It seems easy, but it is not. There are many offers, they seem super-convenient, but actually you will have to check if the car is suitable for your needs. We suggest you consider these aspects.
- Insurance: they drive on the the left, I would not take much to break a side mirror. We have chosen maximum coverage, which anyhow does not cover windows and wheels.
- Consider that there is an additional charge if you want to return the car in a different place from where you took it
- There is a free ticket for the ferry from Wellington to Pincton to go from the northern to the southern island (be careful…the free ticket is ONLY for the car, not for the passengers)
- Discounts or free tickets for some attractions are available if you rent the car with some companies (if you want to do bungee jumping, boat trips, helicopter, and so on, so if you have money to spend, consider a car rental company that would give you some coupons)
- Cost of the car. You will be in the car with all your luggage, so we would suggest renting a car that does not show that you have the luggage inside
- Possibility to rent the sat nav with data connection, which could be useful. You could use it as a hot-spot to connect smartphones to it (obviously you will have to bring it with you then). Be careful, because in the southern island the data connection is very bad, so it is better to install on your phone a sat nav that can operate off-line (maybe download the maps first)
- Request for international driving licence or translated driving licence: it is a debated topic, we have found a good solution reading the information found on the website of the government of New Zealand: there are a series of translators officially recognised by the government, you can find everything here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licences/new-residents-and-visitors/approved-translators/. Contact the one closer to where you arrive, send them a scanned copy of your driving licence, agree on a how you pick it up and you are done. No need for an international driving licence, no time to waste in your country. If you collect the car as soon as you arrive, then you have to ask them to send you the translation in your country so that you have it with you when you land. In Auckland, we had no problems con http://www.a2ztranslate.co.nz/, the police man that fined us appreciated a lot the translation :-)
Last note on the bans: in New Zealand the rules are respected, the speed limits are rightly strict and are enforced by policemen hiding in their car behind advertising boards as you normally see in American movies. We were given a fine during the second day of car rental and we understood that we had to behave… so: DRIVE SLOWLY!