If you’re coming to visit us in New Zealand, you will probably fly into Auckland International Airport. This is the main gateway in and out of our little paradise. Auckland Airport is about 20km South (12.4 miles) of the center of our biggest city, Auckland. While this doesn’t sound like much, if you’ve driven in other cities across the world, you’ll know how difficult it can be to navigate busy highways. Add to this driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road to home (in New Zealand, we drive on the left), and it can get a bit scary. No one wants to start their holiday down under by worrying how to get to their accommodation - especially after a big flight! Here are some local tips on how kiwis get from Auckland Airport into the city when they’re up visiting family or friends in the ‘big smoke’.
Getting from Auckland Airport to the city on a MoaTrek tour
Remember, if you’re booked on one of our tours you don’t have to worry about any of this. We know it can be a bit stressful getting to your hotel for the first night in a new country, especially after a long-haul flight, so we take you door-to-door! Your friendly guide will have a sign up with your name on it when you walk through the arrivals gate. He’ll greet you with a big smile, then whisk you away into town.
Public transport from Auckland Airport to the city
Aucklanders are pretty lucky when it comes to public transport; we’ve got the best bus and train lines in the country, so there are a few things to choose from when it comes to airport transport.
SkyBus is cheap ($18 for an adult), easy to use and shoots you straight into the city, stopping at major hotels, hostels and transport hubs along the way. It runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and you get tickets from a kiosk in the airport or you can get them online and save a couple of bucks.
Auckland Transport is the everyday transport operator in Auckland for buses, trains and ferries. You’re not going to need a ferry from Auckland Airport – although you might need one to get to Waiheke Island later on in your trip – but the Airporter380 is the bus running around South Auckland, including the airport and Papatoetoe and Onehunga Train Stations, where you can catch a train into the city and beat rush hour.
There are also other buses from Auckland Airport to the city - Naked Bus and Intercity, to name a few – so you can choose the one you like best and if you miss one, there’s always another just around the corner!
Catching a taxi from the airport
It’s pretty spendy catching a cab into the city at around NZ$75 – NZ$90, but we can definitely see the perks in it. After a long flight, sometimes you want the comfort of the back seat to yourself. Plus, you can leave spot-on when you want to and be delivered directly to the hotel lobby. There are signs for the taxi rank from the airport Arrivals lounge.
What about Uber?
Uber – the on-demand driving service that runs through a nifty app – has taken the world by storm, and little old New Zealand is no exception! Uber drivers aren’t ‘officially’ allowed to pick people up from Auckland Airport because of licensing reasons, but they have started to do it anyway. Don’t have your heart set on taking an Uber from the airport – when you arrive, log in to the app using the free Auckland Airport WiFi, and see if it’s still an option. If it’s a no-go, a taxi offers a similar (slightly more $$) option.
Auckland Airport Super Shuttle
Super Shuttle, the Auckland Airport shuttle is a door-to-door service. You just jump online, say when and where, and at the time you’ve specified - your carriage awaits! At $35 per person plus $8 per extra person in the same group, it costs around half the price of a taxi, while still being nice and comfy, and the smaller passenger load means only few stop-offs so you can get to your hotel to freshen up after a long flight quicker than with the bus. You can also book a shuttle all to yourself if you have a big group or just need some ‘me’ time.
Picking up rental cars
If you are braving getting behind the wheel and renting a car, all the rental car companies are right in the terminal. We have heaps of car rental companies in New Zealand like Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty, and they all do online or over-the-phone booking so you can book in advance – all you have to do is turn up, sign a few things and you’re on your way. Keep in mind that if you’ve coming off a long flight, we really don’t recommend this option. Driving in a new country can be overwhelming, and when you add tiredness to the mix it can also get a bit dangerous. But if you’re certain you want to rent a car, get one with a navigation system because our New Zealand roads are known to be quite tricky.
It’s a good idea to have your transport already sorted from the Airport to your hotel when you land, just to take the guesswork out of things. Getting to the pick-up point for the different options we’ve chatted about is a cinch – just look out for the signs from the Arrivals gate. If for some reason you get stuck, don’t be shy about asking one of the airport staff for directions. Us kiwis are a friendly bunch, and always happy to help.