23 Mar 2017

Adele in town: say 'Hello' to transport chaos

12:33 pm on 23 March 2017

Tens of thousands of Adele fans will be saying 'Hello' to Auckland from tonight, bringing traffic chaos and packed hotels.

Adele performs at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles 12 February, 2017.

Adele performing at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last month. Photo: AFP

The British singer, whose recent hit 'Hello' climbed music charts around the world, is performing three concerts in the city and such is the demand for flights to Auckland larger planes are being put on, and some fans are opting to fly to Hamilton and drive the rest of the way.

More than 130,000 people have tickets for concerts at Mt Smart stadium tonight, Saturday and Sunday. All three concerts sold out in less than half an hour in November. Promoters Live Nation said it became the fastest selling New Zealand tour and the highest number of tickets sold in one day.

Isabelle Millar, 18, is flying from Dunedin to see the show on Sunday.

"It was always just one of those things where my dad and I said to each other that if she ever came to New Zealand there was no question we were definitely going to go.

"So it's just been waiting for the opportunity really. I'm so excited, I've been a huge fan for ages so it's been a long time coming."

The teenager and her family got their accommodation and flight bookings early.

Low fares were quickly snapped up and remaining flights to Auckland aren't cheap.

Three Jetstar flights from Christchurch on Saturday have sold out and the last ones were priced at almost $380, whie Air New Zealand flights from Wellington were more than $300.

Air New Zealand has put on 80 extra flights, taking 15,000 extra people to and from Auckland, and bringing into service one of its Boeing 777-200 aircraft, normally used for international flights, for some trips from Christchurch.

Sally Gordon, owner of Hamilton car hire firm Rent a Dent, said the price of flights prompted one customer to fly to Hamilton and make the hour-and-a-half drive to Auckland.

"The lady said she'd booked accommodation in Auckland but the [price of] flights to Auckland were just horrific.

"They've booked a rental car from us and are going up to Auckland, and then returning on Friday morning"

It's not only getting into the city that's an issue - it's where to stay once there.

Hospitality Association's accommodation general manager Rachael Shadbolt said hotels and motels had been full since tickets went on sale last November, and the concert had coincided with an already busy period.

The town was "at 70 percent occupancy" before the Adele tickets went on sale. People will be heading out of the city to find accommodation or contacting "long-lost friends, to sleep on couches".

With more than 40,000 people making their way to and from Mount Smart each concert night, Auckland Transport is preparing for heavy traffic and delays.

The group manager at AT Metro Operations, Brendon Main, said extra trains and buses were being put on from the North Shore into town, and to the venue.

Motorists are being urged to pass through the area early or avoid the area altogether tonight.

For fans heading along on Saturday and Sunday Adele may well 'Set Fire to the Rain', with the MetService forecasting wet weather.

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