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  • TunnocksTeaCake 22 posts

    I posted this a few days ago in the Car Hire Tips Thread but got no replies. Thought I would try again in a separate thread.

    Just booked a first time February 2025 trip to New Zealand and trying to put together an itinerary. We are thinking about hiring a car on two separate occasions (once on the North Island and once on the South Island). First hire would be Auckland to Rotorua (probably 2 day hire – price may be prohibitive with one-way drop off fees). Second hire would be Christchurch to Queenstown (7 day hire).

    I have looked through the HfP forums but can’t find any NZ car hire threads. Just wondering if anyone has any tips / recommendations for car hire in NZ as there seems to be a lot of small independent companies available.

    nectar collector 282 posts

    We’ve used Apex car hire on our trips to NZ, most recently in the trip we’ve just returned from.

    We had a one way hire this time, picked up in Invercargill S Island, and dropped off 3 weeks later at Auckland airport.

    Better price than anyone else was offering, hire included ferry across from South to North Island – some firms make you drop off one car and pick up another once youve crossed

    The cars they hire out tend to be a few years old – ours was a 2019 Corolla auto with satnav – and so you don’t need to be paranoid about picking up the odd stone chip as that’s viewed as fair wear and tear rather than chargeable damage.

    phantomchickenz 312 posts

    Costs are often cheaper south to north (as most travellers head south from Auckland). I got 4 days for £40 in January from New Plymouth to Auckland. Consider flying to Queenstown first and then make your way north (State Highway 8 is stunning).

    There are a lot of independent outfits. Many will be ‘off airport’ and involve a courtesy shuttle to their depot – they’re cheaper, but that saving costs you the faff. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in for.

    Amex Platinum or the paid Barclaycard gives you Avis Presidents Circle which I have found also gives very competitive rates and generally newer cars. I think Plat also gives you Hertz status.

    Richie 970 posts

    Christchurch to Queenstown is a bit of a drive, ok if you’re going to stop over for a night. I didn’t need a car around Queenstown.

    can2 411 posts

    I did “ezi” in Auckland for about a week for the North island. It was all fine.
    It was prepandemic though. I just went for the cheapest suv.

    Blindman67 136 posts

    Look at Immoova

    Rentals come up about 3-4 weeks out and of course are not guaranteed to go where you want.

    However if it fits then its very cheap transport.

    I’ve used this for a one way Melbourne to Perth and Toronto to Vancouver

    phantomchickenz 312 posts

    Christchurch to Queenstown is a bit of a drive, ok if you’re going to stop over for a night. I didn’t need a car around Queenstown.

    Yep, did it twice a week for a few months in my youth when building a winery (no free samples unfortunately). Around 6 hours, just on the limit for what I could handle non-stop at the time, though a stop in Tekapo is always pleasant.

    redlilly 111 posts

    We found Avis to be great- hired to go from Queenstown to Blenheim, taking about 7 days up the west coast. Absolutely stunning. We checked before booking flights and it was better value going South to North than the other way around. Also flight in to Queenstown is one of the best commercial jet landings I have ever experienced.

    One thing to note is if you don’t have a drivers licence that is in English, you need to pay a fee for a translation. Understand why it is needed, but bit of a rip off at USD30 (IIRC). OH has licence issued in Portugal, so it is hardly like it is an issue about understanding the basic info.

    Wasn’t needed anywhere through Aus despite protests from Avis desk in Queenstown that it is the law in Aus and NZ. Never had any issues with it anywhere else in the world.

    damboy5 39 posts

    I also had good experiences with Ezi Car Rental at Auckland airport. Great service and good cars at a reasonable price

    Richie 970 posts

    ….. Also flight in to Queenstown is one of the best commercial jet landings I have ever experienced…

    It is yes, but some may not like it.

    TunnocksTeaCake 22 posts

    Thanks for those suggestions / comments, that is very useful.

    I like the look of Apex for my North Island car hire – prices look reasonable and although they do not have a drop off location at Rotorua Airport they do have one at Tauranga Airport where I can fly to Christchurch.

    I intend to stop off in Dunedin for two nights between Christchurch and Queenstown which should break up the journey. I will be flying to NZ from Adelaide where the only direct flight is to Auckland so intend to go North to South.

    phantomchickenz 312 posts

    Dunedin is well off the direct route from Chch to Queenstown, and you’ll miss most of the best scenery…

    TH 15 posts

    Just back from a trip around North and South islands. You’re right about one-way drop off fees and we found that several companies (via online search anyway) didn’t offer one-way to Rotorua. In the end, we went with Avis on North island and that cost about £300 for six days.

    South island car hire prices, oddly, seem more expensive. But Omega were comparatively good value; picked up from Picton after taking the inter island ferry and dropped off at Queenstown. Staff at both ends were exceptionally friendly and the car (which they specified would be a few years old) was in good nick. That was about £550 for eight days.

    TH 15 posts

    ….. Also flight in to Queenstown is one of the best commercial jet landings I have ever experienced…

    It is yes, but some may not like it.

    Intriguing! Why do you say that people wouldn’t like it? We flew out of Queenstown on a very clear day and the view of the mountains from the sky was breathtaking.

    phantomchickenz 312 posts

    ….. Also flight in to Queenstown is one of the best commercial jet landings I have ever experienced…

    It is yes, but some may not like it.

    Intriguing! Why do you say that people wouldn’t like it? We flew out of Queenstown on a very clear day and the view of the mountains from the sky was breathtaking.

    Breathtaking, absolutely. But there are some heavily banked turns on the way in which some might find a little hairy. All completely safe of course.

    TunnocksTeaCake 22 posts

    Dunedin is well off the direct route from Chch to Queenstown, and you’ll miss most of the best scenery…

    My itinerary is only at the initial tentative stage. More than happy to hear suggestions to replace 2 nights in Dunedin on a drive between Christchurch and Queenstown.

    The itinerary I had in mind was:
    Auckland – 3 nights
    Hire car and drive to Rotorua – stay for 2 or 3 nights
    Fly to Christchurch – stay for 2 nights
    Hire car and drive to Dunedin – stay for 2 nights
    Drive to Queenstown – stay for 5 or 4 nights (depending on how long I stay in Rotorua).

    phantomchickenz 312 posts

    Dunedin doesn’t have a huge amount going for it, other than the worlds steepest street. If scenery is what you’re after, then much better to come off State Highway 1 at Rangitata and go inland via State Highway 8. If possible I’d suggest pushing on to Wanaka for the couple of nights before heading to QT via Cardrona, otherwise Tekapo is a good halfway point to break up the journey.

    TunnocksTeaCake 22 posts

    Dunedin doesn’t have a huge amount going for it, other than the worlds steepest street. If scenery is what you’re after, then much better to come off State Highway 1 at Rangitata and go inland via State Highway 8. If possible I’d suggest pushing on to Wanaka for the couple of nights before heading to QT via Cardrona, otherwise Tekapo is a good halfway point to break up the journey.

    Thanks. I will take a look at Wanaka and Tekapo with a view to swapping Dunedin for one of them.

    jintycat 35 posts

    The tranzalpine train from Christchurch to greymouth is worth it then hire a car to drive down to queestown and on to milford sound..the whole drive is stunning

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