The best under 21 drivers' guide to roadtripping in New Zealand
Posted on 12/04/2020 by Spaceships Crew
Travelling to New Zealand is a dream for all age groups. A dream that every traveller should turn into reality. Our roads are great and the scenery is perfect for every traveller. Age doesn't matter there. However, there are a lot of questions young travellers want answers to as worldwide there is still some kind of age discrimination present in the world of travel. How are things in New Zealand for young drivers aka under 21 drivers?
Good question. Why do rental or insurance companies and governments put different (stricter) rules in place for young drivers? Let's create the ultimate information guide for anyone aged 18, 19, 20 or 21 so all info for under 21 drivers in New Zealand can be found in one place.
Questions asked by young travellers & drivers
Rental companies worldwide have created all kinds of rules and fees for young drivers. Let's see what the situation is in New Zealand. All your questions will be answered here.
Am I allowed to drive in New Zealand as an overseas driver younger than 21?
Yes. As an overseas traveller, you can drive in New Zealand if you match the following criteria:
- you have a valid overseas licence or driver permit
- you arrived in New Zealand less than 12 months ago (you can drive up to 12 months in New Zealand with an overseas driving licence)
- your driving licence is in English or you have a translation (see for more info about whether a translation is needed)
- you have a clean New Zealand driving record, which means you haven't received a disqualification or suspension in New Zealand
Can I rent a car in New Zealand as under 21 driver?
Yes, you can rent a car in New Zealand as a young driver. There is no law or reason why you can't drive in New Zealand if you are under 21. However, when it comes to rental cars there are a few things to take into consideration. Lots of car rental companies in New Zealand will charge an extra fee when you're an under 21 (or sometimes under 25) driver. That's what they call a "young driver fee".
The good news is that as an under 21 driver, you can hire a Spaceships campervan without being charged that silly young driver fee. At Spaceships, we believe in equality therefore everyone pays the same low price and no extra or hidden fees are charged.
And the best news is that we also offer vehicles similar to a rental car. Our Beta 2S Stealth (premium) and Dream Sleeper Mini Stealth (luxury) vehicles are unbranded vehicles (MPV) that look like a rental car from the outside but are a comfy campervan on the inside.
These vehicles drive like a rental car (automatic transmission) and can be used as a rental car to explore New Zealand. Simply park 'em at a hostel, motel or hotel and spend the night in regular accommodation. Or use the camping features to mix it up and spend a night in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand. All cooking gear is included so you can make some coffee or tea after a long hike... Or enjoy a home-made meal as lunch on a long road trip.
The Spaceships Stealth vehicles will take your rental car experience to the next level... Prices are often lower than a rental car and, most importantly, there's no extra fee for under 21 drivers at Spaceships!
Is hiring a campervan possible as an under 21 driver in New Zealand?
Yes, you are allowed to hire and drive a campervan in New Zealand as a young driver. However, just as with rental cars, there are lots of campervan rental companies that will charge you extra as an under 21 driver. Luckily you've come across Spaceships Rentals. We do things differently, we don't have any hidden or extra fees. Young drivers pay the same low price as more mature drivers. There's no young drivers fee at Spaceships. Never.
This means that as an under 21 Spaceships customer you:
- Can hire & drive a campervan.
- Will have the same low excess and same insurance options (info about insurance and upgrade options).
- Won't see any extra fees. Even if you're a young driver or going on a one-way trip, we don't charge extra for that. We have a no hidden fee policy.
As Spaceships campervans are customised compact campervans based on the Toyota Estima model (MPV) and come with automatic transmission, they are easy to drive for all kinds of drivers. Even if you aren't that experienced yet, for example as a young driver that just got his/her driving licence or that has never driven on the left-hand side of the road, our campervans are still easy to drive, You can fully focus on the road as the gears are automatic and because you'll be sitting a bit higher than in a normal rental car.
What kind of campervan can I hire & drive as an under 21 driver?
No matter your age, under 21 or over 21 it doesn’t matter, you can choose from these Spaceships campervans:
- Rocket, our budget campervan (perfect to hire when under 21 and on a budget)
- Beta, our standard campervan (popular with all travellers, under 21s and over 21s)
- Beta 2S, premium campervan (more space as it doesn't have a backseat)
- Dream Sleeper Mini, the most luxurious Spaceships campervan
- Beta 4-berth (rooftop tent), the only New Zealand Spaceship that can sleep up to 4 people.
Do I need an international driving licence as under 21 driver?
You'll only need an international driving licence or a translation of your overseas driving licence if it isn't in English. The age of the licence holder doesn't matter. See for more info about whether you need a translation.
Latest blog posts in Driving in New Zealand: how-to, tips & tricks
Who will win the battle of the camping cars? Compact campervan vs hi-top camping van!
So you're ready to explore New Zealand? Great stuff. The next step is deciding how you want to travel around. There are so many rental options...
How to secure the cheapest Cook Strait ferry rate
To answer the question which part of New Zealand is more beautiful (North or South Island) you’ll need to cross Cook Strait by ferry. It’s just...
The easiest and cheapest Cook Strait crossing: Bluebridge ferry
If you want to explore as much of New Zealand as possible, you'll have to cross Cook Strait to go from the North to the South...
10 easy tips that will make driving in New Zealand safer
Driving in New Zealand isn't that different from driving in your home country. As long as you stick to the rules and remember the most important...