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Getting Around New Zealand
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Hire a Car

Roadtrips Rock!

There are lots of car hire companies in New Zealand, ranging from small cheap outfits to large nation wide franchises. With so much choice it is often difficult to know which company to go with.

First you need to decide what type of vehicle you want. If there are only a few of you then a car is the logical choice. However if you have a larger group then a people mover (up to eight people) or a van (up to 12) might be more appropriate. The other option is to get a campervan. While these are normally more expensive the extra cost can be offset by the savings you will make on accommodation.

In Auckland there are numerous hire car companies close to the Universities.

GOOT has partnered with two great companies: Alternative Car Hire (115 Beach Rd) & Ace Rental Cars (39 The Strand)... both of which are great options depending on what you have planned. They both have reliable cars at affordable prices and are located really close to both downtown and to the motorway meaning less time is spent trying to negotiate Auckland traffic! The loyalty deals they give to GOOT passport holders is fantastic so check them out first.

USAVE have came so highly recommended from past students that we've decided to add their nifty booking tool here and hope to partner with them soon:

A to B Rentals (11 Stanley St) are also good, have a user friendly website and have branches in the South Island. However they have a three day minimum hire period so are our pick for longer trips.

If you are looking for a solid reputable nation wide company then Omega Rental Cars (75 Beach Rd) are a good option.

Other options include Apex, Road Trip, Explore More or Jucy. The last two also have campervans as do Spaceships run by Stray.

Another good option is vehicle relocations. Many of the rental car companies need cars to be relocated around NZ urgently. This can be a great way to pick up a very cheap (or even free car or van). All you need to do is return the vehicle to the required destination in the time allowed. Check out car transfers to see what is available.

Once your ready to hit the road you'll need some good maps, many car hire companies offer road maps but we like to get ours from Auckland Map Centre on Queen St.

Readers have left 4 comments.
 4. Alternative
Jaimie Collum (BU), Unregistered
The cars we’ve had from Alternative were really old, but they work and it’s cheap.
 Posted 2009-03-16 12:36:13
 3. You Save Car and Truck
Mimi Palmore (BU), Unregistered
I found it online because everywhere I tried was booked. It was cheap considering we got the car really last minute. Insurance that fully covers everything was $30 and $48 per day. They’re really nice. We got a flat and popped the tire so we called them and they had a guy over in 15 minutes and they gave us a new car. It was only $65 for the tire, which isn’t so bad.
 Posted 2009-03-16 12:35:24
 2. Alternative night drop off
Eric David (BU), Unregistered
Alternative was cool. I really like their policy where you can do a night drop off. You can drop it off at any time of night which saves you money for the extra day. On the other hand, we had to wait half an hour for someone to bring a car back.
 Posted 2009-03-16 12:33:57
 1. A2B personalized service
Eric David (BU), Unregistered
The guys at A2B were very cool and easy people to deal with. Their policies are cool. The second time I went back they found me a car with a CD player and the guy was willing to let me use his personal adapter.
 Posted 2009-03-16 12:32:36
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Buy a Car

If you are planning on doing lots of trips the convenience of owning your own car might be worth considering. There are a number of ways to go about finding a suitable vehicle.

  • Check out the notice boards in any of the main Auckland backpackers. Many travelers buy and sell cars this way and it is a good place to pick up a bargain.
  • prices also tend to drop rapidly as the owners departure date approaches.
  • previous owners often include extra gear they have acquired during their travels (camping equipment, cell phones etc..) with the vehicle.
  • A car fair is another good option. Here you will find a variety of cars/vans etc.. which allows you to easily compare your options.

Check out:   

Realistically you can expect to pay $1500 - $3000 for a half decent car and a little more for a van. Make sure that any vehicle you buy has a current WOF (warrant of fitness) and a current registration. When buying a vehicle it is also a very good idea to get it checked out by a qualified mechanic. While a car inspection may cost you $100 it could prevent you from buying a complete lemon.


Travelling around New Zealand by bus is relatively easy and well organised. Obviously it lacks the freedom of driving yourself but can certainly be a hassle free way to do things.

A number of bus companies run regular routes between the main centres of both the North and South Islands.

Check out:
Naked bus
Atomic Shuttles

Alternatively Backpacker buses sell passes lasting for several days or even weeks. These passes provide the flexibility to get on and off where and when you want to and can be good value if you want to see a lot of the country in a limited time. The bus driver can pre-book your accommodation for you and activity stops are included along the way. Check out:

Stray Travel
Kiwi Experience
Magic Bus
Flying Kiwi


Travelling by train in New Zealand is rather limited, as the trains are slow and infrequent. However there are a couple of trips worth considering.

Check out that run the TranzAlpine, TranzCoastal and the Overlander lines.


Domestic flights in NZ used to be very expensive but due to lots of competition prices have come down. Flying is now a very affordable option. Look for flights with Air New Zealand (check out grab a seat), Qantas (red e deals) and Pacific Blue. Jet Star have also just started operating ( and are another good option. Some good websites that allow you to compare fares on a number of domestic airlines are and

All the above airlines also fly to Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Other Options

New Zealand, and particularly the South Island, is a great place to tour by bike. However one must remember that although the country looks small of the map the distance between towns is deceptively long and the hills surprisingly big. If you want to ride around New Zealand you need a serious amount of time.

New Zealand is generally safe but you never know who is going to come along – for this reason we do not recommend hitchhiking unless you have to.

It is unlikely that you will get the opportunity to sail around New Zealand but if you are driving around you may need to catch the ferry between the North and South Island. If so check out:

The Interislander


If you are keen on the outdoors and enjoy hiking then Active Earth offer some awesome 5-10 day trips around the North Island.

Hiking new Zealand run the same style of trips in the South Island.

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