Let’s take a look at transportation in Auckland, New Zealand. Our first stop in New Zealand was in Auckland where we spent one month and came up with some great travel tips. Auckland is the largest urban city in New Zealand and is located on the North Island and has several forms of transportation available including car, taxi, Uber, bus, train, and ferry. Before we decided on our first place we researched several areas around New Zealand and knew that we would need good public transportation when we first arrived. Therefore, with its bus, train, and ferry systems, Auckland became a perfect location to begin our journey.
Shuttle from the airport
Before we arrived in New Zealand we booked a shuttle to get us from the airport to our first Airbnb. There are many different companies to choose from and we booked our ride with Supershuttle. Although the price was a little higher than other options (i.e. bus or Uber) the convenience and comfort provided by Supershuttle after an extremely long flight was a warm welcome. We were able to quickly locate the company after collecting our luggage as we exited airport security. The company had more than enough space on their shuttle to accommodate our luggage which included four (4) large “checked” suitcases three (3) small “carry-on” suitcases, four (4) backpacks and a satchel. We highly recommend booking a shuttle from the airport in advance as it was quick and stress free. Having so many bags did influence our decision as we would probably not have been able to fit it all in one car.
Discovering AT HOP card
We arrived at our Airbnb at around 7:00 am and after getting settled decided to explore the city. After some quick research we discovered that the public transit system was not only extensive but that there was a bus stop very close to our Airbnb. That afternoon we walked down the street to what would become our bus stop and waited. After just 5 minutes our bus arrived and we were on our way to New Lynn to purchase our AT HOP cards.
When riding public transportation in Auckland, New Zealand you can either pay cash every time or purchase an AT HOP card. You can buy an AT HOP card online and have it mailed to you or you can go to a main transportation station or authorized dealer and purchase one directly. Please refer to the official list on their website for all the available locations: https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/at-hop-card/at-hop-retailers/.
Cost of At HOP card
The card costs $10 (New Zealand Dollars) and is non refundable but does provide the following discounts and is therefore beneficial if you are going to use the public transport as much as we did! These discounts were the reason we decided to get the AT HOP cards as there was a child discount of 40% and the standard adult 25% discount. There are so many wonderful discounts that we can’t list them all here so please consult their website for more information (https://at.govt.nz/). Just remember to register the cards online after purchase for the discounts to become active.
The cards work on the bus, train, and ferry systems within Auckland and you can add money to them or “top them up” at a main station in person, automated machine, authorized convenience store, or online. Be aware, however, that if you “top up” online it may take up to 72 hours for the card to clear and the funds to be added to your AT HOP card. It took us a while to figure this out as we would “top up” our card online but when we would try to ride the bus our card showed no balance.
After we went to New Lynn and bought our AT HOP cards we rode the train to Auckland Central Business District (CBD) and enjoyed our first day in Auckland exploring the city.
Using the AT HOP card
You must remember to “tag on” and “tag off” when using an AT HOP card. As you enter a bus/train/ferry you place your card on the sensor to tag on and do the same to tag off when exiting. Just don’t forget to “tag off” or you might get charged for a longer ride. The only stations where we found this hard to remember was at certain train stops where the location to “tag on/off” was an unmanned and discreet post.
When is your stop next?
The bus does not have any sign indicating which stop is next or coming up. This was a little tricky at first as we did not know anything about Auckland but we quickly learned that not only are the drivers extremely nice but they also have a wonderful app provided by AT HOP. Their app is exceptional and alerts you to when your stop is next. If you don’t have a smartphone, not to worry, because the drivers are more than happy to stop if you let them know where you are going. We actually got on the wrong bus once trying to get to Mt. Eden and after talking with the driver he made an extra stop for us to get off and explained to us how to get there.
Our cost for transportation?
The cost of using the public transit system was exceptional! In comparison, in the USA we were spending approximately $300 a week on transportation but in Auckland we were spending approximately $25 a week.
We used the public transportation the whole month we were in Auckland, New Zealand and loved it dearly. Auckland has an extremely well developed public transport system available, with bus routes, trains, and ferries that frequently run all over the city. We never waited at a bus stop longer than 15 minutes. It was extremely affordable, clean, and quick. For anyone visiting Auckland, New Zealand and looking for a means to travel we recommend Auckland’s public transit system!