The Auckland International Airport (tel. 0800/247-767 in NZ; www.aucklandairport.co.nz) is 21km (13 miles) south of the city, behind Manukau Harbour; a motorway makes it a swift 30- to 35-minute car trip into town. More than 25 international airlines serve the airport. The Jean Batten International Terminal opened in 1998 and after a NZ$100-million upgrade, completed in 2008, it now includes a new, environmentally friendly pier to accommodate the Airbus A380, plus it doubled its retail space, making it the largest arrivals duty-free store in the Asia-Pacific region. On arrival you'll be greeted by a large shopping zone, which includes almost 100 retail outlets, and that's before you even hit Customs and Immigration. Auckland is the only airport in the world with two competing duty-free agencies (DFS and Regency), so you'll get great deals on fashion, souvenirs, accessories, and New Zealand art and crafts.
If Auckland Airport is your departure point you can employ the Collection Point (tel. 09/256-8845), which is the pick-up point for duty and tax-free goods purchased throughout New Zealand that have the Auckland Airport duty- and tax-free logo. Here, you can also purchase pharmacy, healthcare, and baby-care items. Temporary Luggage storage (NZ$3 per bag; nothing left overnight) is available as is hairdryer rental (NZ$2) and towel rental with soap (NZ$10 with a NZ$5 refund) for use in the free showers and bathrooms near the chapel on this level. The collection point is open daily from 5:30am to 11pm. If you feel like pampering yourself, massage services are also available within the arrivals shopping zone. Nursery rooms with free cots and change tables are available on both the ground and first floor, and there is a children's playground on the first floor. There are numerous food outlets in both terminals.
The currency-exchange companyTravelex (tel. 09/256-6457; www.travelex.xo.nz) has 10 stores located in the international and domestic terminals, which are open daily for all arriving and departing flights. ATMs are located throughout both the international and domestic terminals. They accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner's Club, and all Plus cards.
From the shopping zone, you progress to the 44 Customs and Immigration counters.
Auckland i-SITE Visitor Centre (tel. 0800/282-552 in New Zealand or 09/367-6009; www.aucklandnz.com), is located in the arrivals hall on the ground floor and is open daily from 7am to 9pm. A luggage wrapping service (for your departure) is available in the ground floor check-in area at Seal 'n' Secure (tel. 09/256-8769), open Monday to Friday, 5am to 7pm and weekends, 5am to 9pm. For luggage storage, ask at the information center. Rental-car companies and currency exchange are also on the ground floor. Internet kiosks are located throughout the public and passenger-only areas in both terminals. A NZ$2 coin buys you 10 minutes online; credit cards are also accepted. Wireless hotspots in both terminals offer 1- or 4-hour time allocations; pay by Visa or MasterCard.
The Domestic Terminal is a 15-minute walk from the International Terminal. Simply follow the blue-and-white lines painted on the pavement. Alternatively, catch the free inter-terminal bus, which departs every 15 minutes between 5am and 10:30pm. It has been significantly improved after a NZ$42-million makeover, which enlarged retail and check-in areas and expanded security screening points. Another i-SITE Visitor Centre is in the arrivals hall of the Domestic Terminal (tel. 09/367-6009). It's open daily 7am to 5pm. The Airbus (tel. 0800/103-080 in NZ; www.airbus.co.nz) is the best value for transport between the airport and the city. Their bright blue bus runs 24 hours a day (every 15 min. from 6am-7:15pm, every 30 min. from 7:15pm-6am) from the airport to the city, calling at most major hotels and backpacker stops in the city. They run from the city to the airport (check the website for pickup points) every 15 minutes from 7am to 8pm and every 30 minutes from 8pm to 7am. The fare is NZ$16 one-way, NZ$25 round-trip for adults and NZ$6 one-way, and NZ$12 round-trip for children 5 to 15 years old. You buy tickets from the driver. If you're staying in a city hotel on the direct route, the driver will drop you off.
Taxis wait outside the arrivals area (door 8) at the international terminal and outside the luggage collection area (door 4) at the domestic terminal; the fare between the airport and city center is NZ$60 to NZ$80 on weekdays, more on weekends and at night. Auckland Co-op Taxi (tel. 09/300-3000) and Corporate Cabs (tel. 09/377-0773) are reliable choices but all of the companies licensed to service the airport offer a high standard of service.
Numerous shuttle companies will take you from the airport to your inner city lodging for around NZ$30 to NZ$40. Super Shuttle (tel. 0800/748-885 in New Zealand or 09/522-5100; www.supershuttle.co.nz) and Auckland Airport Shuttle (tel. 09/576-8904) both offer reliable service.
By Train & Coach (Bus)
The Britomart Transport Centre (tel. 09/366-6400; www.maxx.co.nz or www.veoliatransport.co.nz for local rail) has significantly streamlined all transport services. Located at the bottom of Queen Street near the waterfront, in the central business district, the transport exchange is close to ferry terminals and Central City bus stops. It features an underground rail transport center and it is the hub where intercity and commuter rail, buses, taxis, light rail, and ferry services all connect. Britomart has five train platforms, and trains depart from the same platform each day. It's open Monday to Thursday from 5am to 11pm, Friday from 5am to 1am, Saturday from 6:30am to 12:30am, and Sunday from 6:30am to 11pm.
In anticipation of the 2010 Rugby World Cup, Auckland significantly streamlined its bus and rail services. By the time you read this, most of these upgrades should be in place, but check the Maxx website for the most up-to-the-minute status information; Britomart station information centers, including a Maxx Information Kiosk inside the Centre, also provide current information. The Maxx Kiosk is open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 6:30pm, and from 8am to 3:30pm on weekends; it's closed Good Friday and Christmas Day. Most airport shuttles include Britomart in their circuits, and inner city bus services like The Link also travel via Britomart.
The Britomart Transport Centre is open daily. It has storage lockers; electronic visual displays of departure and arrival times; camera security; a cafe, sushi bar, florist, and convenience store; tour operators; toilets; currency exchange; and ATMs.
For information on the Tranz Scenic trains that serve Auckland, contact TranzRail (tel. 0800/802-802 in New Zealand or 09/366-6400). InterCity Coachlines (tel. 09/623-1503) and Newmans (tel. 09/623-1504; www.newmanscoach.co.nz) buses arrive and depart from the SKYCITY Travel Centre Coach Terminal, 102 Hobson St. (tel. 09/913-6100).
If you're driving, you will enter Auckland on State Highway 1 from the south, on the major motorway system. I advise you to call ahead to your hotel and ask which motorway exit to take. Traffic congestion is an issue in Auckland, especially during morning and evening rush hours. If you don't have to drive in the city, avoid it. Parking is also increasingly expensive.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.