Car hire options at Wellington Airport
Whether you want to explore the North Island or you just want a bit of freedom while you explore New Zealand's cultured capital, hiring a car from Wellington Airport is a great way to give your holiday an extra dimension.
There are 7 car rental companies present at Wellington Airport: Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Ezi, Hertz and Thrifty.
Where to hire a car at Wellington Airport
Wellington Airport has a single terminal. The car hire counters for all companies are on the ground floor by the baggage claim carousels.
The rental cars themselves are found in 2 places: either a short walk away in the airport's car park or a complimentary shuttle ride away.
Things to note about driving from Wellington Airport
When you leave the airport car park, you'll immediately see signs for State Highway 1. This is the quickest and most direct route to the CBD. There are no tolls on this route.
Parking in the city varies depending on whether you've found a free spot, a council spot or a private parking lot. On-street parking in the CBD costs between $1.50/hr and $4/hr, from 8am to 6pm (later on Fridays). Outside these times, and on the weekend, these spots are free.
Many of the city's parking spots use SmartPark meters that offer a cashless way to pay.
Popular driving routes from Wellington Airport
Wellington CBD is a 20-minute drive from the airport. Once you leave the airport, you'll find yourself on State Highway 1, which you can follow all the way to the south-east corner of the CBD. From there, you can follow Kent Terrace or Vivian Street to get close to most of the city's hotels.
From the CBD there are plenty of day trip options, including a selection of forest parks and a smattering of Lord of the Rings filming locations.
Farther up the west coast of the North Island, Paraparaumu is a 45-minute drive from Wellington. The route is easy, as drivers simply need to follow State Highway 1 north. Much of this drive hugs the coast, making it a scenic and pleasant escape from the capital.
Paraparaumu is a small town on the Kapiti Coast, popular for its beaches, tours to Kapiti Island and the much-loved craft brewery Tuatara.
With frequent ferries to the South Island, landing in Picton, the trip across the Cook Strait is a popular one. The ferry itself takes 3 and a half hours, but then you're free to explore Picton, drive 2 hours west to Nelson or 25 minutes south to Blenheim and the start of the Marlborough region.
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Please note: all information is correct as of February, 2018.