Car hire in New Zealand
Car rentals in New Zealand
New Zealand is located in the south-western Pacific Ocean and is formed of two main islands. Known for being the country portrayed as Middle Earth in the film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The lord of the Rings' New Zealand is a beautiful place to visit, with landscapes created by volcanoes and glaciers.
Since becoming a British colony in 1840 - the country having been populated by the Maoris sometime around 1250 - New Zealand has become a popular destination for explorers and fans of outdoor activities. Known for allowing you to experience all four seasons in day, you'll find ski-worthy slopes not far from stunning white sandy beaches.
To truly see this inspirational city, you need to hire a car and drive through it. This will allow you to see how the landscape changes throughout the country and ensure you see as much as you can during your stay.
What you need to know
Whether you're heading to the North Island or the South - or even exploring them both - you have numerous options when it comes to hiring a car in New Zealand. With four main cities and numerous other towns and locations to choose from, you'll be able to find the right company and vehicle to suit your needs.
To make your journey easier, you can even pick up from one location and drop off at another if you book through Holiday Autos' booking tool. This ensures that you can plan your journey around what you want to do and not based on where you need to take your car.
You'll also benefit from free cancellation, around the clock support and free amendments when booking through us, ensuring you get everything you need from your car hire.
Where to pick up your car
There are a lot of different options when it comes to collection points for your hire car, but it can be simplest to pick up from the airport that you're flying into. You can collect your car from Auckland Airport (AKL), Christchurch Airport (CHC), Wellington Airport (WLG) or Queenstown Airport (ZQN).
All of these airports have clearly marked car hire desks and offices either in the terminal or close by. This makes it simple to find the company you have booked with once you've collected your luggage so you can get on with your New Zealand adventure.
There are also some city centre pick up locations available, although you should check what your options are before booking to find the most convenient location to suit your needs.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
When we say you'll be spoilt for choice when choosing where to go in New Zealand, we mean it. From the beautiful Bay of Islands that offers amazing beaches and a chance to swim with dolphins to the mountainous area of Milford Sound that can be full of tumbling waterfalls when it rains, there are so many options.
Visit the natural springs of Rotorua and take a cableway gondola to Skyline Rotorua for panoramic views of the city, complete with areas of rising natural steam. Head to Larnach Castle in Dunedin to learn all about its fascinating and heartbreaking history before visiting Koekohe beach to see its iconic spherical Moeraki Boulders.
Fans of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy can't visit the country without heading to the set of Hobbiton, which was constructed on farmland in Matamata just outside of Auckland. The set has been maintained and allows you a chance to step into the world of Tolkien.
Driving in New Zealand
Because the country was colonised by Britain, driving is done on the left hand side of the road, so it isn't much different to driving in the UK. However, you must be familiar with the New Zealand Road Code in order to drive in the country, as there are some rules that differ to the UK.
You can drive in New Zealand on a valid overseas permit or license or if you've been granted a license from the country. It is only possible for you to drive in New Zealand for a maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive. If you leave the country and then return, you can extend this period for another 12 months.
Because many roads are narrow or winding, you may find that journeys take longer than you expect, so it is worth taking this into account.
If you want a chance to explore New Zealand by car and see a range of different scenery, head to Fiordland National Park in Milford Sound on the South Island. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, here you'll find some of the most astounding landscapes in the country due to the glaciers that created it. From waterfalls to lakes and huge rainforests - all of which are surrounded by mountains - you'll never see anything like this area anywhere else.
On the North Island, just three hours from the city of Auckland, is a different type of landscape. The Bay of Islands features over 144 islands of various sizes throughout the bay, which is an amazing sight. Explore the bay by boat for a chance to visit some of the most popular islands and spot dolphins and whales. You can also drive along the coast to see the bay from different points and gets some beautiful photos.
Top attractions in New Zealand
It's unlikely that you'll fit every attraction in New Zealand into your trip, but you can certainly try when you hire a car in this amazing country.
The City of Sales is where a lot of journeys start due to its large international airport. With two gorgeous harbours and a mix of cultures coming together, Auckland has a different vibe from any other city in the world. Head to the Sky Tower to look out over Auckland in all its glory, enjoy the various cuisines on offer and head to the beach to cool off. Don't be surprised if you see businessmen walking around in suits but no shoes, it's all just part of the city's charm.
Wellington may be small but the capital city of New Zealand certainly packs a punch. You can travel to Wellington from the North Island by ferry, which allows you to take your car across too. Known for its wind, the city has stunning views across the Cook Strait as well as the fascinating Museum of New Zealand. You'll also find a cinema owned by film director Peter Jackson, which is where the premiers for the Middle Earth movies were held.
Also on the South Island is the beautiful Queenstown. Located between Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountains, this is the place to go for adventure. All manor of outdoor activities can be found in around Queenstown, including the famous AJ Hackett bungy jump. If you don't want to get active, enjoy any one of the spas or galleries, or hit the shops.