Tolls are a pain at the best of times but as a backpacker exploring uncharted territories they become even more of a nuisance. So, we have compiled an article that tells you all you need to know about the toll roads in New Zealand.
These toll roads are automatically charged according to your registration / license plate details, so you can either prepay your account or pay for your tolls after you have traveled. But beware late charges do apply.
New Zealand has 3 toll roads, all located on the North Island.
1. The Northern Gateway Toll Road
This toll road is an extension of State Highway One and bridges the gap between North Shore’s Orewa and the gems of the North Island’s far North. Yes, it travels North…and South depending on your destination. Ending just before Johnstone Hills in Puhoi, this route saves about 10 minutes off your trip, but alternate routes are available and in good condition.
If you are planning on exploring places like Northland – Whangarei, the breath-taking Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga, and we strongly recommend you do, then this might be a good option. The toll fees are quite reasonable and will be mentioned below.
But don’t fear, the alternate routes are well signed so you will have enough time to plan your route and keep a close eye on your toll expenditure.
Cars, Light Vehicles & Motor-Cycles – $2.30
Heavy Vehicles, Large Campervans & Trucks Over 3 Tons – $4.70
2. The Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road
The Tauranga Eastern Link can be used to travel North towards Mount Maunganui and Tauranga, South to visit Rotorua and East to explore New Zealand’s East Cape. While this route is quite direct there is an excellent alternative. The Te Puke Highway / State Highway Two is a free route which allows for extra scenic exploration through the quaint town of Te Puke. The town is great for
backpackers and is renowned for having a few quintessential Kiwi icons, namely the huge Kiwifruit statue.
Cars, Light Vehicles & Motor-Cycles – $2.00
Heavy Vehicles, Large Campervans & Trucks over 3 Tons – $5.00
3. Takitimu Drive Toll Road
While this road is not very popular amongst locals, it is a good alternative if you want to avoid Tauranga’s city traffic. The toll route spans the distance between State Highway 29 and State Highway 2 and completely avoids Tauranga’s City Centre so if you want to escape the city life and avoid the usual traffic then this route is well worth the small fee.
If the budget is tight and toll roads are not on your agenda then try the alternate routes, namely Cameron Rd and Moffat Rd to the East of Takitimu.
Cars, Light Vehicles & Motor Vehicles – $1.80
Heavy Vehicles, Large Campervans & Trucks Over 3 Tons – $4.80
Paying for Your Tolls
As mentioned above the tolls are all automated so you won’t have to worry about stopping at a toll booth and counting your change. While that does make the actual travelling process a lot easier, you will need to be mindful of your accounts so here are a few ways to pay your tolls.
1. Prepaid – By planning your trips in advance you can save the hassle by paying your toll fees online, at a service station or over the phone up to 180 days before you travel.
2. Within 3 days after your trip – While your trip is still fresh in your mind, it is a good time to avoid extra admin costs and making sure you pay within your time limit.
3. Upon Notice – If you haven’t paid your tolls within 3 days of your trip, New Zealand Transport Agency will send you an official bill or payment notice, but you will incur an admin fee so it is always best to pay before this notice is sent.
How to Pay
New Zealand is definitely with the times when it comes to online payments and electronic billing systems so you can choose one of three ways to pay your tolls.
1. Online – Logging onto the NZTA website is definitely the easiest way to pay, simply key in your license plate details and all your details will pop up with payment options.
2. NZTA Contact Centre – A simple phone call with a friendly and knowledgeable representative will help you make payment over the phone, however this will incur a service charge of $3.70.
3. Service & Gas Stations – You can pay with cash, EFTPOS or credit cards at most gas stations in the vicinity of a toll gate but there is a service charge of $1.20.
Service Charges – As mentioned above paying over the phone and at gas stations will incur a
service charge so it might pay to get into a free Wi-Fi zone and make your payment online.
Administration & Processing Fees – Toll notices for tolls not paid within 3 days will incur a
$4.90 processing fee, on an approx. $2 payment this is a definite pain and one that can easily
Insufficient Funds – Declined cards will have to pay a hefty $20.60 fine so make sure you
plan your funds first.
Infringement Fee – Failure to pay your toll will result in a minimum of a $40 fee and charges
if payment is still not made.