Print Page
Contact Youthline about this page

Learning to drive

The first step

Topics in this section:

Learning to drive can be an exciting and scary experience! But practice makes perfect and helps calm the nerves. By the time you’re ready to go for your restricted licence, you’ll be feeling pretty comfortable with driving.

So what’s the process?





Learner licence

Learner Licence

• Learn the Road Code (which you can buy or access for free online

• In preparation for the Learner License’ test (which is comprised of 35 questions from the Road Code book), take practice tests online

• Sit your licence test at the Land Transport New Zealand driver licensing agents Make sure you have money to sit the test and take all the right documentation with you when you go get tested. For more details on this process, click here.

You can get your learner licence the easy way - practise the road code online for free for car, motorbike or heavy vehicle. Go to 


You passed your test? Great!

You passed your test? Great! So now what?

Now that you have your learner licence you are legally allowed to start learning to drive on the roads. There are a few rules to remember though, including

  • You can’t drive on your own. While you have your learners licence, you must always drive with a supervisor (i.e. someone who has had their full licence for two years) and they must sit in the front seat beside you.

  • While you are driving, the car must display learner plates.

  • You must always have your licence on you when you are learning to drive. After you pass your test you will be given a paper licence which acts as a temporary licence until you are sent your actual photo licence about 2 – 3 weeks after you pass your test.

  • You can’t have any alcohol at all in your system if you are under 20 years old. If you break the above rules, you can be fined, receive demerit points or in some cases, be disqualified from driving!

 If you break the above rules, you can be fined, receive demerit points or in some cases, be disqualified from driving!


Uh- oh... I failed!

Uh- oh... I failed! When can I resit the test?

If you have failed it means that you got more than three questions wrong. No one likes to fail, especially when you have handed over cash to sit the test! Make sure that you study up and know all the answers before you resit the test. The good thing is that you have had a chance to see what the test is like, and will know what to expect the second time around. 





Restricted licence

Restricted Licence

After having your Learner licence for at least six months, you are allowed to sit your restricted licence test. You are required to be at least 16 years and 6 months old.

This test is a practical test to determine your driving capabilities, so you will be going out on the roads with an instructor who will tell you where to drive, and ask you questions along the way. 

You will also need to go through the same processes of application as when getting your learner license listed here. 

Your car will be checked before the test by the instructor to make sure it is roadworthy so make sure you have checked your tyres, lights and indicators etc.

Some things they might get you to do are:

  • Back around a corner

  • Parallel park

  • Do a three point turn

  • As well as just generally seeing how you follow the speed limit and observe the road rules (ie. stopping at stop signs, giving way, indicating, etc).

The test usually lasts between half an hour to an hour, and at the end the instructor will tell you how you did, and give you some feedback on the mistakes you may have made.

Some things you need to know once you have your restricted:

  • You no longer have to drive with a supervisor in the car or drive with learner plates.

  • You can drive on your own between 5am and 10pm.

  • You are not allowed to carry passengers unless you have a supervisor with you (though there are some exceptions. Click here to find out what these are).

  • If you sat your restricted test in an automatic car, your licence will state this and you are unable to drive a manual unless you are supervised.

  • You must always carry your licence on you.

What if I fail my restricted?

If you fail the first time, keep practicing! Don’t let it get you down, just make sure that you’re prepared the next time round and take on board the reasons why you failed the first time (they will tell you). Going for long drives with a supervisor until you feel comfortable behind the wheel may help, and asking them to point out anything you are doing that you shouldn’t, will also help you to learn from your mistakes.


Full licence

After having had your restricted licence for 18 months (although if you have done a defensive driving course you can apply after 12 months) you are able to apply for your full licence, so long as your are at least 18 years of age. This is a practical test and takes about 30 minutes.

Your car will be checked before the test by the instructor to make sure it is roadworthy so make sure you have checked your tyres, lights and indicators etc.

There are three stages to the test:

Basic Driving:

The instructor will be looking to see that you have mastered the basic skills involved with driving (indicating, stopping at stop signs, giving way, driving to the speed limit etc.)

Detecting and responding to driving hazards in built-up areas:

You will be asked to identify possible hazards while you are driving (e.g. cars backing out of driveways, children playing on the footpath, pedestrians etc).

Detecting and responding to driving hazards in higher speed zones:

You will also be taken to a higher speed area (such as a motorway or an open road) and the instructor will ask you to continue to identify hazards whilst observing how you adjust to speed changes, merging and performing a U-turn.

Once you have your full licence you are allowed to drive at all hours and you are allowed to carry passengers.


Rate this page

Need to talk to someone?

Kia ora - tamariki ma

Contact us, we are here to help!