The NZ Transport Agency is urging Auckland motorists heading away for Easter to plan ahead to avoid delays on the roads.

The agency has created maps to show the expected peak holiday traffic times to help motorists decide the best time to travel to avoid queues.

The maps show the busiest times based on previous years' travel patterns.

NZTA senior journey manager Neil Walker said: "We know we'll see large numbers of people heading off to their usual holiday destinations and that makes queues and delays inevitable at the most popular times."

Heading out of Auckland, the traffic will start to build on State Highway 1 in both directions from midday on Thursday right through to about 8pm.

On Friday, traffic is likely to remain heavy from 7.30am for much of the day especially between Puhoi and Wellsford, on the Southern Motorway from Takanini and on State Highway 2 to Coromandel.

Coming back on Monday, the busiest times are from midday to 7pm.

"If everyone plans their travel in advance, and thinks about how they can travel outside the busiest periods it will help reduce congestion, delays and stress and that will make it a safer and more enjoyable journey for everyone.

"The hot spot predictions have proved really popular in helping people make informed decisions about when to travel, but predicted peak times can change on the day because of incidents, changing weather and even driver behaviour. So keep up to date with real time travel information."

Roadworks south of Whangarei may also cause extra congestion for holiday-goers heading north for the weekend.


The roadworks at Oakleigh have already been a source of frustration for many motorists after reports of several hours of delays last Friday.

Construction crews will not work over the Easter Weekend, but a 50km/h speed restriction will remain and crews will be available to respond to any bad weather.

Senior Sergeant Ian Row said police did not have any special plans for the roadworks-affected area over Easter, but plenty of staff would be out and about across Northland.

Traffic build-ups are also expected on the main highways leading in and out of the Hawke's Bay.

"We will see a lot of people heading into and out of the region to take advantage of the long weekend," NZTA's Napier journey manager Oliver Postings said.

The forecast hot spots could change based on weather and other factors.

The long-range Weatherwatch forecast for the country is looking okay, unless you plan to be in the far southwest.

WeatherWatch NZ analyst Philip Duncan says Easter Weekend is shaping up pretty positively for most regions, with mostly light winds and warm days forecast.

On Good Friday a few showers are possible first thing around Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Northland - and potentially very early in the Auckland region.

However, a large high over central New Zealand will keep the weather dry everywhere with mostly light winds.

On Saturday, a cold front in the Southern Ocean will clip the lower South Island, breaking the front in half and sending some rain up the West Coast.

Most other regions will be dry but some rain is possible briefly in Southland and Otago and a few light showers may also hug Coromandel Peninsula to the east and Bay of Plenty.

Winds are forecast to be light in the North Island with a westerly flow over the South Island.

On Easter Sunday a bit of cloud and a few light showers are expected in the western side of both islands, mostly the West Coast and the southwest corner of the North Island. However, it should be mostly dry, with light winds.

On Easter Monday, rain returns to the West Coast with heavy falls. A few showers may affect the North Island's western side but most other places will be dry with fairly light winds.

A driver and a pedestrian died in two crashes last Easter.

Ruatoria man Nelson Hari, a shearer and keen hunter, died as he walked home about 12.40am on the Sunday on a dark country road after drinking with friends.

Keen rugby player and hunter Conor Drake, 21, from Otautau, Southland, also died after his four-wheel-drive and a tanker collided on the Riverton-Wallacetown Highway, Oporo, about 7.50am later that morning.

Holiday hotspots

Bay of Plenty:

State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range to Waikato; State Highway 2 between Paeroa and Waihi and State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Katikati. Heavy traffic through Katikati is expected as drivers head to holiday spots further north.

Coromandel: State Highway 25 at Tairua and Kopu Bridge.

Waikato: State Highway 1 Taupiri (north of Hamilton) and State Highway 1 Karapiro (south of Cambridge).

More hot spot travel predictions can be found here: