The waterside city of Auckland—also known as the “City of Sails”—is known for its nautical lifestyle. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, Auckland’s backdrop is subtropical forests and volcanic terrains. Travelers booking flights to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, will undoubtedly spend time in the water. The city is known for its ideal swimming conditions, water sports, and—of course—world-renowned yachting.
Auckland is home to more than 1.3 million people and it boasts the largest Polynesian population in the world. Travelers booking flights to Auckland are in for some excellent outdoor activities; Auckland has more boats per capita than any city; 22 regional parks; 50 islands; and more than 300 miles of hiking trails.
For such a large city, Auckland’s surroundings are stunning. On a flight to Auckland, travelers will see the sea first, then the volcanic hills and lush forests, and finally, the city. Situated on a strip of land with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Tasman Sea on the other, the landscape is awe-inspiring and many visitors use Auckland as a base from which to explore the rest of New Zealand. From Stanley Bay, there are more than 100 beaches within an hour’s journey.
As a coastal city, it is no surprise that Auckland has incorporated the sea into its lifestyle. In fact, Waitemata Harbor serves as a focal point for the city. The word “Auckland” in Maori, the local dialect, means sea of sparkling waters. It is as apt a description of the local setting as any.
The city has been growing steadily since it hosted the America’s Cup in 2000. Now, a day spent on the water can be followed by a night touring the many clubs, bars and restaurants that have opened since then.
From quirky boutiques and antique shops in Parnell to numerous shopping precincts and malls, Auckland is a shopper’s paradise. Outside the city are vineyards and wineries. If you are flying to Auckland with the family, don’t miss the Snowplanet indoor snow center; an ideal destination for the kids.
The maritime climate here makes any time a great time to book a cheap flight to Auckland. Summer (January) usually hits about 70 degrees, and winter (July and August) gets only as low as the 40’s and 50’s. With only an occasional morning frost, that’s nothing to complain about.
Peak Season: The peak season is December through March. Book a flight to Auckland during these months and arrive to the warm weather. The crowds peak during summer school holidays (mid-December to late January). Beaches become flushed with tourists, and it stays just as warm until the heat begins to taper off in March. Easter and Labor Day are also in demand for tourists, so keep than in mind when booking your trip to Auckland.
Auckland Cup Week in March is New Zealand’s most glamorous event. It displays an array of horse racing, style, fashion, and entertainment. The event is perfect for a family day out as it includes free children’s entertainment, such as: pony rides, bouncy castles, swing ball and much more. Ticket options vary from the luxurious champagne lawn to a more relaxed environment on the grass so there is something to suit everyone’s taste. Keep in mind that flights to Auckland and accommodation prices can rise dramatically during that season.
Easter weekend and late October are busy as are the holiday periods from mid-May to the end of May, the first half of July, and late August to mid-September.
Off-peak Season: Things get a little quiet as cooler temperatures prevail (June through September), but it only means that you’ll have more of the place to yourself. You can book flights to Auckland keeping peacefulness and solitude in mind.
While travelers often have the option to book flights on short notice or just a few weeks in advance, tickets tend to be more costly when booked close to the departure dates, and flights aren’t always guaranteed. On average, the best time to book a ticket to Auckland is approximately seven and a half weeks in advance, as fares slowly begin to drop about three and a half months before departure dates and reach their lowest points at the seven and a half week mark. If you’re traveling during the holiday seasons or for Spring Break, it’s a good idea to book your ticket three to four months prior to departure to ensure that you’re able to reserve a seat and avoid last minute holiday price hikes
Flights times into Aukland, New Zealand range from an hour or two to 13 hours or longer, depending on which part of the globe you’re traveling from. If you’re heading into the region from Los Angeles, California, flights typically last about 13 hours. Flights from the U.K. are about 23 hours, while flights from New York City are around 18 hours. If you’re traveling in from Washington, plan to be up in the air for approximately 14 hours.
Aukland International Airport is a central hub for airline travel in and out of New Zealand that serves a wide variety of U.S. and international carriers, so you should have no problem booking a flight to Auckland. U,S. airlines served by Aukland International Airport include American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Air, Delta Airlines and United Airlines. International carriers include Air Canada, Air France KLM, AeroMexico, British Airways and Philippine Airlines.
Auckland, New Zealand experiences the four seasons, with temperatures that tend to decline as you head south. Packing for a New Zealand trip depends on whether you’re visiting during summer or winter, but keep in mind that during the summer, high temps are usually between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and drop during the evening, especially in the mountain areas. If you’re visiting Auckland during spring, summer or fall and plan to spend time camping or hiking, layers are important. Pack a few pairs of warm pants, long sleeved shirts and a couple of sweaters for layering. Winter outerwear such as gloves, scarves and hats is also essential.
