Here’s what we did in Auckland, NZ!
Travel Dates: 6-7 November 2014
We left Okinawa on 5 Nov and arrived in Auckland on 6 Nov. The customs line was very long, but after getting out of the airport, it was very easy to find the Airbus Express (public bus) to the city.
Airline: China Airlines (booked via Expedia)
We were nervous about having delays, but everything worked out very smoothly. The only strange thing was that our flight was scheduled to leave Naha at 2050 on 5 Nov, and at the airport they said it was 2150, and that it had never changed. All of my paperwork says 2050, so I don’t know what happened.
We had 2 layovers on the way there, and 1 coming home. We could have paid a couple of hundred more to only have 1 both ways, but we didn’t think it was worth it.
Since we were taking a cruise, we flew into Auckland and out of Sydney. We did not book 1-way, we used the “multi-city” feature on Expedia.
Airfare cost: $1,922 total (2 people) including the taxes
Departure flight: Okinawa – Taipei – Sydney – Auckland
Return flight: Sydney – Taipei – Okinawa
Exchanging Money: We used the ATM in the airport lobby. It was a cheaper fee and the exchange rate was better. There was also a booth to exchange money, but the fee was higher.
Hotel: Ascotia Off Queen (booked on Orbitz)
Definitely not the quality you’d expect in America, but for the price, it was fine for the 2 of us. Great location, very central (on the main drag). Easy to find. We took the airport bus and only had to walk 2 blocks. Small rooms with basic amenities. $91.24/night, but with Orbitz I had a promo code to save 15% so it was only $68.92. For the price and location, that was fine with us. If we were staying longer than a night or two, I probably would want a larger room and a “normal” size hotel with a fitness center.
Transportation: Airbus Express is about $16/person one-way from the airport to downtown. Very easy to use. Around the city there are a few different public buses that are also very simple. There’s a city circle, inner circle, and outer circle, as well as different numbered routes. We hopped on the inner circle bus just to get a feel for the city’s edges without having to walk. We mainly walked around though, down the main drag and to the Sky Tower and Parnell Village. Everything is fairly close together, even the cruise terminal is right there.
Night 1: We walked down the main street and tried some local restaurants for dinner. There’s a lot to pick from up and down the street. It’s a very student-friendly town, with a large university nearby. Plenty of inexpensive, small restaurants including Japanese, Thai, American, and more.
Day 2: We walked to the Sky Tower, but we decided not to pay to go to the top. Then we walked across town to Parnell Village. It was a small shopping street, but nothing too exciting. If we had more time, we would have taken a city highlights tour or possibly gone out to the Auckland Fish Market or on a harbor tour. Since we were getting on the cruise, it didn’t seem a harbor tour was necessary for us.
I’d recommend 2 days in Auckland, but you probably don’t need more unless you’re taking day trips out of the city.