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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 getting a rental car, travel tips and road trip advice.

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

Travelling van parking on road side against beautiful snow mountain view

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. Read our Should You Rent a Car in New Zealand to know more about the benefits of renting a car.

In addition, you may consider if renting a campervan would be better suited. Should you decide to go with a campervan, 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', basically sleeping on the side of the road, you must have a self-contained vehicle. But keep in mind that many tourist towns have strict laws, and fines for freedom camping.

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.

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, Europcar, Hertz. Enterprise and Thrifty. Save time by comparing all their rates on our website.

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

25 is the usual minimum age requirement to rent and drive a car hire in New Zealand. 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 but an underage surcharge will apply. 

What driving 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 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.

Can I drive in New Zealand on a UK or US licence? 

Cars driving fast on road

Rental car companies usually accept English-language driving licences. They often do not accept provisional licences. If your driving licence is not in English, you will need an International Driving Permit. If you do not have a current and valid international driver licence or IDP then you cannot drive in New Zealand.

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. If you are planning to travel between the two islands, note that most car rental companies do not permit their vehicles to be taken on the Interislander Ferry. Click here to get more information.

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 a credit card to sign the Rental Agreement when collecting the vehicle. The terms and conditions on the booking page will display the rental requirements of your supplier - remember each vary slightly. For a full list of Car Rental Terms and Conditions, go here

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

Customer giving credit card to car rental staff

Only Avis and Hertz will accept debit cards (not pre-paid cards) with the Visa/Mastercard emblem. This excludes any luxury fleet bookings.

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.

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 local road rules in New Zealand, go to our Travel Tips.

Our friendly customer care experts are more than happy to assist you with your car rental booking. Contact us via phone, email or live chat today!