How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand?
How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand?

The Cost of Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand: [2022] Guide

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How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car or Campervan in New Zealand?

Choosing a self-drive option to travel New Zealand gets more and more popular every year, and for good reason. Travelling in New Zealand is all about discovering those off-the-beaten-track places. A great way to get on the road fast is to rent a car or campervan when arriving in New Zealand. But what is the cost of renting a car or campervan in New Zealand? And what is the average budget for car rental in New Zealand?

New Zealand Car and Campervan Rental Price

We have compiled tips and advice that apply to almost every car and campervan rental company in New Zealand to help you do the math and budget for the trip of your life properly! Please note that all the prices stated below are average indications only, prices often vary and are also scattered anywhere in between our scales. With that out of the way, let’s go over the cost of car and campervan rental in New Zealand.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand?© Unsplash

Car and Campervan Rental Daily Rates in New Zealand

How much is the standard daily rate of a car or campervan rental in New Zealand? The daily rate is the cost per day for renting a vehicle. This section goes over average prices, as well as factors that affect the price.

Size (and Age) Matters

The main factor influencing car and campervan daily rental rates is the type of vehicle that you will choose. Usually, the bigger the vehicle the more expensive the vehicle. The same goes for the age of a vehicle; the older, the cheaper.

Season Affects Price

Another factor influencing the daily rate of a vehicle is the season you are planning on travelling. In summer (December to March), expect the prices to be at their highest while at their lowest in winter (June to August) with June usually being the cheapest month. There are heaps of reasons to travel in the shoulder and off-season in New Zealand and saving money on car and campervan rental is a big one as rates can be slashed by up to 50%!

Competitive Prices

Price also varies between different car and campervan rental companies as they all compete for the same market. Inclusions vary, model, make and accessories of the vehicle vary and therefore rental prices vary as well. Shop around to find the best ride to suit your needs, there are 80+ car and campervan rental companies in New Zealand so go nuts!

Find out how to compare them in Compare Car & Campervan Hire in New Zealand: The ULTIMATE Guide. And use those tips to compare companies in our list of The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand and The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in New Zealand.

The Demand for Rental Vehicles in New Zealand

Finally, the fourth main factor that affects the cost of daily rental rates in New Zealand is demand. If there is only one car or campervan left in its category, you are bound to be paying full price or even premium for it. During times when there is a lot of availability on a category of vehicle, discounts are often advertised.

With this in mind, we recommend booking your car or campervan rental as far in advance as possible to ensure you get the widest range available; at least a month in advance when booking for winter and at least six months in advance when booking for summer.

The Cost of Car and Campervan Rental Daily Rates: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Car or Campervan in New Zealand?

Car (small to medium) rental daily cost: From NZ$20/day in the low season to NZ$150/day in the high season.
Campervan (2-berth) rental daily cost: From NZ$60/day in the low season to NZ$260/day in the high season.

See the “Some Practical Examples” section below for more car and campervan rental cost examples.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand?© Unsplash

What’s the Catch with $20/Day Car Rental and $40/Day Campervan Rental Deals?

Car rental in New Zealand can sometimes look super cheap. In fact, cars and campervans are advertised at cheap prices all year round. Like in every business, companies like to promote their cheapest price first, no matter how relevant it is at the promotion time. Be aware that a NZ$20/day car rental and NZ$40/day campervan rental usually comes under some or all of the following conditions:

  • Older vehicle model: This means a higher risk of breakdown and higher gas consumption
  • The smallest model of the fleet: Think “campercar” rather than a campervan
  • Strict hiring dates in the low season: Usually only 3 to 4 weeks in May
  • Mandatory rental period: Usually 14 or more days minimum
  • Other extra fees apply: See below for a full cost breakdown.

Despite these conditions, finding a car or campervan at these rates is still great value for money.

The Cost to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand: [2022] Guide© NZPocketGuide.com

The Cost of Car and Campervan Rental Insurance in New Zealand

Insurance cover is the extra that many travellers go for. For this reason, it is important to include it when comparing your different options for car or campervan rentals. A simple NZ$20 difference on an insurance daily rate can add up to a lot at the end of your trip.

Almost all car and campervan rental companies in New Zealand have basic insurance included in the standard rental rate. This basic insurance has a high excess (NZ$3,000 for cars and up to NZ$5,000 for motorhome, for instance) with the option to reduce this excess to, for example, NZ$250 or NZ$0 excess for an extra daily cost. Be aware that some accidents like damage to tyres and windscreens are often not covered.

Learn more about how vehicle rental insurance works in New Zealand Rental Car & Campervan Insurance: Explained!

