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Explore Auckland with car hire from DriveNow

Auckland is an attractive city on New Zealand's North Island, set on a narrow strip of land flanked by two natural harbours, with other major tourist spots, Hamilton and Wellington, to the island’s south. Its privileged location has blessed its citizens with idyllic sandy beaches and a wealth of beautiful islands at their doorstep, making it one of those rare places you can be kayaking with dolphins in the morning, then dancing and drinking with after-work revellers at dusk.

New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is home to roughly a third of the country’s population. Migrants have settled here over the last two centuries from Europe, Polynesia, and most recently Asia, so the city is a melting pot of cultures. In combination with New Zealand’s rich soils and pure waters, this cultural diversity has enabled an incredible dining scene to flourish. Furthermore, North Island is where the country’s first grapevines were planted. Visitors to Auckland will discover a thriving viticulture industry barely an hour’s drive out of the city and plenty of quality local labels at any good restaurant.

As you descend into the airport, you’ll see why Auckland is the ideal destination for a self-drive holiday. Threaded by a comprehensive network of roads, the city itself sprawls out from the skyscraper-studded CBD and quickly turns into rolling hills and emerald pastures, with plenty of dark green forests descending into serene, crystalline bays. With your cheap Auckland car rental from DriveNow, you’ll be able to stop at any site of your choosing, be it the brooding black beaches of the west coast or the hip cafes and bars along Ponsonby Road.

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Compare Cheap Car Rental in Auckland with DriveNow

Auckland is New Zealand's biggest city – both in terms of size and population. To truly explore this large, sprawling urban landscape, you definitely need to organise yourself a great Auckland car hire deal.

Search and compare the latest rates and deals on car rental in Auckland all in one spot and all backed by DriveNow's lowest price guarantee. Instant booking confirmation locks in your rental deal.

We compare hire car deals all across this picturesque country, so if you’re considering venturing further afield, search for deals in Queenstown, Picton, Nelson, Dunedin, Wellington, and Christchurch as well.


Frequently asked Questions when hiring a car in Auckland

Which car rental companies are available in Auckland?

Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty and local provider GO Rentals all have branches located in downtown Auckland.

Where are car rental branches located in central Auckland?

Budget and Hertz can be found on Victoria street with Avis right around the corner on Nelson street and Europcar car up Shortland Street, all within 10 mins walk of the Sky Tower. Thrifty are located on Kyber Pass Road in Grafton and GO Rentals on Beach road on the fringe of the city centre. Both are a short taxi ride from Sky Tower and the CBD.

What sort of vehicles can I rent in Auckland?

Everything from economy and compact size cars through to family and 8-seater vehicles are available along with 4 wheel Drives.

Which side of the road do I drive on in Auckland?

New Zealanders drive on the left.

What are Transit Lanes?

Auckland operates a number of Transit Lanes at different times of the day, generally during peak traffic periods. There are dedicated Bus lanes and T2 & T3 Transit lanes open to only those vehicles carrying more than 2 or 3 people.

How far is Auckland from the Airport?

Auckland CBD is 15km from the Auckland International airport and driving takes approximately 30 minutes depending upon the time of day.

What are the speed limits in Auckland?

Urban speed limit in Auckland is 50 km/h with expressways and motorways rising to 100 km/h. Some motorways have 110 km/h speed limits.

Are Speed Cameras used in Auckland?

Yes. Whilst not as numerous as other cities in the world, speed cameras are used in Auckland and car rental drivers are responsible for payment of any penalties incurred during the rental period.

Are there toll roads in Auckland?

The Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1 is a 7.5km motorway north of Auckland between Silverdale and Pūhoi. There are 2 other toll roads near Tauranga, 200 km south of Auckland. You will be liable for any toll incurred whilst driving your rental car. When collecting your vehicle in Auckland speak to your rental provider as to how road toll payments are collected.


Compare and Contrast Auckland Car Rental Bargains

DriveNow has made it easy for you to find the very best Auckland car rental deals. We work with leading car hire providers such as Budget, Avis, Thrifty, and Hertz to bring you a range of rental options.

All you have to do is enter your travel details online at DriveNow and we will do the hard work for you. Once we know your ideal pick-up and drop-off locations we can generate a variety of options so that you can compare the prices and vehicles that are available.

