While the public transportation system here in Wellington is actually ok, it is not as prolific as what we have back in the Philippines where we have tricycles, buses, taxicabs, electric trains and of course our jeepneys. You may use the trains and the buses (and I actually encourage public transport because it is the green way to travel), but it is also convenient to be able to drive around, and can even be more cost-effective for you (if you don't pay for your parking too, that is).
If you have a Philippine Driver's License, you may use this to travel New Zealand roads within a year of your arrival. Of course, your license's expiration date is precedent. It might take some getting used to though, because you'd be travelling on the opposite side of the road.
Converting your license to New Zealand's is an easy process. But because of the difference in driving system between our countries, we will need to pass both the theory and practical exam. Which is still loads better than going through the Learner license whereby you need to take two practical exams.
Firstly, you need to study for the theory exam. You may rent the book from the Wellington City Library and save yourself 25 bucks. However, take note that these books are leased to you for a week at a time only (versus a month for regular books) so make sure you return the book on or before a week and then just borrow another one!
Supplement your studies with online test exams such as these ones:
AAttitude Theory test quiz
Community Law's Car Drivers Road Code Test
AA's Free online NZ Road Quiz - the interface of this test closely resembles the computerized exam that you will sit.
Also, note that you can still have your licence (I keep forgetting, they spell license here with a "c") converted within a year of expiration of your Philippine driver's license.
Take the theory exam through an accredited NZ Transport Agency authorised licensing agent such as AA, VTNZ, or VINZ. You will need to bring with you your licence, a proof of billing address, and identification (I used my passport). They will need photocopies of these documents so better bring one copy each. It's cheaper to get photocopies from the Library (or from your home system if you have it) than from the Agent.
You will also need to get an eye exam prior to taking the exam, and you need to pay $95.70 fee (which may have already changed, due to GST increase starting this month).
But guess what. I failed the eye exam!
(to be continued)
Related Link: NZ Transport Agency