Driving New Zealand for free

They say that the best things in life, are free right? True, and as I love to save a dollar or two, I thought this money saving, travel tip was awesome!

I previously wrote about the ways that you can travel around New Zealand. It is not a train loving country, with only a small number of train services, so many people fly, use buses or drive.

Some of these means can be expensive (flying in particular!), and bus rides can be long and uncomfortable, only getting a stop at the obligatory bakery or pie shop, designated by the driver it seems.

Well, now (and possibly for a while) you can drive New Zealand for free*

*(admin charges apply, but they are a teeny tiny dollar)

On this post I briefly mentioned the website transfer car.

A Traveller friend I met in Christchurch, a few years ago let me in on this money saving tip to travel New Zealand, so I thought I’d share what it is, and my experience of it.

What is transfer car
Well, it is a way of travelling New Zealand for free* by relocating car rentals between two New Zealand cities.

Sweet. How do I get on to this?

  • Go to www.transfercar.co.nz and sign up (it’s free!)
  • Have a look at where the cars are located, and choose what works best for you in terms of dates, and locations.
  • There are a number of popular locations and routes, such as Christchurch to Queenstown, Christchurch to Picton, and Christchurch to Auckland.
  • Request the car you want (you’ll have to give a credit card number as insurance, in case you don’t show)
  • Rock up to the rental location, pick up your car, and drive away!
My car at the car park at Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand
My car at the car park at Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand

Sounds too good to be true, is it really free?

Ok, so they also say that Nothing in life comes for free. There is usually a booking fee of about $1! Some cars aren’t 100% free, some will be $20 per day, but you’ll get more days with it, and its much cheaper than renting from the airport.

You’ll also be given a certain amount of days to move it from one location to the other

Some deals will include standard insurance (which has an excess), so you may want to pay to reduce the excess .. with the cars I recently had, I paid $40 (I am glad I did, as 1 hour into my journey, a big truck flew past and a stone chipped my window, (which this extra insurance covered!)

Some cars will also include the first tank of fuel for free too. That’s enough to get you from Christchurch to Queenstown easily.

My second car on the way back from Queenstown, New Zealand
My second car on the way back from Queenstown, New Zealand

You are never guaranteed what kind of car you will get. Some are new and some are older models.

On my latest trip down to Southland to visit Milford Sound, I happened to pick up a car for the way down and up. It’s a long drive to Queenstown, but I love driving and it provided me with much more flexibility and ability to stop where you want, and for as long as you need.

If you’re tripping round New Zealand, I’d give this site a go and see if you can grab a sweet deal.




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