Planning to Drive on the Left in Dunedin, New Zealand

TheRVgeeks Australia Road Trip, Trip Tips 13 Comments

We know that our first time driving on the left side of the road, and from the right seat, will be no big deal. But every time a family drives past, we do a double-take, thinking there’s a little kid behind the wheel!

We also brain-fart about which way to look when crossing the street, even though “Look Right!” signs are painted at the curb on many crosswalks. Most of the campervan renters we’ve met are from other countries that drive on the right, and we’ll surely get used to it, too.

We just don’t want to take it for granted.

While we’re visiting Dunedin, we also got the chance to experience their Scottish heritage. Between bagpipes, Sword Dancing and haggis, we felt as though we were back in Scotland!

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Comments 13

  1. Pingback: Mobbed By Kangaroos in Yuraygir National Park - TheRVgeeks

  2. Thanks for sharing. When we were sailing the Caribbean, we found it doubly confounding in British possessions (like the British Virgin Islands) that drove on the left side of the road BUT imported their cars from the US AND had narrow dirt roads on volcanic islands. Weird AND risky… Just the way we like it!

    Enjoy the rest of your land cruise down yonder & thanks again for sharing! Gene

  3. I spent a month last year in a camper van exploring both islands, dream trip. I assume you’re staying only on the South Island, a couple of my favorite memories:
    1) Lake Wanaka: gorgeous, great hiking, fun little town. Loved it, loved it.
    2) Hokitika: not able to camp overnight at beach but can park the day, wander amongst all the artisan shops and pop open the back doors of the van to face the ocean. Lovely day
    3) Abel Tasman: kayak amongst the seals, explore the beaches, beautiful.
    4) The roadside produce farms/stands all around that region and down into Otago Valley. The cherries – OMG. Buy cases of them! Lol. The fruit is unlike anything I’ve found in the US. It’s so incredibly sweet and tasty. I miss it terribly.
    4) Glaciers: Definitely worth the splurge, whichever one works out best for you.
    5) Swimming (out in the ocean, truly wild) dolphins in Kaikura. Beyond words.

    Just a few highlights. Love NZ. Have a blast!!!!

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  4. Having the steering wheel on the right really makes it easy. I lived in England for two years during an exchange tour with the Royal Navy, and had to be really careful as I had shipped my left-hand drive Jeep over. The most difficult part of driving in England was dealing with the roundabouts – there is a method to the madness depending how far around you’re going. Don’t remember if New Zealand or Australia have any/as many, but do have a native explain the proper lane etiquette. With your driving experience, you’ll have absolutely no problems. Have a blast.

  5. Hi Guys,
    Just a few pointers from an old geezer across the pond:-
    1. Take Extra care when leaving a petrol station, (sorry guys a gas station) or coming out of any “T” junction.
    2. Going the (for you) wrong way around a roundabout!
    3. Overtaking on the other side will seem strange at first.
    Good that you have automatic.

    I have travelled many thousands of miles ( UK and Europe) in both left hand and right hand drive vehicles on either side of the road. The most frustrating part in Europe is with a right hand drive vehicle driving by oneself coming up to pay the motorway toll, you have to get out of the vehicle and go around to the other side!

    The most trickey is having the sterring wheel on the wrong side whilst driving either on the left or right side of the road.

    Safe travels to you both and have a great time.

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  6. For us driving on the left side wasn’t a big issue. We had two issues throughout our trip:
    Having a four on the floor in our rental coach and shifting left handed and constantly hitting the windshield wipers when trying to hit the turn signal

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  7. Thanks for the update. If you are reading this before you rent then it will be timely. If you are already on the road with your camper then it might being a smile of truth:

    From my experience driving on the left – you are, like me, putting more thought and worry into preparing than you realize or need. After I took off from the rental lot I found a very quiet neighbourhood and drove around for about 20 minutes to get used to the look and feel of driving on the left. Mostly the feel: I had a manual shift and that was fun.

    After about 20 minutes I took to a busier road and within an hour or two it felt good. After a couple of days it was the new normal.

    The only thing that my muscle memory had trouble with is the turn signal. If you see someone coming up on an intersection and turning on the windshield wipers you’ll know they are a visitor. (You’ll understand what I’m talking about the first turn you make.)

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