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Popular car rental cities in New Zealand
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Car Rental in New Zealand: Driving the Land of Fascinating Landscapes
New Zealand is a must-see for any traveller, and truly the best way to fully take in these islands’ fascinating and diverse landscapes is via rental car. Whether you plan to visit just one island or both, there’s so much to see, from one of the most conical volcanoes in the world on the North Island to the breathtaking variations of mountain peaks and lakes in Queenstown on the South Island. Book your rental car today to make the most of New Zealand’s adventuresome offerings!
The summer months of December to February are often the busiest tourist times in New Zealand, though winter adventurers are also making June through August a busy season. For some truly beautiful views and a little less tourist traffic, visit New Zealand in the fall, from March to May.
The three official languages of New Zealand are English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language. While the indigenous language Māori is spoken by over 150,000 New Zealanders, English is the most widely spoken and understood language of the country.
The country is located in the New Zealand Time Zone, UTC+12.
The currency is the New Zealand dollar and the vast majority of transactions take place via credit or debit card throughout the country.
Cheap car hire in New Zealand is available in thirty cities, though the most popular cities to rent in are Auckland and Wellington on the North Island. Interested in car hire in New Zealand, South Island? It is available in Picton, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown.
While Australians can visit New Zealand indefinitely, and citizens of the United Kingdom can stay for up to six months, citizens of many other nations can visit New Zealand as tourists for up to three months visa-free. Check visa regulations for your nationality before you make travel plans, as you may need to apply for a visa at a New Zealand diplomatic post or British embassy before you depart for the country.
Expect to undergo strict inspection at all ports of entry to ensure you do not mistakenly transport any infected or noxious foods, plants, or animals to New Zealand’s very well protected and isolated ecosystem.
Driving in New Zealand
Driving is a real pleasure in New Zealand, particularly outside of cities, where you will rarely run into a traffic jam.
- Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road.
- In cities and towns: 40 to 50 km/h
- On rural roads: typically 100 km/h, though sometimes 60 to 80 km/h
- On new expressways: 110 km/h
- Except in New Zealand’s largest cities, parking is routinely available on the street or in car parks, and you can often park just outside the central business district for free.
- If your domestic driver’s license has not been issued in English, you will be required to carry an additional international driver’s permit to rent and drive in New Zealand.
- The minimum driving age in New Zealand is 18, but you will have to be at least 21 years old to rent a car, and you can expect to face young-driver surcharges until the age of 25.
- New Zealanders have been known to chastise tourists who drive too fast or recklessly. Respect the locals by ensuring that you’ve had enough sleep before you get on the road, and take it slow. Particularly in the mountains, you’ll want to be prepared for hairpin turns.
- If you’re planning on driving on both the North and South Islands, ask your rental company what your options are for travelling across the Cook Strait. Some companies may arrange pick up and drop off on both sides of the Strait and others, such as Hertz, may allow you to travel across the Strait, provided you return your car to its original pick-up point afterwards.
Cheap Car Rental in New Zealand
Car hire in New Zealand typically starts at around $11 a day in most locations outside of the Auckland and Christchurch airports, where rental often starts as low as $11 a day. Here are some of the best deals in New Zealand:
- Daihatsu Sirion or similar (mini class) – $11/day
- Toyota Vitz or similar (economy class) – $15/day
- Suzuki Swift or similar (compact class) – $16/day
- Toyota Corolla or similar (intermediate class) – $22/day
- Hyundai I30 or similar (intermediate class) – $29/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in New Zealand
During the most popular months in New Zealand, from December to February, the daily rental price can increase by $11 per day, so save some money by either booking your car well in advance or plan to visit New Zealand a bit later in the year.
You can also save around $5 a day by extending your rental agreement to over a week!
Lucky Car and Campervan Rentals is by far the cheapest rental brand in New Zealand and offers cars starting at $11 a day at the airports in Auckland and Christchurch.