New Zealand Car Hire

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Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, and 1600km southeast of Australia, is New Zealand - universally lauded as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Other than the stunning landscapes like magnificent volcanic mountains, spectacular lakes and beaches, and stunning fjords, the country also flaunts rich culture and history. New Zealand is a bucket list country to visit and embarking on a road trip here is one of the best ways to see the country. You can book your New Zealand car hire in advance with Enjoy Travel.

Guide to New Zealand


New Zealand is composed of two main islands, sensibly called the North and South islands, as well as a smattering of smaller islets. Although the capital is Wellington, the largest commercial centre is, in fact, Auckland. Much like its older sibling, Australia, New Zealand’s geographic isolation has led to the evolution of unique species not found anywhere else, like the flightless kiwi, kereru, weta, and the New Zealand sea lion. There are around 250 species of birds, including migratory and breeding birds. Additionally, about 75% of the local flora of New Zealand is unique. You will encounter some of the world’s oldest plant forms in this country, including the valuable kauri pine which is found in parts of the North Island. Other famous trees include the pohutukawa, some other species of rata, and kowhai. Due to its unique biodiversity and incredible landscapes, one-third of the country is protected by national parks.


Broadly speaking, New Zealand experiences marine climate but the conditions tend to vary depending on the region. For example, cities like Christchurch and Queenstown, located on the South Island, have the warmest temperatures in January as the seasons are opposite to that in the northern hemisphere. North Island cities such as Auckland and Wellington get their warmest temperatures slightly later - in February. Mountain areas and the eastern and southern parts of the country receive snowfall during the winter season which occurs between early June and early October.


New Zealand was the last land to be settled by humans (it’s thought that  humans settled just 750 years ago), and this is where the proud Māori culture was born. Nearly 4 million tourists visit each year; nearly as many as the 5 million New Zealanders, or ‘kiwis’ as they fondly refer to themselves, living in the country.

Things to do in New Zealand

Visit the Bay of Islands

Embark on your journey at the Bay of Islands. Encompassing 144 islands, the Bay features stunning shores and seawater activities like kayaking, boating, fishing, sailing, jet-skiing, diving, snorkelling, parasailing, and surfing, just to name a few. You can take a three-hour-long drive or a thirty-five-minute flight from Auckland to reach the Bay of Islands. Take a cruise to visit the Hole in the Rock and watch the dolphins, or take a guided walk to the Puketi Kauri Forest and witness over 360 local species of plants.

See sparkling glow worms

Take a boat down Waitomo Cave and slowly keep floating in the darkness until the magic begins. Millions - if not billions - of sparkling glow worms will light up the inner surface of the caves; allowing you an experience of a lifetime. Your tour guide will tell you more about the glowworms and the unique ecosystem inside the caves proving the worms with the perfect conditions to thrive. This is an hour-long tour, and if you are travelling during peak tourist season (December - February), we advise booking your tickets in advance as they get sold out pretty quickly. You are not allowed to click pictures inside the cave due to the photosensitivity of the glow worms. As they say, some of the best experiences in life cannot be captured.

Stargaze at Lake Tekapo

See the most photographed building in New Zealand or enjoy a starry night by the lake? Why not both! Situated in the lakeside town of Tekapo, The Church of the Good Shepherd is located at the head of the lake and is famous for the gorgeous views it offers, each season seeming more beautiful than the last. Witness the crystal-clear lake in the summer, and then return in the winter to see it reflect the snow-capped mountains overlooking it. For a memorable stargazing tour in Lake Tekapo, Mount John Observatory lets you view the star systems, the planets, and the moon through their telescope.

Swim with native dolphins

Hector’s dolphins are the smallest species of dolphins in the world, and they’re found only in New Zealand. These dolphins have a grey body with black and white marks and a round dorsal fin. They are an endangered - and therefore protected - species found all around the South Island. Many Hector’s dolphins reside around the Banks Peninsula and Kaikoura. You can visit them by taking a tour in a small pod that contains 2-3 people to avoid disconcerting these gentle creatures as much as possible. Black Cat Cruises operate sustainable tours that allow you to watch or even swim with dolphins. They are New Zealand’s first eco-tourism operator and a part of their revenue goes into dolphin research and conservation projects.

