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15 Things We LOVE About Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

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Why Renting a Car or Campervan is the Best Way to Travel Around New Zealand

Every trip to New Zealand starts with a carnelian choice: What method of transportation should I use?! As the ultimate road-tripping country, New Zealand has a huge amount of transportation options for those looking to roam its roads: bus, train, hop-on hop-off, plane, car or campervan… Renting a car or campervan is a strong contender for the best transportation method in New Zealand and for good reason. But why rent a car or campervan in New Zealand?

To help you choose what is the most suitable way of getting around for your trip of a lifetime, we have listed what we love the most about renting a car in New Zealand.

For more information about renting a car in New Zealand, check out The Essential Guide to Renting a Car in New Zealand and Renting a Campervan in New Zealand: The Essential Guide.

1. Freedom, We Say Freedoooooooooom!

When compared to other transport methods like trains, buses or planes, travelling by car is a synonym for “freedom”. Drive where you want when you want and stop whenever you feel like it. If getting a self-contained campervan you can even stop and sleep in freedom campsites all over the country and wake up in the middle of the New Zealand wilderness.

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2. Don’t Worry About Maintenance

One of the main advantages of renting a car in New Zealand versus buying one is the huge cost saving on maintenance. No need to worry about any mechanical failure or repairs, it has all been done prior to your trip by the car rental company. On the same note, you can also forget about all the formalities like getting a WOF for your car. Just pick up the car and drive away.

For more advice on choosing between renting or buying, check out Should You Rent or Buy a Vehicle to Travel New Zealand?

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3. Get a Newer Vehicle

Renting a car or campervan in New Zealand will usually give you access to a much newer vehicle model than when purchasing one. Most budget travellers buy 20 to 30-year-old cars while car rental companies rarely have vehicles that are 10 years or older. This greatly improves your experience on the road as newer models have more safety features and are easier to drive.

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4. Rental Cars are More Fuel-Efficient

In the same spirit as #3, you are likely to get behind the wheel of a fairly new car or campervan when renting. This is more likely to come with big fuel savings as the gas consumption of newer models is much lower than older models. With fuel prices above NZ$2/l in many places around New Zealand, you’ll be thankful for as low of a fuel consumption vehicle as you can get!

Better yet, don’t worry about fuel at all by renting an electric vehicle! Check out NZ EV Guide: How to Travel Around New Zealand in an Electric Car for more details.

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5. Pay for It Only When You Want to Use It

If you choose car rental as your main transportation method, consider renting a car or campervan only for when you decide to travel. For instance, if you’re starting in Auckland but are staying in the city for a couple of days, wait until you’re ready to hit the road before renting a vehicle. Or, if you are on a working holiday visa, let’s say that you are planning to work for about six months and travel for about six months, nothing stops you from renting a car or campervan three times during your trip from three different locations. Your rental does not have to be a straight-up six months; it can be as short as a few days at a time.

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6. You Can Play it Very Safe

Car and campervan companies have insurance and roadside assistance included, giving you options to upgrade to less excess to pay should the worst happen. So instead of having to deal with the cost of mechanical failures and the lengthy delays that go with it, with a car rental you’ll get back on the road on the same day in most cases.

Car and campervan rental insurance can be pretty confusing, so check out New Zealand Rental Car & Campervan Insurance: Explained! to make sense of it all!

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7. It Sometimes Comes with Freebies

The car and campervan rental business in New Zealand is very competitive and brands have many ways to lure travellers in. Especially during the off and shoulder seasons (between March and October) you will see a lot of deals and promotions coming up, such as free ski pass, free activities, free upgrades, free rental days, etc. We all love freebies, right?!

10 Things We Love About Renting a Car in New Zealand© Mark Clinton - THL

8. You’ve Got Plenty of Choices

With a huge amount of car and campervan rental companies in New Zealand, each coming with multiple different models and choices, you are bound to find the perfect ride for your trip. Should you want a small car with a bed on the back or a big RV that can sleep six, there is an offer for you in New Zealand. (Be sure to book in early though, if you do have specific requirements).

Check out our top picks in The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand and The Best Campervan Rental Companies in New Zealand. Plus, check out for cheap car rental deals.

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9. Young Drivers Can Rent a Car in New Zealand

Unlike in most countries where it is nearly impossible for drivers under 25 years old to rent a car, most companies have options for drivers as young as 18 years old. It sometimes comes with car model restrictions where you will only be able to rent the three smallest vehicles or with mandatory insurance, but the options are here and clearly explained. Find out more in our guide, Age Restrictions When Renting a Vehicle in New Zealand.

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10. It’s Clean!

Let’s be honest, when buying a secondhand car, there’s always that funky smell from the previous owners. Most people’s own cars are pretty disgusting. On the other hand, when renting a car or campervan in New Zealand, you’ll get a freshly cleaned car waiting for you. Enjoy that new car smell while driving away to your next adventure!

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11. Bond with Loved Ones and Friends…

On road trips, you get to spend a lot of time with your travel buddies or family, whether you have brought them from home or found them in New Zealand.

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12. … And Share the Costs

The more people you travel with, the more ways you can split the cost of fuel, food and accommodation. For more ways to save money on the road, check out 11 Ways to Save Money in New Zealand.

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13. Pack as Much as You Want

No restrictions. No need to take everything out of the car or campervan every time you stay somewhere. No worries!

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14. Snack Like a Pig

For some reason, road trips warrant packing more snacks than you can eat. For some New Zealand snacks to try, check out 25 Foods You Have to Try in New Zealand.

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15. Choose Your Own Music

Go wild! Plus, find out more ways to make a long road trip more enjoyable in the 10 Ways to Handle the Long Drives in New Zealand.

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More Reasons to Rent a Car or Campervan Rental in New Zealand

One more reason to rent a car or campervan in New Zealand: because we have “heaps” of advice on the subject. Check out more car rental wisdom in the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything that we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Guide to Renting a Car in New Zealand and Renting a Campervan in New Zealand: The Essential Guide.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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