We spend a weekend enjoying the local activities while staying at one of the city’s most affordable spots.

The Ibis Budget Auckland Airport Hotel is ideally located for adventure-seeking travellers and families. The hotel, a stone’s throw away from the Auckland International Airport, boasts affordable rooms.
I stayed two nights at the hotel, with two kids below the age of eight, on a weekend packed with some great activities.
Ibis Budget Auckland Airport Hotel is just minutes from the airport and CBD.
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The communal area is bright and welcoming.
The space
The Ibis is located just metres from the Auckland International Airport, and 20 minutes from the city. Its location is perfect for those that want to avoid Aucklands terrible traffic.
But, if there are delays, the hotel has a 24-hour reception service and a wonderful staff to make check-in seamlessly stress-free: win-win.
A plus for families, the communal area is kid-friendly and has games for the whole family to enjoy.
There is complimentary parking and a child-friendly, bright and colourful communal area near the reception.
Guests will appreciate the brands comfortable and affordable accommodation offering, along with its signature sleep experience, Sweet Bed by ibis budget.
To provide travellers with peace of mind, the hotel chain offers flexible booking cancellations and enhanced standard of hygiene and cleanliness.
The room
The family room caters for four guests its small but comfortable.
We stayed on the fifth floor, in one of the family rooms which had a double bed and two single bunk beds for the kids.
The room was small but clean and had everything needed for a short stay.
We had a window that had an amazing view of the airports runway, and my children enjoyed watching the planes land and take off. That was a fun activity on its own, never mind the other places we visited for our weekend stay.
I personally appreciated the extra bath towels we were given, because if youre anything like me (with kids to look after), its one less thing to worry about if you ever need more.
There was a small television on the corner of the room, a mini-fridge with a limited supply of milk, and coffee/tea making facilities.
The room wi-fi was god-send, and the kids were on their iPads when there wasnt anything to watch on the free-to-air channels.
For a compact room, I was surprised with the size of the bathroom, which had a very roomy shower that the kids enjoyed.
The food
Szimpla Gastro Bar is one of a few decent restaurants near Auckland Airport.
Szimpla Gastro Bar was a mouth-watering experience.
The restaurant, which opened in 2011 and is right next to the hotel, is probably the only decent one near the Auckland Airport, and one Ive just recently discovered.
My office is right next to the Ibis so imagine my surprise when we were led to Szimpla for dinner after our check-in where has this gem been my whole life?
They are open from 6.30am to 9pm every day, and have the most wonderful staff like Vishal, Vicki, Rinal and Maafu who looked after us during our stay.
My kids loved the Belgian waffles and their scrambled eggs on toast got a two thumbs up.
I cant fault their coffee or their eggs benedict, sharing platters, or the pork belly, even the Cosmopolitan cocktail I sneaked in before bedtime on Saturday.
The restaurant is busy at night with hotel guests and airport staff, and the atmosphere is a vibe especially with weekend footy on their TVs.
Family-fun activities on your doorstep
Who doesnt like mini-golf? South Aucklands Treasure Island Adventure Golf has one of the best courses in Auckland. (File image)
The activity options are endless for a weekend stay with the kids.
We started our activities on Saturday at the Treasure Island Adventure Golf, and it was lots of fun with two 18-hole courses to enjoy, a pirate ship, haunted cave, a skull and a waterfall.
We recommend the Captains Course which takes you onto the pirate ship. Don’t be surprised to hear the cannon go off the first time, and have fun with the kids trying to guess the next time it does.
They got to enjoy an ice cream after, and we got straight into our car to head to Rainbows End for an afternoon of fun.
You cant visit Auckland without going to one of its most iconic adventure parks at Rainbows End.
Word of advice: dont forget comfortable shoes, hats, sunscreen, water bottles, and dont expect to go home early.
Rainbows End is always packed so expect lines at almost every ride. Trust me, the wait is worth it, even the kids played nice because they knew what was waiting at the end of it.
Most of the rides are height restricted but of all the ones we could go on: Gold Rush, Log Flume and dodgems were our favourites.
Kidz Kingdom was obviously our base (for those with children below the age of eight), and the kids loved the Surf N Swing and the Choco Express.
By the end of the day, we were all exhausted (which was great because the youngsters got to sleep early, always a bonus for any parent).
Enjoy the enclosures and learn about animals at Auckland Zoo. A fun and educational experience for the whole family.
On Sunday, after breakfast at Szimpla and checkout from Ibis, we spent the entire day at Auckland Zoo.
The zoo is home to 135 species and over 1400 animals. We took our time here and made sure we visited every enclosure.
Our favourites … well we couldnt agree on one (because they are all amazing), but the magnificent elephants were definitely a highlight.
More information:
Ibis Budget Auckland Airport: all.accor.com
Szimpla Gastro Bar: szimpla.co.nz
Treasure Island Adventure Golf: adventuregolf.co.nz
Rainbows End: rainbowsend.co.nz
Auckland Zoo: aucklandzoo.co.nz
The writer and her children stayed as guests of the Ibis Auckland Airport.