Your Guide to Auckland, New Zealand
Are you about to embark on a journey to visit Auckland, New Zealand and need a comprehensive guide to help you plan your trip? Then this guide is just what you’re looking for!
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and arguably most popular city. Its wide range of exciting activities offers tourists great bang for their money. Auckland is strategically located between two harbors and takes pride in being the world’s third most livable city. The beaches present an awesome spectacle, the hiking trails attract the adventurous souls, and the holiday islands offer an earthly-heaven. There are also plenty of opportunities to sample local Maori cuisine as well. Enjoy long walks in the cool air and wine tasting evenings at the local estates.
Getting to Auckland by Plane
Auckland International Airport is the 12th best airport in the world and New Zealand’s busiest airport. It facilitates domestic, regional, and international flights. Auckland Airport is just 21-km south of the city center. During the winter season, flights may suffer a delay because of dense fog. However, most flights are generally on time.
Getting to Auckland by Bus
If you’re already in New Zealand, but want to bus to Auckland, the best bus options are the GreatSights or the InterCity bus. These buses operate from the InterCity Sky City Bus Terminal. If you’re traveling from other towns to Auckland, other bus options you can consider include Manaus and Northliner – both of which are regional carrier bus services which operate between Wellington, Hamilton, Taupo, and Auckland. The roads are in excellent condition so there should be no worry about road safety. The only cautionary word is to check the weather forecast before setting off as flash floods are not uncommon in this part of the world.
Getting to Auckland by Train
If you’re in another town in New Zealand, it’s possible to get to Auckland by train too. Between Wellington and Britomart Transport Centre (Central Auckland), the 681km track facilitates the famous Overlander Train. The train ride between Wellington and Auckland is approximately 12 hours long. For those who would love to see the regional landscape, the train is the best option because it passes through mountains, farmland, and coastline. It’s probably one of the best ways to get to Auckland which allows you to sight-see as well.
Transportation within Auckland
The most common transportation mode is the city’s local bus service. Local buses offer the best way to explore the city. The bus staff is friendly, professional, and guide tourists well, whenever required. You can also opt for Ferry services which take you around Gulf Harbor, Pine Harbor, West Harbor, Waiheke Island, and Fullers.
You can either hail a taxi on the road or book one via a phone call. Uber and Zoomy stand out in this regard due to their efficient service and easy booking service through mobile apps. You can also opt for car and bike rental services. Omega Rental Cars, Avis, Europcar, USAVE Car & Truck Rentals, Natural High and Adventure Cycles and Adventure Capital are some of the most popular car and bike rental services in Auckland.
Auckland’s local train service is another excellent means of getting around the city. The train service features four tracks i.e. Onehunga Line, the Western Line, the Eastern Line and the Southern Line.
Auckland Currency and Money Exchange
The New Zealand dollar is the local currency. After facing a decline over the last seven years, the currency is once again recovering well. If you fly into the country and arrive at Auckland Airport, you can exchange your foreign money to obtain the local currency at the Airport Bank.
Paying for services and goods directly using your credit card is preferable in the city as it features a better exchange rate compared to what you receive at the Travelex or ATM. You may also opt to exchange your money for at any downtown bank. Just remember to take your passport with you or some other form of identity. Avoid converting American dollars to New Zealand dollars at a hotel as it costs much more than the conventional currency exchange modes.
Choosing the Best Hotels in Auckland
The cost of living in hotels in Auckland varies significantly depending on what you’re looking for in a hotel. Take budget hotels for example. Expect to pay on average 100NZ$/night (although you can probably find rooms that cost less). Wi-Fi is available in 99% of the hotels, but don’t expect a free breakfast at a budget hotel. Generally the cheaper the hotel, the fewer amenities and add-ons you will have.
Cheapest Places to Stay within Auckland
There are scores of hotels across the city that charge less-than-150NZ$ per night. Cordis Auckland, less than a kilometer from Aotea Center and City Hall offers its services at NZ$130/night. If you are looking for a cheaper bargain, then try Waldorf Stadium Apartments Hotel in Auckland Central Business District for just NZ$82/night. Knights Inn in Epson, near Alexandra Park, costs just NZ$75/night.
Luxury Places to Stay within Auckland
Te Whau Lodge Hotel in Waiheke Island offers its luxury accommodations for around 550NZ$ per night. Along with its high-class services, the natural beauty of the place is simply breathtaking. This is one of the best places in Auckland to stay at if you want to indulge in a luxury experience.
Hotel De Brett is another excellent luxury place to stay at while visiting Auckland. Expect, however, to part with 400NZ$/night if you do decide to stay at this illustrious hotel.
For an ultimate, unparalleled stay in Auckland, choose Delamore Lodge. With a starting price point of 1400NZ$/night, this is THE place to reserve a room if all you want is to be pampered while you enjoy the nearby city sites.
Best Places to Eat in Auckland
Eating and drinking facilities are endless once you are in Auckland. Elliot Stables is one of the best places in this regard and being in the heart of the city, makes it very convenient to get to. Elliot Stables is very popular among tourists, with due reason, it’s the place to mix and mingle, and meet like-minded fellow wander lusters!
