Car hire in Queenstown: Adventure starts at $50 a day

Put your suitcase in the boot and set off to explore New Zealand's South Island by road.

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Hire a car from Queenstown and you can run rings around the region's great lakes, drive to the banks of fiords for activities like kayaking and pull up beside some of New Zealand's top adrenaline sites.

Here's everything you need to know about hiring a car before you put the pedal to the metal.


Search and compare cheap car rental in Queenstown:

Compare hire cars and prices in Queenstown

To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your wheels, we sussed out quotes through our search engine for various types of vehicles.

We based our prices on the cheapest seven-day hires from Queenstown Airport for small, medium and large vehicles and SUVs. Prices were retrieved on 12 August 2019 and are based on a driver aged between 30 and 60 years old.

Small, economy car

  • Car: Toyota Yaris
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag, 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Budget
  • Cost: $345.13 for 7 days or $49.30 per day

Holden Barina

Medium car

  • Car: Holden Barina
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag, 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Firefly
  • Cost: $429.02 for 7 days or $61.29 per day

Toyota Corolla

Large car

  • Car: Toyota Corolla
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag, 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Ezi Car Rental
  • Cost: $482.47 for 7 days or $68.92 per day

Holden Trax

Estate car

  • Car: Holden Trax
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag, 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Firefly
  • Cost: $474.72 or $67.81 per day

Prices mentioned above were retrieved on 12 August 2019 and change constantly. Get the latest prices for your car hire today.


Who offers car hire from Queenstown Airport


Tips for driving in the Queenstown

  • The default speed limit on open roads is 100km/h. In urban areas, it is 50km/h.
  • Approach railway crossings with caution. Only around half of the railway crossings in the country have automatic alarms to alert drivers of oncoming trains. The rest have give way or stop signs so be wary before you cross.
  • Be prepared to use chains. Ice, snow and hail, primarily in winter, can make driving challenging. Most car hire companies provide you with chains when required and if you're headed up to the snow it is mandatory to put them on.
  • Adjust your driving to suit the conditions. New Zealand experiences extreme weather and the roads often feature sharp turns and steep slopes. Be aware of the conditions you will be driving in and take appropriate safety measures.
  • Drive on the left. Throughout New Zealand, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Car hire FAQ

  • Do I need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in New Zealand? Australians can drive in New Zealand with a current Australian driver's licence.
  • Can provisional licence holders hire a car in New Zealand? Yes. It's legal to drive on your provisional licence in New Zealand. However, many car hire companies may require you to hold a full licence.
  • Do I need car insurance? Your hire car comes with basic insurance and cover but the excess on policies is typically quite high. Before you sign off on the car hire company's own insurance policy, compare car hire excess insurance online to see if you can score a better and more suitable deal for your driving needs.

Queenstown to Milford Sound

  • How long is the drive? 575km, round trip
  • How long do I need? 1–2 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Kingston, Te Anau and Te Anau Downs.

Often used as a springboard to the captivating fiords of Milford Sound, this trip is peppered with winding roads, waterfalls, lakes and bridges. While it can be completed in a day (approximately seven hours return) if you wish to enjoy the hiking routes and cruise through the fiords we recommend spending a night in Te Anau or Milford Sound to drink it all up.


Queenstown to Kingston

  • How long is the drive? 50km each way
  • How long do I need? 1 day with stops
  • Must-sees along the way: Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables ski field, Kingstown

This scenic drive skirts the edge of Lake Wakatipu and features lots of curves and winding sections. It's a well-maintained route, though, so the driving is easy despite the twists and turns. Pack a picnic and stop for a lakeside lunch.


Queenstown to Christchurch

  • How long is the drive? 483km
  • How long do I need? 3–5 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Arrowtown, the Southern Alps, Lake Tekapo

This wriggling alpine and lakes route tends to stick to state highways, making the driving a breeze. Devise a schedule that gives you time in the historical gold mining town of Arrowtown. Borrow a pan from the Lake District Museum and have a go at panning for gold yourself.

Car hire deals in Queenstown

Deal

Campervan hire from $5 per day

Available on select routes, dates and locations in Australia, including Darwin, Alice Springs, Cairns and Brisbane and New Zealand.
Deal

Up to 20% off 2+ days Australia and New Zealand rentals

Expires 11 Dec 2021
Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 when you book 21 days in advance. Destinations include Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

Extra 5% off Hippie Camper rentals in New Zealand

Expires 31 Dec 2021
Available on campervan rentals until 31 March 2022 when you book 180 days in advance. Destinations include Auckland and Christchurch. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 14% off New Zealand campervan hires

Available on select rental dates in 2021 with Britz, Apollo, Cheapa and more. Destinations include Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 10% off 3+ day rentals

Expires 11 Dec 2021
Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 15% off prestige car rentals

Expires 11 Dec 2021
Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 across Australia and New Zealand including Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Auckland and more. Minimum of 5 days rental required. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 15% off 5+ days rentals

Expires 11 Dec 2021
Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

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