Travellers like you are looking to hire cars in popular destinations such as London, Los Angeles, Dublin or Auckland. Here’s how we can help you pick wisely
Should I hire a car in London?
Famous for the Houses of Westminster, the River Thames, plenty of free art galleries and museums, historic pubs, Buckingham Palace, and so much more, London is one of the most popular destinations for travellers from Australia.
Once you’ve seen the sights you can easily hire a car from hire car hot-spots in central London. These include major train stations like London Paddington and Waterloo, as well as places like Victoria Coach Station and Marble Arch.
Hiring a car in London is easy, and prices are quite reasonable, so it’s a good idea if you want some flexibility to travel when and where you like.
A lot of travellers hire a car at Heathrow Airport as soon as they arrive in the UK. Heathrow is close to the M4 motorway, which heads west towards Wales and east to London.
Trains in England are relatively expensive, and it can work out cheaper to hire a car. It can be much more convenient too, especially of you want to visit more than one place in a day or more.
Hiring a car to drive from London to Canterbury
This beautiful British city is rightly famous for the World Heritage-listed Canterbury Cathedral, the site of the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, in the year 1170.
Medieval pilgrims flocked to Canterbury to visit the places within the cathedral where the Archbishop was killed and buried. The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1387, made the pilgrimage even more famous.
Canterbury is a charming place, packed with wooden-framed medieval houses, criss-crossed by cobbled streets, and surrounded by Roman walls.
By hire car it takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes to drive from the centre of London to Canterbury, depending on traffic.
By train it takes around 1 hour and 50 minutes from Victoria station to Canterbury, or just 56 minutes on fast train from London St Pancras International.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to Canterbury: it’s an easy drive to several delightful villages from Canterbury, including Chilham (15 minutes by hire car), where there are two historic pubs and plenty of medieval houses.
It’s also quick to get to Dover (30 minutes by hire car). Here you can see France on a clear day, and watch the ferries coming back and forth from the walking track on top of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Don’t miss the historic underground tunnels beneath Dover Castle, from where the British Army’s retreat from Dunkirk was organised in World War two.
The Kent coast is nearby too. Eat a few local oysters, followed by some of Britain’s best fish and chips, on the seaside shingle in the harbour town of Whitstable (20 minutes by hire car).
Hiring a car to drive from London to Stonehenge
Britain’s most famous Neolithic monument, Stonehenge, is a real highlight of a trip to the UK, and you can easily visit it from London if you hire a car.
The stone circle is awe-inspiring, especially if you imagine those people from so long ago moving huge pieces of rock from as far away as west Wales.
It takes around one hour and 40 minutes to drive from central London to Stonehenge by hire car, on the A4 and the M3 motorway.
From Heathrow Airport it takes around 1¼ hours to drive to Stonehenge by hire car.
Trains run from London’s Waterloo Station to the pleasant city of Salisbury. From here you need to take a bus or taxi to the famous monument. The journey will take more than 2 hours each way.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to Stonehenge: If you are in the area you must visit another ancient monument – the giant stone circle at Avebury. The pretty village of Avebury actually stands in the middle of it.
Should I hire a car in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is the most popular destination for Australians flying to America, and many people usually hang around for a couple of days or more to experience the glamour of the world’s movie capital.
Many Australians hire a car at Los Angeles International Airport and would probably avoid tackling the notorious traffic in Los Angeles.
However, you might want to experience the excitement of cruising in your hire car down Sunset Boulevard or Rodeo Drive.
Hiring a car to drive from Los Angeles to Disneyland
It takes around to two hours to battle traffic between central Los Angeles and Disneyland, located in Anaheim. But it only takes 30 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport.
By shuttle bus, it takes around two hours to get to Disneyland from Los Angeles International Airport.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to Disneyland: You can easily add on nearby Knott’s Berry Farm, another large theme park.
Hiring a car to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco
One of the best out of town drives is the Pacific Coast Highway, which is a long, coast-hugging route that connects Los Angeles to San Francisco.
The quickest driving route takes over six hours, but the most scenic route follows the coast, which is the real advantage of hiring a car. This takes around 12 hours.
You could travel on an overnight bus, which would take around 7 ½ hours, but you would barely see anything.
Meanwhile, AMTRAK’s Coast Starlight train also keeps close to the coast. It offers great views and a bit of an adventure. It takes more than 12 hours to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco by train.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to San Francisco: You can stop along the way and spend a few nights really soaking up this part of the USA.
Stops might include the beaches of Malibu and Ventura, and interesting towns and cities like Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Jose.
Should I hire a car in Dublin?
Getting around Ireland is so easy in a hire car. Start off in Dublin and sample the friendliness of the locals, and maybe a pint of Guinness or two in a pub with live traditional Irish music.
Hiring a car to drive from Dublin to Newgrange
Not visiting the prehistoric passage tomb at Newgrange is like visiting Cairo and missing out on the pyramids.
In fact, at more than 5,000 years old, Newgrange is older than the pyramids, and Stonehenge!
Basically, Newgrange is a large circular mound, covering over an acre of land. It comes complete with stones decorated with megalithic art, and a 19-metre-long internal passage.
It takes around 40 minutes to drive to Newgrange from Dublin. You can join a coach tour, but getting there by public transport is difficult.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to Newgrange: You can easily combine this important historical site with other nearby attractions, including Trim Castle (where parts of the movie Braveheart was filmed), and the Hill of Tara (an atmospheric complex of ancient monuments).
Hiring a car to drive from Dublin to Belfast
Belfast is well worth a visit if just to go on a black cab tour around the suburbs that were involved in ‘The Troubles’.
Drive down once dangerous streets like the Falls Road or Shankill Road, and you’ll see kerbstones painted in either the Irish tricolour or the British flag, and giant murals on the sides of houses featuring everything from Gaelic Football to tributes to paramilitary fighters.
It takes around 2 hours to drive to Belfast by hire car, and around 2 hours and 20 minutes by bus, but you won’t be able to stop when you see something interesting.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to Belfast: You can stop off at Newgrange (above), and you can drive around the dramatic Mourne mountains.
Should I hire a car in Auckland?
Once you’ve looked around the city and paddled a kayak out to volcanic Rangitoto, not far from downtown, you might be up for a road trip.
Because Auckland is relatively easy to get around by car, most Australians hire a hire car at Auckland Airport and head into the city, before taking off somewhere else.
Hiring a car to drive from Auckland to Rotorua
See all those bubbling mud pools, and witness the 30-metre-tall Pohutu Geysar in action, as well as a living Maori village on a road trip to Rotarua.
It takes under 3 hours to drive directly to Rotorua by hire car from Auckland. If you travel by bus it will take 3 hours and 30 minutes, and there’s less flexibility.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to Rotorua: Stop off at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, and the Hobbiton Movie Set, as seen in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.
Hiring a car to drive from Auckland to the Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands encompasses more than 140 islands stretched out across the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Think deserted beaches, craggy cliff faces, hiking trails and pretty villages.
The Bay of Islands region is around a 3-hour drive north of Auckland. It takes about 4 hours by bus.
Other benefits of driving a hire car to the Bay of Islands: Flexibility is the main thing. You can go for a trek, stop off for a coffee, and slow down to a snail’s pace.