Driving In New Zealand

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Driving In New Zealand

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about New Zealand
1. Posted by Nomio (Budding Member 3 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hey people, am just wondering about driving in New Zealand.3 of us (all 20 yrs)are out there for 4 weeks in august but would have only had licences for around 10 months.Any advice on renting cars? rough prices,etc? or is is cheaper to buy a car out there?

2. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 616 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Don't want to be a downer, but you might struggle to rent at all.
You almost certainly couldn't rent a car in the UK - purely down to your age. Most companies require you to be at least 21, sometimes 25.
You need to check out the hire companies before you go - look at their websites and check the small print. If you can't find confirmation, then email them and be honest.
Failing this you'll have to buy, but this is not usually a viable option for anything less than 3 months (it's usually cheaper to rent for up to this length of time).
If I were you I'd look at coaches (Kiwi Experience) and trains. Or, best of all maybe - hitching!

3. Posted by Kathi20 (Respected Member 270 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

yeah, I'm not sure about renting cars, I guess u have to be 21 at least, also probably have to have an internatiobnal drivers licence (???)

I've travelled and lived ehre in NZ for quite a while and I'd recommend the 'Stray Bus' to see the country, unless u r into partying and drinking then u better go for Kiwi Experience.

One more thing: Kiwis always complain about Asians and their bad driving habits, but believe me, they are not good drivers either!!! ;)

enjoy ur trip
Kathi (Morrinsville/NZ)

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5492 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Kathi20

also probably have to have an internatiobnal drivers licence (???)

The international driver's license is a scam.
A scant few countries (Japan I think?) require an international driver's permit, which is just a translation of the information on your driver's license in a number of languages.

I've had no trouble whatsoever renting cars in the USA, Australia and New Zealand on just a regular dutch driver's license, nor has anyone ever asked for more.

In New Zealand, bus travel definitely is the way to go. Avoid Kiwi Experience unless you are more interested in partying than in seeing much of the country, but the regular Newmans coaches (or smaller and more local alternatives like atomic shuttles) get you pretty much everywhere you'd ever want to go - for a very reasonable price, especially if you get one of their passes.

5. Posted by Peter (Admin 6934 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Ok, I'm not positive of this, but my understanding is that most countries / car rental companies will accept a foreign licence if it has an English translation in it. I'm pretty sure any European one will have that (makes it handy to travel around the EU for starters). If yours doesn't, I dare say an Internationl Drivers license will be necessary though..

6. Posted by Kathi20 (Respected Member 270 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I got my licence translated into English for my first here in NZ, bec if the cops pull you over (for whatever) they are not gonna be able to stand a thing of your german licence.
It's always better to get a translation/international licence first- that's what I think

7. Posted by jeffp (Budding Member 15 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

You may want to check up if you need to have been driving for a certain period of time also.

For instance, going from the UK to europe you have to have held a full license for 3 years. Check it before you go. Any rental company will confirm it for you.


My New Zealand Journal http://web.ukonline.co.uk/jeff.jane

8. Posted by swiss33 (Inactive 22 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

No wuestion about it, you must be a minimum of 21 to rent a car in New Zealand. If you somehow have the luck to find a company with a different rule I would be very interested to hear of them.

Next issue, should you buy an old car for 4 weeks? It is certainly an option and you can get a car very cheap at auctions in Auckland, however while insurance is not compulsory in New Zealand I would at least recommend a third party policy, the last thing you want to do is hit someone in a nice car and have to pay for it all.

Insurance problems? Yeah, quite possibly. I worked in New Zealand vehicle insurance 2 years ago and generally speaking it costs a little more than normal for someone of your age (ok double) and also insuring tourists is not a preferred option for NZ insurace companies.

I am really sorry to only be able to give slightly negative comments, but I know you will have been expecting difficulties like this, as you aware you would be dreaming to have better conditions out here in Europe.

Best of luck with your arrangements, I hope you find a workable solution and have a fantastic four weeks. Don't give up!


9. Posted by peeps (Full Member 114 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

iv just been calling companies in queenstown because we are about to rent a car and the driver is 24, some companies make you pay more if you are under 25 and the others dont have a problem as long as the driver has had their licence for 3 years.

10. Posted by Kelz_NZ (Inactive 22 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hello Nomio

I am a 20yr old kiwi and my brand new step cousin from the UK came over at the end of last year, teheh whilst up north we did get pulled over by a police officer whilst he was driving, but a UK licence is fine. However like mentioned, you must be 21 or over to rent a car in NZ.

DO NOT hitch hike!!! Although I realise it is very tempting whilst travelling, I do not recommend it. New Zealand is a generally safe and friendly country but on the odd occassion just like anywhere there have been problems, tho the most of us would be more than happy to help out!!! Perhaps you may find others to travel with!! ;)

Good luck with everything and I hope you enjoy your time here!:D
Any other Questions feel free to message back