Please note that while this information was correct at the time of my visit in 2006, it is now outdated and should be disregarded.
The New Zealand departure tax is now included in the price of flight tickets and the below procedure is no longer required.
Be aware, when departing New Zealand by air, that you will have to pay a departure tax fee of 25 NZD per person.
This tax is not included in the price of your flight ticket and must be paid in person at the airport upon departure.
Upon arriving at Auckland airport for your departure flight, check in for your flight as normal and obtain your boarding card. You must then pay your departure tax at one of the designated places (they are clearly signposted and can be found both upstairs and downstairs in the airport terminal).
On both occasions that I departed from Auckland airport, I paid my departure tax in cash. I do believe that you can also pay by credit card if you so wish.
Having paid your departure tax, a sticker will be placed onto your boarding card (see photo) to indicate that you have paid the necessary fee. Only then can you clear immigration and proceed to the departure lounge.
Auckland is a beautiful city,and tops places like Sydney in cleanliness and nightlife - HOWEVER,don't get too cocky being in such a "safe" place. Streets such as K'Rd and Fort Street are quite funky by day,with designer shops and many alleyways of stalls,but at night they become seedy.The sidestreets of K'Rd are jam packed with prostitutes - trannies,female and male - and drug dealers,homeless and gangs looking for trouble.Childs play compared to other major cities,but people can be fooled by Auckland's initial level of safeness.Also be cautious around Aotea Square,which attracts drunks.But Auckland rocks!
I lived in Auckland for nearly 2 years, I saw more physical violence than I have seen in the US or anywhere else I had been.
Most scenarios involved groups of Maori/Samoan thugs, wearing the same gangs colors. Much like the African/American scene in the US, but the Maori/Samoan thugs look much larger.
South Auckland was the poorer of all areas in the Auckland region, most crime reported and unreported happens there, most crime is not alchohol related.
I saw many incidents on and around K'Road including men assaulting women, transexual hookers punching/kicking each other in front of groups of people who thought it was funny rather than being in shock like myself .., but most incidents happen after midnight.
You will see many youth gangs and also some older gang members.
Older gang members with tattoos on their face some women also, many are in smaller towns also such as Hastings, Wairoa, Napier, Gisborne etc.
You will know them by their appearance.
I was going out every weekend for the first few months so I may have seen more than the average tourist.
Best advice I was given is to look the other way and go elsewhere and they should ignore you.
Auckland Airport is situated in Manukau. The airport has some excellent shopping in the departure pier (after customs and immigration). The only negative thing about AKL International is the customs and immigration arrival hall. The waits to get your passport stamped are always long and you feel like a sheep herded into a pen. It's a disgrace really... It always makes me fume coming back to NZ. So many other countries minimise queues totally, but not good old AKL International. It can take up to 45 minutes to get your passport stamped. It's a very uncomfortable wait in an airless, cramped hall, cheek by jowl with other frustrated travellers. Lots of room for improvement here AKL International!!
Also be warned incoming travellers... don't bring anything into NZ that may endanger our environment or agriculture. To ensure you don't we've got the brown uniformed gestapo-like MAF people. I totally support them in what they do, but they could learn to smile! They're always a great welcome to NZ!! Make sure you declare everything you should.
Customs are very strict (and not very polite) here. Make sure you don't bring animal/wood products, food, and almost anything out of ordinary. If in doubt, claim it by going to red-lane and ask the officers there. It is actually faster going through red-lane than green.
Also watch out burn time, use sunscreen even in cloudy days, or you'll be sorry.
Be careful of shady internet cafes in Auckland. Some cafe are actually where there are alot of vice happening and may not be a good place for the tourist to check their emails. Do check out the place before entering one. Look at the crowds that the cafe is drawing before devoting your time to check your emails else you might end up with more than you have bargained for.
At certain times during the day Mon - Fri, usually just after rush hour, morning and early evening there is a hazard on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. This large machine is in the lanes, shifting the crash barriers. It changes the direction of the middle lanes of the bridge by picking up the large heavy median barrier and shifting it over one lane. So just take care while crossing the bridge in case the machine is in operation, as it restricts movement a little bit.
Drinking and driving is a big problem in Auckland as it is for the rest of the country. Before you gent into any car make sure that the driver hasn't been drinking too much. This also applies to yourself and the police has check points in different areas at any time.
Hitch-hiking it is potentially dangerous as in any other country of the world. Use your common sense.
In New Zealand we drive on the left hand side of the road and this can be at times confusing.
