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New Zealand Car Rental: Perfect Way to See the Sights

With just under 1 million international tourists visiting New Zealand each year, it's no wonder that New Zealand car rental is such a hot topic.

From foreign visitors to locals exploring new areas of this beautiful country, there's no better way to see the sights of New Zealand than by car. With a New Zealand car rental, you can explore the country at your own pace, stopping whenever and wherever you want.

And with so many beautiful places to see, you'll never be short on things to do. However, renting a car in a new city or country can always be confusing. Here's what to know about renting a car in New Zealand.

Why New Zealand Car Rental Is the Best Way to See the Country

Before diving into the specifics of New Zealand car rental, do you still have doubts about whether or not it's right for you? It is! There are plenty of reasons to consider renting a car while in New Zealand.

First of all, it's a great way to see the country at your own pace. With your own set of wheels, you can explore all the nooks and crannies that interest you, without being beholden to public transport schedules or tour group itineraries.

Plus, having a rental car gives you the flexibility to change plans on the fly; if you find a place you love and want to stay an extra day (or two), no problem! Conversely, if you're not enjoying a certain destination, you can always move on to somewhere new.

When it comes down to it, New Zealand is an incredibly diverse country, and there's no better way to experience it than by car.

From the rugged beaches of the West Coast to the snow-capped mountains of the South Island, there's something for everyone, and with a rental car, you can make sure you see it all.

How to Rent a Car in New Zealand

Now, before you hit the open road in New Zealand, there are a few things you need to know about renting a car. Here's what the process is like and what kinds of documents you might need.

New Zealand Car Rental Age Requirements

The age requirements to rent a car in New Zealand are pretty straightforward. You must be 21 years of age or over to rent a car. However, it can be possible to rent a car if you're under 21, just with some caveats.

Namely, you may be required to pay a young driver's surcharge (that actually applies if you're under 25!). Additionally, you may not be able to rent certain types of vehicles (such as luxury cars).

So if you're under 21 and planning on renting a car in New Zealand, just be sure to check with the rental company in advance to avoid any surprises.

International Driving Permit

You'll need to have a valid International Driving Permit if you're not from New Zealand. You'll need to get that from your home country. The easiest way to find out where to get it from is to ask your state, territory, or country's driving association.

Once you're in New Zealand, you'll also need to make sure you have a current driver's license from your country of residence. Most car rental companies will require that you show both when signing for your car.

If you're renting a car for the first time, make sure to bring along your passport as well.

Payment Options

Payment options for New Zealand car rentals vary depending on the company you rent from. Some companies require a credit card for payment, while others accept cash or debit cards.

Before you rent a car in New Zealand, be sure to check the payment requirements of the company you choose just to ensure you arrive with everything you need for a smooth rental process.

New Zealand Car Rental Locations

New Zealand is a beautiful country to explore, and there are plenty of car rental locations to choose from. Whether you're looking for a small car to zip around town in or a larger vehicle for a road trip, you'll be able to find what you need.Here are just a few of the most popular New Zealand car rental locations.

Christchurch Car Rental

Christchurch is the South Island's largest city and the perfect base for exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside. Christchurch car rental locations are plentiful and easy to find, so it's easy to get out and explore the region at your own pace.

Christchurch is also a great jumping-off point for touring the rest of the island. This is why Christchurch car rental companies offer a variety of vehicles to suit every budget and taste.

Whether you're looking for a basic economy car or a luxurious SUV, Christchurch has a car rental that can meet your needs.

Not sure it's worth visiting? Christchurch is an amazing place to visit, and with a rental car, you can make the most of your time in this beautiful country.

Browse the Christchurch >

Queenstown Car Rental

Queenstown is a popular tourist destination in New Zealand, and it's easy to see why. Nestled among the Southern Alps, Queenstown is renowned for its stunning scenery, making it the perfect place to explore by car.

Queenstown also boasts a range of activities to keep visitors entertained, from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding. Whether you're looking for a small car to zip around town or a larger vehicle to explore the surrounding countryside, Queenstown has got you covered.

Browse the Queenstown >

Auckland Car Rental

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, so it's no surprise that it's a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.

When you're planning your trip to Auckland, be sure to allow plenty of time to explore all that this vibrant city has to offer.

And if you're looking for an Auckland car rental, there are plenty of great locations to choose from. Whether you're wanting to check out the downtown area or head out into the suburbs, you'll be able to find a rental car that suits your needs.

Browse the Auckland >

FAQs About Renting a Car in New Zealand

Still have questions about renting a car in New Zealand? We're used to answering them! Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about renting a car in New Zealand.

