Auckland is an expensive city. Just the SkyBus (which takes you downtown from the airport) will cost you $16, and if you need to transfer to another destination after downtown it can cost you an extra $4.50. I tried to beat the system by avoiding the SkyBus and using a combination of taking the train to the district of Papatoetoe and then taking a bus from Papatoetoe to the airport, and it ended up still costing me $9.50 and taking an hour and a half longer than the SkyBus. Moral of this story? Buses in Auckland aren’t cheap.
Fortunately, there’s another option. Uber. Hating by cab drivers and loved by just about everyone else, Uber is likely to be your best bet to get around the city both cheaply and quickly. When using Uber with more than one person, it quickly becomes much cheaper than taking the bus and is extremely convenient, with an Uber driver arriving at your doorstep in a matter of minutes.
This soon became our preferred choice of transport (after walking, of course).
Auckland has a huge selection of hostels. I found all of them to be fairly expensive, costing about $25 per person for a shared room of 6-10 people, or about $75 for a private room (up to 2 people). Not the greatest if you are on a tight budget. Also, it’s not that easy to find a hostel last minute at the end of the high season. We ended up going with the K Road City Travelers Hostel located on the eclectic Karangahape Road near downtown (if you can avoid them, you should). Free breakfast consisted of toast and jam, bathrooms didn’t seem to be cleaned too frequently, and the overall ambiance wasn’t what you would expect from a traveler’s hostel.
As for what to do when you’re in downtown Auckland? Well, there is a cute little yarn shop located in downtown Auckland near the ferries, which stocks exclusively New Zealand made yarn.
I ended up going a bit over budget in here and bought a few skeins for an upcoming shawl project, designed by Stephen West. The yarn I will be using is 45% Polwarth (sheep breed), 45% alpaca and 10% possum (more on the possum in an upcoming Fibre Exchange post). The colours I am going with are Gaslight (Yellow) and Keepsake (Dark Grey). This will be a bit of a challenge to knit as it involves learning the brioche stitch, as well as significant shaping, but should be a good project to keep me occupied with all the driving we are about to do.
This morning we are leaving Auckland to drive up to the North tip of the Island, near Cape Reinga. Our time in Auckland was brief, but we’ll be passing back through as we go back down the Island. Here are a few highlights (in pictures) from the few days we spent in Auckland.