Wellington and top of the South drivers, stay safe this holiday weekend


With Labour Day upon us, Waka Kotahi is urging drivers heading out of Wellington, or touring the top of the South Island, to be prepared and stay safe in holiday weekend traffic.


  • State Highway 1 heading north will be busy on Friday between 10 am and 6 pm as people head away for a long weekend break. That congestion is expected to continue on Saturday morning (10 am to midday) and resume on Monday (11 am to 7 pm) as travellers return home. Similar heavy traffic patterns are expected on State Highway 2 between Wellington and Wairarapa.


  • With fine weather forecast, more people will be heading to the region’s popular holiday spots. We have been undertaking a number of pavement repairs on sections of the SH60 between Richmond and Takaka Hill. While no traffic restrictions will be in place, there will be some temporary speed limits around chip seal sites. Drivers should slow down for their safety and to prevent potential damage to their windscreens and newly laid road surfaces.
  • If you are travelling in and around the Marlborough Sounds, please stay up to date on the latest road conditions as some roads are still closed or have restricted access following August’s floods. Full details are available at - Marlborough Roads status(external link)

Mark Owen, Regional Manager Wellington/Top of the South, says heavy traffic, particularly around Wellington, means delays are inevitable.

“No one likes being stuck in traffic, but it can be unavoidable on holiday weekends. It is crucial drivers are patient and don’t take unnecessary risks. It’s better to get to where you’re going late than not to arrive at all.”

Mr Owen says if you are heading away, there are things you can do to avoid the worst of the congestion.

“Try planning your trip for outside these peak traffic times. It could save you a lot of frustration. Waka Kotahi has a real-time journey planner that will tell you what the road conditions are like and estimated travel times. Check it before you hit the road.”

Labour Weekend Holiday Journey Planner(external link)

But Mr Owen says his most important request is that drivers stay safe.

“Holidays are supposed to be a time for fun and relaxation. Too often, long weekends are tragically marred by deaths on our roads. Small mistakes can have horrendous consequences. Please take care. Respect the roads and other drivers, and make sure you get to your destination safely.”


Because the roads will be busy this weekend Waka Kotahi has scaled back roadworks activities around the country. This is to help minimise travel delays as much as possible. However, we are aware drivers do have questions about our road works programme and its timing. The video below should help answer some of those questions.

Video: Why are there so many roadworks during summer, and what does that mean for your holidays? Rob, from our maintenance and operations team, explains in the video above (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye4rFMlOaA4(external link)).