Travel to Auckland
Flying to Auckland
Flights to Auckland from the UK are available with a number of different airlines, including Qantas, Emirates, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines, all involving a stopover. If you're travelling from the USA, Air New Zealand operates a non-stop flight from Los Angeles. The peak summer season is between December and March, so if you’re after cheap flights to Auckland, it’s best to fly outside this period. Departure dates between mid-April and mid-June tend to be cheaper.
From London - 24 hours (including stopover); New York - 22 hours; Los Angeles - 13 hours; Toronto - 21 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 3 hours.
Travel by road
Driving in New Zealand is easy and inexpensive. Although Auckland is one of the busiest areas, in terms of traffic, it is still relatively quiet by European standards.
A valid national driving licence is all that is required for driving in New Zealand for up to 12 months. If your licence isn't in English, you must bring an accurate translation. The legal driving age is 16 years, although there are restrictions placed on drivers under 18. Insurance is not mandatory but is recommended. Traffic drives on the left. Speed limits are 100kph (62mph) on open roads, 50kph (31mph) in urban areas and 20kph (12mph) in the vicinity of schools and stopped school buses.
The AA (tel: +64 800 500 444; www.aa.co.nz) is the major motoring organisation.
Emergency breakdown services
AA (tel: 0800 500 222, in New Zealand).
SH1 north runs parallel to the east coast of North Island to Warkworth and then on to Bay of Islands, Northland Forest Park and Cape Reinga. SH1 south heads toward Hamilton and Wellington, which links with SH5 to Rotorua, SH29 to Taurangia, SH2 to Gisbourne, SH3 to New Plymouth (via the west coast and linking with Raglan or Waitomo), SH5 to Napier and SH4 to Wanganui.
Auckland has good coach links with other major New Zealand towns and cities, as well as the more popular tourist areas.
The biggest coach service provider throughout New Zealand is InterCity (tel: +64 9 583 5780; www.intercitycoach.co.nz), in conjunction with its partner, Newmans. Apart from these two major bus companies, there are smaller operators and shuttle bus companies. Go Kiwi Shuttles (tel: 0800 446 549, in New Zealand or +64 7 866 0336; www.go-kiwi.co.nz) runs to the Coromandel Peninsula and Rotorua.
Popular with backpackers, Naded Bus offers cheap no-frills travel (tel: +64 9 979 1616; https://nakedbus.com) across the country.
Time to city
From Hamilton - 2 hours; Rotorua - 3 hours; Bay of Islands - 3 hours 30 minutes; New Plymouth - 5 hours; Napier - 5 hours 30 minutes; Wellington - 8 to 9 hours.
Travel by Rail
Britomart Station, the largest underground diesel train station in the world, is in the Britomart Transport Centre, a purpose-designed, combined railway and local bus station in the old post office building opposite Queen Elizabeth II Square, at the harbour end of Queen Street.
The Great Journeys of New Zealand, formerly known as the KiwiRail, (tel: +64 4 495 0775 or 0800 872 467; https://www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/) operates New Zealand's rail service. Trains are efficient and reasonably priced but rare, operating more as a tourist service than a business or commuter network.
The only service, apart from infrequent local suburban commuter trains, is the Northern Explorer service to New Zealand's capital, Wellington, on the southern tip of North Island, which runs from Auckland three days a week, making the return journey three days a week.
From Wellington - 11 hours.
Travel by boat
There are only two ways to get to New Zealand by water - as part of a round-the-world cruise or by crewing on somebody's yacht, and picking up a berth in South America or Australia. Most cruise ships call at Auckland Harbour in February, stopping for a couple of days before continuing on their way.
Auckland Harbour is located in central Auckland, on the Waitemata Harbour (opposite Queen Elizabeth II Square), and is New Zealand's maritime hub, providing shipping links to 160 ports in 73 countries. Ports of Auckland (tel: +64 9 348 5000; www.poal.co.nz) owns and operates ports in the east and west coast of the North Island, including Auckland Harbour.
Cruise liners call at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Princes Wharf and Queens Wharf, which stand alongside each other off Quay Street. Facilities are numerous; since this was the focus of the America's Cup, the whole area is awash with smart restaurants, trendy pubs and other entertainment options.
Operated by Fullers (tel: +64 9 367 9111; www.fullers.co.nz), daily foot-passenger ferries link the ferry terminal on Quay Street with some of the further suburbs, such as Devonport, Bayswater, Birkenhead and Stanley Bay. Tickets are available on board, at the terminals and in visitor centres.