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Which Airport to Arrive in New Zealand

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New Zealand Airports: Where to Fly to and Which Airports to Use

All great adventures to New Zealand start with booking a flight. That’s when it becomes real! But where can you expect to fly to and start your trip, as well as which New Zealand airports might you be using if you need to fly between destinations?

With 62 airports around the country, it’s fair to say that New Zealand is well-connected. But with some airports offering international flights all around the world, some linking with Australia, and others only connecting domestically, you’re going to want to know which New Zealand airports to choose for your travels in New Zealand. This guide will list the busiest New Zealand airports with the most connections, therefore, the airports you’re most likely to use or need to at least know about.

While this guide will give you an overview of the New Zealand airports, be sure to check out our guide to domestic flights in New Zealand so you know what to expect when travelling domestically. Plus, be sure to bookmark The Best Travel Guide to New Zealand for even more tips.

6 Tips for Flying in New Zealand

  • When arriving in New Zealand from overseas, make sure you declare everything that needs to be declared! Even if you are unsure, declare it anyway. For a full list of items, see What Do You Need to Declare When Arriving in New Zealand?
  • Research what visa you need before arriving in New Zealand, including the NZETA!
  • When booking a domestic flight, be aware of all the add-ons. Some add-ons like check-in luggage will require you to pay extra
  • Just because most international flights go to Auckland doesn’t mean that your trip has to start there. A connection to another New Zealand airport is often cheap enough when booked in advance
  • Taxis are not the only way to get to and from the airport. Consider all your transport options, which we link to in the “public transport” sections below
  • Finally, get over jet lag quickly by following these tips.
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Arriving From All Over the World to a New Zealand Airport

Where ever you are coming from in the world, it is likely that you will be coming directly or making a stopover in Asia, the USA, Pacific Islands or Australia before you make it into New Zealand. These are the New Zealand airports where you can arrive from such places!

Auckland Airport

Auckland International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand and one of the busiest airports in Australasia, with more than 15 million travellers passing through each year. Find out more about the airport’s facilities later in this guide.

Direct flights come from Asia, the USA, the Pacific Islands and Australia, making Auckland Airport the most likely arrival airport into New Zealand.

Situated in the north of the North Island, it means that most backpackers have similar patterns of travelling around New Zealand from Auckland. Usually, heading south down one side of the country then coming back up north on the opposite side of the country. See exactly what arriving in Auckland is like in Arriving at Auckland Airport, the busiest of all airports in New Zealand.

Christchurch Airport

The second-largest airport in New Zealand is Christchurch airport. Christchurch is the airport hub for the South Island and the second busiest airport, but with around 5.5 million passengers moving through a year. However, most of this traffic comes from domestic flights and Australia. You can also arrive in Christchurch from Fiji, the Cook Islands (seasonal), and Asia. Again, find out more about Christchurch Airport further down this guide.

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Arriving from Fiji or Australia to a New Zealand Airport

As well as Auckland Airport and Christchurch Airport, you can take the plane from Fiji or Australia to Wellington Airport.

Wellington Airport

Situated in the capital city of New Zealand at the south of the North Island, Wellington Airport is not the main airport of New Zealand yet still brings in international flights from Australia and Fiji. The busiest arrivals for Wellington airport are domestic but also Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne in Australia. Learn more about Wellington Airport by scrolling down this guide.

Wellington is a good place to start in a vibrant and cultural city before taking the Cook Straight ferry and start your travels at the top of the South Island.

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Arriving From Australia to a New Zealand Airport

Finally, the last of New Zealand’s international airports. As well as arriving in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, you can also arrive from Australia in these New Zealand airports.

Queenstown Airport

Nestled in between mountains, Queenstown Airport is a true taste of what New Zealand is all about as you land in this super scenic airport location. The airport gets arrivals from the Australian locations of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Check out what there is to do in Queenstown. You’ll want to spend a while here before travelling to the rest of the country.

Dunedin Airport

If flying from Brisbane, you can arrive in Dunedin on the southeastern coast of the South Island. It is the quietest international airport in New Zealand. Nonetheless, if you do manage to start your travels from Dunedin, the southern location is a good starting point to see the country the opposite way round than what most backpackers experience when arriving in Auckland Airport. This means things like car hire will be at a lower price starting from Dunedin, for instance.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

What You Need to Know About Auckland Airport (AKL)

As the largest and busiest international airport in New Zealand, with more than 19 million passengers per year, Auckland Airport is the most likely arrival airport for overseas visitors. All the major airlines serving in New Zealand arrive at the Auckland Airport. Plus, it’s the busiest airport for domestic flights too.

Location and Transport

The Auckland Airport is situated in the Mangere suburb of Auckland, about a 25-30 minutes drive south of Auckland Central. An airport bus, public bus services, shuttles and taxis all connect the Auckland Airport with Auckland Central and the surrounding Auckland region. Check out the Cheapest Airport Transfer Options for Auckland Airport for all your options. Additionally, there is a free shuttle between the international and domestic terminals.

Car and campervan rental depots are in close proximity to the Auckland Airport, with most rental companies offering a complimentary shuttle service from the airport to their depots. Find out more in The Best Car Rental Companies in Auckland.

