Auckland

Should you hire a car in Auckland?

Should you rent a car in Auckland New Zealand > Auckland

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and it’s the natural starting point for onward travel around both North and South island, regardless of how you are thinking about getting around.

Auckland Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

First and foremost, it’s worth pointing out that the Auckland metropolitan region as a population of well over 1 million people. There is adequate public transport, including extensive commuter rail, for getting in and out of the city on a day-to-day basis. However, we don’t really think Auckland is a sort of city where tourists visit in order to spend all their time within the urban area. In fact, the most spectacular places to visit in the greater Auckland area are all well outside the city.

There are also some amazing islands which are easily reached by ferry from Auckland, including Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands. These are linked to each other by a small bridge (no cars allowed). Nearby Waiheke Island, which includes the Whakanewha Regional Park, can be reached by car ferry, but there are also buses on the island.

Hading south?

Another key point to consider is that although Auckland is the main international gateway to New Zealand, much of the  most impressive sightseeing is actually on South Island. Travelling south from Auckland by coach or by train is perfectly possible. However, services are relatively infrequent, and a ferry journey is needed to cross between the islands (the ferry itself takes 3-4 hours).

To reach a destination like Queenstown, and then to carry on to the spectacular Milford Sound, it’s much easier to take an internal flight first. Queenstown is also the centre of Peter Jackson’s filming world. Including the ferry it’s essentially a full day’s (24 hours) worth of driving. By public transport, you’ll need to allow around 3 days to get there. The most convient combination is to take the train to Wellington, then ferry to Picton on South Island. From here, you can continue by train to Christchurch, then catch a bus to Queenstown.

See also our Dunedin car hire advice page for the southern part of South Island.

Why should you rent a car in Auckland?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Auckland?

Auckland Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€75

 #141/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €75

6/300

 

Free parking score

Total 461 - of which 230 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

50%

#123/300

 
  • Natural starting point for a New Zealand road trip.
  • Largest choice of inbound flights + car hire options in New Zealand.
  • Amazing countryside near city, easy day excursions by car.
  • Hobbiton movie set at Matamata. This is just over 2 hours’ direct drive from Auckland. You’ll probably prefer to take the coastal route via Tauranga in one direction.

Why not? Visiting Auckland without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Auckland public transport quick facts

Train score

 

00%

Water travel score

00%

Overall public transport score

20%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

60%

  • Numerous adventure activities available within and around the city – these usually include transport.
  • Offshore islands often easier to reach by ferry as a foot passenger.
  • May be better to use local public transport in Auckland – then looking at hiring a car to visit South Island.
  • Epic rail adventures also available heading down to Wellington and then onto South Island by ferry.
  • Hobbiton movie set at Matamata by bus – it’s an easy day trip package from Auckland, but you won’t see much else around it.

Ratings

Car rental in - Auckland Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Auckland?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Auckland?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Auckland?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Auckland if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Auckland if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Auckland if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

4

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Auckland car hire summary

So, should you really rent a car in Auckland? We suggest that there are still more than enough scenic locations which are well worth visiting, both in terms of impressive coastal scenery and lush inland national parks. A hire car is useful for these destinations, but still not essential. If you are basing yourself in Auckland for a few days and don’t particularly feel like getting a rental car, then there are still plenty of options for doing scenic bus tours or heading out by train or of course ferry.

Verdict – no.

Would you hire a car in Auckland?

Have you driven in Auckland? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Auckland?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Dunedin

Should you hire a car in Dunedin?

Should you rent a car in Dunedin New Zealand > Dunedin

Dunedin Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Dunedin is a natural gateway to many of the scenic wonders that make up the South Island of New Zealand, although Queenstown might be a better bet for visiting the fjord lands.

Why should you rent a car in Dunedin?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Dunedin?

Dunedin Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€135

 #153/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €155

95/300

 

Free parking score

Total 81 - of which 68 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

84%

#8/300

 
  • For all the reasons you’d rent a car anywhere else – freedom and flexibility, especially in a place where public transport is limited!
  • Despite the railway connections, Dunedin is still in a very remote part of New Zealand, and most journeys will be by road.

Why not? Visiting Dunedin without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Dunedin public transport quick facts

Train score

 

00%

Water travel score

10%

Overall public transport score

30%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

40%

  • Dunedin might also be the terminus of a long railway journey south from Christchurch or even from North Island if using the ferries, and this main line does continue right through to Invercargill. The station itself is a great example of neo-Renaissance railway architecture,
  • It will be impossible to mention Dunedin without also bringing up the fantastic Taeri Gorge railway, which is certainly a great day trip to do from Dunedin, and arguably the finest rail journey in New Zealand.

