Expect heavy traffic and changeable weather over Queen’s Birthday Weekend


The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging drivers heading away for Queen’s Birthday Weekend in the Auckland and Northland region to take care and be prepared for heavy traffic, delays and changeable weather.

“It’s one of the busiest weekends on New Zealand roads, particularly on Friday night as people head away for the long weekend,“ says Auckland Operations Manager Rua Pani.

“Metservice is forecasting a change in the weather with showers and low temperatures in the region over the weekend, so it’s important that drivers stay alert, be patient and don’t rush.”

“We want people to arrive safely at their destinations and get home again without incident.”

Last Queen’s Birthday Weekend, there were 2 fatal crashes and 118 reported injury crashes across the country, with 42% of crashes involving single vehicles where drivers lost control or ran off the road. 

“Make sure everyone has their seatbelts on; remove distractions and stay focused on driving; don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or are tired; and drive at a safe speed for the conditions.”

Motorists are advised to plan ahead to avoid peak traffic using the planner at https://nzta.govt.nz/holidayjourneys(external link) . Based on previous years’ travel patterns, the web page has maps and graphs showing the busiest times on state highway routes.

The Transport Agency predicts the heaviest time for traffic heading north out of Auckland on SH1 will be 1pm–6pm on Friday between Pūhoi and Wellsford. For traffic returning on Monday the busiest time will be 11am – 6pm.

For motorists heading south out of Auckland, it’s heaviest at Takanini on SH1 between 10:30am and 7:30pm on Friday. Coming back, the busiest time on Monday is 10:30am – 8pm.

Tips for safe long-distance driving:

  • Drive with your headlights on and be seen.
  • Increase following distances.
  • Plan your journey, prepare for delays, and be mindful of other road users.
  • Avoid travel in bad weather if you can. Allow extra time if your travel can’t be delayed.
  • If driving a long way, take regular breaks and share the driving where you can.
  • Don’t attempt to overtake other traffic unless it’s completely safe to do so – it’s not worth the risk.
  • If you are towing or driving slowly, regularly pull over to let other vehicles pass.

If you are staying in Auckland for the weekend, you can check out the Vector Lights show celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The lights show runs every 30 minutes from 6pm to 10pm from Wednesday 29 May – Monday 3 June 2019 to celebrate the city’s transport past, present and future.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: