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The best under 21 drivers' guide to roadtripping in New Zealand

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 you need a translation.
  • 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 Stealth vehicles are unbranded vehicles (MPV) that look like a rental car from the outside but are a comfy campervan on the inside.

Spaceships Stealth vehicles are like a rental car but better. Perfect for under 21 drivers (no fee for young drivers)

Spaceships Stealth vehicles are like a rental car but better. Perfect for under 21 drivers (no fee for young drivers)

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.

Spaceships campervans are easy to drive for everyone, not just for young drivers (no fee for under 21 drivers)

Spaceships campervans are easy to drive for everyone, not just for young drivers (no fee for under 21 drivers)

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:

  • Beta, the original & award-winning campervan, is the budget option and popular with all travellers, under 21s and over 21s.
  • Beta 2S, spacious campervan. It has more space to move around and to set up the bed as it doesn't have a backseat
  • Beta 2S SC, the self-contained campervan with toilet, sink, water, solar panel and more.
  • Dream Sleeper Mini, the comfort campervan with a fixed and fully equipped kitchen fitted at the back.

Do I need an international driving licence as an 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.