However the Carornocar.com pendulum still swings very heavily towards getting a car in Dunedin, simply because almost anywhere else worth visiting is going to be best done with a hire car. See also our Queenstown car hire guide for suggestions of South Island road trips, based around New Zealand’s premier outdoor pursuits hub.

Should you hire a car in Dunedin? Verdict – yes

Ratings

Car rental in - Dunedin Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Dunedin?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Dunedin?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Dunedin?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Dunedin if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Dunedin if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Dunedin if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

10

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Dunedin?

Have you driven in Dunedin? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Dunedin?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:
 

Queenstown

Should you rent a car in Queenstown?

Should you rent a car in Queenstown New Zealand > Queenstown

Queenstown really prides itself as being the outdoor activity capital of the world. This is, after all, the place where bungee-jumping was invented. Yet the town of Queenstown itself is a relatively small place, with a population of around 30,000 people. The airport in Queenstown is right on the edge of the centre, so it’s easy enough to pick up a hire car here, but buses and taxis are also widely available, and nowhere within the town itself is particularly out of reach by any means.

Queenstown Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

If you are coming here for outdoor activities, then you might well be taking part in the sort of sports where transport is provided. This will always be the case if this involves vans or towing trailers with kayaks, mountain bikes and other specialist equipment. That too should be reasonably straightforward enough. If that was the only focus then the advice would lean heavily against getting a hire car.

Spectacular scenery

Yet the reason why Queenstown is so popular for outdoor activities also explains why it attracts so many visitors seeking a much more genteel sort of holiday. This is of course because Queenstown sits right in the middle of so much outstanding scenery.

In particular, this is the gateway to New Zealand’s fjord land, the most famous part of which is the spectacular Milford Sound. Driving from Queenstown to Milford Sound without stopping might take 2 to 3 hours. Some visitors also choose to take scenic flights, either from Queenstown or from the small airport that is in Milford Sound itself. In some cases these flights are simply provided on a one-way basis between the two points.

There are buses shuffling up and down around this area and you can take organised tours which will show the scenic areas around Queenstown at their pace rather than yours.

These organised tours can also include a specialist itinerary focusing on places used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy or in the Hobbit.

So there’s certainly no need to look for Queenstown car hire deals if you’ll be happy enough relying on local public transport and organised trips. This is easy enough to do here, but it’s far from ideal.

Compared to many great European outdoor destinations, for example such as Interlaken in Switzerland, public transport around Queenstown really is not that good at all. This is hardly surprising given that no railways were built here to start with.

Therefore, on balance, our Queenstown car hire advice has to swing towards saying that unless your focus really is just on outdoor activities where transport is provided, getting a rental car here is going to be a lot easier than not having one.

Why should you rent a car in Queenstown?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Queenstown?

Queenstown Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

80%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€130

 #142/300

 

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

 

 €150

85/300

 

Free parking score

Total 223 - of which 149 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

67%

#64/300

 
  • Superb scenery – best explored at leisure, on your own terms.
  • Famous film locations – although some Tolkein fans might prefer a tour with the knowledge of a professional guide.
  • No rail services in or near Queenstown.
  • Other than local services within Queenstown, buses are slow, and they typically only operate once per day.
  • You could start a longer New Zealand road trip in Queenstown. Generally we would suggest starting in Auckland instead, as it has a wider choice of inward flights and car rental options. However, Queenstown would work fine for a South Island road trip.

Why not? Visiting Queenstown without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Queenstown public transport quick facts

Train score

 

60%

Water travel score

70%

Overall public transport score

50%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

40%

  • Queenstown outdoor paradise – often these activities will include transport.
  • No car needed for access to hiking trails – walk direct from Queenstown or use local buses.
  • Fly to Milford Sound for the ultimate scenic experience.
  • Take a cycling tour – hire a bike in Queenstown instead.
  • Walk, cycle or runthe Queenstown trail.
  • Queenstown Airport is a short walk from Frankton, a suburb of Queenstown. There are regular buses between the airport, Frankton and Queenstown, and the whole Queenstown built up area is less than 5km long.

Ratings

Car rental in - Queenstown Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Queenstown?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Queenstown?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Queenstown?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
 

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Queenstown if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?

 

Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Queenstown if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?

 

What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Queenstown if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

5

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Should you rent a car in Queenstown? Ultimately, you should rent a car in Queenstown if you want to see or do anything on your own terms. For any kind of organised activity, including sight seeing flights or bus tours of film locations, then there’s really little need.

Would you hire a car in Queenstown?

Have you driven in Queenstown? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Queenstown?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below: