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A Guide to Auckland
Know Before You Go
Head to Victoria Park and watch the cricket for free. There is no entrance on the weekends when amateur teams are playing at the sports ground.
Buy the AT HOP Card. It's a prepaid card that will give you up to 20% off on fares. If you're going to be using Auckland's public transport system a lot, it will help you save on transportation costs.
Go on a free walking tour. It's a great way to explore the city, get your bearings and learn about Auckland's history from a local guide.
Spend a day at one of Auckland's free museums. If you're a history buff the Papakura Museum, Huia Settlers Museum and the McCahon House are all worth a visit.
You don't need to tip at restaurants. If you feel the service was exceptional, you're welcome to leave a 10% gratuity, but it's not expected.
The tap water in Auckland is safe to drink. Instead of buying bottled water, bring a reusable bottle and fill up as you make your way around the city.
Getting Around Auckland
If you're staying in the CBD, it's possible to walk to most of Auckland's top attractions. But if your hotel or Airbnb is further away, you'll need to use local transportation.
The cheapest way to get around Auckland is with the Link buses. Three different lines run across from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day. Fares start from NZD 1 and go up depending on the distance travelled.
Six taxi companies service Auckland as well as ride-sharing services Uber and Zoomy. Fares start NZD 3 and go up by NZD 2.15 per kilometre.
Renting a car is a good idea if you're planning on exploring beyond the city limits. You can hire a car at the airport or from one of the companies in town.
If you want to visit Waiheke Island or the neighbourhoods of Half Moon Bay and Devonport, take a ferry. Tickets cost NZD 6.90 per adult or NZD 12.50 for a return.
When is The Best Time to Visit Auckland?
The best time to visit Auckland is during its two shoulder seasons. From March to May and September to November, the temperatures are pleasant, and the summer crowds have yet to arrive.
If you're interested in art and culture, May is the perfect time to visit. There are tons of festivals to attend if you can handle the cooler temperatures. November is also prime time for foodies as the city host's its main dining event, the Taste of Auckland.
May to July are the wettest months of the year for Auckland, and many hotels and airlines slash their prices to make up for the seasonal lull.
December to February is peak tourist season. Local and international travellers flock to the city for the end of year holidays. If you're planning a trip during this period, it's a good idea to book well in advance or keep a look out for deals in the latter half of January when the kids go back to school.
Airports in Auckland
Auckland Airport is the busiest and largest airport in New Zealand. It's 21km from the city centre and is a hub for regional flights - Air New Zealand as well as Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways.
Getting to and from Auckland Airport
The best way to get from Auckland Airport is with the SkyBus. It operates 24 hours a day and takes 40-60 minutes to reach the terminals in the city centre. Tickets are available from the kiosks inside the airport and cost NZD 18 per person.
Another affordable option is the 380 Airporter bus. It runs every 15-20 minutes from the airport and stops outside the domestic and international arrivals terminals.
If you miss the Airporter, you can take the route 31 bus. It runs between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. every day and departs from the terminals every 15 minutes.
Taxi ranks are located outside of the arrivals area. You can pre-book your ride or organise your trip into the city centre when you arrive. Fares will cost around NZD 38 to 75, and you'll also have to pay an NZD 5 pickup surcharge and an NZD 2 drop off fee.
If you want to rent a car, you'll find the desks next to the arrivals area on the ground floor.