Auckland, on New Zealand’s North island, has an extensive public transport network that allows travellers to explore the city centre easily. However, for more freedom to explore the surrounding areas and to escape the intense bustling streets (half of New Zealand’s population lives in Auckland), we recommend getting a car rental in Auckland. Here is all the information you need for your car rental in New Zealand, departing from Auckland.
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Most of the car rental agencies are located near the airport with some located around the city as well. Therefore, it is relatively easy to find a car to suit your needs. The main car rental agencies in New Zealand are:
- Apex Car Rentals
Compare car rental
The best way to compare different rental cars according to your needs and budget is to visit a price comparison website. They are quick and easy to use and will save a lot of decision-making.
Rental Rates in Auckland
For a daily rental, count around $25 to $85 NZ per day depending on the type of vehicle chosen. The price will be higher if you plan to rent a 4WD or a minivan. However, the rates are decreasing if you rent over several days. Many rental companies offer weekly rates, which can quickly be interesting. Also remember that a bond will be held on your credit card, refunded when you return the car. The amount of this bond varies according to the type of vehicle rented.
Tips for renting a cheap car
- Book your car rental in Auckland in advance to have a selection of vehicles to consider;
- Use an online comparator;
- Choose the convenience of an agency close to the airport as they are usually cheaper than the agencies in the city;
- Travel in a group to share the costs;
- Rather than paying for additional mileage, choose a vehicle, if available, that is on a per day rate with unlimited mileage
- Rent your car for several days to take advantage of decreasing rates
- Be flexible in your booking dates and avoid school holiday periods.
Driving in New Zealand
Rental agencies ask you to meet two main conditions:
- Be 21 years old
- Have held a license in your home country for a year or more
Roads in NZ
The maximum speed is set at 50km/h in cities, and 100km/h in the surrounding area. The road network is of very good quality, but follows the reliefs of the country. Prepare to take vertiginous roads in the mountains, or to cross gravel roads to visit the hinterland.
The New Zealand Tourist Board has set up an online travel time calculator: https://www.newzealand.com/int/travel-times-and-distances-calculator/
Very practical for planning your routes!
Some examples of popular routes:
Auckland – Hamilton: 125 km, 1h25 drive
Auckland – Wellington: 645 km, 7h50 drive
Auckland – Christchurch: 1,075 km, 16 hour drive
Auckland – Queenstown: 1,550 km, 21h45 drive
Wellington – Christchurch: 915 km, 14 hour drive
Good to know: As in Australia or England, New Zealanders drive on the left. That is to say that the steering wheel is on the right of the vehicle.
Visit Auckland and surroundings
Being the largest city in New Zealand, the roads are very very busy with traffic. We suggest not to drive in the city and on the motorways during rush hours (6h – 10h and 15h – 19h) otherwise you could end up sitting in a traffic jam for an hour or 2! Parking within in the city is expensive so a cheaper alternative is to take the red bus route for approximately $1 NZD into the main downtown street of Auckland, Queen Street.
The two main attractions that you must not miss is the Sky Tower and Mount Eden. Mount Eden is an old volcano in the center of the city and provides magnificent 360-degree views. The climb to the top is a little rough but totally worth it! Then as night falls, make your way over to the Sky Tower and climb to the top to marvel at the city lights from above.
THE AUCKLAND SURROUNDINGS
30 minutes from Auckland
Waiheke Island located 30 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland is Waiheke Island. The island is known for its pristine beaches and world class vineyards and for the more adventurous type there is kayaking, surfing, mountain biking and fishing activities. If catching a ferry is not in your budget, then take a drive to the nearby coastal town of Orewa.
1HR – 2HR from Auckland
Pihan Beach is a beach of volcanic black sand that stretches for kilometers and is said to be Auckland’s best-known surf beach. The road in to Piha Beach is one lane and very steep. Check your brakes and beware of the engine overheating as this is a common occurrence on this road.
Muriwai or Muriwai Beach is known for its impressive colonies of gannets, a seabird, which migrate to and from Europe every year. A mind-blowing show!
Raglan is located 150-kilometeres southwest of Auckland and is a popular spot for beginner surfers.
2HR + South of Auckland
The Peninsula Coromandel is a small paradise nestled between forests and beaches. The winding road that takes you around the whole peninsula is the best to explore. Cathedral Cove, a 40-minute walk to a beach of pure white sand and turquoise waters is not to be missed.
Rotorua is a 3-hour drive from Auckland, Rotorua is known for its hot springs, mud baths, and sulfur. Be careful though, the streets of the city center smell of sulfur, and the smell easily infuses clothes! A few must do’s in the area include; a traditional Maori dinner (the hangi) in Te Puia, the Polynesian Spa to relax, and for the adventure thrill seekers, mountain biking in the Redwoods.
Tongario Crossing: If you are feeling fit and are a Lord of the Rings fan then the 19km one-way hike to Tongario Crossing, it will definitely remind you of the Mordor. The long strenuous walk is well worth the breathtaking view from the top. Please note that parking is limited and remember to check the shuttle schedule for a return back to the car park.
2HR + North of Auckland
Cape Reinga is a very sacred place for Maori. Located North of Auckland, it is a place of passage of souls to Paradise. The Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet, leaving a magnificent spectacle unfolding before your eyes.
For some beach driving action along the way to Cape Reinga stop at Ninety Mile Beach. Before doing so though make sure to thoroughly read your rental car terms and conditions to see if off road driving is permitted.