How do you get from the airport to your hotel?
Here are three options:
1. If you take a taxi from the Auckland Airport to a hotel near the university, it will cost you about $85 (but I think there is a $5 off coupon in the Arrival magazine, which will be freely available at various places in the Auckland Airport).
2. The overall best option may be http://www.supershuttle.co.nz/. Over the phone, they quoted me $33 for one person and an additional person would only be an additional $8. The trip back to the airport would be about $28 plus $8 for an additional person.
3. The cheapest option is the Airbus, which will cost you about $17 one way or $24 round trip. The bus comes at least every 30 minutes and runs 24/7. You can purchase a ticket on the bus, but I think you may need to pay in cash. If you prepay, I think you can use a credit card. To prepay or get general information about the service, visit http://www.airbus.co.nz/. I’ve attached the Airpbus Map and added some key locations to the map, such as the conference location and two hotels close to the conference, namely the Quadrant and the Quest on Eden. The biggest downside with the Airbus is that you likely will have a walk to your hotel. If you are staying at one of the two recommended hotels or are going straight to the conference, the best stop to get off on is probably 2 (see the attached map). If you get off somewhere on Queen street, it may be a shorter walk but you’ll have to walk up a steep hill to get to your hotel.
Also, keep in mind that getting through customs will likely take you at least 45mins once you’ve arrived. It may very well take longer than that.
What’s the exchange rate between NZD and my currency?
All the above prices are in New Zealand Dollars. To get a better idea about how much things cost in your own currency, see http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter/. Of course, the converter doesn’t take into account the fees associated with trading currency, so keep that in mind.
What’s the best way to buy stuff in NZ with a foreign currency?
If you use your foreign credit cards, your credit card company will likely charge you about 3% of your purchase. The 3% fee is probably not all that different than what you would pay if you bought currency from a vendor or a bank. Visa is widely accepted—not sure on the other companies. When I moved here, we were able to use our Bank of America ATM card in (I think) Westpac ATMs for free. So you might want to check to see if your bank has a deal with a bank that is in NZ.
WARNING: if you do plan to use your foreign credit cards in NZ, you may want to call your credit card company *before* you leave to let them know you are coming to NZ. It is not unusual for them to put a hold on your card when it starts getting used in unusual places. If they know that you are headed to NZ, you shouldn’t experience an interruption in your ability to use your credit card.
What are those two hotels you recommended again?
1. The Quadrant: http://www.thequadrant.com/
2. Quest on Eden: http://www.questapartments.co.nz/Accommodation/139/new_zealand/auckland_cbd/quest_on_eden/welcome.aspx
I believe the first has free internet but the second is probably more comfortable. If you want to find a different hotel, the conference will be on 18 Symonds Street Auckland. Plug that address in google maps (or whatever) to determine how far the conference is from the potential accommodation.