Auckland Layover Guide (AKL)
Auckland Airport (AKL) is one of the largest airports in New Zealand, The airport is located near Mangere which is 21 km (13 mi) from the Auckland city center. It serves as both a domestic and international hub for several airlines. The airport was officially opened in 1966 and has international flights since. Auckland is a diverse, multicultural, and cosmopolitan city known for education, national historic sites, festivals, performing arts, sports activities, tourist attractions such as the architectural landmarks and nature including dense native forests, cliffs, volcanoes, and fantastic beaches.
Can you leave Auckland Airport (AKL) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible to visit Auckland during a layover. However, certain travelers may require a visa in advance. (more info).
Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing
Waiheke Island Ferry & Explorer Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tickets
It’s the most flexible tour option on Waiheke. Hitting all of the island’s top spots; hop on and off as much as you like at any of its 15 convenient stops which include vineyards, beaches, and restaurants. These stops include the Batch Winery, the new Tantalus winery/brewery, Mudbrick Vineyard, Cable Bay Vineyard, and more. Cruise the sparkling waters of the Auckland Harbor on the return trip to Waiheke Island. » book this tour
Piha Beach Day Trip from Auckland
Start your journey with a picturesque road trip through Auckland’s stunning Waitakere Ranges. Stop at a viewing point to gaze at the famous Lion Rock then spiral down into the valley. Tour around Piha’s Beach, town, and rainforest. You will be given a map and comprehensive insights on all the must-see places to visit during the day. Enjoy an optional one-hour nature walk or be dropped at the beach. Spend the day as you wish and at your own pace with recommendations from your guide on how to maximize your time. On this adventure, you can explore volcanic black sand beaches and lava caves. Climb rugged mountainous terrain and walk through the untouched sub-tropical wilderness! » book this tour
Auckland Zoo: Entry Ticket
Auckland Zoo is New Zealand’s most extensive home of wildlife, located just ten minutes from central Auckland and easily accessible by public transport. Enjoy entertaining and educational daily shows and animal encounters. Laid out by continent, you can visit Africa, Australia, Asia, and more, as you explore the park. With 126 species and over 1000 animals, Auckland Zoo is a great place to discover wildlife from New Zealand and around the world. Visit the Te Wao Nui precinct to experience all of New Zealand’s natural treasures in one place. » book this tour
Things to do / Sightseeing
Take a day trip to explore the Hobbiton, movie sets used in The Lord Of The Rings and Hobbits movie franchise that attracts hundreds of visitors every year. A guided tour will detail behind the scene film secrets and take you through the Hobbit tunnels and other significant highlights from the films.
Time required: 2 hours.
Airport to here: An hour and 58 minutes via private transport to reach the destination.
Go on a sky walking and sky jumping adventure at the Sky Tower inside the SkyCity Auckland complex, one of the highlights in the city of Auckland. Sky Jumping is a 630 ft jump from the observation deck of the tower, reaching 85 km/h. The jump is guide-cable-controlled to prevent collision with the tower. You can also SkyWalk which is a walk along the narrow walkway around the tower without handrails.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 23 minutes via taxi and 45 minutes via public transport.
Waitomo Glowworm Cave
Located at the Central North Island is New Zealand’s best natural attraction where you’ll discover the Arachnocampa Luminosa (a species of glowworms only found in New Zealand) populated caves and admire how they beautifully light up the dark caves, the only light source of the cave. You can take a boat tour ride through the cave underneath the glowworms to other levels of the limestone caves.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 2 hours via private transport.
Tiritiri Matangi Bird Sanctuary
A short ferry ride will take you to this island which is an open wildlife reserve noted for its wide range of bird species including birds such as the Kiwi, takahe, and North Island Kokako amongst its 87 species of birds off the coast of Auckland. On arrival, you’ll be met by volunteers who will take you on a guided tour where you learn more about various bird species through paths in the native bushes. The ferry ride to the island sets sail at the Gulf harbor.
Time required: Half day.
Airport to here: 59 minutes via taxi and 2 and a half hours via public transport.
Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
Planning to go Kayaking and sailing while in town, then this is the place for you to visit. It is a scenic group of islands where you can sail to visit various other surrounding Islands and indulge yourself in immersive activities such as native wine tasting in Waiheke Auckland’s Island of wine and more. Don’t miss out on the whale and dolphin spotting experience as the park is vastly populated by marine and terrestrial wildlife species. If you’re a nature lover this is definitely one for the books.
Time required: 3 hours.
Airport to here: 40 minutes via taxi and an hour via public transport.
War Memorial Museum
As its name suggests, New Zealand’s first of its kind museum is dedicated to the memory of local soldiers who died in the World Wars. Spread over three floors, it includes exhibitions of archival records and rare collections of significant ancient Māori treasures and artifacts where you can learn about the Māori and Pacific civilizations and the other significant history lessons of New Zealand.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 23 minutes via taxi and 54 minutes via public transport to reach the destination.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
Visit this aquarium to see and get up close with the world’s largest colony of Antarctic penguins with a Penguin Passport tour and get to know more about aquatic life and interesting marine facts. There are 30 other live animal exhibitions that happen here. The highlight of the experience is the underwater tunnel where you get to see the marine creatures up close.
Time required: 3 hours.
Airport to here: 27 minutes via taxi and an hour via public transport.
Relaxing and Sleeping
Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are lounges in multiple locations in each terminal, including Qantas Club and Strata Lounge. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online
Hotel and Sleeping
There are many hotel options less than a mile away from the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online
Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no designated rest areas within the airport.
WIFI/Internet and SIM Card
WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available for 2 hours, connect to the “Auckland Airport” network.
SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards.
Transportation to/from airport
Taxi: Taxi stands are found outside the arrivals area at the International Terminal.
Train: There are no train services.
Bus: Local bus and intercity bus lines link the airport and downtown Auckland as well as other parts of New Zealand. (more info).
Shuttle: Super Shuttle offers door to door services across Auckland.
Car rentals: At the international terminal rental car services are located next to the arrivals area on the ground floor. » view available cars or rent a car now online
Parking: The parking lots are found close to each terminal and there is information online about the availability of booking and reservation.
Luggage Storage & Lockers
SmarteCarte offers luggage storage in both the Arrivals and Departure areas of the International Terminal.