Mid Canterbury – delays possible

Drivers might experience short delays on State Highway 1 at the Ashburton South St and East St intersection where the new traffic signals are being installed for the supermarket. Both lanes will be open and all traffic management will be reduced to a minimum for the long weekend.

South Canterbury detours - Waimate most of the weekend

The longest state highway closure and detour (State Highway 82) is in South Canterbury’s Waimate for the annual Waimate 50 Motorsport Festival(external link). The highway will be closed from 6 am Saturday to midday Monday, Labour Day. The detour will be well marked and managed.

State Highway 8 through Fairlie, South Canterbury, will be closed for a short period Saturday, 1.50 pm to 3 pm for the 150 Year Parade. A detour will be available.

Drivers on State Highway 1 at Winchester, South Canterbury, should also expect slight delays and a 50km/h speed limit on Saturday as people turn off the highway for the Winchester Showgrounds rodeo.


The Greymouth Motorcycle Street Races(external link) are on Sunday, 23 October, which may affect traffic on the state highway with the town’s streets sealed off for the races.


Link to the Labour Weekend holiday Hotspots for all of New Zealand here(external link).