In some cities, it’s perfectly possible to get around without a car. Auckland isn’t one of them. This gorgeous city, which is sandwiched between two large harbors and is located in the northern part of North Island, is bursting with exciting sightseeing opportunities and is thoroughly modern in many ways. However, its public transportation system leaves a lot to be desired. To make the most of your visit to Auckland, then, you should plan on renting a car. While this will add to the cost of your trip, you’ll be glad to know that car hire in Auckland tends to be quite affordable, and that’s especially true during the off-season.
Why Car Rental in Auckland is So Crucial
As nice as it would be to arrive in Auckland and be able to hop on a train or bus to get wherever you need to go, that’s easier said than done. Auckland’s public transportation system primarily consists of buses, trains and ferries, but none of them offers the kind of coverage that you’re likely to find in many other major cities. Public transportation in Auckland isn’t intuitive and can be extremely frustrating. To make matters worse, it tends to be pretty expensive, so you’re unlikely to save a whole lot by attempting to go without a car. For convenience and affordability, renting a car is the way to go.
Renting a Car at the Airport
One of the most convenient ways to handle renting a car when visiting Auckland is by picking one up from the airport after your flight arrives. However, don’t wait until you arrive at Auckland International Airport to choose a rental company. Making a reservation ahead of time is the much smarter way to go. For one thing, you’ll enjoy a more competitive price. More importantly, though, you can rest assured that a vehicle will be there waiting for you. Without a reservation, you could struggle to find a car in your price range. That’s especially true if your visit happens to coincide with a public holiday. All of the major car rental companies at the airport offer shuttles from all terminals, so hiring a car in this way couldn’t be easier.
Renting a Car Elsewhere in Auckland
Of course, it could be that you won’t be arriving in Auckland via the airport. Like some people, on the other hand, you may not need to rent a vehicle as soon as you arrive. Whatever the case may be, the airport isn’t the only place where you can rent a car in Auckland. Many major car rental companies have locations throughout the city as well. As with renting a car from the airport, however, it’s in your best interests to make a reservation ahead of time.
Seasonal Pricing and Availability
Not surprisingly, it’s easier and cheaper to find a car to rent in Auckland when it’s not peak tourist season, which basically runs from November through March. While the weather in Auckland tends to be fairly consistent, this period is when it’s absolutely spectacular. People from all over the world flock to New Zealand during the summer, and many of them need rental cars. So many cars are booked this time of year that rates tend to be much higher than they are during other seasons. This same concept generally applies to public holidays as well, whether they’re during the summer, winter, spring or fall.
Fees and Charges
It’s becoming more and more common for Auckland car rental companies to include all fees and taxes in their advertised prices. However, this is by no means true across the board, so it’s important to read the fine print before reserving a rental car. Most rental cars include unlimited kilometers, but some have limits in place. Insurance is included with some plans but not others. Free pickup and drop-off is generally included, and roadside assistance is often thrown in for free. However, the advertised price may not include GST, or taxes, which total 15 percent. An extra fee is sometimes imposed for extra drivers too.
As far as pricing goes, it’s fairly easy to find a rental car in Auckland for about $20 per day. The longer you reserve a car for, the better your daily rate will be. In other words, renting a car there for just a day or two will cost a lot more than renting one for a week or two.
Auckland Car Rental Companies
Virtually all of the major car rental brands are represented in Auckland. At the airport, for instance, you can take your pick from Avis, Hertz, Budget, Thrifty and Europcar. Several local car hire companies operate out of Auckland as well, including Jucy and Apex, and it may be worth it to investigate their offers and rates.
Driving in Auckland – Tips and Tricks
In Auckland, people drive on the left side of the road. If you’re from the UK, then, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re from the U.S., Europe or other parts of the world, though, it can be quite discombobulating.
Throughout the city of Auckland, many roads have dedicated bus lanes. At certain times of day, only buses are allowed to drive in these lanes. Signs are posted, but they’re easy to miss. Be on the lookout for these lanes to avoid very expensive tickets.
Parking can be very complicated in Auckland. Always double-check to make sure that the spot you’ve selected is safe to use. Auckland enforces its parking laws and regulations very diligently, and those who park in illegal spots face towing and fines.
With an Auckland rental car, you’ll be able to see the city on your own terms. Whether you stay in the city itself or embark on a scenic drive to the Waitakere Ranges, west coast beaches or other outlying areas, you’re sure to have an incredible time. Book your Auckland rental car in advance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable holiday.