Auckland’s international and domestic airports are located in Manukau, South Auckland. This is quite a distance from Central Auckland.
For this reason, when you’re planning to travel to the City of Sails, you’ll want to know the best way to get from Auckland Airport to the city centre… and we’re here to help.
After arriving at the airport, you’ll want to collect your bags and clear customs before making your way into the city.
There are a number of different ways to do this, but not all modes of transport are made equal.
The springboard for many New Zealand trips, your first challenge will be getting to the Central Business District (CBD). From there, you’ll be able to explore all that Auckland has to offer.
Auckland Airport is made up of two different terminals; one international and one domestic. These two terminals are connected by a free bus every 15 minutes, and by a green path that takes approximately 10 minutes to walk.
The Auckland Airport is located at Ray Emery Drive, Mangere, Auckland 2022.
There is plenty of car parking at Auckland airport, but if you’re reading this post, you’re not planning to drive yourself in and out.
From the Auckland Airport, chances are you will be looking to head into Auckland City. Whether you call it the Auckland CBD, downtown, the Viaduct or Auckland City, they’re all in the same area.
If you don’t have a particular destination in mind but know you want to head into the city, we suggest aiming for Queen Street; this is one of the largest thoroughfares in town and provides easy access to the majority of our hotels.
So, now you know where you’re headed, the million-dollar question is just which is the best way to get from Auckland Airport to the city?
The answer to that question depends on how many people are in your group, how much of a hurry you’re in, what your budget is and how adventurous you are.
Read on to find out the best way to get from Auckland Airport to city for you…
How to get from the Auckland Airport to the city
The Fastest Way to Get from Auckland Airport to City: Rideshare or taxi
The fastest way to get into the city from Auckland Airport is in a private car.
Though rental cars are available near Auckland Airport, the time required to check yourself in and to depart makes for a slower trip.
If the aim is to get into the city in the fastest possible way, then catching either a taxi or rideshare is the best option for you.
Both Uber and Ola operate in Auckland and can collect passengers from the Airport.
Taxis are also available. They run on a meter but are generally more expensive than an Uber/Ola.
Where Should I Meet My Uber/Ola Driver at Auckland Airport?
Both the international and domestic terminals in Auckland have designated pickup areas for rideshare customers. This is where you’ll want to wait for your driver.
Auckland International Terminal
You will find the rideshare pickup area at the Auckland International Airport outside door 11. As you exit customs, turn to the left and walk straight ahead and out of the building.
Auckland Domestic Terminal
If you’re travelling domestically, you will find the rideshare pickup/drop off area to the rear of the large multi-storey car park building.
Is there an airport fee for trips requested through the Uber app?
There is a small fee should you use a rideshare service at Auckland Airport.
The fee is automatically added to the total fare paid in the app.
The most flexible option: A rental car
Though not the cheapest or fastest way to get into the city (by the time you check in), a rental car is still a popular choice for many.
If you need a rental car for the rest of your travels, it may be more convenient to collect it when you first arrive at Auckland Airport.
The Cheapest Ways to Travel into Town: Walking, hitchhiking & Public Transport
Walk into the City
If you’re on a tight budget, it is technically possible to walk into the city.
Walking into the CBD is the only guaranteed free way to get into central Auckland.
The walk itself is relatively straight and easy. It will take approximately 4 and 1/2 hours, depending on the speed at which you walk and the number of stops you make.
Along the way, you’ll come close to Dress Smart (an outlet mall), the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, Cornwall Park, One Tree Hill, Mount Eden, New Market (one of our premier shopping districts) and the Auckland Domain.
Is hitchhiking a safe and reliable way to get from the airport to downtown Auckland?
The decision to hitchhike in New Zealand is a personal one.
Some travellers consider hitchhiking an essential part of their Kiwi travel experience, as it provides an opportunity to connect with locals.
Others wouldn’t dream of getting into an unmarked car with an absolute stranger.
Because hitchhiking does not guarantee transportation into the city (and as it will not suit the majority of travellers), we don’t specifically recommend it.
However, should you wish to give it a go you can pop your thumb out and try your luck.
Public Transport Option
Aside from walking and hitchhiking, public transport is almost always the cheapest way for solo travellers and small groups to get around. Auckland is no exception.
If travelling from the airport to the city, you’ll need to transfer a few times, using a combination of buses and/or trains.
The train does not run to the airport (or even particularly close), so you will need to catch a bus or private transport to a train station, before transferring onwards.
Almost all public transport routes into the city begin with catching the 38 bus or the AirportLink.
Paying for public transport – AT Hop Cards
You can expect a journey using public transport to cost between $9 and $11 each, payable by HOP card. If you need to purchase one in person, you can do so from Take Home (on the ground floor of the international terminal) or AirGo Convenience (at the domestic terminal).
If you live in New Zealand (or have a postal address here), you are able to order a card ahead of time and have it sent out to you.
Cards cost $5 to purchase, plus whatever credit you choose to load. Cards are rechargeable and do not expire. This is the same card that you will need to access public transport right throughout Auckland
Cash is not accepted on the bus, but it can be used to purchase a paper ticket for train and ferry travel.
The Most Cost-Effective, Direct Ways to for Solo Travellers and Couples to Travel: SkyDrive & Shuttle Bus
If you are travelling by yourself (or in a small group), you’ll want to keep your costs down while having the safest possible ride into the Auckland CBD.
The first option listed is the cheapest direct way to make the journey, but as the other options are still fairly low-cost (and faster), we thought it worth including them too.
SkyDrive: The most direct Bus to the city
The SkyDrive bus is one of the most affordable and direct ways to get into the city – particularly if you’re travelling solo or in a small group.
Bookings can be made online or you can purchase a ticket directly from your driver.
Tickets are sold on a per-person basis, so though it’s a cost-effective way for a single person to travel, the more people you add, the more expensive it becomes (at which point, a shuttle or Uber might be more affordable).
Assuming you’re happy to share transport with others, Super Shuttle is a reliable company.
Fares start from $25 for a solo traveller or $35 for a couple.
Yes, it’s a little more expensive than the SkyDrive bus, but you’ll be travelling in a mini-van and will be dropped right to your accommodation.
There’s also a discount available for each extra passenger, making it more affordable for larger groups.
Be sure to book in advance.
The Most Cost-Effective Way for Large Groups to Travel to Auckland City: Shuttle Bus
If you are travelling as part of a larger group, you may find that you don’t all fit in one private car. In addition, ordering two Ubers may no longer be cost-effective.
When travelling from Auckland Airport to the city in a large group, we recommend checking out Super Shuttle.
Though Super Shuttle rides are available to groups of all sizes (even solo travellers), it really benefits larger groups.
Through them, you are able to book individual seats in a van that seats 11, or you can book the exclusive use of a van.
If you have a large group, we recommend making a private booking. This guarantees you a direct ride straight to your accommodation.
Auckland is a fantastic city and an even better region.
Though some people treat Auckland as a jumping-off point to the rest of New Zealand, those in the know appreciate just how diverse and beautiful Aotearoa’s largest city is.
There is so much to do in Auckland!
Luckily, making your way from the airport into Central Auckland is easier and more affordable than it’s ever been before.
Now you know exactly how to make your way from Auckland Airport to city, you’ll want to get planning your first Auckland adventure!
Photo credit: ATEED, Shannon Kemp, Auckland Council & Ola