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The Complete New Zealand Driving and Rental Guide

With a territory as large as the United Kingdom but with only a population of 4.5 million inhabitants, New Zealand has always been a popular travel destination thanks to its beautiful and diverse natural sceneries. Here is a driving and rental guide we prepare especially for you aiming at helping you have a smooth road trip.

  • Speed Limit and Traffic Signs
  • Seatbelt and Child Safety
  • Parking, Fuel and Toll
  • Traffic Violation
  • Driving Licence and Age Requirements

Speed Limit and Traffic Signs

In New Zealand, driving is on the left with overtaking on the right. New Zealand has the same system of signs and road code as you would find in the United Kingdom. During winter, especially in the mountains or on South Island, driving can be tricky. Therefore snow chains are highly recommended when renting a car at this season.

Speed Limit

There are speed limits of 100 km/h on highways and 50 km/h in urban areas unless signs say otherwise.

Traffic Signs

There are three major types of signs in New Zealand: compulsory, warning and information signs. Here are some of the regulatory signs that you may often see in New Zealand.

New Zealand Traffic Sign StopStop
New Zealand Traffic Sign Give WayGive Way
New Zealand Traffic Sign No U turnNo U-turn
New Zealand Traffic Sign 30 km/h Speed Limit30 km/h Speed Limit
New Zealand Traffic Sign No StoppingNo Stopping

Warning signs are diamond-shaped with yellow or green background.

New Zealand Traffic Sign 60 km/h Speed Limit Ahead60 km/h Speed Limit Ahead
New Zealand Traffic Sign Merging Traffic from RightMerging Traffic from Right 
New Zealand Traffic Sign Road BumpRoad Bump
New Zealand Traffic Sign Watch for Large Animals (Cattle)Watch for Large Animals (Cattle)
New Zealand Traffic Sign Railway CrossbuckRailway Crossbuck

Information signs are in rectangular shape with a white background.

New Zealand Traffic Sign Left Turn at Any Time With CareLeft Turn at Any Time With Care
New Zealand Traffic Sign Cyclists Cross Here With Care (to the Left)Cyclists Cross Here With Care (to the Left)

Further information on signs for driving in New Zealand can be found in this booklet.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. QEEQ.COM will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Seatbelt and Child Safety

Seatbelt Laws

The driver is responsible for ensuring all passengers under 15 years wear seat belts. Passengers aged 15 and over are responsible for putting seat belts on themselves.

Booster Seat Laws

All children under 7 must use an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. 

You must correctly secure children aged between 7 and 8 in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle. If not, in any child restraint or safety belt that is available. 

For children aged between 8 and 14, a safety belt must be used. If not available, they must travel in the back seat. 

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. QEEQ.COM will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Parking, Fuel and Toll


· Forbidden Parking 

You cannot park your car in the following spots: 

- Along the broken yellow lines along the side of the curb, since it means that parking is not permitted

- Near a corner, curve, hill, traffic island or intersection, if it will stop other people from seeing along the road 

- On, or closer than 5 metres to a fire hydrant, unless somebody who can move the vehicle stays with it 

- In front of or closer than 1 metre to a vehicle entrance 

- On or closer than 6 metres to an intersection, unless there are parking spaces or a notice telling you that you can park there 

· Parking Signs 

Parking signs in New Zealand are marked with numbers indicating how long you can park the car and an arrow to indicate directions. Some are specified with the date of the week as well.

 New Zealand Parking With Specified Time And Arrow New Zealand Parking With Specified Time And Dates And Arrow

· Paid Parking 

All machines accept New Zealand coins, and some of them have been introduced with credit cards and TXT-a-Park payment methods. Currently, you still need to go for Pay-and-Display parking. However, all machines will be upgraded by March 2018 to include Pay By Plate technology, which allows you to enter your vehicle’s registration plate number directly on the machine and pay for it by credit card, debit card, coins or TXT-a-Park. Note that there is a 50-cent fee for credit card or TXT-a-Park transaction.

New Zealand Paid Parking Metre(Image from Stuff.co.nz)

Fuel Prices

The average gasoline price in New Zealand in November 2017 is $2.22 per litre, while it is of $1.47 for diesel.


There are three toll roads in New Zealand: the Northern Gateway Toll Road north in Auckland, the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and the Takitimu Drive Toll Road in Tauranga.

New Zealand Toll Road(Image from nzta.govt.nz)

How much you should pay depends on your car type. You can pay the tolls by debit or credit cards, POLi, and cash. 

Debit or credit card 

You can use your Visa or Mastercard to buy or pay a Pay & Go toll.


