We are presenting you with 10 crucial tips that you need to know if you want to drive rental in New Zealand. Let’s cover all the steps, from renting a vehicle to exploring all corners of this amazing country.
There is no better or more exciting way of getting acquainted with New Zealand than by traveling by car. Going everywhere by car definitely beats traveling by bus — you have your freedom, you decide when, where, and what. Also, many places in New Zealand are not accessible by bus, and we are talking about places that are worth visiting, unique, and gorgeous.
Before we get to our list, let’s mention two legal detail, just in case. As you may already know, to drive rental in New Zealand, you have to be 21 or older. Also, you need to own either a driver’s licence in English or an international driving licence. So, if you got these two things covered, let’s move to the tips!
Renting and Driving a Car in New Zealand — 10 Tips That Are Going to Help You
Adults with a valid international driving licence can rent a car in New Zealand. Car renting procedures and driving in this country are neither complicated nor stressful. As you are about to see, both things are quite easy to do. However, there are some things that you need to learn before you head to this beautiful country.
1. Don’t Rely on “Renting on Spot”
Always book the car of your choice in advance — this is great advice for car renting in every country, not just New Zealand. When you book your car in advance, you lower the risk factors to the lowest level. Booking vehicles in advance means that you can pick the exact model of a car that you want and get the best deal on it. In this case, you wouldn’t have to stress about anything, you just book the car and pick it up on your arrival.
Booking some time in advance is also a great money-practice. Car rental services don’t cost the same throughout the year. During tourist seasons these prices can be sky-high. So, booking a car in advance saves both money and nerves.
2. Don’t Forget to Drive on the Left Side of the Road!
If you come from a country where people drive on the right, remember to ditch this habit before getting into a car in New Zealand. People can find it stressful to have to switch from the side of the road that they are used to, to another side of the road. However, there are some tricks that can help you get used to driving on the left.
Make Your Driving Easier With an Automatic Vehicle
Going for an automatic vehicle when you rent a car in New Zealand is a smart move. It’s a lot less stressful, and it lowers the risk of making mistakes. We advise you to choose an automatic rental, even if you don’t prefer these types of cars.
Test Before Practice
When you rent a car, don’t just go straight into the traffic. Give yourself some time to get used to driving on the left. Practice on a parking lot for some time first. Then, when you feel confident enough about driving on the left, go to a secluded road. This way, you can give yourself even more time to practice your driving without any stress. When you feel absolutely ready, only then you should get into the real traffic.
Watch Out For the Roundabouts
Not all countries and big cities have a lot of roundabouts. That’s why not all people are used to roundabouts, and they can get confused by them. However, you shouldn’t let them scare you, entering and exiting a roundabout is quite easy! There is just one simple rule that you need to remember — get in the roundabout clockwise!
3. Note That the Roads are Narrow, and the Weather Is Windy
Driving a small, easy to control car is a great choice for foreigners in New Zealand. The width of the road and the windy weather can make driving a big car difficult and stressful experience. However, if you test-drove a big car in New Zealand, and you feel confident, go for it!
4. Buy Insurance!
Again, this is an advice that applies to car renting in general, in every country. When you are on your holiday, the last thing that you want is stress. So, why worry about things when there is car rental insurance? Be sure to buy your insurance the moment you pick up your car so that you don’t forget to do it later. Plus, if you buy your insurance right away, you won’t have to worry about it from the start.
5. Pay Attention to the Speed Limits
We have already talked about the width and the weather in New Zealand that can make driving more difficult. So, due to these conditions that make driving harder, speed limits tend to change quite often on New Zealand roads. Constant fluctuations in speed limitations are there to make driving safer and to prevent any unfortunate events. We advise you to always pay attention to speed limit signs, because the numbers on them change more often than you might think.
6. Open Your Eyes for the Animal-Jaywalkers
Nature in New Zealand is breathtaking! You probably already know that, since it’s the most likely reason why you are visiting this country. However, beautiful, intact, wild, nature means a lot of animals! These animals tend to cross the road, and they tend to do it quite often. Both wild and domestic animals like to surprise drivers with jumping on the road all of a sudden. That’s something that they tend to do, and our responsibility is to look out for them! We appeal to you to always watch the road, and avoid hurting any fluffy New Zealand residents.
7. Be Careful When Crossing the Bridges
There is a lot of one-way bridges in New Zealand. Luckily, all of them have signs that are easy to understand, spot, and remember. The first sign that you need to know about is a yellow sign with a diamond shape. This sign will tell you that the bridge is a one-way bridge. Now, alongside this sign, you will see another one that will tell you if you have the right to go first or not. Sign with red border means that you don’t have the right, the blue sign means that you do.
8. Don’t Talk on Your Phone, or Use it at All
Using your mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited in New Zealand. Drivers who get caught using their phone get fines and penalties. Plus, such a practice is extremely dangerous and irresponsible, both towards oneself and towards others.
9. Weather Changes all the Time
You can’t use your phone while driving, but it’s highly recommended to use it before you get in your car. However, when we say that you should use your phone, we don’t think of social media, funny videos, or taking pictures — we think of weather apps! Weather in New Zealand can change in a matter of seconds, and as a driver, you need to be aware of this and always see the weather forecast for the day.
10. Don’t Rely on Online Maps
When you go on long trips, it’s always smart to have backup options for maps. Download maps so that you can access them at any moment. Also, if you want to be extra careful, buy one, old-school, paper map. A classic map can come in handy if you are low on battery.
New Zealand is a beautiful country with alluring wild nature. We are sure that you are going to have an amazing time while cruising through this paradise in your rental. So, enjoy the scenery, and always have our ten tips on your mind!