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Which Airport to Arrive in New Zealand

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New Zealand airports: where to fly to?

All great adventures to New Zealand start with booking a flight. That’s when it becomes real! But where can you expect to fly to and start your New Zealand backpacking trip?

There are five international airports in New Zealand taking arrivals from all over the world, so deciding where you want to start your New Zealand trip and where you are flying from will determine your New Zealand arrival airport. Take a look at our quick guide below to help you make this important decision.

Also, be sure to check out our Arrival Advice articles for when you touch down in Real Middle Earth.

The New Zealand international airports

Starting north to south, these are the airports you can arrive in New Zealand from overseas.

  • Auckland Airport (AKL)
  • Wellington Airport (WLG)
  • Christchurch (CHC)
  • Queenstown (ZQN)
  • Dunedin (DUD)
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Arriving from all over the world

Where ever you are coming from in the world, it is likely that you will be coming directly or making a stopover in Asia, the USA, Pacific Islands or Australia before you make it into New Zealand. These are the New Zealand airports where you can arrive from such places!

Auckland Airport
Auckland International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand and one of the busiest airports in Australasia, with more than 15 million travellers passing through each year. Direct flights come from Asia, the USA, the Pacific Islands and Australia, making Auckland Airport the most likely arrival airport into New Zealand.

Situated in the north of the North Island, it means that most backpackers have the similar patterns of travelling around New Zealand from Auckland. Usually, heading south down one side of the country then coming back up north on the opposite side of the country. See exactly what arriving in Auckland is like in Arriving in Auckland Airport.

Christchurch Airport
Christchurch is the airport hub for the South Island and the second busiest airport, but with around 5.5 million passengers moving through a year. However, most of this traffic comes from domestic flights and Australia. You can also arrive in Christchurch from Fiji, the Cook Islands (seasonal), and Asia.

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Arriving from Fiji or Australia

As well as Auckland Airport and Christchurch Airport, you can take the plane from Fiji or Australia to Wellington Airport.

Wellington Airport
Situated in the capital city of New Zealand at the south of the North Island, Wellington Airport is not the main airport of New Zealand yet still brings in international flights from Australia and Fiji. The busiest arrivals for Wellington airport are domestic but also Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne in Australia.

Wellington is a good place to start in a vibrant and cultural city before taking the Cook Straight ferry and start your travels at the top of the South Island.

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Arriving From Australia

Finally, the last of New Zealand’s international airports. As well as arriving in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, you can also arrive from Australia in these New Zealand airports.

Queenstown Airport
Nestled in between mountains, Queenstown Airport is a true taste of what New Zealand is all about as you land in this super scenic airport location. The airport gets arrivals from the Australian locations of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Check out what there is to do in Queenstown. You’ll want to spend a while here before travelling the rest of the country.

Dunedin Airport
If flying from Brisbane, you can arrive in Dunedin on the southeastern coast of the South Island. It is the quietest international airport in New Zealand. Nonetheless, if you do manage to start your travels from Dunedin, the southern location is a good starting point to see the country the opposite way round than what most backpackers experience when arriving in Auckland Airport. This means things like car hire will be at a lower price starting from Dunedin, for instance.

Top Flight and Airport Travel Tips!

Before leaving for your big New Zealand adventure, check out these articles.

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