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Car Rental

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Saint Louis...
posts: 92
reviews: 22
Car Rental

My girlfriend and I are flying into Auckland and staying a few days and then plan on renting a car and driving around the North Island. Since we will be driving on the other side of the road we would prefer to not pick up a car in Auckland where I know the the traffic is bad. I think my girlfriend will be nervous enough driving! Can you recommend a nearby smaller city or town that we can access from Auckland via bus or cab to pick up a car there instead?

10 replies to this topic
Whangarei, Northland
Destination Expert
for Auckland, Whangarei
posts: 2,647
reviews: 34
1. Re: Car Rental

Hi there

I can see what you are saying, but it will be so much easier and more flexible to get a car from Auckland.

If you use one of the car rental agencies on Beach Road ( eg. Apex, Ace), then it is very straightforward to get from there to the motorway heading north out of Auckland, without having to navigate your way through the city (just get the car rental people to tell you, but there is literally just one turn to get to the motorway.

If it is a weekday, I guess it would be recommended not to start your journey before about 9am (to avoid peak traffic).

Calgary, Canada
posts: 218
reviews: 11
2. Re: Car Rental

We rented a car from the Auckland airport and stayed close to the airport our first night. It was easy to get there...we just ate at the hotel and rested after the long flight. We were able to schedule our departure time to avoid crazy traffic and didn't go downtown Auckland at all with the car.

Saint Louis...
posts: 92
reviews: 22
3. Re: Car Rental

Awesome, thank you both so much! Good to hear that it won't be as hard as I thought it would be.

Dallas, Texas
posts: 1,072
reviews: 51
4. Re: Car Rental

Firstly, let me say that driving on the other side isn't as difficult as you might think. Part of the problem is we Yanks tend to over think it before we get there and get very nervous. I learned to drive on the other side in downtown Auckland, there were no casualties ;-)

Don't drive on the day you arrive in NZ, give yourself a day or 2 in order to get into the time zone.

Review the road code, especially the signs:


In my opinion, regardless of where you get the car you're going to experience Auckland traffic, maybe not in the CBD but as you head north you'll hit Auckland traffic . Heading north from the airport you'll take SH 1 or SH 16, depends on where you're headed.

Now, if you really want to pick up a car north of the city:

In the suburb of Takapuna there is a Hertz office a few minutes walk from the central business district. You can get to Takapuna by airport shuttle, taxi, or ferry to Devonport and bus or taxi to town. Stay at Spencer on Byron (hotel), enjoy Devonport and Takapuna, then drive north...

I've used this Hertz office several times and never had a problem.

posts: 1,953
reviews: 50
5. Re: Car Rental

Your passenger can be a help on those first few days as well. "Keep left" or "wide right" (with regard to right hand turns) were phrases my husband and I used with each other frequently. No one complained of the other being a back seat driver!

Dallas, Texas
posts: 1,072
reviews: 51
6. Re: Car Rental

Or the other way to think about driving on the "other" side is:

- tight lefts (when turning left stay close to the curb

- loose rights (when turning right it's a wide turn)

Be nice to our Kiwi friends today, the America's Cup didn't go so well for them..

Dunedin, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Dunedin
posts: 1,130
reviews: 55
7. Re: Car Rental

I suspect you'll find the traffic a doddle compared to that of the 27th US city!

Calgary, Canada
posts: 218
reviews: 11
8. Re: Car Rental

Oh one other thing with the cars...it's more common to drive a standard in New Zealand. Whether you drive a stick or not, it will be awkward to shift with your left hand if you are not used to it. So you may want to make a point to request an automatic.

Saint Louis...
posts: 92
reviews: 22
9. Re: Car Rental

My girlfriend can drive a stick but I can't. I'm hoping we can get an automatic. She told me she wants to do the majority of the driving because she is a lot calmer than I am haha. Thanks again everyone! You're all so nice :-)

Jervis Bay...
posts: 2,006
reviews: 53
10. Re: Car Rental

You will find that driving a manual on the "wrong" side of the road is much more traumatic.

There is a lot to think about and concentrate on in the first few days of driving on the "wrong" side. It doesn't take long to get used to it but it is a little bit more tiring. A GPS is good too as it is one less thing to think about.

Make sure you get an automatic, even though it costs a bit more.

There are some really cheap car rental places in NZ that come highly recommended (check trip advisor and rankers.co.nz for reviews). New Zealand Discount car rental is one we've used before.

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