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Guide to Renting a Car in New Zealand

Car rental guide

First time renting a car in New Zealand? No worries. VroomVroomVroom makes booking a rental car easy, and we’ve also put together a guide on what you need to know before you make your reservation. Check out these frequently asked questions regarding car rental in New Zealand:

What is the Best Type of Vehicle to Rent in New Zealand?

The ideal vehicle is different for everyone. Make sure you choose a vehicle that is going to provide enough space for everyone you’re travelling with, and consider where you’ll be going. If you’re going to be doing a lot of city driving, then a compact car that’s easier to park might be the way to go. But if you’ll be heading out to more mountainous or snowy areas, you may want to rent a four-wheel drive.

You may also consider renting a campervan, but make sure to consider where you will stay overnight. Commercial campgrounds won’t cost you extra if you’re in a fully self-contained van. Keep in mind that camping outside of designated zones may land you a fine—even if you’re in a campervan.

Want our advice on which vehicle to pick? Check out our guide on choosing a rental.

What Do I Need in Order to Rent a Car?

Renting with VroomVroomVroom is fast and easy. You'll only need to let us know your desired pick-up location (date and time), return location (date and time), the type of vehicle you want to hire, and your personal contact details.

When you go to collect your vehicle, you’ll need to have your driver licence handy, as well as a valid credit card.

For more info on booking a vehicle, check out our page on how to book a rental car.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand?

The rates for a rental car will vary depending on the length of your booking, the location, and the type of vehicle you choose. Whether you’re looking for a smaller car to cruise around the city, or a larger vehicle to take to the highway, VroomVroomVroom will help you compare the costs. We’ve partnered with trusted car rental providers in New Zealand, including Alamo, Apex, Avis, Budget, East Coast, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, and Thrifty. Save time by comparing all their rates at once using our search form.

You may also want to check out each rental provider’s price inclusions and exclusions for information on additional costs beyond the vehicle’s base rate.

What is the Minimum Age to Rent a Car in New Zealand?

In most cases, the age requirement for renting a car in New Zealand is 18. However, many rental providers will charge a young driver fee for drivers under the age of 25. Additionally, the driver will need to have held a full driver licence for a minimum of one year.

If you’d like more info, check out our page on age requirements.

What Type of Licence Do I Need to Drive a Rental Car?

You will need to have held a full, unrestricted driver licence for a minimum of 12 months to rent a car in New Zealand. Non-English licences will need to be accompanied by an International Driving Permit, an official English translation of the original licence. If you hold a provisional or learner licence, you may not be permitted to rent a car.

Check out our page on licence requirements for more info.

Where is the Ideal Place to Pick Up a Rental Car?

Car rental providers have depots in cities, airports, and regional towns across New Zealand. For international visitors, airport locations can be convenient, but they may incur a premium location surcharge. If you’re visiting the North Island, we offer rental car comparisons in cities such as Auckland and Wellington. Otherwise, check out our pages on Queenstown and Christchurch if you’re headed to the South Island.

Can Rental Cars Be Taken on the Inter-Island Ferries?

If you select an Apex or GO Rentals vehicle, you will be able to take it on the inter-island ferries as permitted by the provider, however, most car rental providers do not allow their vehicles to be taken on the ferries. Generally, you’ll need to return your rental car to the ferry terminal and have a booking for a second car that you can pick up upon reaching the other island.

For more details, see our page on multi-island car rental.

Can I Rent a Car if I Do Not Have a Credit Card?

Some car rental providers accept debit cards and cash payments, but you will likely need to pay a larger security bond, and only selected vehicles and locations allow these forms of payment.

Want to know more? Visit our page on payment methods.

How Does Car Rental Insurance Work in New Zealand?

Your rental car will be covered by basic insurance, but in the instance the vehicle is lost or damaged, you will be financially liable for the excess amount. This amount can be quite substantial, totalling thousands of dollars. As an extra precaution, you can purchase excess reduction products at the car rental counter. There may be other types of insurance products available, including 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 Rental Car?

Yes. All of our car rental partners allow one-way rentals to be booked through VroomVroomVroom. Be advised that one-way rentals may incur a one-way fee, though this fee will always be included in the quote for your vehicle.

Want to know more? See our page on one-way fees.

What Happens if I Receive a Traffic Fine Against My Rental Car?

Your rental provider will either charge your credit card for the amount detailed on the fine, or they will supply your information to law enforcement agencies, who will 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 rental car booking in the future, refusal of entry into the country, or cancellation of your visa on a return visit.

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