Car Hire In New Zealand

A Guide to New Zealand Car Rental.

Before getting a quote for car hire, make sure you check out the car hire options and driving requirements in New Zealand.

If you’re travelling to New Zealand from overseas, there are a number of rental options and driving conditions you should know about before booking your New Zealand rental car. Some are the same as you may find overseas, others may be unique to New Zealand and so worth reading up on.

If you’re a New Zealander and have never hired a car before, you may also find this guide useful.

Driving Age And Licensing

The driving age in New Zealand is relatively young compared to some countries. However, for most car rental companies, drivers must be at least 21 years of age before they can rent a car. It’s also common that you must hold a non-provisional licence, i.e. you’ve passed your final test and hold a full driver’s licence.

If your driver’s licence is in a language other than English, it may be worth securing a certified English translation of your licence before you head to New Zealand.

Additional drivers of the same rental vehicle are generally allowed, although each driver must hold a full licence as per the above requirements.


While it is not a legal requirement for regular drivers to insure their car, all rental cars in New Zealand are likely to be covered by some form of insurance up to a set amount.

It’s important to be aware that not all of New Zealand’s roads are fully sealed – there are many gravel tracks and dirt roads across the country, as well as some roads that are often covered in snow during winter seasons. Because of this, many car rental insurance policies do not cover you if you travel on certain roads. It’s worth checking this with your particular rental company before you set off.

Some New Zealand car hire companies offer an insurance excess reduction. This gives you the option of paying extra to reduce your insurance excess in the event of an accident. With New Zealand’s unique road conditions and driving rules, it might be a good idea to take advantage of this option.

Roadside Assistance

As some New Zealand road driving conditions can be extreme – whether it’s strong weather or uneven and unsealed road surfaces – some form of roadside assistance option is a necessity that can prevent the ruining of your holiday by any unforeseen car problems.

While some New Zealand car rental companies offer this as standard, for others it may be an optional extra cost so it’s worth checking with your particular rental company.

GPS Navigation

If you’re new to New Zealand and planning to spend a lot of time travelling around cities, it can be a very good idea to book a GPS navigation unit with your car hire. This can not only save you precious holiday time by helping you to get exactly where you need to be, but you’ll also save fuel costs by cutting down the amount of driving you do while looking for a location and reducing the number of wrong-turns you might make.

Some GPS navigation units even display local points of interest so you can be sure you don’t miss out on any interesting locations while on your travels.

One Way Car Rentals

Some car rental companies offer a service that covers you if you only require a car from A to B without returning to A. One way car rentals allow you to hire a car from one location, use it to travel to another, and then drop the car off at a different car rental branch or airport while you continue your journey by other means. Check with you rental company to see if there is a fee involved with this service.

Airport Pick-Ups

If you’re travelling from overseas, it’s fairly likely that you’ll be landing in one of New Zealand’s international airports! If so, you can either pick up a car from a rental company with a branch within the airport, or you can arrange for a representative from a rental company to meet you at the airport and take you to your car. Many car rental companies offer this meet-and-greet service for free so it’s worth asking your rental company if this is included.