Normally I really don’t like to rush into seeing cities, preferring to stay there for a longer period of time in an portent and absurd the city as a local would instead of rushing through like a tourist.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice however, as I did recently in Auckland, New Zealand. I had just 24 hours to see the sights of this city of 1.3 million people. Now of course I didn’t get to see it all, but I did get to see the sites important to me, and saw them quite economically.
First getting into town from the airport. This turned out to be quite easy. I knew there was an “AirBus” that departed every 15 minutes from the airport into town. It was as easy as advertised, and I bought a return ticket for only $21, a fantastic bargain when you consider taxis cost upwards of NZ$160 return.
Normally I tend to walk a lot in an around cities. I find it gives me a flavor for the neighborhoods I’m moving through – plus walking is free. This time however I happened upon something called the Link Bus (www.linkbus.co.nz). It’s a bus line that goes in a circle around the city and stops at all the major tourist stops, swanky areas, backpacker haunts, etc. etc. There are tons of stops and it’s very frequent (about every 10 minutes during peak times)
It’s $1.70 for a one way ticket on the bus, but I opted for the far more flexible $10 “BusAbout” pass. This gives me unlimited access to the entire Auckland bus system for the day – until midnight that night. I took advantage of that pass too. I rode the entire line back and forth throughout the day. Hopping off in places I knew I wanted to see, walking for a few blocks or stopping to eat, and then hoping on again when it way time to move on to the next destination.
Using the Link Bus I was able to go much farther than would have been possible on foot, and saved my precious legs for the stretches of the city I did want to see on foot (the Domain for example).
Later in the afternoon I even took Bus 757 (not on the Link, but again your BusAbout pass works on all Auckland buses) out to Mission Bay and back again. The bottom line is there is no better value for your money than using this BusAbout pass for 24 hours. I wish every city I visit had a pass like this (many do).
If you have 24 hours to see Auckland, use the Link Bus, get a BusAbout pass, and get on your way. That’s all there is to it.