This allows you to pick the deal that is best suited to your needs. Whether you are looking for a small hatchback to get around the city for a weekend, or a big four wheel drive to venture out to the coast, there will be an Auckland car hire deal for you.

Auckland Car Rental: Experience Freedom to Explore

The beauty of hiring a car is that you have the freedom to head to whatever destination takes your fancy.

Those of you who are in New Zealand to soak up nature at its best will want to head straight towards the West Coast beaches. Piha, Muriwai and Bethells are just some of the spectacular stretches of coastline which will leave you wanting to come back for more.

If you'd prefer to stay close to the city, then you don’t need to venture far to enjoy a dip in the sea. The North Shore boasts some lovely beaches including Takapuna and Cheltenham, while Mission Bay is just a few minutes' drive from the CBD and a popular favourite with tourists, offering views of Rangitoto Island.

Known as the City of Sails, Auckland boasts some of the world's best sailing and sailors and was home to the America's Cup in 2003. Teams still regularly travel to Auckland to train. The Auckland harbour side offers a host of restaurants and other attractions and for those strong hearted enough there's the excitement of the Sky Walk and Sky Jump from the 328 metre Sky Tower, New Zealand's tallest man-made structure.

There are also some excellent attractions in the city centre. Get to know the history of New Zealand by visiting Auckland Museum, or soak up views from the top of one of Auckland's many dormant volcanoes.

As long as you have your Auckland car hire sorted, you will be able to go wherever you want – so explore some of the great deals available on DriveNow to organise your car rental.

Hassle-Free Car Hire at Auckland Airport

Airport
Information

Address:
Ray Emery Drive, Mangere, Auckland 2022

Code: AKL

Telephone: +64 9 275 0789

Location:
Auckland Airport is located in the residential suburb of Mangere, around 21km south of Auckland

No. of Terminals: 2

Timezone: GMT/UTC +12:00

Chances are that if you’re visiting New Zealand, Auckland Airport will be your first port of call. Australasia’s fourth busiest after Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, this airport is both a domestic and international hub for Air New Zealand, some of whose jets feature special livery inspired by the world-renowned All Blacks rugby team or scenes from “The Hobbit” film trilogy.

Air New Zealand jet at Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport also receives flights from all over Asia, Polynesia, North and South America, so be prepared to do some walking if you’ve got a connection to meet. The international and domestic terminals are approximately half a kilometre apart, connected by a walkway and free shuttle bus services.

If you’re in transit overnight or plan to stay and explore Auckland for a little while, then an Auckland car rental is the way to go. Service desks for Auckland Airport car hire in the international terminal are located next to the arrivals area on the ground floor. Domestic arrivals will find Auckland car rental operators on the ground floor of the multi-level carpark situated directly opposite the terminal forecourt. All major Auckland Airport car hire brands are represented in these areas including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Go Rentals, and Thrifty.

Auckland Airport International Terminal map

Auckland Airport Domestic Terminal map

The drive from the airport to the city takes approximately 35 minutes along the South-Western Motorway, one of the few multi-lane freeways in the country. Most of New Zealand’s roads are single-carriageway – something to be aware of if it’s your first time driving an Auckland car rental. They are also often winding or surprisingly steep due to the country’s varied terrain. You’re unlikely to go anywhere at speed anyhow, as you’ll probably spend most of your time gaping out the window at stunning coastlines or pulling over to explore ancient forests carpeting dramatic extinct volcanic cones.

Where to Spend Your Time in Auckland

It would make most sense to start your explorations within the city proper, perhaps taking in the volcanic topography and urban sprawl of Auckland from its highest point – the syringe-shaped 328m-tall Sky Tower dominates the city skyline and offers views from 220m or 60 floors above ground. See if you can spot the Waitakere Ranges to the city’s west – these rugged volcanic mountains form the backdrop to the beach where titular scenes from Jane Campion’s acclaimed movie “The Piano” were filmed. For an adrenalin rush, you can don a harness and walk around the Sky Tower pergola or base-jump 192 metres down.

