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Need help with your car rental? Phone: 0800-141-466
Need help with your car rental?
Phone: 0800-141-466

Guide to Renting a Car in New Zealand

Road to mount cook, New Zealand

For many locals and travellers around the world, it is a dream to rent a car in New Zealand and explore some of the beautiful scenery. However, if you are new to the process of renting a car it can be quite confusing. VroomVroomVroom has put together a comprehensive guide to introduce you to the basics - from the process of getting a rental car to travel and driving tips. 

What is the best type of vehicle to rent in New Zealand?

Think where you want to go, and who you are travelling with. While New Zealand has plenty of mountainous roads, a fuel-efficient modern vehicle will be able to handle most of them. Petrol is expensive here, so don't take a larger vehicle than you need. Four wheel drive SUVs may be useful in the depths of winter. 

You may also consider renting a  campervan, but make sure to think about where you will stay. If you plan to stay in commercial campgrounds, you don't need to pay extra for a fully self-contained van. If there is any chance that you would like to 'freedom camp', you must have a self-contained vehicle. However, keep in mind that many tourist towns have strict laws and fines for freedom camping.

To help you decide which type of car to hire, click here

What information do I need to rent a car?

Renting with VroomVroomVroom is fast and easy. You'll only need to get these things ready: the pick-up location (date and time), the return location (date and time), the type of vehicle you want to hire, your personal contact details and a valid credit card to be used for the rental.

Click here for a step-by-step process on how to book a car rental using VroomVroomVroom.

How much is it to rent a car in New Zealand?

Generally, rates differ depending on the length of rental and the type of vehicle you choose. Whether you are looking for a smaller car to cruise around the city, or a larger vehicle to take to the highway, VroomVroomVroom can help you compare the costs. We partnered with trusted car rental providers in New Zealand such as Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. Save time by comparing all their rates on our website. 

Remember to read the supplier's  price inclusions and exclusions  so you will know the amount that you still need to pay beyond the car rental rate. 

What is the minimum age to rent a car in New Zealand?

The usual minimum age requirement to rent and drive a car hire in New Zealand is 25. However, there are some car rental agencies that allow drivers below 25 as long as they pay for the underage surcharge fee. A customer must be at least 21 to be eligible to hire a car and must carry a full driver's licence for a minimum of one year. Some suppliers like Jucy offer car rental for renters aged 18 and above, but an underage surcharge will apply. 

Click here to find out the minimum age requirement per car rental company.

What type of licence do I need to drive a rental car?

Renters with a full driver's licence held for a minimum of 12 months can legally drive in New Zealand. Non-English licence holders need to present an International Driving Permit written in English or translation document. If you hold a Provisional or Learner's licence you may not be permitted to rent a car with certain companies.

For more information on driver's licence requirements, click here

Where is the ideal place to pick up a rental car?

Car rental companies have depots in cities, airports and regional towns across New Zealand. For international visitors, airport locations can be convenient, but remember they may incur a higher surcharge. If you are visiting the North Island, we offer car hire comparison in cities such as  Auckland and  Wellington. Check out our pages on Queenstown and  Christchurch if you are headed to the South Island. 

Can rental cars be taken on Interisland Ferry? 

If you are planning to travel between the North and South islands, take note that most car rental companies do not permit their vehicles to be taken on the Interislander Ferry. However, the are some companies that allow their cars on the ferry but you need to meet their strict requirements. 

Click here for more details on interisland car rental. 

What do I need when I collect my hire car?

When you arrive at the depot to pick up your rental car,  you will need a valid driver's licence and credit card to sign the Rental Agreement when collecting the vehicle. The car rental company may require other documents such as International Driving Permit so make sure to read their terms and conditions.

For more information on the required documents for picking up a rental car, click here

Can I rent a car if I do not have a credit card?

Yes you can since some car rental companies accept debit card and cash for payment. However, you need to pay an additional security bond and only selected vehicles and locations allow these forms of payment.  

Click here for the different payment methods. 

How does car rental insurance work in New Zealand?

Your rental car will have an excess amount that you can be charged for any damage caused to the vehicle while it is in your possession. You can purchase excess reduction products at the car rental counter to reduce or liability, or pre-purchase optional insurance. Rental car companies in New Zealand are likely to offer these four optional types of hire car insurance coverage when you pick up your vehicle: the collision damage waiver, liability insurance, personal accident insurance and personal effects coverage. 

Click here for further details.

Can I make a reservation for a one way?

Yes. All of our suppliers allow one way rentals through the VroomVroomVroom website. Please note, however that one way rentals may incur a one way fee, though this fee will always be included in the quote for your vehicle. 

Learn more about one-way fees here.

What happens if I receive a speeding fine in my hire car?

Your car hire company will either charge your credit card for the amount detailed on the fine, or supply your information to law enforcement agencies, who will in turn issue a fine to your postal address. It is advisable to pay any fines you receive before leaving the country. Failure to pay fines received in New Zealand may result in refusal of a hire car, refusal of entry or cancellation of a visa on a return visit. 

If you want to know more about the road rules in New Zealand, read our comprehensive driving tips.