Self-drive is a popular way to explore New Zealand. Roads are well-maintained and signposted, and spectacular scenery awaits around every corner.

New Zealand rental car tips

With self-drive, you’ll have the flexibility to evolve your itinerary as you go along and the freedom to explore places that are away from the main tourist trails.

Organising your rental car

Rental car companies in New Zealand offer a wide range of vehicles available to suit any budget. You’ll find all the big names as well as a number of local operators. Generally, the longer you hire the rental car, the cheaper the daily rate. There are depots in the main cities as well as in most of the regional airports throughout the country. One way hire is easy to organise. Make sure your travel insurance covers rental car hire.

Planning your itinerary

Take a look through these recommended trips to start your itinerary planning – the majority of the trips are for self-drive travel.  All main routes are sealed and well signposted; beyond the cities, traffic is light. Make sure you are well-rested before beginning your itinerary; it’s a good idea to have a full night’s sleep after arriving from a long-haul flight before getting behind the wheel. 

Driving in New Zealand

Click here to learn about how driving in New Zealand is different to driving in other countries. You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP) - (Note: if your overseas licence or permit isn't in English, you must carry an accurate translation. See NZ Transport Agency for more information). Commonly, you need to be 21 or older to rent a car in New Zealand. 

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