Are you wild at heart and traveling to New Zealand? If so, you’ll probably want to fly to Wellington International Airport on your trip. Not only is its nickname Wild at Heart but it also was named in the 2011 World Travel Awards as the best Australasian airport and ranked by USA Today in 2012 as the 4th best airport terminal in the world.
You’ll almost want to be stranded in the airport, with its stunning internationally acclaimed modern architecture. But since you will want to get through the airport as quickly as possible to get on with your exploration of New Zealand, here’s what you need to know about traveling through Wellington Airport:
All international and domestics flights come through the same terminal. International flights arrive and depart at Wellington Airport on Qantas, from Sydney and Melbourne, and on Air New Zealand from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Opening hours are from 4am to 1.30am daily. There are several floors to the terminal: level 0, or the basement, is for parking and taxi/shuttle access; the ground floor is for baggage claim for both international and domestic flights; level 1 has check-in areas and gates for both international and domestic, as well as shops; level 2 is the domestic lounge area.
Although you may want to allow extra time at the airport to admire its beauty, you should allow more than two hours to check-in for an international flight and at least two hours for a flight within New Zealand. You can find flight information displays throughout the terminals.
If you need any assistance, you can use one of the 10 phone and internet kiosks within the terminal for access to some visitor information websites available for free (extra browsing can be purchased). The Wellington Airport website is updated every few minutes with details on flight arrivals and departures.
Two customer assistance telephones are available – one in the baggage claim area, and another just past the check-in area on the first floor – if you need help. In addition, airport ambassadors can be found roaming the terminal between 12pm and 4pm.
If you’re interested, sign up for VIP membership: it’s free and it provides exclusive deals on shopping, food, parking and giveaways.
And if you have a few spare moments, take your time to explore the award-winning “The Rock” – with its striking angular architecture, glass windows, and large comfortable couches – in the international section of the building. It’s probably the most comfortable free-to-access airport lounge in New Zealand! – Or you could try to find the giant Gollum sculpture before it is taken down. Developed by the Weta Workshop, the huge floating character from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies will have you screaming “precious” all the way to your next destination.
Wellington Airport is creating a two-lane ramp for passengers at the northern entrance of the terminal. A separate taxi-only lane will also be created. This should not cause any lengthy delays.
Traveling To And From The Airport
Wellington’s airport is accessible by bus, rental car, taxi and shuttle. The airport is roughly a 30 minute drive from New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.
Numerous companies offer taxi service, and there is one shuttle. The shuttle costs about $16 NZD per person one way to the city while taxis could cost about $40 NZD. You can pre-book shuttles and taxis, but both are available on arrival.
And there are five options for rental cars which include the well-known rental companies. Prices vary; check the provider websites for more information. You can find the car rentals offices on the ground floor near the entrance.
The Airport Flyer bus runs every 15 minutes between 6.30am and 9.30pm on weekdays, with less frequent appearances on weekends and public holidays. The trip takes about 40 minutes and will cost roughly $5 NZD. To take the bus, exit the airport through the baggage claim doors on level 0 and turn right.
The bus is specially made to accommodate airport passengers, with more leg room, easier access and luggage racks, as well as up-to-date information about flights, weather and news via the on-board TV screens. If you prefer your own handheld devices, the vehicles also come equipped with free WiFi.