I never really heard much about Auckland as a destination and unfortunately, I understand why. Consider this city a stopover on your way to explore the nature and world renowned beaches its country has to offer. In the heart of the city you will discover boutiques, restaurants, and cafes in the laneways, which are walking distance to the waterfront. I loved that! The waterfront is filled with vibrant restaurants serving award winning vino.
My husband and I arrived in Auckland in the afternoon and we walked around the entire central area. There is another cool neighbourhood called, Ponsonby, which we toured through as well. You will need to drive there as it is about 10 minutes away from the central area. Oh…renting a car is a must and you may as well do that from the airport! Read below for information that you can use to help you navigate better.
Tips Upon Arrival
Buy your SIM card at the airport. We hoped to get a better price in the city, but we checked with all providers and the best price was $20 New Zealand Dollars for 1G Data and 200 minutes of talk from a company called 2 Degrees. The 2 Degrees SIM card was not available at the airport, so Spark may be your best option. Upon arrival at the airport, you may find yourself a little frustrated. It was slightly chaotic and there was no internet service. The closest place for Wifi was a McDonalds nearby, but even that was lousy. That’s another good reason to get your SIM card before leaving the airport. We are technology dependent and it does make all of our trips easier. With little time, we have no time to spare trying to figure things out the old school way. It’s very important that you have your mobile device already unlocked.
Renting a Car
We booked our car online from Apex and had a good experience. We called for a shuttle from a designated airport shuttle phone. The shuttle picked us up outside and the wait was about 10 minutes. The drive to the car rental place was another 10-15 minutes away. Be sure to check with your credit card and know what coverage you have and what you need. If you have never driven on the left side before this will be a cool experience for you. Travelers from Canada and the US, do not need an international drivers license.
We only had a few days to do as much of the Northern region as possible and we chose the following sites and thanked God every step of the way:
Upper Nihotupu Walk, Piha Beach, Hot Water Beach, Rotorua, and the Coromandel area. Site seeing along the entire coast will have you captivated, but be careful the roads are tight and curvy with tons of hills and valleys.