Heading away Easter Weekend? Be prepared, enjoy a safe trip

Traffic will be heavy on Otago and Southland highways this Easter and the NZ Transport Agency is asking drivers to plan ahead to avoid delays and enjoy a safe trip.

Large numbers of motorists head away late Thursday, after school has finished, or early Good Friday. Most people return home Easter Monday.

Graeme Hall, NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager Otago/ Southland advises that people need to be aware of the traffic generated by events like Warbirds Over Wanaka and expect delays. 'If people anticipate some delays on popular routes at peak times and have things like snacks handy for passengers, it minimises stress for everyone,' he says.

'Many people will be out of their well-known driving routes, so road courtesy and being patient will help keep stress levels down and increase safety for everyone.'

Areas where you can expect a slower journey

Check the HotSpots(external link) on the Transport Agency’s website, so you know where and at what times the roads have got congested previous Easter weekends.  Leaving earlier or later may help smooth out your journey and avoid the peak congested times.

Anticipate some delays – Warbirds Over Wanaka, on Canterbury & Otago Highways

Motorists should face minimal delays from state highway road works, with no active work sites over the four day weekend.

People driving from Canterbury, Coastal Otago and Southland to Warbirds Over Wanaka will swell traffic volumes on Easter Friday and Monday on the state highway network. 

Warbirds Over Wanaka, local road effects Good Friday, Saturday and Sunday This event will affect traffic on State Highways 6 and 8A, Cromwell to Wanaka and Tarras to Wanaka on all three days during Easter. On Saturday and Sunday, 26 and 27 March, a detour will be in place at peak hours for people just wanting to get to Wanaka from the south or to get to the West Coast via Haast. Read our earlier release for details around carparking and traffic advice(external link).

Do some jobs before you leave home

People can spread the load by doing a few jobs earlier in the week eg filling up with gas, checking tyres and the spare tyre. (See TWIRL list below.)

Help is at hand

TWIRL vehicle check guide

“TWIRL” is one way to remind yourself of areas on your car to check:

Tyres; Windscreen, Wipers (and mirrors); Indicators; Rust and Lights.


Check the tyre tread depth (minimum legal depth 1.5mm, but more is safer), pressure (correct levels can usually be found on the inside door frame), and look for cracks or bubbles in the sides and sharp objects stuck in the tyres.

Windscreen, wipers and mirrors

Check the wiper blades for wear and tear, clean mirrors and windscreen inside and out, check your windscreen washer fluid is full and the spray is working.


Turn your hazard lights on and walk around the car to check indicators are flashing.


Look for obvious areas of corrosion that weaken a car’s strength in the event of a crash.


Check lenses are clean and not cracked or hazy, check headlights, reversing lights and brake lights.