Car Rental in Nelson

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Nelson, New Zealand
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Driver's country of residence is United States of America (USA) and age is 30-65
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700+ Trusted Suppliers:

Cheapest Car Rental Rates

Nelson Airport
Standard Elite
Toyota Corolla or similar
Toyota Corolla
  • 5
  • 1
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Snap
$28.52 / per day
Nelson Airport
Economy
Toyota Yaris or similar
Toyota Yaris
  • 5
  • 2
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Go Rentals
$29.37 / per day
Nelson Airport
Compact
Toyota Corolla or similar
Toyota Corolla
  • 5
  • 2
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Alamo
$31.14 / per day
Nelson Airport
Intermediate
Toyota Corolla or similar
Toyota Corolla
  • 5
  • 3
  • 4
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Enterprise
$33.75 / per day

Most Popular Car Rental Deals

Nelson Airport
Standard SUV
Mitsubishi Outlander or similar
Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 5
  • 2
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Keddy
$34.01 / per day
Nelson Airport
Full-size SUV
Kia Sorento or similar
Kia Sorento
  • 5
  • 3
  • 5
  • Auto.
Europcar
$40.32 / per day
Nelson Airport
Premium SUV
Mitsubishi Outlander or similar
Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 5
  • 3
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Ezi Car Rental
$48.68 / per day
Nelson Airport
Compact
Toyota Vitz or similar
Toyota Vitz
  • 5
  • 1
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Snap
$30.12 / per day
The above prices are only approximate and were last updated at 07:06 on 2024-06-18. Prices may vary based on the booking dates, length of rental, and car class.

Travel Information

Languages
English, Samoan
Currency
NZD
Drive on
Left-hand side
Country code
+64
Average car rental price
$34 per day
Average car rental length
6 days
Speed limit within town
30 - 50 km/h or 19 - 31 mph
Speed limit out of town
80 - 100 km/h or 50 - 62 mph
Acceptable limit of BAC
0.05%
Rating
9.5 / 10
Average gasoline price
$1.68 per liter or $6.36 / 1 gallon
Lowest gasoline price
$1.53 per liter or $5.80 / 1 gallon
Highest gasoline price
$1.79 per liter or $6.78 / 1 gallon

Why rent a car in Nelson?

A city of just 51,000 inhabitants, Nelson punches way above its weight when it comes to being a hub for tourism. The oldest settlement on the South Island is home to a lot of historic attractions but also has interesting museums, a special atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and access to some of New Zealand’s most iconic natural wonders.

One-Way Car Rentals in Nelson

The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Nelson and drop off in another city include:

  • From Nelson to Christchurch - 7 offers from $87.03 per day
  • From Nelson to Picton - 7 offers from $87.03 per day
  • From Nelson to Auckland - 7 offers from $185.18 per day
  • From Nelson to Blenheim - 7 offers from $87.03 per day

Top ways to enter Nelson

  • Nelson Airport: Located just a short ride southeast of the city center, Nelson Airport provides connections with the largest cities on both islands of New Zealand, as well as some smaller regional destinations.
  • Christchurch Airport: By far the busiest on the South Island, Christchurch Airport has flights to many destinations in New Zealand and Australia, as well as all across South and East Asia. For many foreign visitors who travel straight to the South Island, it serves as the first point of entry. Located about 410 km (255 miles) south of Nelson, the trip between them takes about five hours.
  • Wellington Airport: Located right across the Cook Strait, Wellington Airport serves the capital of New Zealand. In addition to domestic flights, there are also a number of connections with Australia and Fiji. It is possible to pick up a car in Wellington and then take a ferry to the South Island, but you should make sure you pick a ship that permits taking a vehicle onboard; also, you should check with your rental car company. The trip between Nelson and Wellington, including the ferry ride, takes about six hours.

Top sights and activities

  • Architecture. Established 180 years ago, Nelson is one of the most interesting destinations for heritage tourism in New Zealand. The city is home to a variety of different architectural styles and notable buildings and areas. These include the Founders Heritage Park dedicated to the first European settlers and their homes; other notable Victorian and colonial buildings like Cabragh, Fairfield, and Amber Houses; and Christ Church Nelson Cathedral. Another fun place to learn about the history of the city and the region is the Nelson Provincial Museum.
  • World of Wearable Art. Also known as the WOW, the World of Wearable Art was a design competition that used to take place in Nelson. Although the competition has now relocated to Wellington, it has left behind a very fun museum where visitors can appreciate the boundless creativity of artists and designers put into things that can be worn. The museum shares its space with the Classic Cars Museum and its 140 classy exhibits.
  • Tahunanui Beach. Though there are a number of stunning, wild beaches near Nelson, if you’re searching for a more tranquil experience, look no further than Tahunanui. Often named among the nicest urban beaches in all of New Zealand, it is as famous for the shoreline as for its cozy coastal cafe. The beach is situated on a wide peninsula just some 3 km (2 miles) north of the city center.

Toll roads

All of the toll roads in New Zealand are in the northern part of the North Island, meaning there are none in or around Nelson.

The toll roads of New Zealand all serve as short bypasses of congested areas. The tolls are therefore quite low. The toll roads use a license plate capturing system with no physical booths. Payment can be made either by having a setup account, by paying online before or within five days of using a toll road, or with cash in some BP and Caltex petrol stations (though a small fee will be added). 

Many rental companies offer some system, with a fee, to pass on toll payments to you without you having to do anything. Of course, it may be better just to pay the toll yourself and save on paying that fee. The toll roads can all be avoided quite easily by avoiding the bypass roads and transiting through the towns (in addition to being able to see more).

Ideas for day trips

  • Abel Tasman National Park. Although the smallest in New Zealand, Abel Tasman National Park is a great place to enjoy the natural beauty of this part of the country. Situated along the Golden and Tasman Bays, the park is made up of long beaches, scenic coves, wooded hills, and plenty of hiking trails. There are multiple accommodation options in the area, but you can also stay in one of the eight conservation huts inside the park. Located about 60 km (37 miles) northwest of Nelson, the nearest corner of the national park can be reached in about one hour by car.
  • Nelson Lakes National Park. Another lovely place to visit, this inland nature preserve is named after the several highland lakes that it contains. The scenery of cragged peaks and forested slopes is inhabited by many local fauna species including the South Island robin and Cupola gecko. The drive from the city of Nelson to the national park takes about an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Golden Bay. If you look at a map of Golden Bay, together with Farewell spit, its main attraction, you'll see that its shape starkly resembles the kiwi — New Zealand’s national bird. Wharariki Beach is another must-see spot in the Golden Bay area. It’s a famous white sand beach with many rock formations and seal pups hanging out in the tidal pools. 

Car Rental Prices in Nelson

  • Large cars - from $29 per day
  • Medium cars - from $30 per day
  • Vans - from $251 per day
  • Premium cars - from $56 per day
  • Small cars - from $29 per day
  • SUVs - from $31 per day
This information was written, fact-checked, and/or translated by our content creators.

Learn more about our Editorial Policy.
Fact checked by
Marta Kulesza
This article was reviewed and updated by Marta, who spent the last 17 years living as a digital nomad and traveling the World before settling in a small alpine village in Austria. When it comes down to designing road trips for hiking enthusiasts around the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Canadian Rockies, the Italian Dolomites, or Norway, she considers herself an expert. When she's not sitting at her computer and editing photos from her last trip, you can find her skiing or hiking with her dog in the mountains.

Top 20 Cities near Nelson

  1. 58.6 km / 36.4 miles
  2. 65.2 km / 40.5 miles
  3. 132.2 km / 82.1 miles
  4. 144.4 km / 89.7 miles
  5. 212.7 km / 132.2 miles
  6. 228.8 km / 142.2 miles
  7. 249.6 km / 155.1 miles
  8. 267.2 km / 166 miles
  9. 370.1 km / 230 miles
  10. 374.5 km / 232.7 miles
  11. 442.5 km / 275 miles
  12. 477.9 km / 297 miles
  13. 495.8 km / 308.1 miles
  14. 500.2 km / 310.8 miles
  15. 525.2 km / 326.3 miles
  16. 550.8 km / 342.3 miles
  17. 568.9 km / 353.5 miles
  18. 623.1 km / 387.2 miles
  19. 673.9 km / 418.7 miles
  20. 691.2 km / 429.5 miles

Map of Car Rental Locations

What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Nelson?

Car rental prices in Nelson vary by time of year. This graph shows the average prices per month to help you find the best time of year to rent.
Average rental costs per day in Nelson
$73.59
January
$71.01
February
$61.22
March
$37.12
April
$38.01
May
$42.83
June
$43.88
July
$39.24
August
$36.20
September
$48.68
October
$50.70
November
$65.36
December
The cheapest month to rent a car in Nelson is September (when prices average $36.20 per day). This is 29% cheaper than the yearly average and 51% cheaper than renting in January (when prices average $73.59).

This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.

What’s the usual rental length in Nelson?

How long travelers keep their rental cars for varies from month to month: in January, the average renter keeps their car for 9 days, and in June, they keep their car for 3 days.
Average number of rental days in Nelson
9
January
7
February
8
March
9
April
5
May
3
June
8
July
6
August
8
September
7
October
8
November
5
December

What's the most popular month to rent a car in Nelson?

Based on the number of searches by our customers, the most popular month for renting a car in Nelson is January, and the least popular is August.
Monthly searches in Nelson by pick-up date relative to the average
186%
January
179%
February
168%
March
75%
April
54%
May
39%
June
25%
July
14%
August
36%
September
122%
October
122%
November
179%
December

Car Rental Information

Car rental locations 1
Airport locations 1
Popular suppliers Go Rentals, Ezi Car Rental, Snap, Alamo, RightCars
Popular car categories SUVs, Medium cars, Small cars, Large cars
Lowest price $29 per day
Cheapest supplier Snap

Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers

Rental Supplier Model Doors Luggage Type
Go Rentals Toyota Corolla 5 1 Medium cars
Ezi Car Rental Mitsubishi Eclipse 5 2 SUVs
Ezi Car Rental Toyota Yaris Cross 5 2 Small cars
Go Rentals Toyota RAV4 5 3 SUVs
Snap Mitsubishi ASX 5 2 SUVs
Go Rentals Toyota Corolla Sedan 4 2 Large cars
Go Rentals Toyota RAV4 4 3 SUVs
Ezi Car Rental Toyota Corolla 5 1 Medium cars
Ezi Car Rental Toyota C-HR 4 2 SUVs
Go Rentals Toyota C-HR 4 2 SUVs

Our Customers' Reviews

Because we want to make sure each review listed here is left by a real customer, we don’t have an option to post a review here. Instead, we ask each and every customer to leave a review after they return their rental car. This way, you know that all reviews are authentic, verified, and trustworthy.

New Zealand
Toyota Corolla
November 22, 2023
We spent time in the Abel Tasman region. It was lovely, weather perfect.
New Zealand
Toyota Passo
April 13, 2023
Visited my bach for Easter
Israel
Nissan X-Trail
February 16, 2023
It was all great ,nature amazing all the waespecialy for us was amazing Milford sound in the rain.
New Zealand
Mazda Demio
October 13, 2022
Go to takaka - an amazing place not to miss and stay .
New Zealand
Mazda Premacy
October 1, 2022
Had great trip with places easy to find
New Zealand
Mazda Demio
September 14, 2022
Car rental was essential as travel required to Golden Bay for a funeral service. Car met our requirements except phone charger didn't fit mobile phone; otherwise fine.
New Zealand
Mazda 6
August 16, 2022
Seeing Nelson was abs amazing
New Zealand
Nissan Tiida
May 3, 2022
We rented a car just to get to the Abel Tasman track and back after our walk. It just sat in a carpark for days, yet still felt like good value as it gave us flexibility
New Zealand
Toyota Corolla
April 16, 2021
Abel Tasman is awesom. Cable Bay 1.6km zipline was a highlight. Visiting Pics peanut butter was great.
New Zealand
Toyota Corolla
October 13, 2020
Great place for nature walks, sightseeing, beaches, Able Tasman, Marlborough Sounds and Marlborough vineyards.
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Car Rental Statistics

Highest rated company
Hertz
9.1 / 10
)
Lowest rated company
National
7.7 / 10
)
Total number of reviews
10
Total rental companies
15
Average daily price
$34.49
Lowest daily price
$28.52
Total cars available
135

Top 15 Suppliers in Nelson in 2024

Hertz
Hertz
Exceptional 9.1 / 18 reviews
1 location
$74 - $295
Europcar
Europcar
Very good 8.9 / 13 reviews
1 location
$32 - $83
Thrifty
Thrifty
Very good 8.9 / 12 reviews
1 location
$34 - $251
Ezi Car Rental
Ezi Car Rental
Very good 8.8 / 7 reviews
1 location
$42 - $62
Go Rentals
Go Rentals
Very good 8.7 / 9 reviews
1 location
$29 - $55
Snap
Snap
Very good 8.6 / 7 reviews
1 location
$29 - $31
Alamo
Alamo
Very good 8.3 / 4 reviews
1 location
$31 - $57
Budget
Budget
Very good 8.2
1 location
$32 - $36
Enterprise
Enterprise
Very good 8
1 location
$33 - $45
Routes Car Rental
Routes Car Rental
Very good 8
1 location
$33 - $54
Avis
Avis
Good 7.8
1 location
$41 - $46
Keddy
Keddy
Good 7.7 / 2 reviews
1 location
$32 - $66
Dollar
Dollar
Good 7.7
1 location
$34 - $252
Firefly
Firefly
Good 7.7
1 location
National
National
Good 7.7
1 location
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