The top deals for car hire in Auckland and what you need to know to drive around the city and its surrounds.
Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city, and one of the most popular places to begin touring the country. It is ideally located in the North Island, with short scenic drives leading to many popular destinations and attractions.
When looking at car hire in Auckland, the choice can be overwhelming. Here are the top deals to help you make the most of your time and money.
Top Auckland car hire deals
Road rules: What to know about driving in Auckland
- Give way to the right: Yield to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right.
- Speed limits: On the open road, the default speed limit is 100km/h. In urban areas, it’s 50km/h.
- Impaired driving: The blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05%, and your insurance policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while there is alcohol in your system.
- You may encounter unsealed roads: While the majority of New Zealand’s roads are sealed, it’s important to know how to drive safely on unsealed roads, just in case.
- Roads can be steep, narrow and windy as many curve around mountains: Give yourself more than enough time to travel from place to place as routes can take longer than expected.
- Road conditions change with weather events such as snow and ice in the winter: Always check local road and weather warnings and adjust your route if necessary.
Popular Auckland driving routes
Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula
An easy half-day’s drive from Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula boasts a stunning coastline hugged by lush, ecologically unique rainforest. Drive through the dramatic Karangahake Gorge, take a walk through Cathedral Cove and dig your own spa at Hot Water Beach.
Auckland to Rotorua
Allow a couple of days to get the most out of this one. Take a detour to Hobbiton Village, see the glow worms at Waitomo caves and drive through Rotorua’s awe-inspiring volcanic and geothermal landscapes. And don’t miss Te Puia where you can see kiwi birds up close, explore the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and witness powerful geyser eruptions.
Auckland to Wellington
For a longer road trip, head from one major city to another. Choose to travel west via Hamilton, New Plymouth, the Kapiti Coast and Whanganui National Park. Or, head east, continuing past Hobbiton Village and Rotorua to Manawatu Gorge and the Martinborough wine region.
FAQs about car hire
What side of the road do you drive on in Auckland?
The left-hand side.This applies to the entire country of New Zealand.
Do I need an international driver's licence to drive in Auckland?
No. A valid driver’s licence from your home country will suffice for visits up to 12 months. Alternatively you can use an international driving permit, but you don’t need to have both.
Who offers cheap car hire from Auckland airport?
Thrifty, Europcar, Hertz, Budget and Avis are the major car hire companies operating from Auckland Airport. There are also a number of smaller companies, such as GO Rentals, A2B Car Rentals and New Zealand Rental Car Hire.
I'm on my provisional licence. Can I drive in Auckland?
Yes. However, the vehicle weight limit may be lower. Click here to work out if restrictions apply to your licence.
How does car insurance work?
Car insurance can be purchased as part of your car hire, or you can choose your own insurance provider. If you have travel insurance, your policy may already cover car hire. Check with your insurance provider, and if you need to purchase car hire insurance separately you can compare policies here.