Traffic is heavy around Auckland as people make an early start to their long Easter weekend.

Drivers travelling south out of Auckland can expect steady congestion on the Southern Motorway from the Nelson St off-ramp in the city to Great South Rd, Takanini.

For motorists travelling north from Auckland City to Warkworth on the Northern Motorway it is expected to take one hour and 10 minutes with heavy patches near Albany, Northern Gateway and Puhoi.

Motorists travelling through the Waikato and Bay of Plenty region for Easter are urged to drive to the conditions and plan ahead before leaving home.

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New Zealand Transport Agency acting director of regional relationships Ross I'Anson said this year Easter Monday, Anzac Day and school holidays all fall in the same week which means it's likely to be extra busy on the road.

"Congestion and delays are inevitable during holiday periods, so we also want to remind everyone to be patient, drive to the conditions, keep to the speed limit, always wear a seat belt and never drive while impaired or distracted.

"Following these simple rules can be the difference between a safe trip or a tragic outcome," I'Anson said.

The Transport Agency expects traffic to be especially heavy today and tomorrow, and then on the return journey on both Sunday and Monday April 28 and 29.

Looking ahead to Anzac Day, motorists should also allow extra time for their journeys, particularly on Anzac morning as there will be short term restrictions and small detours in place near some townships.

"These include Te Aroha in the Waikato and Katikati in the Bay of Plenty as processions and services take place," I'Anson said.

Traffic is also heavy in patches heading north out of Wellington on the Kapiti Coast.

And in Christchurch, traffic is beginning to build around the city but no significant congestion impacting travel has been reported yet.

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A planned closure on the Christchurch Southern Motorway, Main South Rd between Hoskyns Rd and Dawsons Rd, over Easter Weekend has been rescheduled for a later date.

It's also expected to get busier around the rest of the country as roading officials urge motorists to plan ahead and take their time on their journey.

Meanwhile, a truck carrying paper which caught fire at Caltex Bombay is also likely causing delays for people using the Southern Motorway.

Seven people died on New Zealand roads over Easter last year, while a total of 118 people have died on the country's roads so far this year compared to 120 at same time last year.

Police are also reminding motorists they will be issuing tickets to anyone caught travelling 4km/h or more over the speed limit.

Inspector Peter McKennie has also urged to be alert as they tackle the roads.

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"Over the holiday period from 4pm Thursday 18 April to 6am Tuesday 23 April – if you're detected by a safe speed camera exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 4km/h, you will be ticketed.

"Police will be out on the roads doing our bit to keep people safe, but it's critical that everyone takes responsibility for the safety of themselves and other road users."

Tim Grafton, from the Insurance Council, said a growing number of accidents involve distracted motorists and that, often, those distractions are from smartphones.

"We increasingly use our smartphone to check maps and traffic reports, follow navigation directions and check the details for our trips in any number of apps," he said.

"Each time we look at our phone, we're removing our attention from the road and putting ourselves, our passengers and others on the road around us in danger.

"The safest way to drive is the best. If you need to check your phone, pull over somewhere safe."

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The official 2019 Easter holiday period runs from 4pm Thursday April 18 until 6am on Tuesday April 23.

New Zealand's busiest roads this Easter:

Auckland:

SH1 - Between Puhoi and Wellsford is expected to be at its busiest northbound between 9am and 7pm, and 7am to 6pm on Friday; and southbound from 12pm to 6pm on Monday and on Sunday April 28.

SH1 - Takanini (South of Auckland) is expected to be at its busiest southbound from 10am to 9pm, and from 7am to 4pm on Friday; and northbound from 1pm to 8pm on Sunday April 28.

Bay of Plenty:

SH29 - Kaimai (West of Tauranga) is expected to be at its busiest eastbound from 3pm to 6pm, from 10am to 4pm on Friday, and from 11am to 1pm on Saturday; and westbound from 10am to 4pm on Monday, and 10am to 5.30pm on Sunday April 28.

SH2 - Between Paeroa and Waihi is expected to be at its busiest eastbound from 3pm to 7pm, from 10am to 3pm on Friday, from 12pm to 2pm on Saturday, from 12pm to 2pm on Sunday April 28, and from 12pm to 3pm on Monday April 29.
Westbound traffic will be at its heaviest between 2.30pm and 4pm on Sunday, between 10am to 4pm on Monday, and between 10am and 6pm on Sunday April 28.

SH2 - Between Tauranga and Katikati is expected to be at its busiest eastbound from 2pm to 7pm and 9am to 5pm on Friday; and westbound from 10am to 6pm on Monday, and 10am to 6pm on Sunday April 28.

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Canterbury:

SH1 - Waipara (North of Christchurch) is expected to be at its busiest northbound between 3pm and 6pm, and 9am and 3pm on Friday; and southbound between 12pm and 5pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

SH1 - Timaru is expected to be at its busiest southbound from 3pm to 6pm, and 10am to 2pm Friday; and northbound from 12pm to 3pm on Friday, 12pm to 5pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

SH75 - Akaroa Peninsula is expected to be at its busiest eastbound on Sunday from 2pm to 5pm and Saturday April 27 from 2pm to 5pm; and westbound on Friday from 10am to 2pm.

SH1 - Between Ashburton and Christchurchh is expected to be at its busiest southbound from 3pm to 6pm, and 9.30am to 1pm Friday; and northbound from 12pm to 6pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

SH7 - Lewis Pass is expected to be at its busiest westbound on Friday from 10am to 1pm.

SH79 - Near Geraldine is expected to be at its busiest westbound from 3pm to 7pm, and 10am to 2pm on Friday; and eastbound from 1pm to 6pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

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SH1 - Waimakariri is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 3pm to 6pm, and 8am to 2pm on Friday; and southbound from 12pm to 6pm on Monday, and 1pm to 4pm on Sunday April 28.

SH1 - Kaikoura is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 9.30am to 3pm on Friday; and southbound from 11am to 2pm on Monday and from 11am to 3pm on Monday April 28.

SH73 - Arthur's Pass is expected to be at its busiest eastbound from 11.30am to 4pm on Monday, and 12pm to 5pm on Sunday April 28; and westbound from 1.30pm to 5.30pm and 10am to 4.30pm Friday.

Coromandel

SH25A - South of Tairua is expected to be at its busiest eastbound between 1pm and 8pm, and 9am to 4pm on Friday; and westbound from 10am to 6pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

Manawatu-Wanganui

SH1 - Between Taihape and Waiouru is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 9.30am to 3pm on Friday; and southbound from 10am to 2pm on Friday, 11am to 5pm on Monday, and 11am to 6pm on Sunday April 28.

SH2 - Norsewood between Hastings and Woodville SH3 is expected to be at its busiest southbound between 1pm and 7pm and 10am to 4pm on Friday; and northbound from 11am to 4pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

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SH3 - Whanganui is expected to be at its busiest westbound on Friday between 10am and 3pm; and eastbound from 10am to 2pm on Monday and11am to 3pm on Sunday April 28.

Marlborough-Tasman

SH6 - Between Nelson and Blenheim is expected to be at its busiest eastbound on Friday from 10am to 1.30pm, Monday from 11am to 1pm, and Sunday April 28 from 11am to 4pm; and westbound from 1pm to 4pm, 10am to 2pm on Friday, 12pm to 3pm on Monday, and Sunday April 28.

Napier

SH5 - Te Pohue (North of Napier) is expected to be at its busiest westbound from 9.30am to 1pm Friday, 10,30am to 2pm Monday and 10.30am to 3pm Sunday April 28; and eastbound from 10am to 4pm on Friday, and 2pm to 4pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

Northland

SH1 - Kawakawa (South of Paihia/Bay of Islands) is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 10am to 5pm on Friday.

SH1 - Whangarei is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 12.30pm to 7pm, and 8.30am to 6pm on Friday; and southbound from 10.30am to 4pm on Sunday, Monday and Sunday April 28.

Otago

SH6 - Queenstown is expected to be at its busiest eastbound on Monday from 10am to 1pm; and westbound from 10am to 6pm on Friday, and 1pm to 4pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

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SH8 - East of Wanaka (Tarras) is expected to be at its busiest southbound from 1pm to 4pm on Friday; and northbound from 10am to 2pm on Monday and Sunday April 28.

Taranaki

SH3 - Mount Messenger is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 10am to 1pm Monday and Sunday April 28; and southbound on Friday from 12pm to 4pm.

Waikato

SH1 - Karapiro (South of Cambridge) is expected to be at its busiest southbound from 1pm to 7pm, 8am to 3pm on Friday, 10am to 1pm on Saturday, and from 12pm to 5pm on Sunday April 28.
Northbound from 10am to 6pm on Monday, and 10am to 7pm on Sunday April 28.

SH1 - Taupiri (North of Hamiltonn) is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 11am to 4pm Monday, 11am to 1pm Tuesday, and 11am to 6pm Sunday April 28; and southbound from 9am to 8pm and 8am to 5pm Friday.

SH2 - Maramarua (East of SH1/SH2 Interchange) is expected to be at its busiest eastbound from 11am to 8pm, 2pm and 5pm on Friday, and 10 am to 12pm on Saturday and Sunday; and westbound from 2pm to 6pm on Sunday, 10am to 1pm on Monday, and 10am to 8pm on Sunday April 28.

Wellington

SH1 - Kapiti Coast is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 8am to 8pm, 8am to 5pm on Friday, 10am to 4pm on Saturday, 11am to 5pm on Sunday, 11am to 4pm on Monday, 10am to 4pm on Thursday April 25, 2pm to 6pm on Friday April 26, 11am to 5pm on Saturday April 27, and Sunday April 28.
Southbound from 2pm to 6pm, 1pm to 4pm Friday, 10am to 5pm Saturday, 11am to 5pm Sunday11am to 7pm Monday, 10am to 4pm Thursday April 25, and Saturday April 27, and 11am to 7pm Sunday April 28.

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SH2 - Remutaka Hill between Wellington and Featherston is expected to be at its busiest northbound from 3pm to 7pm, 9am to 3pm on Friday, 10am to 12pm on Saturday, 10am to 1pm on Sunday,
Southbound from 12pm to 6pm on Monday, and Sunday April 28.