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The Best Family Car Rentals in New Zealand đźš— [2022]

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What are the Best Car Rentals in New Zealand for Families?

Picking the perfect family-friendly rental car and rental company is the first step to having a smooth family holiday. With New Zealand‘s impressive range of car rentals, you’re bound to find the perfect car for you and your family even if the options are a bit overwhelming. Luckily, we have put together this quick comparative list of the best family car rentals in New Zealand.

When searching for family-friendly cars to hire in New Zealand, look for cars with enough space for the whole family and your luggage. It’s also worth looking out for free inclusions, like baby or child seats, as well as vehicles where these seats are compatible. This not only gives you peace of mind for your family’s safety, but it also helps keep to your budget.

For more tips on travelling New Zealand in a family rental car, see Travel By Car in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide. And if you were considering a motorhome trip, take a look at The Best Family Campervan Rentals in New Zealand.

5 Things to Look at When Comparing Family Car Rentals in New Zealand

Our comparison of the best family car rentals in New Zealand includes the most important details about each company with the exception of rental rates, as these change from season to season. Below is an overview of why each feature is important in your car rental comparison. Alternatively, head to How to Compare Car and Campervan Rental Companies in New Zealand.

Location: Look at your itinerary and where you want to start and end your trip in New Zealand and choose a car rental company with depots in those locations convenient to you. To keep the costs down, try to start and end your trip in the same location to avoid one-way fees (or choose a company that doesn’t charge one-way fees). Additionally, always check if the company is charging a fair premium location fee which is usually added for picking up from an airport depot.

Prices and inclusions: The base price of car rental fluctuates with the seasons. In summer, daily rates are at their most expensive, while they are at their cheapest in winter. Read our 20 Ways To Save Money on Car Rental in New Zealand to see when the best time to rent a car usually is. Additionally, to truly understand the value of your rental you need to compare what’s included in a car rental. Not all companies include the same thing, especially when it comes to insurance.

Vehicles offered: Most car rental companies in New Zealand will maintain even their oldest cars to the highest standards, however, a more modern vehicle is less likely to give you any problems, so keep vehicle age in mind. You also need to find a car type that meets your needs.

Service: Once you have picked a few car rental companies from this comparison, send some questions to the companies and see how helpful they are with their answers. Service will become very important should anything go wrong during your trip.

Reviews: It’s worth checking multiple review websites to compare customers experiences. Why not ask the question in a New Zealand travel Facebook Group or check out reviews on RentalCars.com?

Ace Rental Cars© Ace Rental Cars

Ace Rental Cars

Not only is the Ace Rental Cars fleet full of new and late-model cars, providing more safety for your family, they often have some great family deals on their website. Look out for the “Free Child Seat” deal at certain times of the year, for instance. They also have a huge range of pick-up/drop-off locations, giving your family holiday full flexibility.

Things to note, however, it that there is a premium location fee for airport depots but this is minimal. Plus, Ace Rental Cars’ do not permit their vehicles to cross between the North Island and South Island, so separate bookings will need to be made to/from their Picton or Wellington branches if travelling on both islands. See Ace Rental Cars also listed in The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand.

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations

A courtesy shuttle is available to and from airport and airport depots between during normal working hours.

Pick-up/Drop-off Locations: Auckland City, Auckland Airport, Wellington Airport, Picton, Greymouth, Christchurch Airport, Dunedin Airport and Queenstown Airport.

Vehicles Available

Small cars, large cars, station wagons, 4WD, people carriers and campervans.

Vehicle age range: 0 to 8 years old.

Inclusions

  • 1 driver (18+ years old)
  • Basic insurance
  • Roadside assistance

Insurance

Free insurance with up to NZ$2500 excess depending on the vehicle and NZ$750 bond to pay or insurance add-ons for NZ$20-$27 per day with less excess and no bond to pay.

Need an explanation for how rental car insurance works? Check our guide, New Zealand Rental Car Insurance: Explained!

Europcar© Europcar

Europcar

With 22 locations around New Zealand, Europcar is a great option if you want to start your New Zealand family road trip somewhere a little bit different. Plus, they have newer, therefore, safer cars for your family’s peace of mind. The best options for family car hire with Europcar is from their SUV collection, with plenty of space for large and small families. They also have a good selection of children’s seats to hire.

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations

A courtesy shuttle is available to and from the airport and rental depots.

Pick-up/Drop-off Locations: Auckland City, Auckland Airport, Rotorua Airport, Napier Airport, Wellington Interislander Ferry Terminal, Wellington Airport, Picton, Blenheim, Nelson Airport, Christchurch Airport, Queenstown Airport, Dunedin Airport and Invercargill Airport.

Vehicles Available

Small cars, medium cars, sedans, SUVs, minivans, “luxury” cars, vans and trucks.

Vehicle age range: 1 to 12 years old.

Inclusions

  • 1 driver (21+ years old)
  • Basic insurance

Insurance

Free insurance with NZ$4500 excess or insurance add-ons for NZ$45-$55 per day with less excess and bond to pay. (Some models may require a bond to be paid).

Need an explanation for how rental car insurance works? Check our guide, New Zealand Rental Car Insurance: Explained!

The Best Family Car Rentals in New Zealand© Thrifty

Thrifty

For an ultra-modern and reliable rental vehicle, check out Thrifty. They are one of the car rental companies in New Zealand with the largest range of pick-up/drop-off destinations at around 28 locations. While Thrifty offer high-quality car rentals and booster/child seats, they are hardly your most “thrifty” option with rates being a little higher than other family car rentals in New Zealand. Note that they have a NZ$40 premium surcharge for airport locations (which is higher than average).