Spent a few weeks in Auckland and wanted to warn people regarding tourism safety. The City of Auckland attracts a tough crowd with the very cheap lodging (NZ$10 a day), 24-hour liquor stores, a casino, and relaxed police enforcement. Some examples, I found a used syringe on a street corner in City Center, I regularly saw empty alcohol bottles on the street, and I was assaulted and mugged for money right off Queen Street (the major tourism area) at 10PM on a weekday, so watch yourself at night. Another point, tourists may not sue locals for injury while vacationing in New Zealand -- Keep this in mind when looking at their popular "extreme" activities. As others have mentioned, there are poor Auckland drivers who do not watch for pedestrians even at crosswalks. Last point, I generally got the feeling there were many "hidden fees" behind some activities here: Take a ferry and get forced into paying another fee for the manditory bus at the other side, rent a car and find out there were limited free kilometers when you return, or get shortchanged at your meal. Auckland has many activities for tourists, but do not get lulled into thinking all the Kiwi people are innocent and safe, as the NZ advertisements might have you believe.
If you are going to go visit the Skytower, make sure you write down the exact location of your car! As Pam (kiwi), Sarah and I learned quickly, the garage is very confusing, with two different elevators taking you to the same colors and numbering systems, the only difference being the tower and casino side of the structure.
It would probably be best to write it on your ticket when you are leaving... because you may not remember when you get back! Also, pay attention to the street names before you enter the structure, so when you are driving out you know where you are going! Auckland streets can be hard to navigate at the wrong time of day!
Auckland is known for its angry drivers so if you are driving in Auckland never touch the horn! I have seen taxi drivers hope out of there cars in peak hour traffic to punch the guy who was tooting there horn at them.In most occasions a member of the public would try and stop the fight and gets caught in it themselves. Most Auckland drivers carry weapons in there cars so NEVER roll down the window or open the door if some one confronts you unless you are ready for a fight.
I grew up in Auckland and after moving to Australia in the early 1980's decided to head home for a visit after 25 years abroad-What a change of landscape- all my old haunts have gone, horrible office buildings in Queen St, not even close to what I remembered. I left because I was fed up with the violence and "staunch attitude" of people. What did I find on my return- well it has calmed down a bit from my teenage days as a boot boy/punk, but it is still there! I can count on one hand the number of serious fights I've seen here in Melbourne. It took me years to stop looking over my shoulder, but once home, it all came back. Why do we feel the need to bash one another for petty reasons? I've never encountered so many drunks as I do in Aussie, but they just enjoy themselves and get on with it. (Intelectually our trans-tasman cousins aren't exactly brain surgeons or even close to it, they are still rascist and sexist, socially backwards in many ways) and apart from a fair bit of mouthing off thats as far as it goes. I was in central AK for only an hour before I saw my first fight, some young teenagers brawling in High St, and people just walking past like they were playing with yo-yo's. In my 2 weeks back home I saw more violence than I have encountered in 25 yrs in OZ. Come on kiwis, get over yourselves, I'm just glad guns aren't easily available!
The Auckland City council has an alcohol ban in force – In Parnell and Newmarket, it operates in public places from 10.00pm to 6.00am on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights in designated areas. This was to curb the alcohol related problems resulting from the special Wednesday night drink deals which were being offered by Parnell's bars and clubs. The bans forbid people from bringing, carrying or drinking alcohol in public places within a ban area. This includes the possession or drinking of alcohol in vehicles within ban areas but does not cover drinking on private property or licensed premises. If you want to know more about these laws you can check out the website given.
In case you are tempted to fly aerolinas argentinas from Sydney into Auckland, DON'T DO IT!! I met this guy on the way to auckland and he told me his flight had been cancelled twice in the previous journey.. i thought he was just kidding... well... my flight was cancelled when i was at kiwi's place in the countryside and fortunately i was able to buy a new ticket with air nz... so far.. NO REFUND FROM FUC KING AEROLINAS... they told me, by email (like everyone is reading emails on vacation) that if i wanted to leave 5 days later i had to call the office in Milan!!!!).. so i assume they would want me to pay for my extra 5 days in nz...
SCREW THEM!! I hope they go bankrupt!
Ive lived i NZ AUCKLAND all my life.
A few tips for tourists:
- Keep valuables hidden, NOT in backpacks(easily stolen from behind)
- EYES OPEN , be aware of people around you & how close they are
- PLAN ! Ensure your rides to &from, times there&home etc.
- Do not approach drunks, groups of teens wearing one colour(eg blue,red..)
- Keep near or in view of people. (NOT gang members or bigish 4-5+ groups of mischievous looking youngsters)
- EMERGENCY NUMBER : 111 ( police, ambulance,fire brigade)