How to Get Around Auckland
Auckland is a transport hub in New Zealand both locally and internationally! Getting around is very easy by bus, train and ferry.
Auckland’s bus services are by far the most extensive, while the trains give you a quicker alternative to the southern part of Auckland, and the ferries get you across the harbour and out to the islands well worth exploring.
To pay for most public transport in Auckland you’ll either need cash or the AT HOP card. Fares are determined by stage zones, which are based on the distance of travel. The more stage zones you travel through the higher the fare. For buses, this is approximately every four kilometres. For ferries and some bus services, there is a single fare maximum price.
So follow the Auckland public transport guide below to see how to get around New Zealand’s largest city.
The AT HOP Card
The AT HOP Card is a way of paying for Auckland’s public transport without rummaging for change. More to the point, the AT Hop Card gives you at least 20% off the fare price (except Waiheke and Rakino ferry services). This card is only worth getting if you are planning on staying in Auckland for a while, as you have to buy the card for NZ$10 and be topped up with a minimum of NZ$5.
All you need to do with the prepay smart card is load it up with some credit and swipe your way on and off the Auckland buses, ferries and trains on the electric card readers.
To buy and load up your AT HOP Card create a MyAT account and order online or buy it from one of the many AT HOP retailers across Auckland.
Buses in Auckland
The Auckland bus network is the most extensive public transport network in Auckland. If you are travelling to and from the Auckland region’s towns and cities, then there will be a bus service to get you there, all the way from Orewa in the north to Pukekohe in the south.
Signalling the Driver at Auckland Bus Stops
In Auckland and New Zealand, it is customary to signal the driver if you are at one of the quiet bus stops. Signal the driver by waving your hand as the bus approaches.
Auckland City and Inner Suburb Bus Services
The following bus services provide transport around Auckland Central and between the inner suburbs. Services generally operate from 6 am to midnight, Monday to Friday. The OuterLink and TamakiLink also operate on weekends and public holidays.
- CityLink – The red bus for the city centre departs every 7-8 minutes from Wynyard Quarter, along Queen Street, up to Karangahape Road and then back down Queen Street.
- InnerLink – The green bus for the inner city going every 10-15 minutes from Britomart Train Station, out to Parnell, through Newmarket, along Karangahape Road, Ponsonby Road, past Victoria Park and then back to Britomart via the viaduct.
- OuterLink – The amber bus for the inner suburbs going every 15 minutes from Wellesley Street, past the Universities, through Parnell, Newmarket, Epsom, Balmoral, Mt Eden, St Lukes, Mt Albert, out to the Meola Road entrance to MOTAT, through Westmere, Herne Bay and then back to Wellesley Street.
- TamakiLink – The blue bus for the eastern bays departs every 15 minutes from Britomart to Spark Arena, Okahu Bay, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s, Mission Bay, Kohimarama Beach, St Heliers Bay, and Glen Innes.
Auckland Inner Suburbs and Outer Suburb Bus Services
Note that most Night Buses are one way only, from the city centre, except the NX1 service between the city and Albany Station.
- Metrolink – Operates from the city centre to the outer suburbs, including Grey Lynn, Mt Albert, Ellerslie, Remuera, Onehunga and Mt Wellington, Kingsland, Avondale, St Lukes, Henderson, Wesley, Hern Bay, Westmere, Port Chevalier, Owairaka, Blockhouse Bay, Mt Eden, Waikowhai, Hillsborough, Lynnfield, Mt Roskill and more.
- Night Bus & Northern Express – Operates half hourly from 12 am until late on Friday and Saturday nights (or Saturday and Sunday mornings technically) from the city centre to the outer suburbs, including Blockhouse Bay, New North Road, Lynfield, Waikowhai, Takapuna, East Coast Bays, Birkenhead, Howick, Pakuranga, Remuera, Glen Innes, Glendowie, St Heliers, Orakei, Onehunga, Mangere, Papatoetoe, Papakura, Te Atatu Peninsula, Massey, New Lynn and Henderson.
Auckland Outer Suburbs Bus Services
- North Star – Operating between the city centre and along North Shores East Coast Bays, the Hibiscus Coast, Albany and Glenfield.
