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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > New Zealand > Auckland

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Getting around Auckland

Public transport

Auckland Transport (AT) (tel: +64 9 366 6400; http://at.govt.nz) runs the city's public transport services. Auckland’s bus network spreads its tentacles throughout the city and many services leave from the Britomart Centre. The CityLink is a city centre loop-route bus convenient to explore the city. You can buy bus tickets with cash when boarding or using a preloadable AT HOP smartcard, which gives you a discounted rate. You can also load a Discovery Day Pass onto your AT HOP card; this provides unlimited travel on almost all buses, trains and inner harbour ferries to the North Shore (including Devonport). AT HOP cards are sold at approved retailers, AT customer service offices, and ferry and train ticket offices. Auckland also has a small, commuter train service, although it is of little value to tourists as it serves only the suburbs. You can buy tickets from ticket machines and offices or use an AT HOP card.

Taxis

There are several private taxi companies in Auckland, with ranks situated around the city. Among the biggest companies are Auckland Co-op Taxis (tel: +64 9 300 3000), Alert (tel: +64 9 309 2000) and Corporate Cabs (tel: +64 9 377 0773). Taxis are metered and tipping is not expected.

Driving

A car is useful, because of the sprawling nature of Auckland and the fact that the roads are in good condition and fairly well signposted. However, the downtown area gets very congested, especially in the morning and evening rush hours. Parking downtown can also be a problem. Central 24-hour car parks include Albert Street, Customs Street West and Beresford Street, near Karangahape (K) Road.

Car hire

All the major international car hire companies have offices in Auckland, as well as several domestic companies. Drivers must be over 21 years of age - some companies add on a hefty surcharge if the driver is less than 25 years. A valid national or international driving licence is required - in some cases, if the licence has been held for less than three to five years, an extra insurance excess may apply. The best deals are usually available from mid-range domestic firms and you can save money by booking a car upon arrival in New Zealand, rather than beforehand. The main car hire companies include Ace Rental Cars (tel: +64 9 303 3112 or 0800 502 277 in New Zealand; www.acerentalcars.co.nz), eZi (tel: +64 9 377 0867 or 0800 545 000; www.ezicarrental.co.nz), Avis (tel: +64 9 256 8366; www.avis.co.nz), Budget (tel: +64 9 256 8448; www.budget.co.nz) and Europcar (tel: +64 9 379 5080; www.europcar.co.nz).

Bicycle hire

Cycling is popular in New Zealand and Auckland is a pleasant city in which to practise this pastime - away from the centre and the rush-hour traffic. Signposted cycle routes run throughout the city, including a popular 7km (4-mile) stretch along the Auckland waterfront. There are several bicycle hire companies, including Adventure Cycles, 9 Premier Avenue, Western Springs (tel: +64 9 940 2453 or 0800 2453 8687; www.adventure-auckland.co.nz). The company also hires out bikes for a month-long period.

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The Langham

Oozing classic style, the Langham is one of Auckland's top hotels and offers all the creature comforts that go with the luxury tag, including a spa and fine dining options. Rooms are elegantly furnished and spacious, and service is meticulously attentive. Ideally situated in the city centre, the hotel also provides a complimentary shuttle bus to and from Custom Street, near the waterfront.

City Lodge

It won't win any design awards, but City Lodge offers central accommodation that is secure, comfortable and great value. Small, simple rooms come with tiny en-suite bathrooms, minifridges, TVs and biggish windows. There's also Wi-Fi (additional charge), a shared kitchen and quiet reading room. A great backpackers' option in Auckland's overcrowded budget market.

The Heritage

Auckland's most distinctive luxury hotel was originally the city's best known and historic department store, Farmers. The landmark building has an iconic reputation and is a wonderful example of Southern Hemisphere art deco styling. The Heritage has two separate accommodation wings, made up of 467 rooms and suites, a tennis court and two swimming pools (one roof-top). There's also a health club, a glass atrium and, best of all, a grand tearoom with fantastic views of the harbour. Though showing its age somewhat (although its due for a refurb), this grand old Auckland hotel is style and luxury personified.

Grand Windsor

This recently renovated and renamed art deco era hotel (formerly the Mercure Windsor) is located in the heart of central Queen Street. Surrounded by shops, theatres and restaurants, it's just a short walk away from CBD, Viaduct Harbour, the ferry terminals and Vector Arena. With 79 rooms, most with kitchenettes, the Grand Windsor offers 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi, a fitness room, spa and sauna.

Princeton Apartments

Centrally located, within five minutes’ walk to Queen Street restaurants, shops, and the Sky Tower, Princeton Apartments offer simple and affordable rooms for travellers on a budget. Apartments can accommodate 1 to 4 people and include a shared kitchen and bathroom. 

ibis Budget Auckland Airport

Located just metres away from the airport, ibis Budget offers 198 rooms designed for both families and individual travellers. Rooms come with the bare necessities: beds, television and an en-suite bathroom; Wi-Fi is extra. The hotel is within walking distance to nearby shops, cafes and restaurants.