City dwellers heading out of town for New Year's Eve celebrations were waiting in long queues yesterday and the traffic chaos is likely to continue today, according to NZTA.

New Zealand Transport Agency has pinpointed a cluster of traffic hotspots around the upper North Island, from Kawakawa to Karapiro.

It identified SH1 south of Auckland, SH2 at Maramarua and then between Paeroa and Tauranga, and SH29 at Kaimai, west of Tauranga, as the routes that are most likely to be heavily congested.

Eastbound traffic was backed up in the town of Paeroa yesterday, creating long delays for Aucklanders heading to Tauranga or the Coromandel.


NZTA predicted the route would be busiest between 3.30pm and 4.30pm today as last minute travellers scramble to get to their holiday destination in time for celebrations.

North of Auckland three pressure points were identified on SH1 - between Puhoi and Wellsford, at Whangarei and Kawakawa in the far north.

Wellington holiday makers travelling on SH1 were also likely to face long delays tomorrow, particularly in the middle of the day - between 11.30am and 4pm.

The route was heavily congested between Plimmerton and Otaki for much of yesterday afternoon after a truck rolled in the southbound lane at the Paekakariki Hill Rd intersection.

NZTA asked motorists to "take extra care" and travellers faced delays of up to an hour because of the blockage.

SH2 out of the capital would also be busy for most of the day today, according to NZTA. The road should flow well for most of Sunday, but would be busy again between 8am and 1.30pm on Monday.

Cantebury's main highways would also be congested today, with NZTA predicting pressure points on SH7 through Lewis Pass and SH73 at Arthurs Pass for most of the day.

A fatal crash blocked SH12 at Aranga, in Northland tonight. Diversions were in place as the Serious Crash Unit investigated the single-car crash which claimed the life of one man.


The death brought the holiday road toll to 14. Last year 12 people died on New Zealand roads during the Christmas holiday period. There are still five days left before this year's official period ends.

Police said on Thursday they were extremely disappointed with the grim holiday road toll, saying all the fatal crashes were avoidable.

National road policing manager Steve Greally said he was perplexed the toll has suddenly shot up in such a short time and concerned motorcyclists made up a third of the fatalities.

"It's horrific," said Greally.

"For whatever reason people seem to have left their common sense at home. I'm just not sure why.

"It doesn't matter how disappointed I am there, are families across New Zealand ripped apart by this."

Heaviest traffic times

State Highway 1, south of Auckland (Takanini)


Jan 3: 12.30pm-4.30pm

Jan 4: 1pm-4pm

State Highway 1, north of Auckland (between Puhoi and Wellsford)


Dec 31: 11.3am-3.30pm

Jan 4: 12pm-1.30pm


Jan 1: 10am -6pm

Jan 2: 10.30am-8pm

Jan 3: 11am-5pm

Jan 4: 11am-1.30pm

State Highway 2, toward Coromandel, Tauranga (Maramarua)


Dec 31: 11.3am-3.30pm

Jan 4: 12pm-1.30pm


Jan 1: 1pm-7pm

Jan 2: 11am-7.30pm

Jan 3:12pm-6.30pm

Jan 4: 12.30pm-3pm

State Highway 1, north of Wellington (Kapiti Coast)


Jan 1: 3pm-4pm

Jan 2: 11am-8pm

Jan 3: 11am-7.30pm

Jan 4: 12pm-6pm


Dec 31: 9.30am-4pm

Jan 1: 11am-3pm

Jan 2: 10am-3pm

Jan 3: 10am-3.30pm

Jan 4: 10am-12.30pm

State Highway 2, north of Wellington (Rimutaka Hill)


Jan 2: 9am-12.30pm


Jan 2: 3pm-7pm

Jan 3: 4pm-5.30pm

Source: NZTA