Services at the Auckland Airport

  • Storage facilities
  • Baggage storage
  • 30 minutes free WiFi (get more tips on finding WiFi here)
  • Telephones
  • Showers
  • Banking
  • ATMs
  • Currency exchange
  • Inter-denominational chapel
  • Duty-free shopping mall
  • Pharmacy
  • Bars & eateries
  • Baby-changing and nursery
  • Children’s playground
© Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia

What You Need to Know About Wellington Airport (WLG)

Situated in the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington Airport is an international New Zealand airport for flights between eastern Australia and Fiji. It’s the country’s third busiest airport with more than 6 million passengers per year. Wellington Airport is also an important domestic airport connecting with a huge number of New Zealand airports. You’re more likely to find reasonably-priced domestic airfares when flying to Wellington.

Location and Transport

Wellington Airport is situated about 8km (5 miles) south of Wellington City in the suburb of Rongotai. It takes about 20 minutes to drive there from the city centre. An airport bus, shuttles and taxis all service Wellington Airport. For more information on your airport transfer options, see Public Transport in Wellington.

Several car and campervan rental companies have depots near the Wellington Airport with some companies offering a complimentary shuttle service between the depot and airport.

Services at the Wellington Airport

  • Free WiFi
  • Baggage storage
  • Showers
  • Telephones
  • Currency exchange
  • ATMs
  • Duty-free shopping
  • Bars and eateries
  • Baby-changing area
© Phillip Capper on Flickr

What You Need to Know About Christchurch Airport (CHC)

New Zealand’s second-largest and busiest airport, Christchurch Airport is considered an international and domestic flight hub for the South Island. The airport has flights between Australia, Fiji and Singapore, as well as a huge range of domestic airports. This airport is where most travellers’ decide to land when travelling the South Island, as connections with the Auckland Airport are frequent and well-priced.

Location and Transport

The Christchurch Airport is situated about 10km (6 miles) northwest of the city centre, taking about 20 minutes to drive between the airport and the city centre. Public buses, shuttles and taxis all serve Christchurch Airport and the rest of the city. For more information, see Public Transport in Christchurch.

There’s also a huge range of car and campervan rental companies with depots close to the Christchurch Airport. Most of which will offer complimentary shuttles between the airport and their depot. Check out The Best Car Rental Companies in Christchurch for more information.

Services at the Christchurch Airport

  • Free WiFi
  • Baggage storage
  • Showers
  • Duty-free shopping mall
  • Pharmacy
  • Bars and eateries
  • ATMs
  • Banking
  • Currency exchange
  • Baby-changing area
  • Children’s play area
  • Arcade games
© NZPocketGuide.com

What You Need to Know About Queenstown Airport (ZQN)

Queenstown Airport is a popular arrival airport for starting to travel in the south of the South Island. The airport not only links with eastern Australia, but it also offers frequent domestic flights with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Queenstown Airport is a small airport but the fourth-busiest in New Zealand.

Location and Transport

Queenstown Airport is situated about a 10-minute drive from the town centre in the suburb of Frankton. A public bus service runs to the airport, as well as there being shuttle and taxi services. Find out more in our guide to Public Transport in Queenstown.

There’s also a wide range of car and campervan rental depots close to the airport, either within walking distance or accessible via rental company shuttles. Check out The Best Car Rental Companies in Queenstown for more information.

Services at the Queenstown Airport

  • Free WiFi
  • Baggage Storage
  • Telephones
  • Duty-free shopping
  • Pharmacy
  • Bars and eateries
  • ATM
  • Currency exchange
  • Baby changing area
© Benchill on Wikipedia

What You Need to Know About Dunedin Airport (DUD)

The final noteworthy airport to consider using on your travels in New Zealand is the Dunedin Airport. Dunedin Airport connects with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Internationally, there are flights between Dunedin and Brisbane, Australia.

Location and Transport

The Dunedin Airport is about 30km (19 miles) southwest of Dunedin city centre in the suburb of Momona, taking about 25 minutes to drive between the two. Shuttles and taxis service the airport, while there are a few opportunities for car rentals situated around the airport. Find out more about getting around Dunedin with our guide to Public Transport in Dunedin.

Services at the Dunedin Airport

  • Free WiFi
  • Showers
  • Duty-free shopping
  • Pharmacy
  • Bar and fast food
  • Banking
  • Currency exchange
  • ATM
  • Baby-changing area
  • Parenting room
  • Arcade games
© MaxPixel

Other Airports in New Zealand

While there are around 62 passenger airports in New Zealand, this list will go through some of the busiest airports that you’re most likely to use if you want to get around New Zealand by plane.

For more information and tips for taking a domestic flight in New Zealand, be sure to check out our Domestic Flights in New Zealand guide.

  • Nelson Airport (NSN)
  • Hawke’s Bay Airport (NPE)
  • Palmerston North Airport (PMR)
  • New Plymouth Airport (NPL)
  • Tauranga Airport (TRG)
  • Hamilton Airport (HLZ)
  • Blenheim Airport (BHE)
  • Invercargill Airport (IVC)
  • Rotorua Airport (ROT)

More About Which Airport to Arrive in New Zealand and New Zealand’s Airports

Before leaving for your big New Zealand adventure, check out these articles:

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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