If you want to delight in Mexican cuisine, then make sure you head on over to the Mexican Café. The Mexican Café boasts a wide range of quality Mexican cuisine at pocket-friendly prices.
Weekend nights be sure to check out Ponsonby Road which is home to several fine dining options. Queens Wharf offers an amazing BBQ (free public) place. All you need is to purchase fish or meat and head towards Queens Wharf to enjoy a great time dining near the harbor.
Cheapest Worthwhile Experiences in Auckland
If you are budget-strapped but still want to have a good time while discovering Auckland, here are a few great low-cost ideas that you can enjoy without breaking the bank!
Watch Free Cricket
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in Australia and New Zealand. During the Australian summer (December to February), international teams tour New Zealand. The best time to watch cricket at the famous Victoria Park cricket ground is between November and February.
Nothing is as welcome as a cool drink on a hot day in Auckland! This is where Backpacker bars come in handy. Offering drink specials for just NZ$5, these bars are definitely places you can spend a few happy hours enjoying a variety of drink specials.
Free Walking Tour
If you are interested in exploring the city’s culture, then there is no better way to do so than by taking a free walking tour. This is a perfect opportunity to get authentic and firsthand information about the culture, history, people and architecture of Auckland.
Free Movie in the Park
Silo Cinema projects a free movie onto a silo in the Silo Park, during the summer months. You need to wait for the weekends to watch the movie (Friday and Saturday). If you’re a happy-go-lucky sort of person and enjoy meeting and making new friends, this may be a good place to go regularly.
Most Expensive Things to Do in Auckland
If money isn’t an issue for you, and you’re ready to enjoy the good life that Auckland has to offer, here are some of the most expensive activities to engage in while you’re here. It’s worth noting that these activities are seasonal and offered during summer which is between December and February.
Rolls-Royce of the Sky
Care to indulge in some of the best local wine while sightseeing from a helicopter? If this tickles your fancy, then consider making a reservation for a Mudbrick tour package. Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant partners with the AgustaWestland Grand to offer luxurious wine tasting, dining and helicopter flight. Guests are taken by helicopter to enjoy the top-view of Rangitoto Island, Motutapu Island and Mudbrick. Here, you get a chance to taste the premium Mudbrick’s wines. The price starts from NZ$721 and goes up to NZ$4,984.
Beretta at Bracu
Want to try out something new? How about clay shooting? If this sounds like fun to you, Beretta Bracu just might be the place to visit. Beretta Bracu offers the perfect spot to enjoy a morning or afternoon round of clay shooting. Nestled in an olive grove which stretches over 96-hectares, Beretta Bracu is a haven of fun and excitement waiting to be discovered by the adventurous. There is nothing better than Beretta when it comes to shooting. Moreover, you can enjoy amazing dishes at Bracu restaurant.
Tourist Must-Do Things in Auckland
Visiting Auckland as a tourist is a unique experience because of a variety of available activities, places, and spectacles. Following are a few tourist must-do things in Auckland:
AJ Hackett brought the concept of bungy jumping to Auckland, and today offers several places to bungee jump. One of the most popular places to bungee jump is the Auckland Bridge. Prices for adults start at NZ$165, while children pay NZ$135. Another popular, but more expensive place, that many believe to be the ultimate bungee jumping spot is Queenstown’s 143m Nevis jump. For an opportunity to jump from this spot, you’ll need to part with NZ$375. Pretty expensive, but for the exhilarating once-in-a-lifetime experience, we hear it’s worth every penny!
If you’re passionate about water-based activities such as boating, sailing, scuba diving, whale watching and fishing, then Hauraki Gulf is a must-visit. The Gulf boasts a rich flora and fauna and is ideal for those with a keen interest in marine-based activities.
For unparalleled views of the city, there is only one place to go, and that’s the Sky Tower. Measuring an impressive height of over 1000 ft. the Sky Tower lets you have a panoramic view of the region. The tower also features a revolving restaurant right at its top. The restaurant allows you to enjoy casino games as it is connected to the city casino. Entrance fees are modest at 29 NZ$ (adult) and 12 NZ$ (under 14-year). This is also a family-friendly place to visit – plus you’ll be able to take amazing selfies here!
Auckland Zoo is home to 150 animal species and contains more than 500 animals. It’s a great educational place to visit with children as there is plenty to see and learn. You might even be able to feed some of the animals if you’re lucky. Entrance fees are NZ$28 (adult) and NZ$47 (for families – 1 adult, 2 kids).
The Maritime Museum reveals the secrets of the connection of the sea with New Zealand. It also features some amazing exhibitions including an upgraded harbor cruise. The entrance fee is NZ$20 (and free for Auckland natives). To enjoy the cruise, you need to spend another NZ$30.
Auckland - A Place Unlike Any Other
There is no doubt that Auckland is a great place to visit. There is plenty to do and see. There is no worry about getting to the city, as there are numerous flights in and out of the island nation every day. Getting around within the city is also easy thanks to the efficient bus and train networks. Accommodation is not a problem either, as you can find a room to suit any budget! Don’t hesitate and make your booking today!