The Automobile Association (AA) is warning motorists they should be thinking about leaving early on Friday to avoid traffic.
AA infrastructure advisor Barney Irvine said the main centres will be experiencing congestion from the early afternoon onwards.
"If you're going to go today, early means early," he told The AM Show.
"We're looking at these hotspots around the key cities, around Auckland it's the northern motorway between Puhoi and Warkworth, southern motorway around Takanini and then it's State Highway 2 on the way to the Coromandel.
"Wellington it's the Kapiti Coast, Christchurch it's the northern motorway. Those are the hotspots you really need to look out for and you don't want to be driving through those from about two or three PM."
Holidaymakers who miss that window could be later, but Mr Irvine said that would have to be at least after 7pm, maybe even 8pm in Auckland. Mr Irvine said people leaving on Saturday need to avoid the roads between 10am and 2pm.
Overall the key is thinking ahead, planning your trips and then checking the conditions before heading out though.
"Just think about it a bit in advance and then closer to time check your Google maps or your AA road watch," Mr Irvine said
He also cautioned that people need to keep an eye on the roads as congestion makes driving riskier.
"When you get those sorts of volumes on the road the margin of error comes right down," he said.
"You're distracted for a moment, you're a bit stressed because of all the activity around you and all the rush you're involved in and not paying as much attention as you should be."
Watch the full interview with Barney Irvine above.
The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.