Domestic Airports

Compare domestic airports in New Zealand at Canstar Blue. Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hawke’s Bay, Invercargill, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Tauranga, Wellington were compared on communication, ease of check-in, facilities, overall satisfaction, parking facilities, waiting areas.

See our Ratings Methodology.


Most Satisfied Customers | Tauranga Airport

Tauranga Airport rated number one for customer satisfaction

Tauranga Airport soars above the competition to win Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers Award – Domestic Airports 2020

New Zealand offers an array of natural beauty, from tropical beaches, forests and lakes, to perfect skiing slopes and volcanic landscapes. They say Mother Nature conjured up the best parts of the world and placed them together in the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa. Given NZ’s twin-island geography and the distances between the major population centers, it’s no surprise that domestic airports are plentiful. According to the NZ Airports Association, there are 41 domestic airports in New Zealand, the major ones being Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport, Dunedin Airport, Queenstown Airport and Wellington Airport.

On any journey, small details can make a big difference to the ease and enjoyability of the trip … and cost is always a consideration. To discover which airports deliver on service and value for money, Canstar Blue asked 1681 Kiwis who had used an NZ domestic airport over the past year to reveal their thoughts on the airport’s waiting areas, parking facilities, level of communication, facilities, ease of check-in and their overall satisfaction.

Tauranga Airport really took off this year, winning top domestic airport in New Zealand and 5 stars for overall satisfaction. It was also recognised as 5 stars for waiting areas and communication, and received 4 stars for facilities, parking facilities and ease of check-in.

Nelson and Invercargill airports were also awarded 5 stars. Nelson received 5 stars for communication and ease of check-in, while Invercargill received 5 stars for facilities, communication and parking facilities.

Tips for the cheapest way to travel around New Zealand – domestic airports

Although they have reduced in price over the past 20 years, domestic flights in New Zealand can still be expensive, especially when compared to those offered by low-cost airlines overseas. In Canstar’s survey, 44% of respondents said their main consideration while booking flights was cost. While 81% had taken steps to avoid baggage charges, 13% had gone to the extent of throwing away items to keep to the weight limit. Of those respondents who didn’t use domestic airport cafes, 61% made their decision because they thought they were too expensive. And of those that did use the cafes, only 26% thought they were fairly priced. Overall, price was a common theme, that’s why Canstar has put together some tips to save money while travelling within New Zealand!

Cheap New Zealand Flights

Flights within New Zealand vary based on the time of year, how far in advance you book and the price of fuel. However, you’ll always pay more for flights on smaller planes that can accommodate fewer paying customers. But there are certain things you can do to help minimise the cost:

  • The further in advance you book a domestic flight, the cheaper it will be – so book as early as you can.
  • When researching flights online, use your browser’s privacy mode. (Google Chrome’s setting is called incognito and can be accessed by pressing Ctrl-Shift-N.) This prevents companies or organisations from retrieving your browsing data and using it to their advantage. Have you ever searched for something and then been bombarded with ads for similar products? Well, that’s because your browsing is being tracked. Airlines tend to up their prices online when they know you’re in the process of purchasing a flight, so do your research undercover!
  • Shop around. Research the different prices airlines offer as prices do vary. Also check out grabaseat, powered by Air New Zealand, where the airline sells off empty seats that need to be filled.
  • Wherever possible try to travel in the off-peak winter months –­ June, July and August – when there are fewer international tourists.

Airport and plane food

If you buy food from an airport food franchise or from an airline’s inflight service, you’re going to pay a premium. If you plan ahead, purchase snacks from a supermarket and pack them in your hand luggage, you’re sure to save money.

New Zealand Airport Transfer

To save yourself the cost of a taxi, opt for public transport or a shared airport shuttle bus. At time of writing (Jan, 2020), a taxi fare between Auckland Airport and Auckland’s CBD cost around $75, a trip for two people on the Super Shuttle service: $17.50pp. Similar services run New Zealand-wide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed 2551 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers who have visited a domestic airport in New Zealand within the last 12 months, in this case, 1681 New Zealanders.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.