If you have Internet banking with ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank, TSB Bank, Westpac or Bank Direct, then you can buy or pay a Pay & Go toll (external link) using Payment Online (POLi). 

Note: POLi is not available for business internet banking customers. 


If you prefer to pay with cash (or by debit/credit card) you can pay your tolls at selected service stations (a transaction fee of $1.20 per transaction will apply). 

Be aware that as a car renter, not paying for the toll fee will result in the car hire company paying it for you and collecting the toll fee along with an add-on of management fee (note that it can sometimes be costly) from your credit card.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. QEEQ.COM will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Traffic Violation

DUI Laws

If you are 20 or over, you must not drive if you have consumed more than the legal alcohol limit, which is 250 micrograms per litre of breath or 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood (0.05%). There is a zero tolerance for alcohol if you are under 20.

Traffic Fines

In New Zealand, exceeding the speed limit results in an infringement fine range from $30 to $630. The amount of the infringement fine will depend on the difference between the actual and legal speed limit. 

As for parking, an infringement notice can be issued if a vehicle is parked illegally on public land, or in breach of what a parking sign says. In some circumstances, the vehicle can also be towed away if it is obstructing traffic. 

Normally, there will be a website or hotline number on the front or back of the ticket as well as the reason for the violation fine and the relevant voucher number. Please be aware that you can log onto the website or call the hotline and follow the guidelines to pay the ticket. 

Failure to pay tickets will result in the car hire company paying them on the renter’s behalf, and debit the renter credit card for the fine amount plus an administration fee. Please note that you can always contact QEEQ’ 24/7 customer service team for help if you have questions concerning this matter. 

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. QEEQ.COM will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Driving Licence and Age Requirements

At the time of rental in New Zealand, all drivers must present a full and valid driving licence from the renters country of residence and the licence should be held for at least 1 or 2 years ( policies may vary depending on car hire companies). An International Driving Permit is highly recommended for international drivers. If your domestic driving licence is not printed in English (Arabic, Japanese, Cyrillic etc), an International Driving Permit (IDP/IDL) or an official translation in English is required when you drive in New Zealand.

Minimum age in New Zealand is 21 years (age may vary depending on car category) and the maximum is 80 years of age. If you're 21-25, you are likely to have to pay a young driver fee. If you're 65 or older, you may have to pay a senior driver fee.

*Please be aware that rules are subject to change. QEEQ.COM will try the best to maintain the accuracy of this information.

Guest reviews

1 /
Rob W

August 8, 2022

Destination: Auckland

8.7GREAT SERVICE would certainly record them to others and use website again

Yes recieved the correct car i requested

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July 12, 2022

Destination: Christchurch


More attendance staff to introduce the car conditions and pre-inspections with the clients,

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July 5, 2022

Destination: Christchurch

10Quick and easy - was off on holiday in no time!!

They rang me to say the shuttle was on the way to pick me up, smooth pick up of car, polite and efficient. Toyota yaris was great for 2 of us. Very happy.

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July 5, 2022

Destination: Auckland

10Easy, convenient, and economical!

It was so easy to pickup the car at Budget, being that the location was in terminal. This was key being that we arrived after 8:30pm, and was so convenient ! Everything went really well.

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July 3, 2022

Destination: Christchurch

10The best car rental experience for us!

Europcar Queenstown 034425887 Georgie (Europcar Christchurch airport) who helped us when we collected the car from Christchurch was awesome. She was so friendly and helpful. She allocated a brand new KIA Carnival for us (mileage was only 20 Km) which was a wonderful surprise. The car was so spacious and had all of the safety features that you expect from 2022 model. The ride was so smooth and comfortable for 6 people. I was so reluctant to return it at the end of our trip

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June 28, 2022

Destination: Auckland

9.7Great getaway

The staff at Jucy were great.

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Robbie Zhang

June 24, 2022

Destination: Auckland

10Good experience!

Very good customer service. They waited until we completed the booking even it was after work hour.

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June 23, 2022

Destination: Christchurch


I called 7 times before someone answered to come and pick me up.

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Kelvin Thio

June 22, 2022

Destination: Christchurch

8other than delay in pick-up, overall experience is positive. will consider to use EZU in future.

Under staff at counter.

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June 22, 2022

Destination: Queenstown

9.3Rental was okay i think, would have been great we would have got the car which we booked for

The car originally booked was KIA RIO and the car provided was Toyota Camry 2.5L which was way big to our requirements. Costing more on fuel

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June 16, 2022

Destination: Christchurch

8.7Very Good

Great staff. The car needed some small things fixed. It needs a wheel alignment as it does pull to the left, the lights are poor for night driving.

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June 14, 2022

Destination: Auckland


Excellent service from start to finish very good service

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June 13, 2022

Destination: Wellington

9.7QEEQ and Apex made it all happen very easily.

