Auckland (AKL) Stopover Tips | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Auckland (AKL) Stopover Tips

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This thread is a place to share tips and recommendations for stopovers at Auckland Airport (AKL) in New Zealand. You can discuss things like:
  • How to get from the airport to the city
  • Things to do (both near the airport and in the city)
  • Where to stay/hotel recommendations (both near the airport and in the city)
  • Your favourite AKL airport lounges
  • Airport facilities such as luggage storage and showers
  • Any other destination-specific tips or "hidden gems" you've discovered that could be useful for someone stopping over

Do you have a great tip that other travellers might find useful when stopping over in Auckland? Add your suggestions to this thread, and your advice could make it into an AFF Stopover Guide article!
 

kermatu

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Favourite lounge by far is the Emirates lounge . Sadly has quite limited hours these days, given only two EK flights now ex-AKL. For QF flyers the QP and 'F' Lounge are ok but very dated, small and with the more frequent A330s being used (picking up from EK reductions) usually overcrowded. Lots of lounge discussion here:
Auckland Emirates Lounge [Now open approx. 11am-2pm,5pm-9pm]

VA use the Strata lounge which is fine.

My tip though is minimal time in lounges. Now that the traffic to the airport has eased with the new tunnel one can leave later for the airport a bit more confidently. Security and immigration can take up to 20 minutes at peak times but now the works are finished and the priority lane is open it is no more than 10 minutes for me from check-in desk to lounge, with the bulk of that time being walking.
 

kermatu

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In terms of transport to/from the city nothing beats SuperShuttle: SuperShuttle: Airport Shuttle Transfers

Extremely reliable. Used about 60 times and only once was there no shuttle waiting at the airport on arrival into airport which led to a 20 minute wait. Otherwise 100% on time / availability.

Recent price drop from $35 to $25 cash for a solo traveller airport to city or vv. ($26 if by credit card). Cheaper per person if more than one.

Perfect app for pre-bookings, which I usually do for hotel pickups. Cost is $26 via the app.

From the airport to the city is now about 25 minutes with the tunnel. Shared ride does carry some risk of being the last to be deposited, But it remains about 1/3 the cost of a cab and only a few dollars more than SkyBus so an easy trade-off. And one good feature is they do not wait for the shuttle to be full before departing the airport. It is a guaranteed 10 minute maximum time between first pax onboard to departure.
 

kermatu

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For accommodation near the airport the Novotel Auckland Airport is exceptional. It is a bit pricey but worth it for convenience and cost-saving getting to the city.

I timed it once as 40 seconds from exiting the international customs arrival doors to standing at the Novotel's reception desk to check-in. I can't think of a more convenient airport hotel. Direct, flat walk across two pedestrian crossings and you are there. This photo from y room hopefully shows just how close it is to the international terminal exit (lower left from the pic).

IMG_0204.jpg

Rooms are modern, well equipped, very quiet (other than corridor noise) and with great bathrooms. As an Accor Platinum I am always upgraded to the Exec floor with good views and often the suites, but every room is good in my experience.

Being an airport hotel it is very functional 24/7. The bar serves drinks until 4am. Room service is also very extensive 24/7 and is reasonably priced and high quality. The restaurant is actually very well regarded and has a good variety of meals though more expensive.

Breakfast is good and starts early, but can appear a bit limited / cramped. However, chefs will make anything you ask for (eg eggs benny) without fuss.

Getting to the city is now much easier and quicker, but if you only need to be near the airport then the Novotel is a no-brainer.
 

Denali

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If you have 3hrs to spend or on the way to the airport, Hunua Falls. It's about 45mins by car and super easy to access. Postcard photo OP.


Screenshot_20190419-181928_Chrome.jpg
 

kermatu

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Don't know if this counts as a stopover tip, but for Duty Free I can recommend aelia duty free in AKL. Decent prices and excellent services. My tip though is to always book your purchase in advance online. There is always a 20% discount available for advance bookings for departures and arrivals. In-store prices are not internationally competitive in my opinion so the 20% online discount is essential.

Pick-up / collection is a breeze.

Online there is often a 30% or 40% discount on selected products. For over two dozen visits last year I was able to get a 40% discount on my favourite 101 proof bourbon with 1L costing about $NZ30. Sadly no longer available for this ridiculous price but a sign of what can be obtained with a bit of research.

Don't bother with the alternative (The Loop). Just stick with aelia but only pre-orders online for departures and arrivals.
 

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