Getting around Auckland
Auckland Transport (AT) (tel: +64 9 366 6400; http://at.govt.nz) runs the city's public transport services. Auckland’s bus network spreads its tentacles throughout the city and many services leave from the Britomart Centre. The CityLink is a city centre loop-route bus convenient to explore the city. You can buy bus tickets with cash when boarding or using a preloadable AT HOP smartcard, which gives you a discounted rate. You can also load a Discovery Day Pass onto your AT HOP card; this provides unlimited travel on almost all buses, trains and inner harbour ferries to the North Shore (including Devonport). AT HOP cards are sold at approved retailers, AT customer service offices, and ferry and train ticket offices. Auckland also has a small, commuter train service, although it is of little value to tourists as it serves only the suburbs. You can buy tickets from ticket machines and offices or use an AT HOP card.
There are several private taxi companies in Auckland, with ranks situated around the city. Among the biggest companies are Auckland Co-op Taxis (tel: +64 9 300 3000), Alert (tel: +64 9 309 2000) and Corporate Cabs (tel: +64 9 377 0773). Taxis are metered and tipping is not expected.
A car is useful, because of the sprawling nature of Auckland and the fact that the roads are in good condition and fairly well signposted. However, the downtown area gets very congested, especially in the morning and evening rush hours. Parking downtown can also be a problem. Central 24-hour car parks include Albert Street, Customs Street West and Beresford Street, near Karangahape (K) Road.
All the major international car hire companies have offices in Auckland, as well as several domestic companies. Drivers must be over 21 years of age - some companies add on a hefty surcharge if the driver is less than 25 years. A valid national or international driving licence is required - in some cases, if the licence has been held for less than three to five years, an extra insurance excess may apply. The best deals are usually available from mid-range domestic firms and you can save money by booking a car upon arrival in New Zealand, rather than beforehand. The main car hire companies include Ace Rental Cars (tel: +64 9 303 3112 or 0800 502 277 in New Zealand; www.acerentalcars.co.nz), eZi (tel: +64 9 377 0867 or 0800 545 000; www.ezicarrental.co.nz), Avis (tel: +64 9 256 8366; www.avis.co.nz), Budget (tel: +64 9 256 8448; www.budget.co.nz) and Europcar (tel: +64 9 379 5080; www.europcar.co.nz).
Cycling is popular in New Zealand and Auckland is a pleasant city in which to practise this pastime - away from the centre and the rush-hour traffic. Signposted cycle routes run throughout the city, including a popular 7km (4-mile) stretch along the Auckland waterfront. There are several bicycle hire companies, including Adventure Cycles, 9 Premier Avenue, Western Springs (tel: +64 9 940 2453 or 0800 2453 8687; www.adventure-auckland.co.nz). The company also hires out bikes for a month-long period.