Insurance Caps

It is also worth noting that some companies cap their maximum insurance cost. This means that you will not be paying anything extra from their cap even if you rent your car or campervan for an extended period of time. For example, if a company has an insurance cap of NZ$600 and you are renting a car for 40 days with an insurance cover at NZ$20/day. You should pay NZ$800 but you will only be charged NZ$600 as it is their maximum cost or cap.

Young Drivers

Finally, if you are under 25 years old, you may be obligated to take the full insurance by some companies as part of their young driver conditions. Keep that in mind when comparing the different companies. Drivers under 25 years old can get more advice from Age Restrictions for Renting a Vehicle in New Zealand: FULL Guide.

The Cost of Car and Campervan Rental Insurance in New Zealand

Car rental daily insurance cost: From NZ$0/day for high excess options to NZ$35/day for a no excess option.
Campervan rental daily insurance cost: From NZ$0/day for high excess options to NZ$45/day for a no excess option on bigger models.

See the “Some Practical Examples” section below for more car and campervan rental cost examples.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand?© NZPocketGuide.com

Car and Campervan Rental Costs in New Zealand: Some Practical Examples

Now that you have a better understanding of both daily rental rates for vehicles in New Zealand and insurance, here are some practical examples of how much a car or campervan rental costs for different types of travellers.

Note that rental rates are an average approximate. It is possible to find cheaper (and more expensive in some cases).

The Rental Cost for a Couple Renting a Small Car

In winter (June to August): NZ$25/day (NZ$175/week) with included insurance or NZ$45/day (NZ$315/week) with add-on insurance
In summer (December to March): NZ$50/day (NZ$350/week) with included insurance or NZ$70/day (NZ$490/week) with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$40/day (NZ$280/week) with included insurance or NZ$60/day (NZ$420) with add-on insurance.

For the top car rental companies to compare, check out The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand. Plus, check out RentalCars.com for cheap car rental deals.

The Rental Cost for a Family Renting a Large Car (Peoplemover/Station Wagon)

In winter (June to August): NZ$40/day (NZ$280) with included insurance or NZ$60/day (NZ$420/week) with add-on insurance
In summer (December to March): NZ$100/day (NZ$700/week) with included insurance or NZ$120/day (NZ$840/week) with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$65/day (NZ$455/week) with included insurance or NZ$85/day (NZ$595/week) with add-on insurance.

For rental companies with vehicles ideal for families, check out The Best Family Car Rentals in New Zealand. Plus, check out RentalCars.com for cheap car rental deals.

The Rental Cost for a Couple Renting a Small Self-Contained Campervan

In winter (June to August): NZ$80/day (NZ$560/week) with included insurance or NZ$105/day (NZ$735/week) with add-on insurance
In summer (December to March): NZ$220/day (NZ$1,540/week) with included insurance or NZ$245/day (NZ$1,715/week) with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$160/day (NZ$1,120/week) with included insurance or NZ$185/day (NZ$1,295/week) with add-on insurance.

For the cheapest campervan companies, check out The Cheapest Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in New Zealand.

The Rental Cost for a Family Renting a Large Self-Contained Motorhome

In winter (June to August): NZ$230/day (NZ$1,610/week) with included insurance or NZ$255/day (NZ$1,785/week) with add-on insurance
In summer (December to March): NZ$475/day (NZ$3,325/week) with included insurance or NZ$500/day (NZ$3,500) with add-on insurance
In spring/autumn (April, May, September & October): NZ$345/day (NZ$2,415/week) with included insurance or NZ$370/day (NZ$2,590/week) with add-on insurance.

Compare some of the New Zealand motorhome rentals for families in The Best Family Campervan Rentals in New Zealand.

There may be added fees to your New Zealand car or campervan rental depending on your own unique circumstances – more on that in the sections below.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

Mandatory Extras

Some extras are simply impossible to avoid and, despite not being included in the daily rate advertised, there is no way for you not to have to add them at the end of your budget. Not all will be applicable to your specific case but here are a few mandatory extras that you may have to pay for when renting a car or campervan in New Zealand…

Young Driver’s Fee

If you are under 25 years old, you may be charged an extra NZ$10/day by some companies. Other car and campervan rental companies will make additional daily insurance options mandatory or apply a higher excess to the basic included insurance. Finally, some other companies will restrict the models of vehicles that you can hire. Find out more about hiring vehicles when you’re under 25 in Age Restrictions for Renting a Vehicle in New Zealand: FULL Guide.

One-Way Fee

If you are planning an itinerary that includes dropping off your car or campervan in a different location than you picked it up you may be charged a NZ$250-$300 one-way fee for it.

