New Zealand is an island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, with Wellington in the North Island as its capital, though its largest city is Auckland (renting a car in Auckland). The country is renowned for its rich and charming history, revealing the perfect blend of European and Maori cultures.
Apart from its national carrier Air New Zealand, a number of other international airlines can take you there. New Zealand has a temperate temperature, offering a lot of sunshine with moderate rainfall. Since most of the country lies around the coast, the temperature is mild. While July is the coldest month, January and February are the warmest.
Visitor visas and passports
You will need to apply for a tourist visa if you aren’t from a visa waiver country. You may check the website of Immigration New Zealand.
The currency of New Zealand is dollar (NZ$).
1.00 NZD=0.668276 USD
All major credit cards are accepted in New Zealand. You can easily exchange foreign currencies at banks, certain hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, available at most city centers and international airports. Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are usually available at banks, major shopping streets and malls. Only International credit cards/ATM cards with a four-digit PIN encoded are accepted.
During summer, New Zealand time uses ‘Daylight Saving’, and clocks are put forward by one hour to GMT+13.
Driving in New Zealand
Driving is on the left-hand side of the road.
You should have an International driving license or a valid driving license in English from your country. Such a license allows you to drive here for 12 months.
The maximum permissible speed for urban areas is 50km/h while the same for open roads is 100km/h.
Use of seat belts for drivers plus all passengers is mandatory.
Drinking and driving is an offence.
New Zealand roads frequently include narrow, hilly, or winding terrain, which slow down your journey. Also watch out for single-lane bridges.
Car rentals in New Zealand
Average Fuel prices: Gasoline (1 liter) 2.02 NZ$ (The price varies from 1.79 to 2.20)
You must be at least 21 years of age to rent a car in New Zealand. The same rules apply for nearby Pacific countries, Australia (car renting in Australia) and Fiji (rent a car in Fiji).
New Zealand car rentals are preferred by visitors who wish to self-drive to get the freedom of exploring areas away from the normal tourists’ trails. Usually roads are of superior quality. All important routes are sealed and traffic beyond the cities is light.
Road conditions are inconsistent. Some roads off the major highway may be unsealed, demanding extra care. Some such roads are unsafe for vehicles and insurance does not cover them – ask the company offering car rental in New Zealand to mark these roads on your map before leaving.
During winters, some roads necessitate the use of chains. New Zealand car rental companies usually provide chains but you should know how to use those.
There is no dearth of companies offering Car rental in New Zealand. You can find all the big names, plus wide ranging local operators. As can be expected, the longer you hire a car, the cheaper the daily rate. However, for one-way hire between locations, you should select one of the bigger companies.
Do check rental agreements before hiring a car. If you expect more than one driver, inform the company, which may charge some extra fee. Most hire cars come with a CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) policy of which there are two options. Also consider paying extra towards ‘Excess’, an amount you are liable to pay in case of accidental damages.