Travel Insider: We've landed, now what?

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 05:10 23/03/2014
Taxis Wellington Airport
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

FARE WARNING: Taxis wait for passengers at Wellington Airport.

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I swear there is a hole in my wallet. Every time I'm away, cash, coins and credit all seem to fall out, into thin air.

One hidden cost is just getting from the arrivals hall into the city. There must have been a huge gaping hole in my wallet one time when I got fleeced about $150 (each!) for transfers from the Brisbane airport up to the Sunshine Coast with some friends. They made a killing off us, and probably many more, all of it entirely avoidable if we had investigated our transport options.

Of course, if you're staying with friends or have a rental car it's a non-issue, but otherwise these trips add up. So I've taken the hard part out and found some costs you should account for if travelling to these busy centres and holiday destinations.

Auckland

The trip from the airport to city centre is about 20 kilometres and you could easily shell out more than $80 in a taxi off the rank. One company offers $35 rates, but in my experience the taxi stinks, if it shows up at all.

Buddy up with like-minded travellers if you're all heading into Queen St. SuperShuttles into town cost $35, but get significantly cheaper if you're in a group and have luggage. A group of four can get into town for as little as $15 each, but you might make a few extra drop-offs on the way.

The big blue airport bus is available 24/7 and costs $16 each way or $28 return, with room for luggage.

Wellington

If the bumpy landing in the capital doesn't make you seize up, maybe the cost of a cab into the city will, around $45 for a more comfortable seat with a corporate service for the 8km drive into the city. Regular taxis start about $32 and a shuttle $22, although if you were with a group of four it would be an easy $10 each.

The Airport Flyer costs $9 into town and runs from 6.30am-9.25pm daily. It has free wifi on board if you've tired of your travelling companions already or want to research the sights and sounds of the city.

Christchurch

The city centre is 10km from the airport and takes about 20 minutes, so the average taxi fare should be around $40 to $65, which is a bit steep compared with the single person fare of a super shuttle, which starts at $24. If you're with a group of four or more, including luggage, you can each get change from a tenner. The Christchurch City Metro buses offer real value and can get you into town for only $2.50, the cheapest airport-city ride we found this side of hitchhiking.

Dunedin

At 28km from Scarfie-central, with no public buses running, Dunedin is potentially the most expensive airport to commute into town from. A super shuttle is your best bet, starting at $30 for one and only $15 each if travelling with three friends (or strangers). A taxi fare averages close to $100 for the 25-minute journey, the highest average fare of these five destinations.

Queenstown

Queenstown is not cheap, so it makes sense to save moolah where you can. The $40+ taxi from Queenstown International Airport into the southern ski town is an expense you could do without. You'll pay half that if you choose a Super Shuttle or the Connectabus service which can take you to Queenstown for $8 one way and to other nearby spots like Arrowtown and Fernhill.

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- Sunday Star Times

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