Car rental Rotorua Airport

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Pick up some wheels with a car rental in Rotorua

The geothermal activity surrounding Rotorua makes this a fascinating place, one that you can experience by smell as well as sight. The boiling mud pools, geysers, and natural hot springs are just one aspect of this city that makes it a tourism hub—it’s also a cultural hotspot. The native Māori culture of New Zealand (Aotearoa) can be experienced here with traditional meals, displays of dance, song, and costume, educational talks, and more.

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What you need to know for your Rotorua car rental adventure

A car rental from Rotorua Airport opens up possibilities for road trips and adventures beyond just the city. There are plenty of beautiful lakes to visit in the immediate area, and it’s a quick trip to the seaside cities of Tauranga and Whakatane as well as many sandy beaches along the Bay of Plenty coastline. That’s not all: Lake Taupo, Tongariro National Park, and an array of Forest Parks with hiking trails galore are all nearby. Venture further to visit Auckland, Wellington, New Plymouth, and the entirety of New Zealand’s fabulous North Island.

This colorful crater lake is called Champagne Pool in Waiotapu.

Airport guide

Rotorua Regional Airport (IATA: ROT) is a small facility located approximately 8 kilometres northeast of the Rotorua CBD. It has flights to and from cities around New Zealand including Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Gisborne, and Whangarei.

The airport has toilets, shower facilities, a business hub, a parents’ room, free WiFi, and an airside restaurant. There is also a Relay convenience store. Short and long-term paid car parking are available.

Rental car counters within the terminal are located in the Arrivals area.

Driving tips for Rotorua and beyond

Whether you’re cruising the streets of Rotorua in your hire car or hitting the state highways for a road trip, safety on the roads is a top priority. It’s best to go into your trip or holiday with knowledge of the local road rules and conditions—so we have put together a few basic pointers to get you started. The Rotorua Redwoods Forest is truly remarkable and enjoyable not only for nature lovers.

  • Always drive on the left! In New Zealand, traffic moves on the left side of the road. Drivers sit on the right-hand side of the vehicle, and oncoming traffic passes to your right.
  • All drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt where one is available. Children under the age of seven must be in an approved and appropriate child restraint.
  • Distances are posted in kilometres only. Speed limits are in kilometres per hour.
  • The default speed limits in New Zealand are 50 kph in urban areas and 100 kph on motorways, highways, and open roads. There are quite a few variations to these two limits, however, so you should always check and obey posted signs. 110 kph is the highest limit in the country, and is in place on a select few sections of road.
  • There are several mountain ranges and mountainous roads around Rotorua. Even primary routes often have steep and winding sections! Remember to give way to vehicles coming uphill where the road is narrow, and drive carefully according to the conditions.
  • The blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers aged 21 and over is 0.05%. The limit for those aged 20 and under is 0.

Where to go in your Rotorua car rental

There are myriad exciting and unique things to see and do both within Rotorua and within a few hours’ drive of the city.

Rotorua lakes

There are 14 lakes in the immediate vicinity of Rotorua, and so many coastal walking trails, beaches, and recreation opportunities. Trout fishing is popular, and there are boat tour operators. For a special experience, book a trip to Lake Rotoiti’s natural hot pools which are only accessible by boat or air.


michael ox7RE DWDyk unsplashThe Whakarewarewa Forest Park is a stunning redwood forest just outside of the city, packed with walking trails and mountain bike trails. Also in this area, you’ll find Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, an attraction that combines the viewing of geothermal activity with Māori cultural displays and experiences. Te Puia is a similar nearby attraction.

The Buried Village

This fascinating archaeological site tells the story of the Tarawera volcanic eruption which destroyed the Pink and White Terraces (the eighth natural wonder of the world) and buried the village of Te Wairoa. Sections have been excavated so visitors can get a glimpse of life in Te Wairoa before the eruption.


If the lakes around Rotorua aren’t big enough for your liking, head across to Taupō to enjoy the vast expanse of this sparkling body of water. There is a vibrant small city by the same name, plenty of beaches to swim at, and from here it’s a short drive to the mountains of the Central Plateau. In fact, look across the waterfront from Taupō’s urban waterfront and you can probably see the trio of majestic peaks in the distance.

Tauranga and Mount Maunganui

For some ocean beaches, make the short drive to Tauranga and its chic seaside suburb of Mount Maunganui. Long stretches of sand and surf breaks are on the menu here, and if you prefer your beaches with a little less civilisation, move south towards Pukehina Beach and Matatā.

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Car rental Rotorua Airport: Frequently asked questions

See all of our FAQs
How much is it to hire a car at Rotorua Airport?

The price of a rental car from Rotorua Airport will vary greatly depending on the supplier, type of vehicle, and time of year. You could expect to pay anything from around NZD$80 per day for an Economy car to around NZD$220 per day for a larger or luxury vehicle.

To find the rental that suits your budget, enter your details into the GoSee search engine and use the filters to narrow down your results. There is the option to select a specific price range, and results are listed with the lowest price first by default so it’s easy to spot the best deals on Rotorua car rental.

Which car hire agencies are at Rotorua Airport?

Car hire companies operating at Rotorua Airport include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, Budget, EZU, RaD, and Keddy.

What is the highest-rated car rental brand in Rotorua?

Popular car hire partners in Rotorua include global brands Hertz, Avis, and Europcar.

How old do I have to be to rent a car from Rotorua Airport?

Most New Zealand rental companies require that drivers be aged 21 years or over. Some will add a surcharge for anyone under the age of 25.

How far is downtown Rotorua from Rotorua Airport?

Central Rotorua is approximately eight kilometres from Rotorua Airport.

Can I book now and pay later for my car rental in Rotorua?

Yes, many companies allow customers to book now and pay later. This is listed in the features of each vehicle, right on the main results page.

Can I rent a car in Rotorua and return it somewhere else?

Yes, there are plenty of rental companies with depots in other New Zealand cities that will allow renters to book a one-way trip. To see all the available options, specify the pick-up and drop-off locations when conducting a search with GoSee.

Do I have to pay for my rental car in advance?

No, many companies take bookings on a “pay later” basis. This will be made clear during the booking process.

What is the speed limit in Rotorua?

The default speed limit in urban areas is 50 kph, and the default on highways and open roads is 100 kph. These are not the only limits, however, and you should always look for signs that will tell you the limit for a particular stretch of road.

Which car hire companies have updated their vehicle cleaning and safety policies because of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

In short, most rental suppliers will have policies and measures in place. Look in the search results for features listed such as  “Enhanced Cleaning” and “Contactless Pick Up”.