Car hire Christchurch: Cheap deals, airport hire and more

Rev around Christchurch in a budget-friendly Toyota Yaris or a powerful Rav 4, with hires starting at $34 a day.


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Christchurch is blanketed by landscapes where public transport doesn't go, so the best way to explore the mountains, lakes and national parks is to hire a car.

The good news is that because there is a lot of competition due to demand, you don't have to go far to find a bargain.

Here's everything you need to know about hiring a car in the largest city on New Zealand's south island, including what budget to set and the rules of the road.

Compare car hire in Christchurch

Sample hire cars and prices in Christchurch

To give you an idea of how much you'll have to budget for your wheels, we sussed out a few starting prices for a hire car in Christchurch.

To get these, we searched our rental cars engine for a seven-day hire from Christchurch Airport, valid for a driver aged 30-65. We then found the cheapest prices available per type of vehicle.

All quotes were retrieved on 28 October 2018.

Small, economy car

  • Car: Mazda Demio
  • Seats: 4 seats
  • Luggage: One large bag, one small bag
  • Rental company: Ace Rental Cars
  • Cost: $168.85 for 7 days or $24.12 per day

Medium car

  • Car: Toyota Corolla Hatch
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: One large bag, one small bag
  • Rental company: AeroDrive
  • Cost: $231.12 for 7 days or $33.02 per day

Large car

  • Car: Subaru Legacy 4WD
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: Two large bags, one small bag
  • Rental company: Ace
  • Cost: $321.04 for 7 days or $45.86 per day


  • Car: Toyota Rav 4 4x4
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 3 large bags
  • Rental company: Ace Rental Cars
  • Cost: $398.38 for 7 days or $56.91 per day

Prices mentioned above were retrieved on 28 October 2018 and change constantly. Get the latest prices for your car hire today.

Car hire from Christchurch Airport

These companies offer vehicles straight from the International Arrivals Hall of Christchurch Airport:

Other companies with depots in greater Christchurch also provide pick-up and drop-off services to Christchurch Airport. Other pick-up locations include the following:

  • Moorhouse Avenue
  • Fitzgerald Avenue

3 popular driving routes in Christchurch

The Kimberley (Christchurch to The Kimberley)

  • How long is the drive? 3,600 km
  • How long do I need? 14 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Pinnacles Desert, Exmouth, Karijini National Park, Shark Bay
  • Recommended vehicle: SUV/4WD

This two-week-long road trip is one of the best in Australia as it gets travellers exploring destinations that aren't on everyone's radar, from unusual-looking national parks to crystal-clear waters and snorkelling and diving with marine life.

This road trip is nothing short of epic and shows Australia's extreme diversity.

Coral Coast (Christchurch to Exmouth)

  • How long is the drive? 1,716 km
  • How long do I need? 7–10 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Ningaloo Reef, Kalbarri National Park
  • Recommended vehicle: Sedan or SUV

If more strapped for time then opt to take this shorter road trip instead of one to The Kimberley. On it you'll still see many of the natural attractions, including the only place in Australia where you can swim with whale sharks.

It also features national parks and cake-coloured sand beaches.

Nullarbor (Christchurch to Nullarbor)

  • How long is the drive? 1,256 km
  • How long do I need? 5–6 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Bunda Cliffs, the world's longest golf course, 90-mile straight (Australia's longest road)
  • Recommended vehicle: SUV/4WD

Often used as a road trip between Christchurch and Adelaide, the Nullarbor Plain is an other-wordly drive.

It takes you across vast bushland in the Outback where you can spot wildlife and then to a coastal region where you can spot whales.

You can choose to end in Nullarbor itself or continue on to Adelaide if you have more time.

I'm ready to book my car hire!

Tips for driving in Christchurch

  • The default speed limit on open roads is 100km/h. In urban areas, it is 50km/h.
  • Approach railway crossings with caution. While some railway crossings in New Zealand have automatic alarms to alert drivers of oncoming trains, others just have "give way" or "stop" signs. When crossing, be sure to look both ways before crossing.
  • Traffic lights can flash yellow. This means that the light is out of order. Unless there's a traffic controller to direct you, you are allowed to proceed with caution.
  • Drive on the left. Throughout New Zealand, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Tips for hiring a car in Christchurch

  • Can I use my Australian licence in Christchurch? Yes, so long as your licence is up to date.
  • What if I'm on a provisional licence? P-platers can legally drive in New Zealand; however, many car hire companies don't allow P-platers to hire cars. Those that do may charge a fee.
  • Do I need car hire insurance? Your hire car generally comes with basic insurance; however, this is typically attached to a high excess. You can reduce this by paying a fee either to the car hire company or an external insurer. Before you leave home, compare these costs to ensure you're covered at the best price for you.

Car hire deals in Christchurch


Campervan hire from $5/day

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

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Up to 15% off prestige car rentals

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.

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Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

5% off Cheapa Campa international rentals

Available for rentals until 31 March 2021. Destinations include Auckland, Christchurch and more. Must book at least 180+ days prior to the start of your rental. T&Cs apply.

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Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

5% off New Zealand campervan rentals

Available on rentals until 31 March 2021 with Apollo Motorhomes. T&Cs apply.

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