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Landing in Auckland 3am!

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Auckland Region...
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Landing in Auckland 3am!

Hi all,

We are flying to New Zealand in just over 3 weeks and we land in Auckland at 3am on a Saturday. I assume it will take between 1-2 hours to get through customs, baggage, etc so we'll be done by about 5am. We have booked a hotel in Auckland for our 1st and 2nd night but we can't check-in until 3pm.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we can do to pass the time? We're not sure whether to head to the hotel on the shuttle straight away and possibly take a look around (although I don't think anything will be open) or if it would be better for us to stay in the airport for an hour or two until things start to open in Auckland. Does anyone know what Auckland airport is like at that time of the morning...will anything be open? We've heard it's best not to sleep as this could prolong the jet lag so I don't really want to book the hotel from the night before we arrive as the temptation to go to bed will be too great!

All of your comments are greatly appreciated :)

Kind regards,

Nikki & Tony

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

This is a common problem actually and many hotels will take your bags and store it till check in time. They may even let you in early if rooms are available but do not count on it. If the hotel has a gym/spa then you could use it for shower/freshening up.

If you can change , shower at the airport and then go to the hotel around 6-7am , that would be ideal. But I don't know if AKL has such facilities. You could then dump the bags and go for breakfast and an early start to the day.

Edited: 10 January 2010, 18:41
Wanaka, New Zealand
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2. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

It's a long way to come from the U.K to then have to wait around about 6 hours for places to start opening up. Most of Auckland comes to life between 8 and 9 am (and on a Sunday, sometimes 10am). You could probably find a few places open earlier, but they are more likely to be 24 hr restaurants (Denny's etc) and the casino.

I would definitely book that extra night in the hotel. At that time of the morning you should get to your hotel by about 5am. Go straight to bed, set your alarm for about 3 or 4 hours later. Have a shower to wake yourself up properly and then get going on you day. This shouldn't mess up your jet-lag too much at all. In fact, I think it would probably help and I would see it as an investment in your sanity. Spending a whole day walking around like a zombie and waiting for things to open would be awful.

As for waiting around in the airport for a few hours, it would probably just mean that you will end up getting stuck in early morning traffic. Best to avoid Motorways and main roads between the hours of 7 and 9.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 10 January 2010, 20:36
Wanaka, New Zealand
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3. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

Oops, i just re-read your original post and saw you are arriving Saturday. the roads aren't too busy in the weekends. Still, I stand by what I said about getting a few hours sleep.

Hertfordshire. UK
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4. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

I agree with OskarNZ. Having done that flight a few times, you will NEED a shower (and I cant for the life of me think whether AIA has a shower but dont think it does........) - pay the extra for the hotel room, that way you will be nice and relaxed.

My favourite sunday morning in Auckland (I lived there for about 6 years and this is now my arrival ritual) is to go down to mission bay (short taxi ride from the main waterfront) - and go to the belgian beer cafe (bear with this strange choice) which has an amazing view of the bay, sit outside upstairs (if there are no outside seats available be nice to the waitstaff and they will let you know when one becomes available!) , and order a big pot of green lipped mussels for about NZ16 with a nice glass of NZ sav blanc. Bliss!!

New Zealand
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5. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

BOOK THE EXTRA NIGHT!!!!!! I can't for the life of me understand why people don't want to fork out for one more night when they're spending thousands to have a fantastic holiday full of wonderful memories. The very first memory will be of feeling like something the cat dragged in and not being able to fix the problem for quite a few hours. You're not just flying for 24 hrs, you'll have been without sleep for anything up to 36(or more) hours depending on when you left your home. You also won't have probably slept the best the night before you left either.

Book the hotel, freshen up, have a cat nap, relax a little and then hit the town feeling 100 times better.

Auckland, New...
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6. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

I agree with what has been said - perhaps if you contact the hotel, they may offer you the room at a reduced rate for morning. Probably not, but worth a try!

About the airport, there will be a few things open because there are a lot of flights that arrive early morning. Oh and I just checked the Airport website and found this "Shower facilities for non transit travellers are also available free of charge, and are in the ground floor arrivals area of the international terminal after immigration. Towel hire and keys are available from Airways Florist."

The link for this is here:


Certainly an option for early arrival!

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7. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

I don't have recent experience, but I suspect that getting through baggage and customs at that hour may not take long.

Anyone with recent experience?

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
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8. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

I arrived at 11:15am immediately prior to Christmas, when lots of flights were busy with a full flight, and it only took me 40 minutes from aircraft exit, via duty free shopping (I was purchasing) through the xray scan etc to the midday Airbus. Auckland has remarkably improved its arrivals services, and is voted one of the top ten airports in the world! (source: NZ Herald, Nov 2009). And yes, we have had showers available for passengers the past 20+ years that I recall. Terminal has recently undergone another major remodel with new toilet facilities provided on 1st floor - beyond food court.

Airbus departs from airport to city every 30 minutes between 7:15pm and 6:00am. I most definitely would email hotel to seek extra night for convenience and peace of mind. Otherwise the airport lounge on 2nd floor (up stairs from the departures lounge) would be your best bet if you wish to max out in a quiet location. All facilities will begin to open from 6:30/7:00am, that aren't already available 24/7 at Auckland International.

Edited: 11 January 2010, 19:07
Auckland, New...
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9. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

What a pity the you are not staying at a bed and breakfast.

Most will have early check in available. In our situation if the room is not ready guests can use the lounge and have a shower and a cup of tea or coffee. Some arrive in time to have breakfast with the guests from the previous night.

Like Zappers says they can then have a cat nap and face the remainder of the day.

10. Re: Landing in Auckland 3am!

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