While frowned upon as dangerous by many, hitchhiking is not illegal in New Zealand. Although, attempting to pick up a ride on a motorway is against the law. Many visitors and indeed local people hitch and enjoy doing so. While it is an opportunity for ‘free’ travel and to meet people, it of course has its dangers in New Zealand as it does in every country.
Common sense is the watchword. Hitching alone, especially at night, is a definite no-no.
One of the most dangerous times for hitchhikers is when they are attempting to flag down or board a vehicle, especially in poor light. Don’t try and pick up a ride on an unsafe stretch or road. Ensure that an approaching driver can see you and that there is ample room for that driver to pull over without disturbing the traffic flow or unwittingly colliding with you.
The New Zealand Police and tourism agencies encourage those intending to hitch to use the Safe TXT message service, number 7233, to let people know where you are and what you are doing or intending to do. It is recommended that you record the registration number of any vehicle you intend boarding.
It is easy to update your movements via TXT. Each message will receive an automated response with a message to simply call 111 if you feel that you are in any danger.