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New Zealand car hire tips
Where to pick up your car
There are over 35 car hire locations in New Zealand, and the most popular city is Auckland.
Top car rental brands
The most popular car rental brands in New Zealand are Ezirent, Ace, Thrifty, Jucy and GO Rentals.
Best time to hire a car
The cheapest months to pick up your car hire in New Zealand are May and September.
New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
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Hire a car in New Zealand
From mile-wide beaches to mile-high mountains, New Zealand is bursting with photograph-worthy landscape.
New Zealand's two main islands and islet-studded surroundings present a bounty of epic landscapes and breathtaking experiences. While this is great for the pleasure-seeking holidaymaker, the wilderness of New Zealand doesn't make it easy to get from place to place without a car.
So, rent a car with easyCar when you get off the plane and hit the ground running. We'll find you the best price from over 15 car rental brands at all major airports and cities across the country.
The North Island
Easily the most populous island of the two, the North Island is where most backpackers and adventurers will start their journey. Its two largest cities – Auckland and Wellington – account for almost half the population of New Zealand between them.
Auckland is by far the most urban area of the island. If you fly into New Zealand via Auckland International Airport, you would be forgiven for thinking you've flown into the wrong country – the city is packed with glass and steel, without much greenery to be seen.
You could spend weeks in Auckland without feeling like you've seen everything, but we recommend that you set some time aside to explore its beautiful surroundings.
In the city: The Sky Tower is your opportunity to take in all the sights of the city. Feeling brave? Take a jump from almost 200 metres up off this 300-metre tower.
Outside the city: Waitakere Ranges is just half an hour drive away and is filled with both picture-perfect beaches and lush, dense rainforests.
The capital city of New Zealand, despite only having about a third of the population of Auckland, Wellington sits at the base of the North Island.
It's well-known for being the cooler of the two major northern cities, and is a hub for New Zealand's burgeoning film industry and jaw-dropping arts institutions.
In the city: Old St Paul's is a strikingly beautiful wooden cathedral sitting just a stone's throw from Waterloo Quay. As well as its spiritual offerings, it also sells slightly more material gifts in its renowned all-year Christmas shop.
Outside the city: Kapiti Island is around an hour's drive (plus a ferry) from Wellington. It’s the perfect spot for getting back to nature, as well as providing arresting panoramas from the peak of Tuteremoana.
The South Island
The South Island is far larger in terms of landmass than its more popular sister island, and its low population density is striking even in its main cities. Many roadtrippers head to this side of New Zealand to track down some easy paid work to fund the rest of their travels across the Australasian continent.
Beyond the urban areas is a fusion of nature’s finest. The deepest valleys of Fiordland, born in the ice age, capture the adventurer’s heart within seconds. Plus, the iconic face of Mitre Peak stands proud – this impressive rock soars near vertically into the air for more than a mile. Unsurprisingly, the ascent to this pinnacle is more for admiring than conquering.
You couldn't ask for a more dramatic setting than that of the resort town of Queenstown. From the city, you'll be able to admire the snow-capped peaks of a number of mountain ranges (including The Remarkables), as well as the azure beauty of Lake Wakatipu.
The largest city on the South Island (but still with fewer than 500,000 residents), Christchurch sits on the East Coast. Its busy international airport – Christchurch International (CHC) – welcomes a steady stream of holidaymakers looking to explore the city or head to the slopes at the nearby Southern Alps.
Dunedin has a fascinating history of Scottish and Maori occupation, making it the perfect location for the history enthusiast. Its economy developed as a result of a gold rush but is now propped up by a large student population and ecotourists seeking its various unique native animal colonies.
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New Zealand car hire FAQs
Q. How old do you have to be to hire a car in New Zealand?
A. The minimum age to hire a car in New Zealand is 21, but you'll probably have to pay a young driver's surcharge if you're under 25.
Q. Is it cheaper to rent from the airport or downtown?
A. In New Zealand, the cost of car hire at the airport is pretty much the same as downtown. Usually it makes most sense to pick up at the airport but remember that you might be too jet-lagged to drive on the first day. So, you may want to take a cab to the city and collect a car downtown the next day.
Q. Who are the top car rental brands in New Zealand?
A. Budget brand Ace Rent a Car is the most popular brand in New Zealand, with average prices under £25 per day. More familiar faces, including Europcar, Hertz and Alamo, also provide car rental in New Zealand, but often at double the price of budget brands.
Q. When is the cheapest month to hire a car in New Zealand?
A. May to September is New Zealand's winter and therefore its low season. The weather may be less dazzling, but you can easily save over 50% on your flights and car hire compared with the peak season.
Q. What type of car do I need to get around in New Zealand?
A. Your instinct may be to pick up a 4x4 or an SUV, to deal with the terrain of New Zealand's wilderness. In fact, New Zealand's roads are very well-maintained and you'll find that an economy car will do the job just as well as an all-terrain.