A Kiwi Adventure in Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
Choosing what to see in New Zealand is incredibly difficult. The country is full of amazing activities and places just begging to be explored. Auckland is not normally included in those posts and for good reason. There is nothing wrong with Auckland it just isn’t terribly interesting compared to all the other things available. However, Auckland International is the largest airport in the country so it will likely be the place you fly in and out of. My recommendation would be to spend as little time in Auckland as possible. Use it as a starting point to recover a bit from jet lag and get your feet on the ground but move on quickly to bigger and better things. After all, there is plenty to choose from.
Getting Around Town
There are decent options for public transportation but, like most things in New Zealand, they can be a bit pricey.
There are several options for how to get from the airport to your hotel. We chose a shuttle from the airport for $23 NZD each that dropped us off right at our hotel. There was a cheaper bus option ($18NZD/each) but we would have had to walk with our bags. The people at the information desks at the airport are very friendly and helpful and provided us with a list of options to choose from based on the location of our hotel.
City Link Bus System
Once you are in the city you can use the Link bus system which has stops all over town. The City Link (red buses) runs within the main city center while the Inner (green buses) and Outer Link (yellow buses) serve the outer suburbs. If you intend to stay in Auckland for more than a day you should definitely get an AP HOP card. It is rechargeable and reduces the cost of a ticket by quite a bit. The cards can be purchased at most convenient stores or you can click here to find a vendor.
Renting A Car
If you’re from a country where you normally drive on the left side of the road then you’ll be fine renting a car. If, like me, you are accustomed to driving on the right side of the road then check out my Tips and Tricks For Driving In New Zealand.
Sleeping Off Your Jet Lag
Most hotels would not have let us into our hotel room at 10am when we arrived exhausted but Quest Auckland Serviced Apartments were very generous and let us in right away. This was a mid-range hotel and was perfectly fine to stay for just 2 nights.
Interested in learning more about New Zealand? Check out my other New Zealand Travel Tips & Tricks
Where To Get Your Grub On
Our hotel was right on Queen Street and in the center of the city so we didn’t have to walk far to find The Café for breakfast. Being on Queen Street places you near tons of food and drink options as well as bus stops.
For dinner we went to a restaurant called Depot that was very tasty. Our starter was a plate of very fresh clams followed by some snapper sliders that were on point. Depot is located on Victoria and Federal right near the sky tower complex.
Closer to the wharf near Britomart Station is The Lobby. A meatball sub to share, some pork belly cubes and cheesy bread made for a tasty treat! Here we learned about the strange laws regarding serving alcohol on Good Friday and Easter Sunday in New Zealand. On these two days restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol unless you buy a meal. How strange is that? The restaurants are not impressed with this outdated law:
The wharf has a lot of big chain restaurants. The food will be good but maybe not anything special. In general, I prefer to eat at smaller mom and pop shops when I travel. We did stop for a bowl of seafood chowder and another scoop of clams and mussels from The Crab Shack which was good but nothing spectacular. At 7:30pm on a Thursday most things were already closed, apparently Auckland isn’t hopping every night of the week.
This area also includes tons of cute stores and boutiques for all the shoppers out there. Definitely check out Ponsonby Central is you’re in the area. It is a really cool little place with several unique restaurants all under one roof. We ate at Chop Chop and had rice bowls, AJ’s with pork belly and bacon and mine with fried pumpkin.
That’s all the dirty details I have for you around Auckland. This will get you through the basics of where to eat, drink, sleep and how to get around. Per my recommendation above we spent only 1 full day in Auckland before moving on. Other than exploring the areas above we also checked out Mount Eden: A Must-See View of Auckland . This amount of time seemed more than sufficient for our travel needs and there was nothing that I felt like we missed out on. Nothing but love Auckland, but the rest of your country is just way too cool!