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Holiday hotspots lower North Island


The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging people in the lower North Island region who are heading away for the long weekend, to plan their travel to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

“This is the last long weekend for a few months and the last one before winter really sets in, so many people take the opportunity to head away for a break, or to visit friends and family,” NZTA’s Senior Journey Manager Neil Walker says. 

“Going online to plan your journey before getting on the road reduces the chance of experiencing delays during high traffic flows on the highway. Our online real-time highway information service(external link) will tell you whether there are any travel warnings or closures ahead. You can also check out the cameras to see how traffic is moving in and out of the city.” link)

The NZ Transport Agency has set up a traffic hot spot map, showing the areas which are the traditional long weekend congestion points, as well as predicted peak times:

The lower North Island has five hotspots:


  • SH2 – Remutaka Hill between Wellington and Featherston
  • SH1 – Kāpiti Coast


  • SH2 – Norsewood between Hastings and Woodville SH3
  • SH1 – Between Taihape and Waiouru


  • SH5 – Te Pohue (North of Napier)

“This is a really helpful guide, but it’s important to remember predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and changes in driver travel patterns,” Mr Walker says.

“We want everyone to be safe on the roads this Queen’s Birthday Weekend, so before you head off on your trip, make sure you plan ahead and check our online traffic updates.”

Top tips for a safe and enjoyable Queen’s Birthday trip:

Plan ahead
Get your vehicle checked before you head out, plan to avoid peak traffic where you can and give yourself enough time to take plenty of rest or sightseeing breaks along the way.  It’s your holiday after all, so why not make the journey an enjoyable part of it? 

Drive to the conditions
This isn’t just about weather conditions—it’s about the road you’re on, the traffic, your vehicle and load, your speed, your following distance, and adjusting your driving for wet and windy conditions. 

Watch out for fatigue
Long trips are tiring and fatigue can be deadly behind the wheel. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand, plan in advance where you’ll take breaks along the way, and be aware of any medication you’re taking that might affect your driving.

Keep your cool
Holiday driving can be frustrating with busy roads, and restless kids in the car. So please, be courteous and patient while on the roads.  Don’t get provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour, and wait to overtake until you get to a passing lane or can see enough clear road ahead of you to do it safely.  And be sure to take enough games, books, DVDs or electronics to keep the kids occupied along the way.

Buckle up
Don’t let your family holiday be marred by tragedy simply because someone didn’t buckle up. If you’re the driver, you are legally responsible for making sure all passengers under the age of 15 are securely restrained with either a safety belt or child restraint.  Children must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday.

Don’t drink and drive
The alcohol limit for adult drivers is now lower, and your judgement and reaction times begin to deteriorate after even one drink. Keep it simple – if you’re going to drink, don’t drive.

Check the latest weather conditions and warnings here:

Motorists can get real time information from:

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