Car Rentals New Zealand
As a domestic or international tourist in New Zealand, renting a car is definitely the best way to get around.
With so many nooks, crannies, and remote locations dotted around this beautiful country, a rental car gives you the flexibility and control to choose when and where you want to go.
With a host of different car rental companies to choose from in a range of different cities, we’ll give you a run down of where to go to find the best deals and the top tips and tricks for driving on the New Zealand roads (hint: we have a lot of narrow, back country roads that can make driving more difficult than usual!)
Choosing a Rental Company:
Usually, the place where you’ll find the most variety of car rental options are at our domestic airports. Companies like Avis, Go Rentals, Omega Rental Cars, Hertz, Thrifty, Juicy, and Apex are among the most common, with popular destinations like Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, and Christchurch also providing a plethora of others within the city centres.
In our experience, the first thing to do when deciding on a company to choose from is do your research well in advance. Compare and contrast dates and prices, and make a note of any differing prices. Not only will this give you an idea of the price ranges that best suit your budget, but the further out you book, the cheaper the price will be (and the lower the chance of them being sold out - a common occurrence in the peak summer months).
Secondly, if you’re under the age of 25, check that there isn’t a premium or excess that you have to pay, or if you have to be a credit card holder (some companies will only take credit cards as assurance, rather than debit). It can often be difficult to ascertain this on their websites, so it’s always best to give them a call and ask.
Thirdly, check that the car you’re looking at has all of the amenities that you do (or don’t) need. Do you really need a state of the art Mercedes Benz, or will a standard Toyota do for what you're after? Alternatively, will you be driving along a lot of gravel and dirt roads in the wop wops? If so, a 4WD may be what you’re after instead.
Tips and Tricks:
- Choose to ‘relocate’ a car for free instead of pay a day-to-day rental price
One lesser-known hidden secret of the rental car world is that you can choose to relocate a car from a certain location. There will be certain cars in specific locations that need to be relocated by a certain date, which you can choose to do - for free! All you’ll need to do is pay for petrol, and make sure that it makes it to the specified location on time.
This is great for people who are on a flexible schedule who are already heading in that general direction.
- Choose to rent during the shoulder months (May-September) for cheaper prices
If you are wanting to score a better deal, plan your trip around the off-peak months of May-September. There will be a wider availability of cars to choose from, at a much cheaper price.
(To score yourself an even better deal, book well in advance for the shoulder months and you’ll grab a real bargain!)
- Make sure you have car insurance
This is a must. No matter how much extra insurance costs per day, New Zealand roads can be extremely dangerous - and many foreign drivers have found that out the hard way.
Our roads can be extremely narrow and windy with gravel seals (which can easily chip windscreens), and a lot of them are often in rural areas with no cell phone signal.
Always, always, choose to get insurance. Your life (or someone else’s) may depend on it.
- The longer you rent for, the cheaper the price is per day
The longer you hire a car for, the cheaper the overall price will be. Rather than only renting for a few days, why not see if there is a car to relocate to your desired destination instead?
If you’re planning on a solid road trip, make the most of the cheaper prices per day, and really go and explore all this beautiful country has to offer.