We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we say “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac & cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, then these are the types of questions you have. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today, we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Auckland Airport (AKL).
Auckland Airport is located on New Zealand’s North Island in the most populous urban area in the country, serving as New Zealand’s largest and busiest airport. AKL is located 12 miles south of Auckland itself, in a largely suburban area of the city, just beyond Mangere. It’s a domestic and international hub for Air New Zealand and is also a hub for Virgin Australia and Jetstar. It features two terminals, the International and Domestic Terminal, connected by a walkway (10-minute walk) or free transfer bus that operates every 15 minutes. The Airbus Express runs daily between the Auckland Airport and Auckland City Centre, though it’s just a 25-minute ride into the city by taxi. A number of major rental car companies are located in each of the terminal buildings. Wi-Fi is available for free for the first 30 minutes and then available for a charge beyond that.
Travelers flying through the Domestic Terminal will recognize a number of dining options such as Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s. However, there are more regional options with places like Sumo Salad, an Australian design-your-own salad concept. Shaky Isles is one of your best spots for fresh coffee as well as regional favorites such as meat pies. Hayama, a Japanese sushi restaurant, has a few locations around the airport. Lastly, Wishbone features a number of different types of sandwiches and light food options.
The International Terminal also features a number of recognizable American brands such as KFC, Burger King and Subway. This terminal also has some of the more unique options including Hayama and Shaky Isles. Silk Road, as the name presumes, features a number of different types of Asian noodle dishes and other Southeast Asian specialties. New to Auckland Airport is 1958 Bar & Eatery, which specializes in both light and hearty New Zealand cuisine.
While most of Auckland Airport’s best options for a drink are in the International Terminal, you can find a full bar in the Domestic Terminal at The Bach Alehouse.
The International Terminal features several bars including the aforementioned 1958 Bar & Eatery which offers a number of different beers and wine from New Zealand. Mac’s Down Under Bar and Café is locally-inspired, featuring many New Zealand beers as well as local wine. Flight Bar is more of your staple airport bar, highlighted by a number of New Zealand beers many of which rotate seasonally.
Auckland Airport has a wide variety of shops, most of which are in the International Terminal. Some of our favorites include Adidas, Eye Love and Artport which features artwork and products from around New Zealand. Additionally, you can get a plethora of gifts and products from the duty-free shops. Just make sure to confirm duty-free allowances ahead of time.
A number of attractions are within just a few miles of Auckland Airport, such as Rainbow’s End Theme Park and Villa Marias Estate, one of New Zealand’s most award-winning wineries. Otherwise, you can be to Auckland Central Business District in less than 30 minutes.
Being a domestic and international hub for Air New Zealand, AKL naturally has Air New Zealand lounges in both the Domestic and International terminals. Qantas also has a business lounge in the international terminal. All travelers to Auckland Airport can also access the Emperor Lounge, which is available for a day rate, though you can save a few dollars by booking online. Additionally, TripIt users can easily access information and whereabouts of AKL’s airport lounges thanks to the new LoungeBuddy feature in the TripIt app.