Auckland Airport Transfer Comparison
Auckland Airport: as the busiest international transport hub for New Zealand, this is most likely where you will begin and end your adventure. There are a few transport options to get you to and from the airport, but which one is the best choice really depends on how much convenience you want coupled with the price. Additionally, you may find some transport methods are better than others if you are travelling with one or more people.
The different methods of transport between Auckland city and Auckland Airport include the purpose-run SkyBus, Super Shuttle, Backpacker Shuttle, taxis and by taking a train and bus route. We’ll compare them all in this article.
Auckland Airport is situated in Manukau, about 20km (12 miles) south of Auckland Central. If you need to go to/from the airport to/from a location not between Auckland Central and Manukau, then there’s plenty of other public transport in Auckland to get you to an Auckland Airport route. Just check out Public Transport in Auckland.
5 Tips for Auckland Airport Transport
- Have some cash handy! Most public transport requires you to pay in cash
- Signal the bus driver, if waiting at a quiet bus stop
- Taxis, Super Shuttle and the SkyBus ranks are well signposted within Auckland Airport
- Ask what the airport flat fare is before using a taxi service
- It goes without saying, but give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the airport before your flight. Usually 2-3 hours before an international flight and 1 hour before a domestic flight.
Auckland Airport Transfer by SkyBus – The Auckland Airport Bus
The SkyBus is a popular airport transfer option. Not only does the SkyBus (Auckland airport bus) take you straight up to the airport, so you don’t need to carry your backpack around for too long at the airport, but it is a cheap city-to-airport option if you are travelling by yourself at NZ$16 one way. The bus service operates 24 hours, every 10 minutes 6am-7pm, every 20 minutes 7.20pm-10.20pm, every 30 minutes 10.45pm-5.15am, and every 15 minutes 5.15am-5.45am. The journey between the city centre and the airport takes about 40 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.
The downside of taking the SkyBus is that you obviously have to carry your luggage to/from the nearest bus stop in the city centre or along its two routes: Route #1 via Mt Eden Road or Route #5 via Dominion Road. Plus, you can find cheaper direct transport to Auckland Airport if you travel with more people (e.g. by taking the taxi or Super Shuttle).
If you are not sure which city centre bus stop to get off the bus at, first of all, you can ask the bus driver to tell you when the bus arrives at the stop. (They are used to it). Alternatively, the easiest stop to find is at the big orange ferry building at the end of Queen Street. This is the end of the route, so you can be reassured that you won’t miss the stop! Plus, it’s the easiest bus stop to find if you are taking the bus from the city centre.
Airport Transfer by Train (Then Bus)
The cheapest public transport option for a single person to get between the Auckland city centre and Auckland Airport is by taking the train between Britomart Train Station (city centre) and Papatoetoe Train Station, then taking the 380 Airporter bus service between Papatoetoe Train Station and Auckland Airport.
Ok, so it’s not the most convenient route, as you have to change from train to bus, but the journey time is not all that different from the SkyBus due to the trains being more efficient. (However, you may need to wait between the train and bus). The price for this route is NZ$12.50 or less if you have an AT HOP card. Find out more about the AT HOP card in Public Transport in Auckland.
Be aware that the 380 Airporter service runs:
- 5am-10.50pm, Monday to Friday from Manukau (Papatoetoe Train Station) to Auckland Airport
- 5am-11pm, Monday to Friday from Manukau (Papatoetoe Train Station) to Auckland Airport
- 6am-10.30pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from Manukau (Papatoetoe Train Station) to Auckland Airport
- 6.40am-11.40am, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from Manukau (Papatoetoe Train Station) to Auckland Airport.
Airport Transfer by Taxi & Uber
Many of Auckland’s taxi services offer a flat rate between various destinations in Auckland and the Auckland Airport. Flat rate fares are usually between NZ$33-$40 between the airport and city centre. Always be sure to ask how much the fare will cost before you use the service, so you don’t get any nasty surprises.
Taking a taxi to Auckland Airport is worth considering if you are a couple or more people to split the fare price. Plus, you can be picked up/dropped off at any location, meaning less backpack carrying!
To find out more about the taxi services in Auckland, check out Auckland Cab Fare: Taxi Prices in Auckland.
A Note About Uber and the Auckland Airport
Uber is extremely popular in Auckland City. Fees average around NZ$1.35/km in Auckland, making a trip between the city centre and Auckland Airport about NZ$35 without adding the base fare (usually NZ$1.30) and airport surcharges
While Uber drivers can drop off riders at the Auckland Airport, they are not permitted to pick up passengers at the airport unless they are registered with the Auckland Airport. There is an airport surcharge of NZ$2 for drop-off and NZ$5 for pick-up which is automatically added to the passenger’s fee.
Auckland Airport Shuttle – Transfer by Shuttle Bus
Getting a shuttle from Auckland airport is a cheap and flexible way to reach the city. Although there are numerous airport shuttles for certain hotels in Auckland, it is not very likely that backpackers will be taking those! There is, however, the Super Shuttle, which is an airport-to-door/door-to-airport service. This may be worth considering if you are travelling as a group, as the shuttle price per person decreases the more people you buy the service with. For example, a solo passenger would pay around NZ$25 to get from Auckland Airport to Auckland Central, while a group of four passengers travelling together would pay around NZ$55 total for the same trip.
A similar (but much cheaper) service is the Backpacker Shuttle. Backpacker Shuttle is NZ$15 per person for a door-to-door airport transfer.
Why Use an Auckland Airport Shuttle?
You may want to take the shuttle if you are going to a stop that is not on the SkyBus route. Plus, you won’t have to drag your bags to a bus stop, as they can pick you up from your hostel doorstep.
On the downside, when using a shuttle from Auckland airport, your journey time could be longer than if you were taking a taxi if there are more passengers in the shuttle with you, which is very often the case.
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