Are you heading away this long Labour Weekend?


The NZ Transport Agency says everyone has a role to play in keeping people safe on our roads this Labour Day Weekend.

Roads across the South Island are expected to be busy as people make the most of the first long weekend break after winter.

The Transport Agency has no active work sites over the long weekend, but there will be speed restrictions in some places.

“Increased traffic volumes, tiredness and driving in unfamiliar environments can make driving over these long weekends not only more stressful but also more risky,” says the Transport Agency’s Safety Director Ernst Zöllner. “Remember you’re sharing the road with many others, you have a responsibility to be courteous and patient to ensure you look after yourself, your families and other road users.”

Many of the roads around holiday destinations are narrow and winding, which makes the consequences of making a mistake potentially more dangerous.

“They are not designed for high speeds so adjust your driving to avoid mistakes.

“Don’t think of the speed limit as a target to aim for, instead drive at a speed that is safe for the type of road, the weather conditions and the number of vehicles on the road.

“Think of the time getting to your destination as part of your ‘weekend away’, make the most of being together with friends or family even if it is in the car, relax and enjoy your journey. That way everyone’s more likely to arrive safely.”

NZ Transport Agency’s top tips for a safe Labour Weekend

  • Take the time to check your vehicle is safe –tyres/ spare tyre, indicators, windshield wipers, lights.
  • Allow plenty of time – make your journey part of the holiday.
  • Rest stops are important for the driver and passengers.
  • If possible, share the driving.
  • Many drivers will be on unfamiliar roads,(external link) so please be patient as we are all in this situation at some stage.

For the latest on highway conditions, go to link), phone the Transport Agency’s 0800 4 HIGHWAYS info line or check the Facebook pages.(external link)

If you are driving near these places, be aware there may be delays

North of Christchurch

  • Many people will leave Christchurch and head north up SH1 Friday afternoon. It is likely to be a slow journey from 2 to 7 pm, Belfast to Amberley. Electronic message boards and the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre (CTOC) will advertise any delays via social media and radio updates. Police and contractor crews are ready to help keep traffic flowing.

North Canterbury


  • Ross’s Gold Rush 150th Parade, Westland, south of Hokitika: Sunday, 25 October between 1.45 and 3.45 pm. As the parade will be along State Highway 6 between Stewart St/ Aylmer St and Moorhouse/ Sale, the road will be closed for this period. The alternate route is along Stewart, Sale, Moorhouse. The whole of Ross will be busy for other celebrations around the discovery of gold 150 years ago(external link) over Labour Weekend, so slow down if you are passing through.
  • Bruce Bay Sports Day,(external link) SH6 to Haast, South Westland: Please take care around pedestrians near the road Saturday and Sunday, 25 and 26 October.
  • Greymouth motorcycle street race(external link): Sunday, 25 October – 8am practising, 9 am racing through the town along Tainui St, which will be closed from the intersection with SH6 to Mawhera Quay. Check the video on the link above. Watch for detour signs, slow down around pedestrians and children.

South Canterbury



  • A new supermarket will be opening on the Frankton Flats Five Mile site so there is likely to be more traffic going through that new stretch of road.

Map of New Zealand

North Island congestion hot spots during Labour Weekend

South Island congestion hot spots during Labour Weekend

View larger file. [PDF, 192 KB]

These tables provide a snapshot of highway routes, dates and times where traffic congestion was particularly heavy during Labour Weekend in previous years. It’s likely that congestion will be similarly heavy on these dates and times this coming holiday period, and the Transport Agency advises motorists to consider avoiding travel during the times of heaviest congestion, listed in bold type.