In Australia and New Zealand, cars are driven on the left hand side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right hand side of the car. For those of us who are not already use to this, it takes a lot of concentration to drive. Even if you think it's bothersome or not necessary, I recommend having a passenger be a backseat driver with reminders. Having an annoying backseat driver is better than the alternative of causing an accident. During my visit, there was an ongoing debate amongst locals about tourists renting cars and causing devastating accidents. See one article here.
|Four of us and all of our luggage fit into our Toyota Corolla.|
New Zealand has a website which offers helpful information for anyone driving in the country. I have looked for this kind of information from other countries when I have rented cars abroad I and never found a site so thorough.
Taking all of this into account, I would still recommend renting a car to travel around either country. If you have room in the budget (in November 2014, a gallon of gasoline was $8 USD) and if you are pressed for time, it's the way to go. I spent a total of seven days on the south island and am so glad that we had a car to get around quicker than using public transportation. We would routinely pull off the main road to explore the parks, hiking trails, or other natural beauty that these amazing countries have to offer.
|We found this river after pulling over in one of the many National Parks in New Zealand.|
Over the three weeks of my visit, we rented four cars. The majority of the time, we rented from Budget. We were happy with their service and pricing. We were also interested to find out that Budget does not charge extra for additional drivers. We also rented one car from Hertz. Hertz allows additional drivers who share the same address as the primary driver to be added without an additional charge. Do beware that in Australia both companies charge a fee for a mandatory toll transponder for the rental car. We were not allowed to opt out of this charge.