Relief has arrived for most motorists returning home after the Easter break, with congestion easing.

Queues up to 7km long were reported at traffic hotspots earlier today as holidaymakers made their way home after the four-day Easter break.

But by 6pm, traffic flows were almost back to normal, the NZTA said.

There were a few pockets of congestion on State Highway 1 - in the northbound lanes at Rangiriri and Huntly, and in the southbound lanes at Wellsford and Warkworth, but few problems elsewhere.


Further south, the section of SH1 closed after a fatal car crash at Mangaweka had reopened by 5.30pm. The road was closed following the two-car crash just before 1pm, with a single lane opened a couple of hours later.

There are no reported traffic problems elsewhere in the country.

Earlier, holidaymakers endured a slow journey home at several traffic hotspots around the North Island this afternoon, according to the NZTA.

While South Island roads were relatively clear, North Islanders were less fortunate.

Worst affected afternoon are those travelling south along SH1 towards Wellsford. Southbound traffic into the north Auckland settlement earlier stretched 7km along the state highway. However, there is some relief for motorists, with traffic is flowing freely at the Northern Gateway Tunnel.

Other stretches of SH1 were also clogged this afternoon, including southbound lanes at Warkworth.

Elsewhere, queues of 5 to 6km long built between Taupiri and Huntly as those travelling north crawled back towards our biggest city.

Congestion was also being reported at the roadworks at Rangiriri and between Ramarama and Takanini.

In Wellington, southbound traffic on SH1 at Otaki was easing. A tail of about 6km had halved, according to the NZTA.

Police central communications Inspector Chris Tate warned drivers to exercise patience while on the road today.

"The main message is about patience. It is going to be busy whenever you leave.

"We have had an earlier Easter so the weather is warmer and you have probably got quite a lot of people that have been to the usual beach spots so it should be very heavy."

Road toll

The road toll has risen to four for this holiday weekend after one person died in a crash in the central North Island this afternoon.

On Friday, 21-year-old Tristan Hunter died after colliding with a car as he hurtled down Maungakotukutuku Rd on a longboard, on the Kapiti Coast.

In Central Otago, 62-year-old Kusum Rohit Kenia, from Mumbai, lost her life in a serious motor vehicle accident on Friday on State Highway 6, 10km outside of Luggate.

There were six other occupants in the vehicle and all were transported to hospital by helicopter and ambulance.

Meanwhile, the sole occupant of a vehicle died in Methven, near Christchurch, on Friday.

The vehicle left the road and crashed into a tree in a rest area on SH77.

In another incident a driver died after a car went off the road in Northland but police said the incident was being treated as a medical event.

Ambulance and rescue helicopter services attended the scene at Donnellys Crossing, north of Dargaville, where the man was confirmed to have died at the scene.

Last year the Easter road toll was one, with 101 reported injury crashes.

The Easter long weekend road toll ends at 6am tomorrow.