Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps

Car Rental in New Zealand

If you love the freedom of creating your own travel itinerary then New Zealand is a great country to choose a self-drive New Zealand rental car as your mode of transport. Hiring a rental car in New Zealand allows you to travel at your own pace, stopping when you want and having the opportunity to visit places that are off the beaten track.

Rental Cars in New Zealand’s North Island

If you are arriving at Auckland Airport on a long-haul flight you may want to consider a one-night stay at an airport hotel or in the city before picking up your hire car in Auckland. A good night’s sleep will mean that you are refreshed from your long-flight and stop you from making costly mistakes on the road due to tiredness.

Picking your rental car up from Auckland, allows you to explore the top of the North lsland, with beautiful beaches and historic townships such as the Bay of Islands, Russell and Waitangi. From Auckland take a scenic drive by hire car around the Coromandel Peninsula; the rugged interior has rocky beaches and headlands on the west coast; with beautiful beaches and bays down the east coast. Stop off at one of the small historic towns including Thames, Coromandel Town and Waihi and discover arts and crafts communities, and the rich gold mining heritage of the region.

Alternatively, you could head south from Auckland, to the glow worm caves of Waitomo or the geothermal towns of Rotorua and Taupo. Lovers of food and wine should plan a trip across to Napier to sample the best of the Hawkes Bay wine region.

Hire Cars in the South Island of New Zealand

If you are planning a trip through the South Island, then consider car rental from Christchurch, the biggest city in the South Island. This option gives you leisurely access to the action thrills of Queenstown and the wilderness of the West Coast and the Southern Alps, without having to rely on public transport or tour buses.

Alternatively from Christchurch you can take your rental vehicle south to Dunedin via Lake Tekapo and magnificent Mt Cook. At Dunedin explore the Otago Peninsula before driving your hire vehicle around the Southern Scenic Route to Invercargill and Stewart Island; before continuing on to Fiordland National Park, where you can take cruise on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound.

Travellers planning to see New Zealand top to bottom should note that many car rental companies allow you to leave your rental car in Wellington, at the bottom of the North Island, cross the Cook Strait as a foot passenger and pick up another car hire in Picton to continue your travels in the South Island.

New Zealand Rental Car Hire

Some facts about driving in New Zealand

  • Drive on the left hand side of the road
  • The open-road speed limit is 100km per hour, but many roads are single-lane and narrow, so please drive to the conditions
  • You normally need to be 21 or older to rent a car in New Zealand
  • You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have a current driver’s licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit
  • If your overseas licence isn’t in English, you must carry an accurate translation

Major New Zealand Car Rental Locations