Historic tourist information signs were yellow pole-mounted signs, and you can still see some of these around in rural areas. Newer signs are brown with white writing.
Not all tourist facilities warrant a sign. NZTA divides tourist facilities into five groups, as follows.
These are sites visited by tourists such as scenic lookouts, historical markers and interesting geographical features like waterfalls, rock formations, caves, lakes and features you might see from a lookout but not necessarily actually be able to visit.
These are commercially operated businesses that are primarily focused around tourism such as galleries, botanical gardens, museums, historic properties, aquariums, nature parks, adventure sports and wineries.
Major tourist attractions
A major tourist attraction is a resort that generates significant tourist traffic
Scenic drives and tourist routes
Marked routes that connect a number of scenic areas or tourist attractions
Named State Highways
This is a State Highway that has a common name such as the Thermal Explorer Highway.
Types of signs
There are five types of tourist signs.
Advance signs are rectangular and inform travellers of tourist facilities on the road ahead or on a side road.
Position signs mark the actual location or direction of a tourist facility. They can have a pointed end with a chevron, or be rectangular.
Signs for major attractions
Tourist route markers (in this case the thermal explorer highway)
Tourist drive information signs.
What do you do if you want a sign for your tourist business?
Commercially operated tourist ventures usually have to pay NZTA for the design, installation and maintenance of a sign if it is a commercial profit-making business. The business must still meet the requirements of being a tourist facility, though such as having tourism as its core business focus, providing a definite tourism experience, having any relevant government licences, being open to the public without prior booking during normal opening hours, etc.
More information about tourist sign regulations and provision is available in this document from NZTA.