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Auckland International Airport

Auckland International Airport, New Zealand's largest airport, is in the southern suburb of Mangere on the shores of the Manukau Harbour. There are frequent services to Australia, and to other New Zealand destinations. There are also direct connections to many locations in the South Pacific, to the United States, Asia and to Buenos Aires and Santiago in South America.

Ground transportation to and from the airport
Transport from the airport to central Auckland and suburbs includes buses, shuttles and taxis.

The bus to central Auckland is called Airbus and runs 24 hours, at 15 minute intervals during the day and 30 minutes at night. The one way fare for adults is $16, backpacker with ID $14, child $6. When returning to the airport by Airbus, allow for the service to run late: often the '15 minute' schedule is more like 30 minutes.

Other bus services run to the suburbs including the 380 connects with the rail system at Papatoetoe Train Station. This local bus and train will cost $8 to the city centre.

Approximate prices for one person in a shuttle to various destinations are:

* to Papatoetoe $29
* to Manurewa $26
* to Howick $42
* to Takapuna $35
* to Henderson $41
* to central Auckland (city) the fare is between $50 and $65

Taxi fares may be NZ$50 - NZ$100 from the airport to a city location, about the same as it costs to hire a car per day.

Terminal transfer

There are separate domestic and international terminals. A free bus runs between the terminals every 20 minutes and takes a few minutes. The walk is around 800m and takes about 10 minutes. It is indicated by signposts and a blue line to follow. The path is level, and you are permitted to take luggage trolleys between the terminals. The walk is uncovered and exposed to the weather.

Airport facilities
The international terminal has ATMs on both sides of security. There is a typical food court in the departures area before security, a McDonalds and a coffee shop in the arrivals area, and some more cafe-style food after security. There is the usual collection of expensive shops and souvenirs on both sides of immigration. Avoid going to the gate until you are called as the gate lounges are dismal, and the waiting area upstairs is much more pleasant, with a nice view over the ranges and Manukau harbour.

If you have time to kill, there is miniature golf about 1km (15 minutes walk) from the terminal, complete with a hole on a pirate ship, which beats hanging around in the terminal for hours. Lockers are available in the terminal for $15 per day.

Get around

There are a variety of ways to get around including bus, train, ferry, taxi, shuttle and hiring your own car. You can use the MAXX website to find ways to get round Auckland using public transport. MAXX also has a text messaging service which can be used to find out the time of the next bus, ferry or train or to find the quickest way to get to your destination using public transport.

Auckland is a very car-dependent city and for most tourists used to extensive public transport systems, frustrations can mount. It may be more prudent to hire a car if you wish to do a lot of cross city travel, particularly if you plan on leaving to see the nearby natural beauty, though roads frequently become heavily congested and driving standards can be poor. New Zealand law allows you to drive for up to a year if you have a licence in your home country or an International Driving Licence. Beware that New Zealand drives on the left.

The Britomart Transport Centre on the corner of Queen Street and Customs Street is the main information centre for public transportation in Auckland. You will be able to find free bus, train or ferry schedules in this centre - something that is very handy since the frequency of some public transportation services is low and sometimes irregular. These timetables are also downloadable from the MAXX website.

The Auckland Discovery Pass can be purchased for $14, and provides travel on all forms of public transportation in Auckland, except the Fullers ferries and the Airbus that runs from the CBD to the airport.

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