Labour Weekend: take a break and come back safely


Ahead of the three-day Labour Weekend, with fine weather forecast, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency reminds travellers of a useful tool that shows predicted traffic flows at particular times, based on previous years’ travel patterns.

Tool: link)

As the chart shows, Queenstown’s SH6 is busy eastbound Friday afternoon 4-6 pm and again Sunday and Monday mornings to midday. Westbound times are similar with a busier patch Monday afternoon after midday.

For Wanaka, SH8 at Tarras historically gets busiest Saturday afternoon through to 10 pm at night northbound and again Monday morning. No congestion southbound in previous years. 

"Holiday weekends are always busy across the South Island and with good weather forecast, congestion and delays even without overseas visitors may still occur at peak times,” says Waka Kotahi Journey Manager, Peter Brown.

“Travel may be more spread out across the country this year with holiday makers taking the opportunity to have a longer break either side of Labour Day weekend and exploring new places.”

Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents (sometimes caused by crashes), weather and driver behaviour, we suggest that you check link) before you leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions.

Waka Kotahi crews will shut down most active work sites around the South Island by midday on Friday, 23 October.


  • Drive to the conditions, whether it’s the weather, the time of day or amount of traffic.
  • Take regular breaks to stay alert. Share the driving if you can.
  • Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
  • Be patient - overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
  • Check your car is safe, warranted, windwipers/lights are working and you have a spare tyre inflated before you head off.  

Drivers can get real time information from: