Queenstown Car Hire Options

Swiss

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Hi guys and gals,

Heading from Sydney to NZ mid-August. We'll be meeting friends who live in Christchurch and have booked a place to stay in Arrowtown.

We need to hire a car, and are thinking of getting a 7 seater to make getting around a bit more efficient.

I see there are quite a few hire companies listed for Queenstown airport, but some have different addresses. I'm going to assume that the big players like Hertz, Budget etc will have the cars at the airport, where some of the cheaper options might be located elsewhere.

I'll have a couple of kids and baby seats to wrangle at the airport, so I'm wondering if there are any hire companies to avoid.

Also, would a people mover be acceptable, or do you think getting a 7 seater 4WD is a better option?

S
 

Angus_McCrory

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Have used GO rentals. Pick up from airport and located a sort distance away. Cars are usually Toyotas and a few years old (clean but with a few scratches) but are cheaper than the majors.
 

Swiss

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Thanks Angus, will check them out. Not fussed if it's a POS as long as it's roadworthy.

Any opinion on whether a large 4WD would be a better option than minivan? How likely would chains be needed in mid-August, and would a 4WD mean I could avoid fitting them?
 

Angus_McCrory

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I have hired 4WDs in UnZed, usually Subies (Outback/Forresters) which would not be big enough for you. Last trip was just a Corolla and didn't need to put chains on. 4WDs are handy in marginal situations but when you need chains it could be epic........ of course, unless it is also windy as (frequent if snowing). Do you need to fit everyone in one vehicle all of the time or would a smaller vehicle be more convenient?
 

Swiss

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To be honest two cars would be easier, however the one-car solution has been decreed by greater powers than I... :whistle:

The Go people you suggested have a people mover for less than an economy car with the big boys, so I might just go with that.

And as you say, if I need to put chains on it probably means it will be worthwhile.

Am I right in thinking that the only place I'll ever need chains is on the resort access roads? I haven't been to Queenstown in about 12 years so memory is hazy, although I skiied Hutt about three years ago and needed chains on the access road, with a bit of ice at the base of the hill too!
 
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Swiss

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Interesting.

What's the road between Queenstown and Arrowtown like with low level snow? Or between Arrowtown and Remarkables?
 

Angus_McCrory

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Really can't answer as I tend to head over to Wakana. If the road is clear, via the Crown Range (Cardrona). Would not like to be on that road with a lot of snow.
 

Zimboo

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There is two ways to get from Arrowtown to Queenstown. If you where going from Arrowtown to ski at Coronet you would use Malaghans Rd (most direct, good road). If you where going to ski at The Remarkables you would head out of Arrowtown on Centenial Ave, out to the main road "Gibbston Hwy" and then onto Frankton where you turn off for to the Remarks (not needing to go through Queenstown). The Gibbston Hwy is the main road in and out of Queenstown, so it's the most important road. It's the way you'd go to Arrowtown from the airport (most direct). If you need to get food, supplies etc. before heading to Arrowtown from the airport, "New World" supermarket is also next to the airport in Frankton. We've used Go Rentals, Apex, and even Jucy in the past. Each time was different just based on the best deal at the time. All have been great. You can save a lot of cash with these car company's as they offer a car that is 3-5years old (still perfectly roadworthy). All located in or next to the airport (200 metres away). I think it was "Go" who actually gave me a shuttle ride to their location (only 200 metres away), I collected the car then drove back around the corner to the airport to pick up the family with bags, skis etc etc. Easy. Roads between Arrowtown, Frankton, Queenstown are great. As Angus said, the Crown range road (the quickest way to Cardrona, Wanaka) is steep with a lot of bends / corners, so should be best left for clear days.
 

Zimboo

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Thanks Zimboo, appreciate the advice.
No probs, why are you thinking about a 7 seater? Are you thinking of all of you including your friends from Christchurch carpooling to the snow etc in one car?
 

Swiss

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Our friends are coming down in an 'impractical' car that they'd prefer not to take up the access roads.

So yeah, it was decided that we'd share a car while down here. They're headed elsewhere afterwards, otherwise they could have hired one in chch i suppose.
 

Zimboo

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Ok, you may find that 2 x medium size cars will be cheaper than, if not be very similar to a 7 seater? We have had cars such as a NIssan Tida sedan or Toyota Corolla sedan (plenty of room for family of 4), roof racks for skis / snowboards, chains included for $35 NZ dollars a day, and I remember seeing Torago size 7 seaters where about $80? Worth investigating.
 

KylePee

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One of the main hire companies has a couple of tiers that present themselves as different companies to the consumer. I think it's Apex and maybe Go is part of them as well - 'About NZ' was part of them as well I think. They essentially move the cars down a tier as they reach certain age. Have had Rav4 and Subi from them. I actually like the 3-5 year old ones as they're already a bit scratched up so don't have the same fear about copping a fee for minor scuffs etc as you can get with the majors. Plus the price is quite good
 
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David Andrews

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Some companies have Toyota Previas(same a Tarago's here) but some are 4wd(model that didn't come to OZ). They were imported used from Japan.

Best of both worlds, cheap 4wd & 7 or 8 seater. Just make sure you book a 4wd Previa, as some Previas are only 2wd.
 

craighelo

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Recent crown range snow fall has required chains on all vehicles but ski field access roads are often chains for 2wd only
 
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Zimboo

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Well I've booked a Toyota Estima (whatever that is) through GO rentals for about $60NZ a day.

Seems fair to me.
Good deal. Make sure they put chains in and a roof rack on her and you'll be set.
Estima is a Toyota Torago.
 
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Donza

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Yep, chains etc all booked in.

Getting excited now, hope the snow keeps on coming. It's looking pretty bloody grim over here so very pleased I booked those flights a few months back!
you get the 4wd version?
if you did, just budget for some $$$$ gas bills , they do chew
 

Swiss

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I'm not sure to be honest, the ad didn't say. There was a more expensive, newer one, and it wasn't mentioned there either.

I'm going to assume not.

Not a huge fan of putting chains on, but the seven seat 4WD Landcruisers with the big rental companies were more than twice what I'm paying so I'll put up with the discomfort.
 

Zimboo

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I'm not sure to be honest, the ad didn't say. There was a more expensive, newer one, and it wasn't mentioned there either.

I'm going to assume not.

Not a huge fan of putting chains on, but the seven seat 4WD Landcruisers with the big rental companies were more than twice what I'm paying so I'll put up with the discomfort.
Don't worry you'll be just fine. Regarding if you have to put on chains (hope you do, snow will be good). Get them out at your accommodation and go through putting them on. Do it a couple of times (that way on the day/s you need them, you'll jump out go bang bang, and continue on, just like clockwork). Take some gardening gloves with you (use them when putting chains on = no numb fingers, good ski gloves saved), a cheap long rain jacket to put over your good ski clothes to protect them from dirt, grease etc whilst putting chains on, and also put in your bag a plastic ground sheet (to put on the ground and kneel on whilst putting chains on). I always put those 3 things in my ski bag before I leave.
 
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Donza

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Don't worry you'll be just fine. Regarding if you have to put on chains (hope you do, snow will be good). Get them out at your accommodation and go through putting them on. Do it a couple of times (that way on the day/s you need them, you'll jump out go bang bang, and continue on, just like clockwork). Take some gardening gloves with you (use them when putting chains on = no numb fingers, good ski gloves saved), a cheap long rain jacket to put over your good ski clothes to protect them from dirt, grease etc whilst putting chains on, and also put in your bag a plastic ground sheet (to put on the ground and kneel on whilst putting chains on). I always put those 3 things in my ski bag before I leave.
for sure... I prefer heavy rubber gloves
usually when they put 2wd chains on...4wd chains as well.
 

Zimboo

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for sure... I prefer heavy rubber gloves
usually when they put 2wd chains on...4wd chains as well.
Yep, although I have never used the thick rubber gloves I reckon they could be better. Not as bulky, better feel? Either way, fingers dry, not numb, ski gloves saved, chains on - happy.
 

Donza

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Yep, although I have never used the thick rubber gloves I reckon they could be better. Not as bulky, better feel? Either way, fingers dry, not numb, ski gloves saved, chains on - happy.
Yeah , the gardening gloves just got wet....
Industrial rubber gloves FTW.
Mine had neo flocking
 

Donza

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like these
Heavy-Duty-Rubber1.jpg
 

Zimboo

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They look like the goods. Think the garden gloves i've used for years are leather/suede so by the time I have the chains on they are still dry to the skin. You would not want to use cotton gardening gloves.
 
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Donza

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I got them for treating (bath)sandstone with chems to make it waterproof.
They were epic
 

Swiss

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All good advice guys.

It's easy to forget how dirty the whole process is when you don't do it often.
 

Draizuh

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Estima will be fine, Its warmed up quite a bit recently and we are pretty ice free down low.
As a side note for access from Arrowtown to Remarkables there is currently roadworks on Ladies Mile between Frankton and Lake hayes which is making some decent sized traffic jams! Not so bad on weekends but shocking on weekdays!

I use cotton gardening gloves with a rubber palm for chain fitting. I try to Chain and unchain in the snow so i dont get too dirty. If you can get the Snowsweat chains as they are super easy to fit. Attach the hook on the back, same on the front and pull it for tension. The bag also doubles as something to lay on when you are fitting them.
 

aceozski

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Jun 11, 2009
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When we're going to Queenstown we normally hire from Hertz. Okay, you pay a bit more but they've got the option of full insurance which the other companies do not offer. This means that if the car is dinged or scratched or some other issue then it's not your problem. We just hand back the car and go. Hertz cars can be collected at the airport which is definitely a convenient thing when you've got a baby in tow. Check with your car insurer, credit card supplier or search the web for some discount codes for Hertz. You can normally find some. Hertz also run specials throughout the season of free chains, roof racks, and ski lift passes from time to time, just check the website for NZ specials. We normally hire a 4WD such as a Territory or a Kluger. It just has more room and if you're having quite a few people then it's definitely worth it as the cars are a little wider. If you're driving on icy roads it also provides a bit better traction. The roads from Queenstown to Arrowtown are all sealed so an easy drive from Queenstown. If you can, do a bit of hiking around the area, there are some trails and when you reach the top the views let you look back at Queenstown from Arrowtown. There's a really nice pie shop there in the main street that has a great range of pies. Nearby are some old Chinese settlement buildings, there are some art Galleries around the area as well - they're actually in people's homes and a cemetery that dates back to the 1800s. It's amazing to think that people would trek all the way out there in the 1800s as it would not have been an easy place to live in at the time.

Something else you may find useful is a small plastic shovel (even a kids one) which is good to scrape the snow off the windscreen and also around the tyres when you return if it's been snowing during the day. You may need to dig your car out of the snow to move!

Have a great time in NZ!
 

David Andrews

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Estima is a tarago. In nz they have 2WD & 4WD models. The 4wd model didn't make it to oz.

Hired a very old 4wd model out of Dudedin 5 years ago for very little. It had no guts when loaded to the gunnels. But at least didn't have to ever put on chains & there was snow & cp & tr roads & to cardrona
 
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