Renting a car in New Zealand gives you several advantages over relying on public transportation. While buses go throughout much of the country, and the major cities are connected by trains and airports, going off the beaten track to experience New Zealand’s famous natural attractions—like the areas around Waipoua Forest and Milford Sound—requires your own vehicle.
Most of New Zealand is connected by roads that are paved and well-maintained; however, there are several gravel roads and off-road paths that travelers tend to take when exploring the outdoors. A car will be an acceptable rental option if you’re sticking to the cities, but for vast, rural areas and mountain passes, a four-by-four will be required, preferably with tire chains, which you can often add on to your reservation through companies like GO Rentals and JUCY.
According to the child restraint laws in New Zealand, your child must be secured in a car seat up until the age of seven. From seven to eight years old, they must be secured in a car seat if the vehicle has one already. From ages eight to 14, children must wear a seat belt if the vehicle is equipped with one; if not, the children must sit in the back of the vehicle.
A popular way to get around New Zealand is to rent a campervan, which are offered by most major rental companies in New Zealand, including Jucy and GO Rentals. A campervan not only often has four-by-four capabilities for off-roading, but they also allow visitors to camp out in nature and save money on accommodations during their time in New Zealand.
25% of our users found rental cars in New Zealand for $43 or less
Book your rental car in New Zealand at least 7 days before your trip in order to get a below-average price
Off-airport rental car locations in New Zealand are around 109% more expensive than airport locations on average
Economy rental cars in New Zealand are around 37% cheaper than other car types, on average
FAQs about hiring a car in New Zealand
On average a car hire in New Zealand costs $85 per day.
Economy (Suzuki Swift or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in New Zealand.
In the past 72 hours, the cheapest car hires were found at Autounion Car Rental ($18/day), Yes Rentals ($19/day) and Mode Car & Camper Rentals ($21/day).
Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car hire in New Zealand is Hertz (8.3, 96 reviews).
Based on car searches on KAYAK, the most popular cities to hire a car in New Zealand are Queenstown (34% of total searches of users looking to hire a car in New Zealand), Auckland (23%) and Christchurch (22%).
On average a car hire in New Zealand costs $383 per week ($55 per day).
On average a car hire in New Zealand costs $1,642 per month ($55 per day).
In New Zealand, you’ll drive on the left side of the road. Roundabouts go clockwise, and there is an abundance of sheep in the countryside to watch out for. Other than that, driving in New Zealand is much like driving anywhere in Europe or in the United States. Also, there are many winding roads in New Zealand, so be sure to give yourself enough travel time if you’re in a rush.
To legally rent a car in New Zealand, you must be over the age of 21. However, if you’re under the age of 25, many rental car companies will add a surcharge to your reservation. New drivers should also take note that you must have had your license for at least one year when renting in New Zealand. You can rent a car in this country with a valid driver’s license, so there’s no need to get an international driving permit if you don’t already have one.
Getting petrol in New Zealand will cost you over twice what it costs in the United States. The price of a gallon of petrol in New Zealand is around 8.78 NZD (5.70 USD), while the price of petrol in the US is around 2.50 USD per gallon. Credit cards are commonly accepted at petrol stations in New Zealand, so you’ll likely not have to worry about carrying cash to the pump.
The speed limits in New Zealand range from 10 km/h to 110 km/h (6-68 mph), depending on the area you’re in. If you’re in a pedestrian zone, the limit will be 10 km/h (6 mph), with limits increasing the farther you get from pedestrian areas. In some rural areas, you’ll see a circular white sign with a diagonal black line through it. This sign means that the speed in the area is derestricted, and a general 100 km/h (62 mph) limit applies.
The rates displayed include all taxes and fees for hire cars for the class listed and were found by KAYAK users in the last 48 hours. Offers are subject to change and may not be available on all car hires listed or dates of travel. Some hire car providers charge additional fees for other services (GPS, infant car seats, etc.). Please check the website of the respective hire car provider.