New Zealand's Signs

While I've been in New Zealand these past six months, I've accumulated a collection of photographs of signs: road signs, warning signs... you name it. Looking through the pictures I've taken, I realized that New Zealand's signage could possibly reveal a lot about this place. See for yourself:

Wildlife Signs

Clockwise from top left: Along the roadside in Nelson, Before the Homer Tunnel in Fiordland, Near Curio Bay in the Catlins, and Before the penguin colony in Oamaru.

I think my favorite one has to be the "sea lions dangerous if disturbed." Also, there are way too many tourists who ignore the kea signage and feed them anyway. They are huge beggars.

Coastal Signs

Clockwise from top: Wave risk in Oamaru, Seafood harvesting rules in Riverton, Cliff warnings at Curio Bay in the Catlins, swim at your own risk at St. Kilda Beach in Dunedin, Tsunami warning in Bluff.

The Dunedin sign is my favorite of this batch - "not recommended" aka you can, but don't.

Leave Your Dogs

Keeping dogs from kiwi habitat next to Haruru Falls in Bay of Islands; poison warnings at Motpuhe Hill in Bluff.

Basically, New Zealand Parks: Just leave your dog at home. (Poison traps in parks are mainly for invasive rodents & possums).

Informative Signs

i-Sites are tourist information centers in every city/township across New Zealand; "keep left" applies to pedestrian lanes & roads because NZ wants to ensure tourists always remember; "give way" is the polite kiwi version of "yield."


Clockwise from top left: Alcohol ban hours on Waiheke Island, No overnight camping in Milford Sound, Slippery rock warning in Fiordland, and mail preference on Waiheke Island.

A few notes: alcohol is allowed in public areas but only during certain hours or in a place that doesn't have an all-day ban. "No Overnight Camping" signs are indicative of the extensive car- & caravan-camping culture here in New Zealand. The "slippery rocks" sign is a really good indicator of the most common non-English-speaking tourist groups that visit the country.

Cautionary Highway Billboards

A reminder for tourists near Tapawera & a motorcycle awareness sign near Murchison.

Unlike highways in the U.S. which are peppered with commercial billboards, New Zealand highways have very few road-side signs. The ones they do have are small and all carry cautionary reminders.