First impressions / Travel Tips - Auckland University
Wednesday, January 16 2013 @ 05:21 PM UTC
Contributed by: Sarad
By Sudheendra Kumar Pulla (January 27, 2012 ) in Facebook link: Auckland University Indian Club (AUIC) - University of Auckland
Tags: International students in Auckland University, International students in University of Auckland.
What started out as a small description ended up being a pretty doc - just skip to sections which you are interested in. I'd be glad to help any of you with the stuff I mentioned below - but remember the timezone difference when you have a queries and expect a reply from me.
The info added is from my perspective and my experiences. So if you want me to correct or add any info just post a comment.
Content has been split as follows
At Auckland airport
Things to do on your first active day
At the University
Weather and Terrain
What started out as a small description ended up being a pretty doc - just skip
to sections which you are interested in. I'd be glad to help any of you with the
stuff I mentioned below - but remember the timezone difference when you have a
queries and expect a reply from me.
The info added is from my perspective and my experiences. So if you want me to
correct or add any info just post a comment.
Content has been split as follows
to do on your first active day
- At the
- Fun :D
Firstly, if you’ve travelled to any other country like US or UK, most of the
stuff you see in this doc and in NZ in general are not very surprising. Just
keep your eyes open and read the information signs/boards carefully and you’d
find pretty much all of the info that you would need.
- Do an
online check-in. You can pick your seats and can also arrive at the airport 90
mins before the flight instead of 3 hrs.
- Use http://www.seatguru.com/ to know which seats are the
best in which airline+aircraft.
Carry a ball pen - you'll be filling up at-least the following
Immigration / Departure card in India
card in NZ (which will be given to you in the flight - better fill it in the
flight instead of doing it while you wait in the line in NZ - more on this
scan process: People who've already been through international terminals skip
this as you'd already know it. For people who've not - security scanners have a
conveyor belt (abt 15 ft long) on which you put your stuff and it takes it
through the X-ray scanner. For putting your stuff on the belt you will have
plastic crate-like boxes of 2 sizes (generally) and you need to do the
your cabin-bag/back-pack directly on the belt
your jacket, watch, wallet, pen anything metallic in one box
your laptop separately in another box. Have your laptop fully charged before
leaving home 'coz you may be asked to boot it in front of security just to make
sure that its not a dummy box used to smuggle something more valuable. So
instead of sleep/hibernate, do a complete shutdown at home to ensure that your
battery is not drained by the time you clear all the connecting flights.
- If you
have any gels, aerosols, put them in a clear plastic bag (zip-lock max 1 ltr
size) and put it in a separate plastic box. Though the limit is 1 litre, each
item cannot cross 100 ml (example perfume bottles)
- If you
purchase anything duty-free, better ask them to seal the cover. Place this
entire cover on the belt (or plastic box if the contents are small).
dress such that if asked to remove belts, shoes, watches etc, you should be able
to quickly do it. Remember there are people waiting in the queue and no one
likes the guy in front who wastes time (sounds like a sexist when I say "guy",
but the fact is, when girls or families with kids waste time at security, people
do tend to give them some leeway)
- Took my
(almost) brand new Sony Vaio, 1.5 yrs old Samsung Wave mobile and a 4 yr old
Panasonic Lumix cam with me. No one asked anything about paying taxes for these
electronics. Laptop was put in back-pack, phone in my pocket and camera in
Check-in/Cabin luggage: As long as you do not carry any organic stuff (fruits,
vegetables, seeds, soil, etc), the security checks are a breeze. NZ is "very"
particular about organic/bio stuff and have a separate scan for this.
luggage: Do not carry sharp stuff like knives, shaving razors; gels and liquid
based stuff like deodorants, toothpastes in cabin. If you must carry them, put
them in your check-in luggage.
Tip:Pack a couple of pairs of clothes and your certificates in the cabin bag.
Just in case your main luggage gets delayed by 1-2 days, you will still be able
to survive in NZ till your baggage arrives. Such things sometimes do happen when
the connection time between flights is short and is between multiple airlines
(my connection time was only 1hr 5mins - but both flights were Malaysian
airlines, so luckily no issues - this time)
to Malaysian Airlines from Hyderabad (may differ elsewhere)
didn't check the weight limits for check-in luggage. As per the airline, you can
carry 5Kgs for check-in + laptop bag. They gave me tags for both and didn't
check the weight. I was within weight limits so no issues. But in case this is a
more frequent occurrence, people struggling with 2-3 kgs extra luggage can take
advantage of this.
purchased some duty free alcohol for friends in NZ and put it in the
cabin-luggage (except at security screenings where I removed the sealed
duty-free cover and presented separately - liquids are an issue in the cabin
luggage you see). Adding this extra bit technically increased my cabin luggage -
but no one asked.
Can carry as much as you want in currency notes. But if its more than 10,000 NZD
you need to declare it. Just because you have to declare it doesn't mean that
you aren't allowed to take the cash - you can - only that you are letting the
govt know that you are getting in dollars from a foreign country.