Be in awe of the Aurora Australis

If you visit New Zealand, a must-see is the Aurora Australis which lights up the night sky with green and pink colours. The Aurora Australis is a rare sight and hence an extremely precious thing to witness. Since New Zealand is extremely close to the South Pole, the origin of the Aurora, there are several viewing points across the country but we recommend packing a pinch of luck in your suitcase before your trip as well. Some of the popular vantage points to spot to Aurora include Lake Tekapo, Stewart Island, Invercargill, Dunedin, and the Catlins.

Eating out in New Zealand

Seafood restaurants

As an island country, it is no surprise that seafood is the star of the show when it comes to New Zealand’s culinary scene. The most popular varieties are salmon and trout. Auckland’s best seafood restaurant is arguably the Grand Park Chinese Seafood Restaurant, where you can taste exclusive seafood dishes made with lobster, blue cod, hapuka, and more. While at Wellington, it’s well worth the short 30-minute drive to visit the iconic Fishermans Table for some delicious shrimp cocktail for starters and salmon fillet with red capsicum sauce for the main course.

Traditional Maori cuisine

Your trip to New Zealand would be incomplete without trying an authentic Maori Hāngī meal. Hāngī is a traditional way of cooking that involves smoking, steaming, and baking an earthen oven. Their staple foods include wild vegetables, fish, and sweet potatoes. The women typically prepare the meat while the men dig the underground furnace. The vegetables, fish, or meat are then wrapped in cloth or aluminium foil and placed in wire baskets, before being cooked over hot stones for 3 to 4 hours. The result is soft and juicy meat with a smoky flavour to it. If you want to enjoy this traditional dish, visit the Bay of Islands or Rotorua.

New Zealand wine

New Zealand produces some award-winning labels, and vineyards and wineries are scattered all over the country. Located in the South Island, Marlborough is home to several beautiful vineyards that produce unique wines with sensational flavour and aroma. It is said that the Marlborough region produces 77% of all the wine in New Zealand! Near Marlborough lies Nelson, where you can enjoy freshly caught seafood paired with excellent local wine. Some of the other regions that grow wine are Central Otago, Waikato, Waiheke Island, and Hawke’s Bay.

Food festivals

If you happen to visit the country in August, make sure to attend the Visa Wellington On a Plate, the annual culinary event of Wellington. You can taste a variety of cuisines as well as enjoy the festivities on display. If you are in Auckland, the Auckland fish market is a must-visit for a cornucopia of seafood. Auckland is also full of hip cafes, award-winning restaurants, and bars. The northern region of the country is well known for its exotic fruits (like boysenberries), chocolates, and cheese. Some of New Zealander’s favourite foods include roast lamb, Kumara, Pavlova, and Hokey Pokey Ice Cream.

Transport in New Zealand

Airports in New Zealand

New Zealand has five international airports. Auckland International Airport (AKL) is the largest airport in the country, and it serves 49 international and 26 domestic destinations. Most people first land here before moving onto other parts of the country.

Public transport

Buses are the most popular form of public transport, with the two main providers being InterCity and Skip. There are a handful of train lines operated by KiwiRail between the major cities as well.

Driving in New Zealand

Most visitors looking to explore the country beyond its major cities usually opt to hire a car. There are no major highways in New Zealand. Indeed, you’ll mostly find one-lane roads surrounded by lush greenery on both sides. Campervans are the most popular category as there are plenty of state-approved camping spots throughout the country. You can sleep inside the vans and then wake up to stunning landscapes in the morning. The most popular car hire agencies in New Zealand include Go Rentals, Ezi Car Rentals, and Hertz.

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FAQs about car hire in New Zealand

Most frequently asked questions about hiring a car in New Zealand

The average cost of hiring a car in New Zealand is just $82 NZD (approx. $76.08 AUD) per day.
Prices for New Zealand car hire begin from just $80.59 NZD (approx. $74.77 AUD) when booking with Enjoy Travel.
To hire a car in New Zealand you generally must be aged at least 25.
The population of New Zealand in 2019 was 4.917 million.
Yes, you can add additional drivers to your New Zealand car hire agreement.
New Zealand is best explored by road, so we recommend a campervan or motorhome so that you can stop off along the way to rest. Vehicle ferries offer services between the North, South and other islands.
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