Recognized as the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland is a multicultural urban area nestled between two major bodies of water, the Waitematā and Manukau Harbours. The major international hub, Auckland Airport (AKL), lies just 15km south of the city centre in the suburb of Mangere. As traffic can be busy, taking a taxi for this short journey can be costly but avoided when you rent a car in Auckland. Rental car offices can be found at either of the airport's two terminals. Head to New Zealand during UK winters for a summer retreat on the opposite side of the world, or experience the clean crisp air of the fall and off-season travel deals in March, April, and May. Lengthy travel times can be broken up when you fly in two legs, stopping over in Los Angeles, Singapore, or Hong Kong, to reduce flight times to 12 hours each.
You'll find many free or low-cost expeditions within the city, or you can enjoy self-drive day trips from Auckland to the black-sand beaches lining the west coast. Hundreds of walking trails wind through the scenic cityscape and green tundra. History enthusiasts and curious travellers can enjoy a 1.5-mile heritage walk past the Town Hall, Civic Theatre, Sky Tower, and beautiful heritage buildings that line the streets. Participate in the Māori Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, which celebrates New Zealand's native people, and learn more about their culture and traditions at the Auckland Māori Museum. Adrenaline seekers can get a 360-degree view of the city from above at the Sky Tower before plummetting 192m to the ground in a controlled jump. Head to the hip strip of Karangahape Road, a former red light district that is now home to trendy eateries serving up world cuisine and fresh spins on classic dishes.
Auckland's lush landscape is home to 48 volcanic cones, many of which are etched with hiking trails to the top for outstanding views. Head to the highest summit, Mount Eden, an expanse of bright green terrain that was once inhabited by the Māori people. Explore the 50ft crater and surroundings in under an hour on a 1.2-mile walk, just 3 miles from bustling downtown Auckland. Day-trippers who rent a car in Auckland can travel for just over an hour to Goat Island, a protected marine reserve known for its crystal waters and abundance of colourful fish you can spot while snorkelling, scuba diving, or gliding along in a clear-bottomed kayak. The black sands of Muriwai and Piha, ideal surfing beaches, are home to a variety of local cafés for afternoon lunches, beach horseriding treks, and surf schools for beginners.
|Language||English, Samoan, and Māori|
|Currency||New Zealand dollar|
|Time-Zones||New Zealand Time (GMT+12)|
Licensed drivers over the age of 21 can rent a car in Auckland. Travellers must provide an international license along with their driver's license from their home country. Like in the UK, motor vehicles should keep to the left side of the road and pass only on a white solid line – passing over a yellow solid line is illegal in New Zealand. The legal drinking age is 20 years old. Drivers should also take care when consuming alcohol while operating a vehicle, as the legal limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Avoid hefty fines by visiting the Ministry of Transport's website for further information on driving legislation. The speed limit is 60mph on highways and 30mph on urban roads. All passengers must wear a seatbelt and the driver is responsible for ensuring that everyone complies to the rule.