The bulk of New Zealand's tourist arrives on the island by air. The main gateway is the Auckland International Airport at Mangere, which is approximately 24 kilometers (15 mi) south of the city's downtown area. The airport is big and equipped with excellent systems that control the airport's functions. There are ample fast food joints and cafes that cater to those arriving, in transit, or departing Auckland. Inside the departure hall are duty free shops that offer souvenirs, books for the long flights, clothing, and more. Bus and taxi transfers are available at the airport. Airport vans are also accessible to take you anywhere within Auckland City.
Wellington, the capital city, has its own international airport although it does impose a restriction for most wide-bodied aircraft types because of the length of its runway. The South Island's main portal is at the International Airport of Harewood, nearby Christchurch. Recently, more airlines are scheduling flights there.
Although New Zealand is isolated from most other countries in the world, it has direct air links with the Pacific Islands, all the major Australian cities, many of the Southeast Asian destinations, and cities in the North American and Europe. Travelers from every major city may reach the three major gateways of the country in 36 hours or less.
Cruises in the South Pacific embark from Sydney, so cruise operators generally fly their passengers to and from New Zealand. Nevertheless, P&O Line, Sitmar, Royal Viking, and a few other cruise lines dock at New Zealand mainly from November to April. Some cargo vessels also allow small groups of passengers.
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