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations

A courtesy shuttle is available to and from the airport and rental depots.

Pick-up/Drop-off Locations: Auckland City, Auckland Airport, Hamilton City, Hamilton Airport, Tauranga City, Tauranga Airport, Rotorua Airport, Taupo Airport, Napier Airport, Gisborne City, Gisborne Airport, New Plymouth Airport, Wellington Interislander Ferry Terminal, Wellington Airport, Picton, Blenheim, Nelson Airport, Christchurch City, Christchurch Airport, Greymouth, Hokitika Airport, Westport Airport, Queenstown Airport, Dunedin City, Dunedin Airport and Invercargill Airport.

Vehicles Available

Small cars, medium cars, EVs, SUVs, utility vehicles and vans.

Vehicle age range: 0 to 2 years old.

Inclusions

  • 1 driver (21+ years old)
  • Basic insurance

Insurance

Free insurance with NZ$4000-$5000 excess (depending on the vehicle) or insurance add-ons for NZ$30-$50 per day with less excess and bond to pay. Tyre and glass cover is an additional cost of around NZ$10 per day.

Need an explanation for how rental car insurance works? Check our guide, New Zealand Rental Car Insurance: Explained!

Omega Rental Cars© Omega Rental Cars

Omega Rental Cars

Included in Omega Rental Cars‘ fleet are some very family-friendly models, like their “Premium Family Wagon” and “Family SUV”, which have plenty of space for kids, luggage and even two sets of ISOFIX points and three anchor points for children’s car seats. On top of that, you have great flexibility with so many pick-up and drop-off locations and no one-way charges. They even give you the option to change rental vehicles in Wellington and Picton to reduce ferry costs. Definitely consider Omega if you are travelling on both islands. Omega Rental Cars is also listed in The Best Car Rental Companies in Queenstown.

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations

A courtesy shuttle is available for airport branches offering airport pick-up and drop-offs.

Pick-up/Drop-off Locations: Auckland City, Auckland Aiport, Wellington (Pipitea), Wellington Airport, Picton, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch Airport, Queenstown and Queenstown Airport.

Vehicles Available

Small cars, large cars, station wagons, SUV, 4WD and people carriers.

Vehicle age range: 3 to 11 years old.

Inclusions

  • Multiple drivers (18+ years old)
  • One way hire available
  • Option to leave a vehicle at Wellington/Picton and pick up another vehicle after the ferry crossing to reduce the cost of the ferry
  • Basic insurance
  • Maps and guide book with activity discounts
  • Free seats for children
  • Postcard and pen

Insurance

Free insurance with NZ$2500 excess and a NZ$2000 bond for 21+-year-old drivers. Different conditions apply to 18-20-year-old drivers or drivers with a restricted license. Insurance add-ons for drivers over 21 years old of NZ$25-$28 per day with either no excess or  NZ$400 excess.

Need an explanation for how rental car insurance works? Check our guide, New Zealand Rental Car Insurance: Explained!

ANZED Rentals© ANZED Rentals

ANZED Rentals

Great value-for-money can be found with ANZED Rentals. They have a generous offering of inclusions to make your family holiday a little more easy-going, including free baby/child seats and free phone rental – of course, you will need to pay for the credit you use on the phone. ANZED are based in Christchurch, which is ideal for South Island road trips. See more Christchurch rentals in The Best Car Rental Companies in Christchurch.

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations

Courtesy shuttle available within Christchurch (accommodations, airport, etc.) to and from the rental depot.

Pick-up/Drop-off Location: Christchurch, Picton and Queenstown.

Vehicles Available

Small cars, large cars, station wagons, sedans, 4WD, people carriers and classic convertibles.

Vehicle age range: 1 to 12 years old.

Inclusions

  • Multiple drivers (18+ years old)
  • Basic insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Mobile phone rental
  • Brochures and maps
  • Briefing on New Zealand road rules
  • Option for free baby/child seats

Insurance

Free insurance with NZ$2000 excess for over 25-year-old drivers or more for drivers under 25 years old. Or insurance add-ons for NZ$10 per day with less excess and bond to pay. Glass cover is available for an additional daily fee.

Need an explanation for how rental car insurance works? Check our guide, New Zealand Rental Car Insurance: Explained!

McDonald Rental Cars© McDonald Rental Cars

[CLOSED] McDonald’s Rental Cars

Starting your New Zealand family holiday in Christchurch? Consider choosing McDonald’s Rental Cars with a fleet of relatively late-model cars that are great for family travel. Plus, free baby seats are available on request. We like that they are a family business that operates on a personal level quotes and information for your rental can be obtained by contacting them directly.

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations

Courtesy shuttle available within Christchurch (accommodations, airport, etc.) to and from the rental depot.

Pick-up/Drop-off Locations: Christchurch, Picton, Wellington, Rotorua and Auckland.

Vehicles Available

Small cars, large cars, station wagons and people carriers.

Vehicle age range: 5 to 6 years old.

Inclusions

  • 1 driver (21+ years old)
  • Basic insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Free baby seats available

Insurance

Free insurance with NZ$2000 excess and bond to pay for a 21+-year-old driver.

More About Family Car Rentals in New Zealand

That’s it for the best family car rentals in New Zealand. For even more car rental tips, take a look at the following guides:

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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