Police seized the car keys of a tourist driver who repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the road, ignored a stop sign and almost caused several accidents.

Dunedin police officers rushed to Larnach Castle, near Dunedin, this afternoon after receiving "multiple calls" about the driver's erratic behaviour behind the wheel.

The tourist had been involved in a series of near misses with fellow motorists on the 10km stretch of windy road leading to the castle.

Acting senior sergeant James Ure said vehicles travelling along the Otago Peninsula were forced to take evasive action to avoid head-on collisions when the car crossed the centre line.


"We had multiple calls of a rental car driving on the incorrect side of the road and straddling the centre of the road," Ure said.

"There's been a number of times he's been driving on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic."

The rental car was also reported to have travelled through a stop sign, missing other vehicles which had the right of way.

Ure said when police arrived at Larnach Castle they moved to prevent the man from making the return trip home.

Police drove the driver and his passenger back to Dunedin.

Police also plan to take enforcement action against the foreign driver, but Ure said he was unsure if that would be a ticket or the laying of charges against him.

The company the man had rented the car from also terminated his contract.

He said the visiting couple, who were on a road trip around New Zealand, were now looking to leave the country.


It comes after a rash of vigilante action where keys were confiscated from foreign drivers seen weaving dangerously across southern highways.

Tourists were involved in 10 serious accidents earlier this year, including one crash that claimed the life of a 5-year-old Oamaru girl Ruby Marris.

A Chinese tourist is serving an 18-month jail term after his rental vehicle crossed the centre line near Moeraki in February and smashed into a car carrying Ruby and her family.

The calls to keep roads safe have led to a new initiative with rental car companies making visitors undergo an assessment before being given the keys.

A Queenstown rental car company Wai Hire Cars has also launched an app to test the skills of foreign drivers before they are allowed to hire their vehicles.