If you're looking for a cheap holiday in New Zealand then Auckland is the place to go. That's the conclusion I draw from a travel value survey carried out by online travel company Expedia. Just so long as you don't take a taxi from the airport.
The company has set up a New Zealand Expedia Travel Value Index, which will track "10 typical everyday holiday items purchased in hotels in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington," to give holidaymakers a feel for movements in cost.
The press release announcing the results of the inaugural travel value index declared "not surprisingly, Auckland was the most expensive New Zealand city by some distance, coming in at $129.25 for the 10 items, followed by Christchurch at $99.20. Wellington provided travellers the best bang for their buck at $93.35 for the 10 items".
But look a bit more closely and the findings are not so straightforward.
Half the Auckland total is provided by the $63 cost of a taxi from the airport to a CBD hotel. Auckland, Expedia notes, "has the most expensive taxi fare in the country [and] one of the highest in the world. London is the most expensive, followed by Paris".
In Christchurch and Wellington, because the airports are much more accessible, an airport taxi ride costs only $30 and $28.35 respectively. Remove that from the equation and the travel value index looks very different.
Suddenly Auckland offers the lowest price for Expedia's bundle of nine items ($63.20), undercutting both Wellington ($65) and Christchurch ($69.20).
The City of Sails (a title I much prefer to the latest bit of marketing waffle) has the cheapest internet access, hamburger and chips and mini-bar spirits. Sure, Auckland coffee is a bit pricier (it's probably better too), a beer is a whole 10c more expensive than in Wellington and getting your jeans laundered is a bit scary ($14.20) but, hey, we can live with that.
We all know that the cost of getting a taxi between the airport and the CBD is horrendous, because of the ridiculous circuitous route through suburban streets you're forced to take, but there are alternatives.
The message to the rest of the country is clear: come to Auckland, take the Airbus Express service into town for just $16 and enjoy a bargain basement holiday.