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Driving Restrictions for Rental Cars in New Zealand

When you travel in New Zealand, restrictions may apply as to where you can take your rental car. Policies on driving restrictions may vary depending on which rental provider you go with, so be sure to check with them to find out what their rules are.

Skippers Canyon, Queenstown

This narrow gravel road edges the precipice of a steep cliff face and, depending on the weather, it can be quite dangerous to drive on. Due to the safety risks involved with driving this road, rental car providers prohibit their vehicles from being driven here.

Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

Although the beach is officially classed as a highway, the lack of solid road and fluctuating tide makes it unsuitable for almost all cars to drive on—with 4WDs being an exception. For safety reasons, rental companies won't allow their cars to be driven on the sand.

Tasman Valley Road, Mount Cook

Not all of the Tasman Valley Road is off limits. Up until the glacier view car park at Mount Cook, the road is sealed and safe, however, beyond that, the road is not sealed and poses a safety risk. The rental car insurance will be null and void if the vehicle is driven on this rugged length of the road.

Port Jackson Road, Coromandel Peninsula

Although the coastal views here may be tempting, driving on Port Jackson Road presents too much of a risk for the rental car insurance to cover the vehicle for travel on this road. This narrow, 26-kilometre stretch runs the edges of cliffs, a rough gravel track that can become quite slippery during rain.

Alpine Areas

You’ll need to check your rental provider’s specific terms and conditions, but in some cases, renters are not permitted to drive their rental vehicle past the snow line without first purchasing additional cover. If you drive into these restricted areas without additional cover, you will be financially liable for any damage to the vehicle.


When Driving in New Zealand

You must only drive on sealed roads when travelling in New Zealand. If you drive your rental car on any restricted trails, you will need to pay any damage caused to the vehicle. If you're planning on driving past the snow line, you will need to gain authorisation from your rental provider; you may also need to purchase additional cover.