All my dealings with Apex were easy. The staff were helpful, informative, and quick to respond to questions. The car was more spacious than expected and a pleasure to drive. Apex had no problems with us hiring the car for a one way journey between the Islands.

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May 25, 2022

Destination: Queenstown

9.3Always reliable and gets the job done

The car was exactly as expected and the team were great in their customer service and shuttling us to/from the airport in a timely manner.

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May 24, 2022

Destination: Christchurch

9.3great value for money - would use again

car was great pick up was great had to wait a while to do the paperwork as only 1 man doing all jobs

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May 19, 2022

Destination: Auckland

4.3Bad, very bad overall.

The car was is horrible condition with interior coverings peeling away. Will never use this company. Bad cars and bad classification of cars in model categories.

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May 9, 2022

Destination: Wellington

10Great rental experience

I was expecting the smallest car, but had what I'd describe as a small SUV. It was easy to navigate city streets, roomy for my purposes and comfortable. Pick up and drop off were easy.

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April 29, 2022

Destination: Queenstown

10Good experience

First time renting. All good

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April 14, 2022

Destination: Greymouth



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February 24, 2022

Destination: Queenstown

6.7Old vehicle

Long wait to get vehicle. Motor not running smoothly, particularly on decent.

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February 24, 2022

Destination: Queenstown

10Good value for money

Have used EZU a couple times, good value for money and have had no issues

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Dom Hayden

January 26, 2022

Destination: Auckland

9.3excellent customer service!

excellent customer service!

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November 19, 2021

Destination: Christchurch

9.7No problems, great price, perfect for what I needed

Perfectly suited to my day trip to Christchurch

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November 3, 2021

Destination: Auckland


The best company the best customer service

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October 7, 2021

Destination: Auckland



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October 5, 2021

Destination: Queenstown


Had an issue with the rear seat and we got another car promptly, was really great When we drop the car, nobody was available at the counter, freak out as would have missed my flight and had to pay for a taxi to drop me at the airport, spent around $30. Not cool....

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August 20, 2021

Destination: Auckland


One staff member picking up and processing. I waited an hour to get a car I rented for 4 hours!

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August 6, 2021

Destination: Queenstown

8.3Very Good

Hi team, We have booked the car for 2 days, before we confirmed the booking it was mentioned that we are guaranteed a Toyota Rav4. It was never mentioned OR A SIMILAR VEHICLE, however we were not given the car model guaranteed to us. Please find attached screenshots for booking. Regards, Margie Garcia and Karam Paul

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July 23, 2021

Destination: Dunedin

10Excellent service and car from Hertz via QEEQ.com

Exceeded expectations on all counts. Thanks so much!

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Jenni McLaughlin

June 2, 2021

Destination: Auckland

8.7Excellent value for money and a smooth car rental process overall. Thank You!

Yes, I was very pleased with the Toyota Yaris for the price I paid.

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April 28, 2021

Destination: Christchurch

7.7Great Value

great value car ran great

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April 27, 2021

Destination: Auckland

8.3Great value and easy to use platform

Great value and friendly and helpful staff. Deliver vehicle directly to the airport but need to complete all of the paperwork online before arrival.

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April 27, 2021

Destination: Auckland

10Fast, easy, cheap car rental service

Car met expectations and got me from A to B. You pay for what you get, but the staff were helpful and released my $500 deposit straight away.

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April 24, 2021

Destination: Auckland


Car was good condition

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April 23, 2021

Destination: Queenstown


Great service and car got upgraded to a more spacious one

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April 21, 2021

Destination: Wellington


Expected a Nissan SUV, but was Suprised by a Bigger Mitsubishi SUV

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sameer iyer

April 20, 2021

Destination: Queenstown


It's been a week and I still haven't received my deposit. They had promised to transfer it back in 1-3 days. I have called them up twice and yet no resolution.

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Iwelly Motten

April 17, 2021

Destination: Christchurch

8.7Less attention to detail otherwise it was a great experience.

