Holiday driving - State Highway 1 north of Auckland


Steer clear of the holiday traffic on State Highway 1.

If you're planning to drive north during Labour Weekend, keep in mind that many other people are doing the same. 

If you plan ahead, it's easy to avoid the worst peak traffic periods and enjoy a safer, more comfortable journey by taking State Highway (SH16) from Auckland to Wellsford.

Avoid the traffic

  • Remember that major delays northbound usually occur on State Highway 1 (SH1) between Silverdale and Warkworth, particularly around Orewa and through to Warkworth. These are most common during holiday weekends and on most fine weekends.
  • Avoid travelling at peak times when possible. The peak times for Labour Weekend are expected to be:
    • Travelling away from the City – Friday 24 October 4:00pm to 7:00pm; Saturday 25 October 10:00am to 12:00pm
    • Returning to the City – Monday 27 October 3:00pm to 6:00pm (travel outside this busy afternoon peak to avoid queues heading into Wellsford).
  • Drive to the conditions and slow down during wet weather
  • Delays may be extended by an extra 30 minutes from Wellsford due to wet weather
  • If you're heading to destinations north of Wellsford, such as Whangarei, Dargaville or the Bay of Islands, consider using the alternative route on State Highway 16 (SH16). SH16 can be reached by:
    • Taking the Northern Motorway (SH1) Upper Harbour Highway exit 414, Greville Road exit 412 or Silverdale exit 398 from the North Shore
    • Or, taking the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) exit 428 from central Auckland via Westgate and Helensville
      (The SH16 route rejoins SH1 at Wellsford)

More tips for a safe journey

Slow down

  • Don't speed. Don't take risks – use passing lanes and keep to the left.
  • Slow down in wet conditions.
  • Remember that speed zones are enforced by police, including at roadwork sites.
  • Watch out for warning signs to guide you through roadwork sites.
  • Be alert to directions from traffic controllers or emergency crews – they’re for your safety.

Arrive safely

  • Avoid fatigue. Start your drive well rested – after 7:00am is best. Don't drive long distances at night and leave enough time to reach your destination safely.
  • Stop. Revive. Survive. Don't ignore the early warning signs of driver fatigue. Call into rest areas, service centres or nearby towns to take a break.
  • If you come across delays please be patient.
  • Always carry water in your car to drink; this can prevent dehydration especially in hot weather.
  • Don't drink and drive.

Stay tuned

  • Tune in to local radio stations, such as Classic Hits or NewstalkZB for regular traffic reports.
  • Watch out for electronic message signs – they'll advise you of any delays.
  • Log on to link) before you leave home for the latest traffic information.