Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with a population of around 1.5 million people and a low-density residential layout that has seen the city sprawl in all directions. In this article, we'll take a look at your various options for getting around Auckland, from public transport services such as bus, train, and ferry to options such as rental cars and even a jet boat.
Getting around by car
Because of Auckland’s widespread sprawl, it has become a very car-dependent city. Public transport systems are in place, but if you're planning on doing a lot of cross-city travel it can take a very long time and become very frustrating. As such, it's often a better idea to hire a rental car during your stay. This is especially important if you're planning on getting amongst Auckland's beautiful natural surroundings which are often a fair drive from the city.
With that said, the road network of Auckland is constrained due to the unique geography of the city, with some areas only capable of fitting a limited number of routes. As a result, the city is infamous for its congestion, particularly at peak hour. When driving, try to avoid the hours of 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm where possible. Still, the city is well serviced by rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty, with competitive economy-class pricing.
Getting around by public transport
Auckland is serviced by buses, trains and ferries, with the Britomart Transport Centre on the corner of Customs Street and Queen Street acting as the main location for information and schedules.
- Trains: Britomart also acts as the city's main train station, with trains running to central, south and west Auckland regularly from this location. However, while train travel is a good option if you live along these routes, there is still a large area of Auckland that is not serviced by trains at all -- in particular, the North Shore and the eastern suburbs of the Manukau district.
- Buses: If you don't have a problem with walking five to ten minutes to your destination, bus services can get you pretty much anywhere in the city. However, due to the infamous Auckland city congestion, it can often be very slow going, and it's not uncommon for buses to be 10 to 15 minutes late. At present, there are several different bus companies serving different parts of Auckland, including NZ Bus, Ritchies, Howick & Eastern and Link Bus.
- Ferry: There are also several ferry services running around the Hauraki Gulf. Just like buses, there is no integrated ferry service, with several different companies running ferry routes. These companies include Fullers, Maxx, Pine Harbour Ferry, 360 Discovery and SeaLink.
See the city by water
While ferries are a great way to see the city of Auckland the way it was meant to be seen -- from the mighty Hauraki Gulf or Waitemata Harbour -- there are plenty of other options as well. For example, Fullers -- one of the ferry service companies -- also run cruises and tours around the harbour and Auckland's many islands. Alternatively, you can hop on an NZ jet boat and see the stunning harbour at breakneck speeds while an experienced driver performs cool tricks, turns and 360-degree spins!