Key Considerations for Renting a Car in New Zealand
Renting a car in New Zealand is a popular choice for both domestic and international travellers due to the country’s expansive and scenic landscapes that are best explored at one’s own pace. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car in New Zealand:
1. Driving License:
International visitors can drive in New Zealand if they have either an International Driving Permit (IDP) or a current driver’s licence that is written in English. If your license is not in English, you will need to get an International Driving Permit or an approved translation of your license to English.
Domestic travellers just need a valid New Zealand driver’s licence.
2. Age Limit for Renting a Car in NZ:
Most car rental companies in New Zealand require drivers to be at least 21 years old, though some may rent to younger drivers with an added fee. There’s usually no upper age limit, but it’s always worth checking with the individual rental company.
Car rental companies offer various insurance options, including Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), theft protection, and third-party liability coverage. Check your travel insurance policy to see if any of these are already covered before you pay extra.
4. Additional Drivers:
If more than one person will be driving, make sure all drivers are listed on the car rental agreement. There may be additional charges for this.
5. Fuel Policy:
Most rental companies in New Zealand operate on a ‘full-to-full’ policy. This means you pick up the car with a full tank and you return it full.
6. Car Type:
The type of car you rent will depend on your specific needs and the kind of trip you plan on taking. Compact cars are great for city travel, while an SUV or camper van might be a better fit for a countryside tour or camping trip.
7. Booking Online:
Online booking in advance is typically cheaper than renting at the counter. Moreover, it also ensures that you get the car type you desire.
8. Pick-up and Drop-off Locations:
Most car rental companies have offices at major airports and city centres. Some companies might allow you to pick up and drop off your car at different locations, but this could come with an additional fee.
9. Driving in New Zealand:
Remember, in New Zealand, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road. Also, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the country’s road rules, signs, and speed limits before you start your journey.
10. Road Conditions:
New Zealand’s diverse geography means road conditions can vary. Mountainous areas may have winding roads and require more careful driving. Always check weather and road conditions, especially when travelling in winter.
11. GPS/Navigation System:
Consider renting a GPS or using a smartphone navigation app to help with directions, especially if you plan on driving in remote areas.
Finally, always read the terms and conditions thoroughly before signing any rental agreement. Ensure you understand what you are liable for and what the rental price includes (e.g., mileage limit, insurance, taxes).
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general advice about car rentals in New Zealand. It doesn’t constitute financial or legal advice. Readers should seek independent professional advice before making any financial decisions.