Renting A Car In Auckland, New Zealand: Useful Tips

Nestled between two beautiful harbors, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and a popular tourist destination. Renting a car in Auckland will give you the freedom to explore at your own pace, with the added convenience of having your own vehicle.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about car rental in Auckland, including the best time to book, the required documents, and tips for driving in New Zealand.

The city center in Auckland, New Zealand.

Do you need to rent a car in Auckland?

Do you need to rent a car in Auckland? If you’re planning to explore nearby attractions like Rangitoto Island or Piha Beach, renting a car is the way to go – public transportation can be hit or miss in these areas.

The great news is renting a car in Auckland can be quite cheap. There are many budget options available, especially if you book in advance.

Here are some other reasons:

  • Renting a car is ideal for group travel or if you have a lot of luggage.
  • Taxis and public transportation can be expensive, so renting a car may actually save you money in the long run.
  • With a rental car, you can travel freely – no worrying about bus or train schedules.

During my visit to New Zealand, We took a road trip from Auckland to Rotorua, and it was an unforgettable experience. The drive itself was stunning, with beautiful views of rolling hills and lush forests. Along the way, we made plenty of stops at charming small towns and local cafes. 

With our own wheels, we truly felt free to explore and immerse ourselves in this majestic country. This wouldn’t have been possible without a decently-priced rental car.

That’s why I found Discover Cars incredibly helpful. It allowed me to easily compare rental options and find the best price on a great little car.

Renting a car in Auckland, New Zealand.

What are the requirements for renting a car in Auckland?

To rent a car in New Zealand, you’ll need a valid driver’s license from your home country. If your license is not in English, you’ll also need an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Most car rental companies in New Zealand accept the most common payment methods – debit card, credit card, or even PayPal if you book ahead using Discover Cars.

You’ll also need a credit card in the same name as your passport when you arrive. Rental companies typically only take security deposits from credit cards.

You also must be at least 21 years old and have held a valid driver’s license for a minimum of one year. For larger or more powerful cars, you’ll have to be over 25. 

Guide to living in Auckland, New Zealand.

New Zealand Car Rental Checklist

Here’s a checklist for renting a car in New Zealand:

  • A driving license from your home country – at least a year old.
  • Over 21 years old.
  • Possibly an International Driving Permit – if your license is not in English
  • Your ID (passport).
  • Credit card, debit card, or PayPal for payment when booking the car online.
  • A credit card in your name (not a debit card) for paying the deposit on arrival.
  • Extra insurance if you prefer.

Tip: Paying for extra insurance when renting a car gives you peace of mind and protects you from unexpected expenses in case you damage the rental car.

What are some road trips from Auckland?

Auckland is the perfect starting point for road trips in New Zealand with its central location, diverse landscapes, and easy access to car rental services.


Rotorua is a popular road trip from Auckland, and for a good reason. The drive takes about 3 hours and offers stunning views of rolling hills and lush forests.

In Rotorua, you can explore geothermal wonders, learn about Maori culture, and indulge in local cuisine.

Lake Taupo

Another must-see destination is Lake Taupo, located about 3.5 hours from Auckland.

The drive is breathtaking, taking you through national parks, quaint towns, and stunning vistas. At Lake Taupo, you can enjoy water sports, hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or simply soak in the natural beauty.


Napier is a charming Art Deco city located about 5 hours from Auckland. The drive takes you through the scenic wine country and picturesque coastal towns.

Once in Napier, you can stroll along the waterfront, explore the local art scene, or sample some of the region’s award-winning wines.

Coromandel Coast

The Coromandel Coast is a stunning drive that takes about 2.5 hours from Auckland. The scenic route takes you through coastal towns and beautiful beaches.

In Coromandel, you can visit the famous Hot Water Beach, take a hike in Cathedral Cove, or simply relax on the beach.


Tauranga is a beautiful coastal city located about 2.5 hours from Auckland. The drive offers stunning views of the coast and countryside.

Once in Tauranga, you can explore the beautiful beaches, hike to the top of Mount Maunganui, or take a boat tour of the harbor.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Auckland?

Car rental prices in Auckland vary depending on the type of car, duration of the rental period, and time of year. Generally, prices start at around $20 per day for a small car, with larger cars costing more.

Booking your rental car early will save you money, with many rental companies offering big discounts for bookings made well in advance.

So, if you know you’ll need a car for your trip, it’s best to book as soon as possible. Discover Cars allows you to do this quickly and easily.

If you’re planning to visit Auckland during the tourist season of December to February, it’s especially important to book your rental car ahead of time. Demand is high during this time, and prices can be steep. Book in advance, and you’ll get the best deal possible.

Tip: Extending your rental period by a few days can lower the daily price. So, it might only cost a bit more to rent for five days instead of two or three.

Where should I rent a car from in Auckland?

You can pick up your car rental from these places in Auckland:

  • Auckland Airport: Car rental counters are located at international and domestic terminals.
  • Downtown Auckland: Many rental companies have offices in the central city, making it convenient to pick up a car if you’re already in town.
  • Other locations: There are several other rental locations scattered throughout Auckland, such as in Newmarket or North Shore.

Booking ahead means your rental car will be waiting for you at your chosen pick-up spot, saving you time and hassle. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you got the best deal possible. I like to use Discover Cars.

What type of car is best to use in Auckland?

When choosing a rental car for Auckland, there’s a lot to think about. 

  • Size: A smaller car may be more convenient for navigating the narrow streets of downtown Auckland, while a larger car may be more comfortable for long road trips.
  • Fuel efficiency: Since New Zealand has high fuel prices, it may be a good idea to choose a rental car with good fuel efficiency.
  • Automatic vs. manual transmission: If you’re not used to driving on the left-hand side of the road, an automatic transmission may be easier to handle.
  • 4WD vs. 2WD: If you plan on driving off-road or in rural areas, a 4WD vehicle may be necessary. However, for city driving and popular tourist destinations, a 2WD vehicle should be fine enough.

Tip: When renting a car in Auckland, it’s important to note that most cars come with manual transmissions. If you prefer an automatic, make sure to book ahead to ensure availability.

Is driving in Auckland difficult?

Driving in Auckland is fine with a little patience and planning. The main problem is Auckland’s rush hour traffic can be heavy, so try to avoid driving during peak times if possible.

There are three primary motorways in Auckland, and they can get quite clogged during the morning rush when traffic is headed toward the central business district and during the evening rush hour when traffic is moving in the opposite direction. So try to plan your trips around this. 

Navigating Auckland’s roads can also be a bit tricky, so be sure to have a decent navigation app on your phone or even a GPS system if you prefer.

Also, note that driving in New Zealand is on the left-hand side of the road. If you’re used to driving on the right, you’ll have to take it slow, especially at intersections and roundabouts.

Is it a good idea to rent an electric car in Auckland?

Having an electric car in Auckland is an eco-friendly option and could even save you money. In the city, you’ll find a variety of electric cars available for rent, including the Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF, and BMW i3.

One of the main benefits of renting an electric car in Auckland is you’ll save money on fuel costs. Petrol prices are high in New Zealand, so using electricity is quite a bit cheaper.

There are many charging stations in Auckland available. This means you don’t have to do so much planning for inner-city travel. However, outside the city, charging stations are a little more sparse. You’ll have to plan your trips carefully for longer journeys in the countryside. 

Tip: Most rental companies have a limited supply of electric cars – so always book ahead so you won’t be disappointed.

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