Hire car from airport or central Auckland,Not sure would be cheaper/easier-(flying from Oz) to either pick up hire car from airport when we land or bus to CBD

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I recommend an airport hotel or motel if you are only interested in landing in Auckland and collecting a rental car the following morning to drive to Ruapehu skifield.

Auckland CBD traffic is an ongoing nightmare. The further that you stay away from the CBD, the easier your journey south will be the next day. From the airport the newer SW motorway is a breeze to drive before it joins the Southern motorway at Manukau.

How far up the Bruce Road at Whakapapa are you planning to drive? Top O the Bruce, or parking and taking a shuttle to the top?

Possibly look at hiring an AWD/4WD if you think that your snow visit warrants hiring one? Probably easier to stay at Whakapapa village (Chateau hotel) or in National Park village and taking a shuttle. Or stay in Ohakune for the Turoa Skifield with shuttle service.

Regarding pickup, most rental companies require you to go to their depot to complete paperwork and pickup keys. There are lots of rental companies at Auckland airport, and some dotted around the CBD. Check if a shuttle is provided from airport/hotel to the depot(s).


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it depends if you have the time/want to visit Auckland/Waiheke etc before skiing or not. If not then go with Frangipanis suggestion of near the airport.

It has been a couple of years since we have been skiing in Ruapehu. We used to like staying in Ohakune, there is a proper town, supermarket, restaurants etc and it is very close to Turoa ski field. From memory, if there was snow on the road up, non 4wd cars were required to use chains (a real pain) or stop and get the shuttle, but we only saw that only happen once, most of the time 2wd cars were ok. Make sure you park uphill from the road at the top - people get stuck trying to get up back onto the road.

An AWD rental car like a RAV4 might be a good investment.

Have fun!


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To me, it sounds like you are better off picking up the car upon arrival and then staying somewhere outside CBD--unless you must visit central Auckland on arrival day. If this is flexible, I would leave visiting central Auckland at the end of your visit.

Taking a bus to CBD and then finding your way to a car rental depot just add inconvenience.


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None of the regulars on the Kiwi forums ever recommend anyone picking up a rental car on their first day into NZ. The risks are great.

Please, please take on board NZ regulars advice and dont collect a rental car until day 2! Inspite of what long-haul travellers into Auckland advise. Auckland traffic is unforgiving, and lots of accidents occur involving long-haul travellers, let along road deaths by short-haul flyers.

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