Ferry Costs

No doubt you will want to see both islands of New Zealand and for good reason – they are both absolutely amazing! In fact, the ferry ride itself is a stunner. Prices are approximately NZ$175-$255 one way for a car with one passenger to NZ$310-$405 one way for a motorhome plus a passenger.

Extra Driver’s Fee

Travelling with friends is the perfect excuse to share driving responsibilities. Some companies include one extra driver for free, others charge a flat NZ$10 fee, and some will charge up to NZ$10/day extra to have an extra driver.

Child or Baby Seats

Mandatory if you’re travelling with little ones, expect to pay a flat rate of around NZ$45-$50 for a child or baby booster seat.

Snow Chains

Snow chains are considered mandatory if travelling over mountain passes, like Arthur’s Pass or Lindis Pass, on the South Island between the months of June and August or if you plan to drive to any of New Zealand’s ski fields during winter. You will be charged between NZ$5/day to a flat rate of NZ$50. However, some companies have started to include them free of charge to boost their hires in winter.

Pexels© Pexels

Optional Extras

We consider optional extras as things that you don’t really need but that many people end up wanting anyway. All those little things can add up to quite a fortune if not kept in check. Here is what to look out for when budgeting for your road trip.

GPS Hire

Offered around NZ$5-$10 per day of travel, GPS hire is the most commonly purchased extra for car and campervan rental in New Zealand.

Outdoor Chairs and Table

Every campervan hire comes with the option to add a table and chair combo for a set price of NZ$40-$80 or around NZ$10-$15 per day.

Mains Plug

Smaller campervans or campercars come with the option to have a mains plug (New Zealand house plug) for you to charge your devices on the go. This often comes at a fixed rate of NZ$25-$50.

Gas Bottles

A full gas bottle for using your campervan’s gas stove usually comes with the campervan, but you will need to also return the gas bottle full if you use it. Some campervan rental companies give you the option to “prepay” for your gas bottle, allowing you to return the bottle used/empty, for a flat rate of around NZ$35.

WiFi Hotspot

You will be charged for your consumption of data on the go from NZ$20 for 1Gb to NZ$60 for 5Gb. For more about portable WiFi, check out How to Get WiFi in Your Campervan in New Zealand.

Pixabay© Pixabay

Fuel Consumption

Often overlooked when budgeting for a car or campervan rental in New Zealand, the fuel consumption of a vehicle is a core part of the expenses of a road trip. Gas prices have soared in the past few years reaching historical heights. For this reason, we suggest seriously taking fuel costs into consideration and looking at the average fuel consumption of the vehicle that you are planning to hire.

A good rule of thumb for a fuel-efficient vehicle is to go for as small as possible and as new as possible.

Cost of fuel in New Zealand: 91 Unleaded fuel is more than NZ$2 per litre (approximately NZ$7.57 per gallon) in New Zealand meaning that a full gas tank for a car is around the NZ$120 mark and for a campervan around the NZ$150 mark.

It is also worth noting that if you hire a diesel vehicle you are likely to have to pay an extra RUC fee at the end of your trip. This is usually between NZ$76 and NZ$82 per 1,000km (621 miles) travelled.

Check out weekly fuel price data on the MBIE website and RUC costs on the NZ Transport Agency website.

pixabay© pixabay

A Quick Note About Camping

If you have hired a campervan in New Zealand, you’re obviously planning on camping around New Zealand. Be aware that you can only camp for free (freedom camping) in a campervan that is certified self-contained. If the campervan you are renting is not self-contained then you will need to stay in paid campsites and holiday parks.

Check out the following links to dive deeper into freedom camping in New Zealand:

The Cost to Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand: [2022] Guide© NZPocketGuide.com

Tips to Save Money on Car and Campervan Rental in New Zealand

You are probably sweating over your old high school Casio graphic calculator right now trying to figure out how you will be able to make this trip work financially. Luckily, we have combined over 20 Tips to Save Money on Car & Campervan Rental in New Zealand for you to cut down on most of the costs above. And remember, the main tip to save money on car and campervan is to seriously evaluate what your needs are. You probably don’t need as much as you think you do.

If you are planning to stay in New Zealand for an extended period of time, you may also consider purchasing a car or campervan with the intent of reselling it before leaving. We also have a whole section dedicated to purchasing a car or campervan in New Zealand.

Finally, there are a lot of other budgeting tips in the budget section of our guide so you can start saving on your road trip before it even starts.

More About the Cost of Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

That’s it for our guide on the cost of renting a car or campervan in New Zealand, but it’s by no means the end of our advice! Check out the following articles for more road trip tips:

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

Author

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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