  • 01 Is Driving Safe for Tourists in New Zealand?
  • 02 How Old Do I Have to Be to Rent a Car in New Zealand?
  • 03 Can I Rent a Car With a Credit Card in New Zealand?
  • 04 Do You Need Car Insurance to Rent a Car in New Zealand?
  • 05 Is Car Rental Expensive in New Zealand?
  • 06 Should I Get Premium Roadside Assistance?
  • 07 What if I Need Add-Ons?
  • Is Driving Safe for Tourists in New Zealand?

    That's a tough question to answer. On the one hand, the country has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most beautiful places in the world, with stunning scenery and friendly locals.

    On the other hand, New Zealand also has some of the most challenging roads in the world, with narrow winding roads and sudden changes in weather conditions.

    So, what's the verdict? Is driving safe for tourists in New Zealand? Overall, the answer is yes, as long as you're prepared for the challenges of driving in a new country. Simply be extra cautious when driving at night or in unfamiliar territory.

  • How Old Do I Have to Be to Rent a Car in New Zealand?

    The minimum age to rent a car from most rental companies in New Zealand is 21 years old. However, some companies may rent to you if you're over the age of 18. If you are under 25 years old, you may be charged an additional "young driver surcharge".

    So, if you're planning on renting a car while you're in New Zealand, make sure you check the requirements of the rental company first. And, of course, don't forget your driver's license!

  • Can I Rent a Car With a Credit Card in New Zealand?

    Yes, there are many rental car companies that accept credit cards as payment. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using a credit card to rent a car.

    First, be sure to call your credit card company and let them know that you will be using your card for car rental charges. This will help to avoid any unnecessary holds or declined charges.

    Second, be sure to ask the rental car company about their specific policies regarding credit card payments. Some companies may require a deposit, while others may not accept credit cards for certain types of vehicles.

  • Do You Need Car Insurance to Rent a Car in New Zealand?

    No, you don't need car insurance to rent a car in New Zealand. Why not? It's actually mandatory that the car rental company include basic insurance as part of your rental fee.

    However, it's always a good idea to have some kind of additional coverage in case of an accident.

  • Is Car Rental Expensive in New Zealand?

    That really depends on how you look at it. If you're used to renting cars in Europe or North America, then you might find the prices here to be quite reasonable.

    But if you're coming from Asia or South America, where car rental rates are much lower, then you might be surprised at how much it costs to rent a car in New Zealand.

  • Should I Get Premium Roadside Assistance?

    If you're planning on driving in remote areas, or areas with limited cell phone reception, then it's definitely worth considering a premium roadside assistance plan.

    These plans usually cover things like towing, flat tires, and running out of gas, and can be a lifesaver if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

    On the other hand, if you're sticking to well-traveled routes and are comfortable with changing a tire or calling a tow truck yourself, then you might not need to pay for extra coverage.

  • What if I Need Add-Ons?

    Most car rental companies in New Zealand will offer a variety of add-ons. Many of these can be added at the time of booking, but some may need to be requested when you pick up the car.

    Be sure to check with the rental company ahead of time to see what add-ons are available and what, if any, additional charges apply.

How to Get the Best Price on Your New Zealand Car Rental

Ready to start your New Zealand car rental search? We're here to help you make it as easy as possible. King Rentalcars offers you the most comprehensive New Zealand rental car pricing information and pricing.

View available New Zealand rental cars now!

New Zealand Travel Tips

  • Continent

  • Capital

  • Language

  • Currency

  • Country code

  • Average gasoline price

    $3.31 / liter

six of the best locations in New Zealand

  • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua

    Rotorua is one of the most active geothermal sites in the world. If boiling mud pools, hissing geysers shooting high into the sky, volcanic craters and steaming thermal springs don’t impress you, what will? Just outside Rotorua is the Wai-O-Tapa Thermal Wonderland. The park is filled with geothermal activity and provides the perfect opportunity to learn about New Zealand’s rich Maori history and culture.

  • Queenstown

    Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure capital. It is situated between the 8000’ Remarkables Mountains and the perfectly blue Lake Wakatipu. Why don’t you try jet boating, paragliding, bungee jumping, white water rafting, rock climbing or simply experience a New Zealand sheep farm at Walter Peak Station after a short boat ride on the TSS Earnslaw Steamship?

  • Bay of Islands

    The Bay of Islands is a three hour drive north of Auckland – perfect for a rental car. It consists of 144 islands dotted in pristine seascape. It has many secluded bays and great sandy beaches. The sea life is second to none, including whales, penguins, dolphins and it offers great opportunities for fishing the big game.

  • Milford Sound

    A three hour car journey from Lake Te Anau in the South Island is richly rewarded by dramatic scenery formed by glaciers that carved out the famous Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Daily boat rides take you through the Sounds so you can experience massive waterfalls and amazing marine life. The famous Milford Track will take your breath away if you are into hiking.

  • Abel Tasman National Park

    Located on the northern tip of the South Island, the Able Tasman is the hiker’s dream. One of the great walks is the Abel Tasman Coast Track which starts at Marahau and goes through to Separation Point – a 51 kilometer hike. Along the way tourists can kayak and enjoy tours to spot seals, dolphins, penguins, Oyster Catchers, Wood Pigeons and much more.

  • Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

    The West Coast of the South Island is completely different from the East Coast. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are located in the Westland National Park. These glaciers are among the most accessible in the world, but you need to be fast as global warming works to melt these unique rivers of ice that descend from the peaks of the Southern Alps to near sea level.

Why is road safety in NZ so important?

New Zealand roads are particularly challenging. Not only do we have a lot of narrow, winding, two-lane roads, but the roads can be steep with many blind corners. This can be especially challenging in the winter when there is snow, ice and frost.

At we want you to enjoy your rental car and not have your hire end in injury or even death. The main causes of crashes in New Zealand are:

  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol or drugs taken by the driver
  • Failure to keep left
  • Driver fatigue
  • Failure to wear seatbelts
  • Not driving to the conditions
  • Failure to give way at intersections

For your own safety you are urged to read information on the
Drive Safe website and the attached booklet put out by the NZ Transport Agency, Driving in New Zealand . Drive safely and enjoy your hire!

Here are some real reviews of car hire inNew Zealandthat we have collected and hope will help you

Traffic Rules

Be sure to know New Zealand traffic rules before embarking on a road trip! Avoid unnecessary violations

  • Traffic direction

  • Slow down

  • Stopping for police

  • Special road signs

  • Matters need attention


    Always drive on the left side of the road. Some narrow roads don't have centre line markings to guide you.


    The speed limits on New Zealand roads vary - look for speed limit signs. You'll often need to go slower than the limit to drive on our roads safely. That means a 100km distance will seldom equal one hour of driving. It will usually take a lot longer, so always allow more time when planning your trip.

    On many of New Zealand's main rural roads, the speed limit is 100km/h unless a sign says a different speed applies.

    In urban areas, the speed limit is usually 50km/h unless a sign says otherwise.

    Yellow advisory speed signs warn that you are coming up to a tight curve or bend in the road and recommend a safe and comfortable driving speed. The arrows show which direction the curve goes.

    limit-100 limit-50 right-limit-35 right-limit-35-2


    Always drive on the left side of the road. Some narrow roads don't have centre line markings to guide you.


    If police require you to stop your vehicle they will drive behind you and activate red and blue lights and a siren. You must pull over as soon as possible. Park your car off to the side of the road safely and wait in it for the police officer to approach you.


    At a stop sign, you must come to a complete stop, then give way to all traffic.



    At a give way sign, you must give way to all traffic on the intersecting road. If turning, you must also give way to vehicles that are not turning.



    At roundabouts, you must give way to traffic from your right. You must travel around the roundabout in a clockwise direction.



    Some roads in New Zealand have one-lane bridges where vehicles must stop and wait for vehicles coming from the other direction. Stop if you need to give way. The red (smaller) arrow shows which direction has to give way.



    Drivers must watch for pedestrians crossing the road, particularly at pedestrian (or zebra) crossings and intersections.

    Always slow down near cyclists. Pass slowly and only when safe, and try to leave a space of 1.5 metres.

    If you see animals on the road, slow down and proceed carefully. Do not sound your horn.


    By law, everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt or child restraint - whether they're in the front or back.

    TIPS: Children under 7: Approved child safety seats restraint


    Drivers must not use a hand-held mobile phone when driving. If a phone is used it must be hands free. Texting on any mobile phone while driving is illegal.

Where are the New Zealand toll roads

When you take your first road trip to New Zealand, there's nothing worse than suddenly being told you're paying for the road you're taking. Thankfully, New Zealand doesn't have many toll roads. The three toll roads in New Zealand are all on the North Island: the Northern Gateway Toll Road, the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and the Takitimu Drive Toll Road.

  • Northern Gateway Toll Road

    The Northern Gateway Toll Road is a 7.5km motorway north of Auckland between Silverdale and Pūhoi, part of State Highway 1 (SH1). Heading north, the toll road begins just before Ōrewa and ends after the Johnstone Hills near Pūhoi. The toll road gives you a choice between a more direct route or the scenic State Highway 17 via Ōrewa.

  • Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road

    The Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road is a 15km tolled section of State Highway 2 (SH2) running between the Domain Road interchange, near Pāpāmoa, and the Paengaroa roundabout (SH2 and SH33 to Whakatāne and Rotorua). The free alternative route takes you on the Te Puke Highway, through Te Puke.

  • Takitimu Drive Toll Road

    The Takitimu Drive Toll Road, formerly known as Route K Toll Road, is a 5km road that bypasses the Tauranga city centre and takes traffic from State Highway 29 (SH29) to State Highway 2 (SH2) in the direction of the Port of Tauranga and Mt Maunganui. The alternative routes are via Cameron Road or Cambridge/Moffat Roads.

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