New Zealand may be small in comparison to neighbouring Australia, but getting around it by car is still by far the easiest option. Distances between populated areas can seem huge if you're used to travelling in the UK. So, if you hire a car, you need to know that you're getting a professional and reliable service. This article will thus show you where to hire rental cars in New Zealand.
What to look out for
Nationwide, there are hundreds of car hire firms scattered around New Zealand. Many of them are international companies like Hertz and Avis NZ whose reputations are excellent. Firms like these have many offices across the country, so your first consideration, that of how to return the car, won't be a problem. If you rent from a small outfit, you may be tied to a "return to base" rental which may not be convenient. Safety is a major factor when driving any vehicle and even more so when rental cars can do high mileages. All cars in New Zealand must have a current Warrant of Fitness (WoF) which is the equivalent of the UK MOT test. Ask for proof of this before you accept your vehicle. Also, enquire about the company's servicing policy as the prospect of a breakdown in the middle of nowhere isn't to be taken lightly. Along the same lines, make sure that your hire agreement includes a good roadside assistance plan (Thrifty Cars, for example, are partners of the RAC). Watch out for charges that may increase your final bill. Given the distance you could be covering, try to find a rental firm that doesn't impose strict mileage allowances. Charges may only be a few cents per kilometre, but this adds up if you exceed your limit by several hundred. Finally, ensure that the insurance cover you are offered is fully comprehensive and check the excess. This is vital or you may find yourself paying a huge bill if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.
Where to hire from
All the major worldwide firms are represented in New Zealand so, if you prefer to stick with the likes of Budget Rental or Hertz, you can arrange to collect your car from the airport on arrival. There are, however, some excellent locally owned companies like Ace and Apex Rentals who both have offices around the country. Hiring from sources like this can often mean you benefit from a more nationally focused service with local knowledge and better rates. If you are looking for a touring rental, then try Backpacker Campervan and Car Rentals which can provide you with a variety of campers to suit singles, couples or large families.