When visiting Auckland during the summer, you’ll want to pack a bathing suit or two if you plan to spend time at the beach or near the ocean, as well as sunscreen and a good pair of sunglasses. Light clothing such as sundresses, tank tops and shorts are perfect for the summer days, while a light sweater or jacket can help warm you up as night falls.
When packing your carry on bag, take your flight time into consideration. If you’ve got a considerably long flight, make sure to pack plenty of reading materials and a sleep mask so you can rest comfortably. You may also want to pack your favorite beauty or hygiene products for easy access to anything you need to freshen up as the flight lands. Additional essentials for your carry-on bag include a travel-sized first aid kit with bandages and pain relievers, a travel-sized hand sanitizer, and a few light snacks to munch on.
Getting downtown from the airport
Flights to Auckland are served by Auckland Airport (AKL) which is located 13 miles from the city. An Airbus bus service leaves regularly (every 20 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night) for the city center. Shuttle buses also offer cheaper transport between the airport and city or suburbs on a “shared ride” basis. Taxi services are plentiful and can be booked from the arrivals hall. It is also easy to rent a car at the airport and drive via one of the two state highways which allow easy access to the different areas of the city.
Auckland is a modern city that is easy to travel by foot, bus or ferry. You can also rent a scooter or bicycle for at least half a day. You can get almost anywhere in central Auckland by bus; some of which will take you to tourist attractions for free. The public transportation is good enough that you won’t need a car to get around, and you’d struggle to find parking anyway. You may want to rent a car to head out to the suburbs, however, and you can also take a ferry to the north shore suburbs and Hauraki Gulf Islands.
The Link is the local bus service and can be used to augment your sightseeing strategy, particularly when your legs begin to feel weary. There are also free transportation options for the major attractions. The north shore suburbs and Hauraki Gulf Islands are all serviced by ferries.
If you’re planning excursions further afield, a rental car makes sense. All major rental car companies are represented both in the city and at the airport. Remember that the locals here drive on the left.
Whether you’re visiting Auckland for the ultimate outdoor adventure or simply feel like relaxing in the sun by the water’s edge, there are plenty of options to keep you busy. For a lovely day on the water where you can take in the majestic beauty of the Auckland skyline and Rangitoo Island, sign up for Fullers Harbour Cruise. The starting point of the cruise is Devenport, also referred to as Auckland’s “Marine Suburb.” Arrive a little early to check out the local shops, then hop on board and snack on a complimentary muffins and tea while enjoying the sights and sounds of the are. Make sure to bring your camera to document the volcanic terrain when the boat stops at Rangatoo Island.
If you’re up for a little adventure and memories that are sure to last a lifetime, pay a visit to Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium and get up close and personal with the Antarctic penguins at the Antarctic Ice Adventure. This walk-through exhibit is the actual home of New Zealand’s single colony of Antarctic penguins, allowing visitors a first-hand look at this amazing species as they swim in the freezing cold waters of their natural habitat.
For a fun day of shopping and sightseeing, head over to the Manukau Coast. Located in South Auckland, this coastal paradise houses a wide variety of markets offering food and crafts created by local artisans, botanical gardens with amazing scenery, and a coastline with some of the best beaches in the area. Manukau is also home to Rainbow’s End, New Zealand’s largest theme park, where you’ll find massive roller coasters, a 3D cinema, and some of the tastiest cotton candy around.
If you’re in need of an outbound flight from Auckland to extend your vacation or head to another destination, Cheapflights can help you find some great deals. Auckland International Airport serves most major U.S. and international carriers, so you should be able to book your flight in no time at all. Here are some of the most popular routes and destinations when traveling from Auckland, along with some helpful flight deals:
If you need a reliable lift to the airport, Auckland’s got you covered. Auckland International Airport only allows taxis and buses with specific licensing to shuttle passengers, so booking a ride with one of these services ensures safe and timely travel. Shuttle Auckland and Super Shuttle offer van service and convenient pick up from your hotel or lodging accommodations, just make sure to schedule your trip at least one day in advance to prevent delays. If you prefer to take a taxi to the airport, taxis in Auckland can usually pick up within short notice, but it’s always a good idea to pre-schedule your ride to prevent delays. Sky Bus NZ is a 24-hour shuttle bus service that offers rides to the airport, seven days a week. The bus picks up at all major hotels in the area, but you may wish to contact the service in advance to ensure your lodging area is on the route.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Auckland International Airport, check out or informative online guide.