Self-drive holidays in New Zealand can offer you an experience like no other. When you’re travelling in a rental car there is so much to see, do and experience it can be difficult to know where to start.
There is much that is unique about our beautiful country – and we’d love to share it with you. At the same time, driving and holidaying here can be different to what you’ve experienced before so we’ve put together some useful information to help you get the most out of your rental car.
Driving in New Zealand – New Zealand Transport Agency
The New Zealand Transport Agency has some really helpful information on getting the most out of your rental car (https://www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/driving-safely/visiting-drivers/) – including a helpful video targeted at American drivers.
Here are some of the key differences that you will need to be aware of when driving your rental car
Before you begin your journey, learn more about what’s different about driving in New Zealand.
we drive on the left-hand side of the road
it’s easy to underestimate travelling times
our roads are narrower, more winding and sometimes steeper than you might expect
our roads are mostly two-way, with one lane in each direction – we have few motorways
not all railway crossings have active warnings
seat belts are compulsory for everyone in the vehicle
It’s illegal to use a phone while driving.
We want you to have a great trip and arrive safely at your destination, so make sure you allow plenty of time and take regular breaks. The trip may be slower, but the scenery is amazing so take your time and enjoy your journey.
USEFUL VIDEOS TO HELP YOU DRIVE YOUR RENTAL CAR SAFELY
Safe Driving in New Zealand – (In Chinese)
Drive your rental car safely
Safe Driving in New Zealand
Guide to New Zealand Road Signs
Driver licensing requirements
You can drive in New Zealand without a New Zealand driver licence if:
you have a current and valid overseas licence or driver permit, and
you haven’t been given a disqualification or suspension in New Zealand, and
you came into New Zealand less than 12 months ago, and
your overseas licence is in English, or you have an accurate translation, and
you haven’t been granted a New Zealand driver licence since you last entered New Zealand.
If you don’t meet all of these requirements, you must apply for a New Zealand driver licence to drive in New Zealand.
If you would like to rent a car in New Zealand and need an approved translation you can look here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licences/new-residents-and-visitors/approved-translators/
Travel Times and Distances
New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to hire a rental car and enjoy a self-drive holiday. We have award winning scenery, amazing experiences and incredible holidays on offer. To get the most out of your New Zealand experience while you have your rental car, do plan ahead and be aware of the time taken between our main centres.
To help you navigate our very beautiful country we have on offer a GPS that can be installed in your rental car for your convenience.
As a pro travel-tip we do recommend that you download Google Maps Offline which can offer you a great resource and make navigating your hire car around the country much easier.
Another great resource can be the Automobile Association Time and Distance Planner
In the glove box of your rental car will be an “information kit”. This will include some simple resources to help you make the most of your self-drive holiday and plan your trip. Included in this kit will be
South Island Map
Driving In New Zealand – an introduction to driving a rental car in New Zealand for tourists (in multiple languages)
How to call the AA. All of our rental cars come with AA Roadside Assistance, you should call them for any help you would like while you are using your hire car.