Traveller's Cheques: The forex agent I met said that they don't have traveller's
cheques for NZD. We have to take it in USD. I didn't take this since it would
mean I would lose out on forex charges twice - INR->USD and USD->NZD. Check with
your agent and see. I didn't have time so couldn't check it. Instead, my friend
in NZ had to transfer money to his family in India - so I did the transfer in
Ind and he's returning my money in NZD here :D
your passport and boarding passes handy. You can buy the fancy waist pouches to
hold these for you. But from previous experience I’d say putting them in your
jacket pocket is much easier and faster. The trouble the pouches cause when you
have to present your passport and boarding pass multiple times and when they are
around your waist while you are seated in the plane is not worth the fancy
Free Shopping: Cigarettes and alcohol limits - the limits mentioned 200 cigs and
4.5 ltrs of alcohol can be brought duty free. As far as I know, you can get more
- but these have to be declared and customs duty may apply
flight: The flight was very bumpy just after crossing Australia and while going
over the Great Barrier Reef. Flight info showed tail winds in excess of 160
Dehydration: If you are prone to dehydration in air conditioned environments
(due to the dry air), use the following order of drinks/beverages Water > Fruit
Juice > Coke/Pepsi/Sprite > Alcohol (beer/wine). Water hydrates you while
alcohol dehydrates you.
form: You’ll be given an Arrival form (format for this has already been posted
on the group). This needs to be submitted at the immigration check at your
port-of-entry, generally Auckland (but if you are flying to Hamilton first and
then coming to Auckland, port-of-entry would be Hamilton).
- At the
immigration check, the arrival card, passport (and if needed the university
offer letter) need to be shown. Once the immigration officer checks these, the
put their stamp on the card and the passport with the current date. This step
took me about 15 mins. People who did not fill the arrival form either stepped
out of the queue to fill it. Or delayed the queue a bit by doing it in the
- Next you
go to the baggage claim area to get your checked-in luggage. This step took me
about 10 mins.
- Next you
go into another queue to check for organic/bio stuff. An officer explicitly asks
you if you are carrying food and stuff. Then your luggage is put through a
scanner to check. Here there is no need to put your jacket/watch/belt etc on the
belt - they’re only looking for organic stuff and are mainly concerned with the
baggage. Unlike X-ray scans where laptops not be presented separately, here we
can just put the back-pack as is for the scanner. At the end of the scan, you
hand over the arrival card to the security officer at that scanner. This step
took me around 10 mins.
drive from the airport to the city should take around 30-45 mins depending on
where you stay. I arrived late night and so there was no traffic. If you are
arriving in the day, add some buffer time to the estimates.
to do on your first active day
this first. Just a copy of your passport is sufficient. I took a 2degrees
prepaid connection - NZD 19 value combo pack + NZD 20 1GB data plan.
Texting: Unlike India, people here text a lot - so most of the packs you see
offer a lot of texts and relatively less number of talk-time minutes.
university campus has a branch of National Bank in Kate Edgar Information
Commons (315 on Campus Map).
would need your passport and your university offer letter (basically for start
advisor can set you up with a Current Account and Internet Banking.
- You get
to pick your own account number just like mobile numbers!
advisor also suggested that I open a Savings Account, which would give us 3%
interest rate on the balance (current accounts get us no interest rate)
takes 3-4 working days to get your debit card. You can opt for separate cards
for ATM access and normal point-of-sale/Internet spending. However, since it
would just make my wallet fatter and more pin numbers to remember, I just
combined both of them into one (as is the usual case with most bank Debit cards)
number (Inland Revenue Department)
number is similar (not same) to Social Security Number (US) or PAN card in
needed if money has to be transferred into your account without drawing too much
- You can
operate the account without the number and can deposit amount as you wish. But
the amount deposited would draw the maximum allowed income-tax slab of 33%. If
you have an IRD number AND your income is below the highest slab, you pay lesser
- You get
the application for this in Post Shops (http://www.nzpost.co.nz/products-services/payments-money/ird-number)
takes about 10 working days to get the IRD number.
- At the
and foremost, get the campus map! If you already received it when you applied to
the uni, then keep it handy. If not, then pick it up at the first stop at
Graduate Center (119 on Campus map).
Center: In my case, PhD, they enrolled me into the program (not the individual
courses. That part is taken care of by Student Commons (315 on Campus map) in
Kate Edgar Info Commons building. If you are PhD student, don’t forget to enrol
for the Induction program.
International Office: They’d take a copy of your passport and also get the
process started for getting your student ID. I was surprised to know that the
process of getting an ID takes 2 weeks!! (was done in 10 mins for me in Carnegie
Department: While a student ID gets you access to the uni in general, your labs
and rooms would require separate swipe card and/or keys. Go to your department
and talk to the receptionist about getting you the access. For Computer Science,
it is in the Science Center (303 on Campus map), 3rd floor just after you exit
Started out as an overcast day. Drizzled/mild rain most of the morning and
afternoon. Was sunny in the evening. Chilly after sunset. whoever said that you
see all the seasons in a single day wasn’t kidding at all!
Hilly hilly everywhere - so if you intend to walk a bit to explore, keep your
back-pack light. I had 5+ kg back-pack on me (even a light weight lappie adds 2
kgs) and by the end of the day the neck muscles did get a bit strained.
- Fun :D
- Since we
do have a 101 list of fun things to do, I began with my own - watching a new
Indian movie in Auckland. Watched Agneepath at Event Cinemas in Manukau. The
movie was good. But more importantly, the theater was good too! After getting
spoilt with the good standards of theaters (picture, sound and seating quality)
in India, it was pleasant surprise that this theater here was just as good (if
not better). The theaters in Pittsburgh and Cheltenham did disappoint me - but
not this time around in Auckland :)
* National Bank is now part of the ANZ bank.
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