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Getting Around Hamilton in a Rental Car

driving tips in hamilton

If you’re going on a road trip in the North Island of New Zealand, chances are you will drive through Hamilton. Found in the Waikato region, this city is filled with culture, gorgeous gardens and beautiful scenery. Take a look below at everything you need to know about this vibrant city and where to go with your rental car.

Where to drive your rental car in Hamilton

  • Hamilton Gardens: This award-winning garden can be found on Hungerford Crescent. These gardens have a focus on context, creativity and meaning which makes them one of a kind.
  • Waitomo: This is where you will find the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Mangapohue Natural Bridge, and the Kawhia Hot Springs.
  • Lake Rotoroa: Reaching up to 145 deep, Lake Rotoroa is a picturesque location. Home to Nelson Lakes National Park and endless picnic spots, this location is a must-visit.
  • Parana Park: Perfect for families, Parana Park is the perfect place to take the kids and have a picnic.

Driving tips in Hamilton

  • Use a GPS to reduce travel time. It will show you the quickest way to get to your destination.
  • Feeling tired? Don’t drive unless you are well-rested and sober.
  • Everyone in the car must wear a seatbelt.
  • Distances are measured in kilometres per hour.
  • The driver can not use their phone while they are driving. If you are navigating on your phone, a passenger can direct you where to go.

Parking in Hamilton

There are two main parking options in Hamilton. Your first option is street parking. This option may incur a charge depending on where exactly you park your car. Locations closer to the city centre will have a higher chance of charging a parking cost. There will be on-street parking meters and signage to notify you if you need to pay. The other option is secure parking. There are carparks in different locations across Hamilton which are more suitable if you are parking for longer periods of time.

Click here for more information about parking in Hamilton.

Toll roads in Hamilton

There are no toll roads in Hamilton. In all of New Zealand, there are only 3 toll roads. For a list of these, click here.

Driving distances

  • Hamilton - Auckland - 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Hamilton - New Plymouth - 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Hamilton - Rotorua - 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Hamilton - Waitomo - 1 hour 2 minutes
  • Hamilton - Taupo - 1 hour 59 minutes


  • Mobil, Corner of Lake Road and Hall Street
  • BP, Victoria Street, Ulster Street, Whitiora Street
  • Caltex, 163 Whatawhata Road

Must-see attraction

One of the most spectacular destinations close by is the Waitomo Caves. If you are short on time but want to experience something completely different, Waitomo is the place for you. You will be able to experience glow worm caves, waterfalls, the natural bridge and wildlife right here.

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