Attractions at street level include the Auckland Art Gallery by leafy Albert Park, which boasts over 16,000 pieces of art. Learn about New Zealand’s history from early paintings illustrating first contact between Maori and European explorers in the 1600s or admire more contemporary works by 21st century artists. The Maritime Museum at Viaduct Harbour tells a story of the country’s history through items related to seafaring such as replica early Polynesian canoes and an interactive rocking cabin to simulate the ocean journey of an early settler. If you’ve never seen the impressive Maori battle dance known as the ‘haka’, visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Here, you can take in a Maori cultural performance followed by a tour of the world’s largest collection of Maori artefacts.

Maori Haka
Witness an energetic Maori cultural performance

If you have little ones with you, your first stop should be Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World. This cutting-edge marine park has an Antarctic display with King and Gentoo penguins, as well as a number of enchanting spiny sea dragons – rarely seen by anyone but deep sea divers. Children can go behind-the-scenes to see how this enormous aquarium works and enjoy close encounters with penguins in their icy enclosure. Older kids can view sharks and stingrays from a cage submerged in the predator tank, while more adventurous adults can come face-to-face with the ocean’s most fearsome creatures.

At lunchtime, head over to Queen or High streets, where the corporate crowd rub shoulders with bearded hipsters and urban fashionistas in their search for small batch coffee, gourmet sandwiches, organic pressed juices and raw salads. This is the place to find homegrown designer clothing, get a blow wave or have your nails done in the latest seasonal shades, while narrow, pedestrians-only Vulcan Lane is a particularly good place to sip a drink and people watch. Britomart by Waitemata Harbour takes Auckland retail up another notch, with a mix of leading international and Kiwi brands from Tiffany & Co to Trelise Cooper located in some of the city’s oldest and most elegant buildings.

If your style runs more towards artistic or bohemian, look no further than Ponsonby. Brimming with character-filled buildings dating back to the Victorian era, this genteel suburb is often referred to as Auckland’s cultural heart. Indeed, many notable New Zealanders who live or have lived in Ponsonby have gone on to find worldwide fame including former Prime Minister Helen Clark and Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde. The new Ponsonby Central is just a short drive away in your Auckland car rental and offers great restaurants, pop-up stores, activities such as free yoga, and fresh food markets all in one area at the corner of Richmond and Ponsonby roads. More delectable dining and a whole array of trendy boutiques can be found north of Ponsonby Road, along with some of the city’s most vibrant nightlife.

What’s On In Auckland

So when should you visit Auckland? Really, the city is great all year-round but if you’re into sport, culture, food or the arts, perhaps you want to time your holiday to coincide with one of these fabulous annual events:

NRL Auckland Nines

Put on your club colours and come see NRL’s biggest stars battle for a trophy and a massive cash prize at this two-day knockout tournament. There are 31 games altogether, played with 9 players per team in 9 action-packed halves. Held every February at Eden Park Stadium, which holds 50,000 fans, the atmosphere of the NRL Auckland Nines is always electric.

Pasifika

Long-running Pasifika is a family-friendly celebration of New Zealand’s Polynesian heritage held in March, with 11 authentic villages set up in Western Springs Park in Grey Lynn, each representing a specific Pacific Island culture. Bring a picnic blanket so you can spend the day checking out the different stages where traditional dances and performances take place. You can also try barbecued meats and take home handmade crafts such as woven baskets.

NZ International Comedy Festival

Between April and May, comedians from all over the world converge on Auckland to get the city laughing. For three weeks, at various venues around the city, expect to find a variety of side-splitting acts from stand-up routines and improv to clowns and musicals at the NZ International Comedy Festival.

ITM Auckland SuperSprint

Rev-heads will want to be in town in November for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, three-days of non-stop adrenalin-pumping track action. Go trackside to experience the thrilling sound of V8 engines as drivers push them to the limit at Auckland’s Pukekohe Park Raceway. This custom-built racing facility is around 45 minutes south of the international terminal so take advantage of cheap car hire at Auckland Airport and drive straight there.

Supercars at Pukekohe Park Raceway
Come experience the excitement of track racing at Pukekohe Park Raceway

Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park

The biggest event on Auckland’s Christmas calendar, Coca-Cola Christmas In the Park is a musical extravaganza featuring performances by the country’s most famous singers and musicians. Held at Auckland Domain in December, this free community celebration is a wonderful way to bring all members of the family together.

Auckland Car Rental Locations

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