Getting into central Auckland was fairly easy with Airbus, the public bus that runs every 10 minutes from both the international and domestic terminals with limited stops. The charge is 16 NZD one-way, but that's actually quite a bargain since it can be a good 45-minute ride into town. Taxis can run up to 100 NZD!
Based on TripAdvisor reviews, I had booked a two-bedroom suite at the Celestion Waldorf Apartments Hotel. I was traveling with three other people, and that made it a little harder to find a decently priced hotel that wasn't also a dump. Surprisingly, all the Waldorf hotels in town are very reasonably priced, yet also modern and comfortable. We ended up paying only $128 per night split among four people! The best part about the hotel was its walkable location to Queen Street as well as the bustling harbor area. There was also a very convenient grocery store only a few blocks away. The only negative thing about the hotel was the complete lack of WiFi, and they charged for internet usage on the one computer in the lobby as well.
Celestion Waldorf Apartments Hotel
Living room and kitchen
For some reason, we got the "accessible" unit
Unfortunately, we really only had one full day to explore Auckland, which, of course, is never enough time to experience a city this big. But we made the most of it, hitting up some interesting sights. Quay Street along the harbor is quite touristy, but a fun walk nonetheless. There are plenty of good restaurants along the way, and also opportunities to book tour cruises that can take you to Waiheke or Rangitoto Islands. I would have loved to do a half-day cruise, but we simply ran out of time.
The White Lady burger truck
One Tree Hill
View from the top