I would like to share a constructive feedbacks as follows: 1. Counter check in staff The counter staff were awesome and nice, they informed us in advance that they're new, they did their best to follow all the written instructions to help with the pick up process. Behind us there were 3 other customers. But shame for Europcar, they should have some senior staff to assist the new staff to avoid long queue and complaints. 2. Full tank for the new renter Make sure to check the fuel meter when the previous renter return the car to make sure it's full tank. I I picked the car up with millage at 3679km (pic.#1) , just realized when I was travelling at 3772km - mileage left to travel 765km (pic.#2), it was just 3km away from airport that the fuel meter showed only 15 bars (full tank is 16 bars). For the clear details at 3777km when I pulled over to take another photo (pic.#3). I didn't bother to return to the counter to complaint as I had an appointment that I was late because of the long process. In the middle of the trip, I refuelled and it showed 16 bars on the fuel meter and millage left to travel 926km (pic.#4). From this only, I felt cheated as if only I took the vehicle full tank, I would have travelled another 161km. Another clear information (pic.#5) when I refuelled again at the Z-petrol station by Frankton Road in Queenstown before return the vehicle at Queenstown airport which only 2.5km away. Again, millage left to travel still 957km and not 765km as when I picked up. Thank you.

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April 12, 2021

Destination: Greymouth


Staff were awesome and very helpful and the condition of the car was pretty excellent.

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April 12, 2021

Destination: Queenstown

9.7It was really great.

Car was neat and clean. It did meet the expecations.

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March 18, 2021

Destination: Queenstown


Very nice staff and helpful

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March 5, 2021

Destination: Queenstown

9Cheap price but premium service

Ended up with a bigger car (SUV) which was appreciated. Helpful staff and quick process. Fantastic value for money!

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December 24, 2020

Destination: Auckland


Lovely staff. Car had some nice touches like a phone holder and car charger with double USB ports, which I usually have to bring myself. Would definitely hire again x

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December 15, 2020

Destination: Queenstown


The car was impeccably maintained and very clean. It was however a 2007 model vehicle. I wasn’t aware of this during the booking process. No problem, but I would have preferred to have been aware of this.

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December 6, 2020

Destination: Auckland


We randomly received ford focus. We expected too much but got disappointed. There was a prompting reminder that the car needed a maintenance. We felt it because even we were just 2 riding the car, it was difficult to drive. It felt like we have heavy luggages inside. The aircon is not working working not unless you turn the fan to level 4. This must have not been the case if they were maintaining their cars properly.

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December 5, 2020

Destination: Queenstown


Yes, everything perfectly.

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December 4, 2020

Destination: Auckland

8.3Glad to have discovered QEEQ

Car was old but fair value for the cost. Very friendly and helpful staff. Delay picking up while issue with another customer was dealt with by the sole staff member.

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December 4, 2020

Destination: Christchurch

8Very good


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November 29, 2020

Destination: Queenstown

8Good low budget option

The company didn’t have any Toyota Yaris (option I had booked) available and tried to give me a Nissan Tiida instead, I refuse it regarding its size and the lack of ISOFIX for my baby car seat, after a friendly discussion I agreed to have the Nissan Latio. Wouldn’t say it was a big issue. Just a little inconvenience that could be avoided with a better organization. I still recommend it if you need just a cheap rental option.

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November 26, 2020

Destination: Christchurch

10Good value

Excellent all round

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Best car rental deals in New Zealand

Best rates found by QEEQ users in the last 30 days.

Frequently asked questions

Q1.What is an insurance excess?

The excess is the amount you'll only be liable for in case of damage(under Collision Damage Waiver) or theft(under Theft Protection) of the vehicle.
Information about the excess will be clearly stated in the price inclusion when you reserve a car on QEEQ.

Q2. How can I add an addtional driver?

You are advised to make a request upon your arrival at the rental counter. Additional charge per day will incur unless '1 Additional Driver Included' is stipulated on the rental.
Please note that the same licence and age requirement applys to the additonal driver. The addtional driver is supposed to present the required licence document along with the main driver at pickup.

Q3.What if I want to pick up or drop off my rental car out of office hours?

QEEQ will show you the car offers available at your chosen time on the search results.
However, pick-up or drop-off out of general opening hours may subject to an extra fee unless self-service pick-up or drop-off is available.
After you reserve a car on QEEQ, we will inform you of specific policy of the car hire company by email.

Q4. Can I take the hired car to another country or cross border?

If you want to pick up your car in one country and drop it in another, your search results will show you cars you can do that with.
If you're planning to cross any borders during your trip, bear in mind:
1. You may have to pay more.
There are often extra fees, taxes or additional cover you'll pay at the car hire counter.
2.It may not be allowed.
Depending on where you're hiring, you may not be able to take your car to another country.
Please email us if you want to take your hire car into a different country during your trip, and we'll talk you through your options.

Q5. Can I pick up my car at one location and return it at different location?

Yes. You can pick up the vehicle in one place and drop it off in another. An ‘one-way fee’ will incur. Whether it is inclued in the rental price or what additional cost may arise will be clearly stated at the time of booking on QEEQ.
Please inform the car hire company of your drop-off location when you pick up the vehicle or contact them directly during your trip. You will find a phone number on the rental agreement you signed at pickup.

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