Renting a car is the best way to get around New Zealand and make the most out of your trip of a lifetime. But before your road trip around this beautiful country, it is a good idea to make sure you are well prepared and find out about the rules and laws around driving and renting a car in New Zealand. To rent a car in New Zealand you will usually have to be at least 21 years old and have a full international driving license or a valid local license. With this, you will be allowed to drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months from your arrival. Some car rental companies require drivers to be at least 25 years of age or allow drivers from 18 years old. Sometimes a surcharge is required for younger drivers.

Book your car in advance

Car rentals in New Zealand are not hugely expensive and can be even cheaper if you book in advance. You will also have more choice when selecting a car to suit your needs, as popular cars are booked up fast. During the holiday season from December to February, car rental charges sky-rocket in New Zealand. If you are going to New Zealand during this time, it is advisable to rent a car well in advance.

Your Driving License

If your driving license is in a language other than English, you will have to get it translated before you are allowed to drive in New Zealand. The translation needs to be done by a certified translator and authorised by your countries embassy or consulate in New Zealand or by the New Zealand Transport Agency. You can also get a certified translator to do this for you before you leave your own country. If your driving license is in English, it is valid for driving in New Zealand.


Most car hires come with basic insurance, which requires you to pay an excess of 2000-3000 NZD for any accidental damage. The rest will be covered by the insurance. We recommend that you get additional insurance that covers you fully. You can do this via your own car insurance company or find a good deal on the internet before you leave home.

Make sure that windshield cover is included in your insurance, as some of the smaller roads in New Zealand are gravel roads. It only takes one stone to be thrown up by the car in front of you to cause a crack in your windscreen, which you have to pay for if you are not insured. If you are going to leave valuables in the car, it is also a good idea to get insured against theft. Although New Zealand is a relatively safe country, car thefts do happen occasionally.