- Go West – Connecting the city centre with Waitakere Citys suburbs of New Lynn, Henderson, Titirangi, Te Atatu, Ranui and Swanson.
- WakaPacific – Connecting the city centre with the South Auckland suburbs of Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe.
- Kowhai Connection – Servicing Warkworth, Matakana and Snells Beach.
Getting To/From the Auckland Airport
Shuttles, public buses, airport buses and trains can all help you get to/from Auckland Airport. Check out our guide, The Cheapest Airport Transfers for Auckland Airport for more information.
Train Services in Auckland
The trains in Auckland are a fast way of getting between Britomart in Auckland Central, various southern and western suburbs, as well as south to Huntly and Hamilton.
There is currently work being done to extend the train network in Auckland, which you can stay updated with at CityRailLink.co.nz.
Auckland Train Route: The Western Line
Britomart – Newmarket – Grafton – Mt Eden – Kingsland – Morningside – Baldwin Avenue – Mt Albert – Avondale – New Lynn – Fruitvale Road – Glen Eden – Sunnyvale – Henderson – Sturges Road – Ranui – Swanson
Auckland Train Route: Onehunga Line
Britomart – Newmarket – Remuera – Greenlane – Ellerslie – Penrose – Te Papapa – Onehunga
Auckland Train Route: Southern Line
Britomart – Newmarket – Remuera – Greenlane – Ellerslie – Penrose – Westfield – Otahuhu – Middlemore – Papatoetoe – Puhinui – Homai – Manurewa – Te Mahia – Takanini – Papakura – Pukekohe
Auckland Train Route: Eastern Line
Britomart – Orakei – Glen Innes – Panmure – Sylvia Park – Westfield – Otahuhu – Middlemore – Papatoetoe – Puhinui – Manukau
Auckland Train Route: Te Huia
Papakura – Huntly – Rotokauri, Hamilton – Frankton, Hamilton
Find out more about Te Huia in our guide to the Train Network in New Zealand.
Ferry Services in Auckland
Because much of Auckland Central is surrounded by Auckland Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf, the ferry is your next common public transport in Auckland. You can get to the Hauraki Gulf islands or just across the harbour on a ferry.
The Auckland Central ferry terminal is known as the Downtown ferry building. It is at the end of Queen Street at the large orange building on the waterfront. You can’t miss it!
Note that you can only use the AT HOP Cards on commuter routes rather than tourist destinations like Rangitoto Island, Waiheke Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island.
Ferry Services in Auckland Include:
- Downtown – Bayswater
- Downtown – Northcote Point Wharf – Birkenhead
- Downtown – Devonport
- Downtown – Gulf Harbour Marina
- Downtown – Hobsonville Point – Beach Haven
- Downtown – Waiheke Island (Matiatia)
- Downtown – West Harbour
- Downtown – Gulf Harbour Marina – Tiritiri Matangi
- Downtown – Rakino Island
- Downtown – Half Moon Bay
- Downtown – Pine Harbour
- Downtown – Coromandel
- Downtown – Great Barrier Island
Flight Services in Auckland
Yes, Auckland even has flights within the region! Great Barrier Island is the furthest island away from Auckland Central in the Hauraki Gulf. Instead of taking a 4+ hour journey by ferry, many opt for a much shorter scenic flight over to Great Barrier Island.
Flights to Great Barrier Island
Flights to Great Barrier Island operate from either Auckland Airport (domestic terminal) in Manukau with Barrier Air and Sunair.
Flights to Auckland North Shore
You can also fly from North Shore Airfield in Dairy Flat with Barrier Air. Most flights go to Claris, but some may go to Okiwi in the summer.
More on Public Transport in Auckland
That’s it for our guide to public transport in Auckland, including buses, trains, ferries and flights. Check out these articles for things to do in Auckland by taking public transport:
- 10 Cheap Family-Friendly Day Trips from Auckland
- 5 Auckland Road Trips You Can’t Miss
- 20 Auckland Parks You Can’t Miss
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in the 20 Best Things to Do in Auckland and The Complete Travel Guide to Auckland.