The airfare to New Zealand from Europe might not be as much as you think and there are plenty of cheap flights to Auckland available if you shop around. The International airport is very modern with great amenities, such as wi-fi, showering facilities, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Information kiosks are available throughout both terminals, one catering for domestic flights to Auckland, as well as out to various cities within the country; whilst the other larger terminal, deals with the external routes.
Airport hospitality ambassadors, better known as 'blue coats', are a reassuring accompaniment for new arrivals, directing tourists to the many buses, taxis, and shuttles. The airbus express runs every 30 minutes into the centre, which is around 12 miles away. For early or late connections, there are several hotels close by. Indeed, the Novotel and the Bella Vista Express are directly opposite.
Auckland is quite compact and for those with willing minds and feet. Walking is an option, but really the best way to travel around is by bus and the city's hop-on-hop-off service is just about the ideal solution. There is a local train running out to the districts, but they do not prevail too often. Car hire is a viable possibility, with numerous rental outlets, but for a real experience, the ferry service from Waitemata Harbor to the North Shore is a worthwhile alternative. It is cheap and frequent, running every 15 minutes daily.
Folks arriving on flights to Auckland are not always prepared for exactly what the city has to offer. As the home to the bungee jump, a climb and maybe participation in a leap from the harbor bridge should be on any 'to do' list. The museum gives a great insight into its people, as does a trip to the city's other harbor, Manukau, where you can learn more of the Maori culture.
Eden Park Stadium, home of rugby and cricket, is well worth a visit for a tour, or if timed right, a game; and the Sky Walk at the Sky Tower is an absolute must, for the spectacular views alone. Rainbow End and Spookers are two theme parks that couldn't be more different, and for animal lovers there is Kelly Tarlton's underwater world for all the Southern Ocean's marine life.
For a terrific contrast in shopping experiences all in one place, Parnell Village is a fabulous place to visit, with major retail, designer, independent and antique businesses, more or less next door to each other, where cleverly constructed courtyards lend themselves to the pleasant experience. The Great New Zealand Store has five branches in and around the city for those looking for shopping with more of a departmental feel.
Although the city is littered with pubs and eateries, many people return on Auckland flights to visit Sky City in the Sky Tower, the premier entertainment destination. Casinos, cafes, bars, restaurants, including a revolving one at the top of the 190-meter tower, and hotels, abound. It is extremely popular, with plenty of fine wines and beers on offer and food wise the choice is extensive, including Cantonese, Mexican, Spanish, as well as many of the local dishes.