The hotel concierge told us that there is a super shuttle for $30 (actually it was $29) and the discount cab for $35, both prices for two. He ordered the shuttle for us to the airport from the Hilton Aukland. It would probably be available from or to anywhere. Friends from the cruise, who stayed at another hotel took one, too. It will come when you want it and is not on a certain schedule. Ours had made other stops before it got to us and went to a private home for one other person.
We had been told it was $60 for a cab to the airport from the ship, so we were pleasantly surprised to find out the cheaper alternatives.
A lot of people did the Aukland Highlights excursion and were taken to the airport or downtown afterward. Our friends at the other hotel did that and took a cab to their hotel. We really like the fact that the Hilton Aukland was right there and we didn't need any transpo.
The Sydney Hilton had an X rep working there to coordinate everything. You could probably book the cruiseline shuttle. There were a lot of people from our cruise and those coming off staying there. Our TA booked us in Sydney through X, so the transfer was included.
The exchange rate was good, unlike what it is everywhere else. I bought $150 AUT for $145 US from AAA before we left. I got NZ dollars on the ship. I don't remember what it was the first time, but the second time I paid $150 US for $180 NZ.
Be sure to get your Australian visa. You can do it online or have your TA do it for you and it won't cost anything. We didn't need the printouts I brought because the airline had already checked everyone booked on our flight from S. Fran. before we boarded. The only ones being checked at the time of boarding were the stand-bys.
NZ doesn't require a visa, but makes you pay a departure tax of $25 pp before you can leave on your flight.
They are also VERY diligent about the quarantine laws--bringing any food, seeds, etc, in or out of the country. They have sniffer dogs at every port checking everyone's purses, tote bags and backpacks as you leave the ship. You also have to carry a government issue ID. An official came on board our excursion buses every time and looked at our SeaPasses and IDs.
Photocopies of your passport are not accepted. We used our driver's licenses and kept the passports locked in the cabin safe.
These rules were published in every Daily, announced by the CD after each show and on the PA every few minutes every port morning. Still the woman behind me, waiting for our tour to be called, had to run back to her cabin to get her passport when she was told the copy wouldn't do. Shortly after that, a woman was taken out of line when the dog indicated her bag had food--two apples! :eek: Hellooooo!
I don't know if they didn't listen to the announcements or think the rules don't apply to them, lol. I got pulled out even though the dog didn't stop at my backpack. I had nothing illegal and still don't know why he stopped me.
The dogs were at the terminal when we picked up our baggage and at the airport when we had to turn in another quarantine statement before leaving. NZ officials were on the ship between Hobart and Dunedin and we had to turn in a quarantine statement then, too. You were assigned a time according to your deck # and it took two days to process everybody.
We made sure we had enough NZ cash to pay the shuttle and departure tax. The airport will do a charge, but it was easier and quicker to just fork it over. I don't know how it works if you are leaving on the ship. I'll see if I can find out.