By Mel Huikeshoven
Published: April 25, 2007
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This unofficial resource will help you with your travels if you want to go to Les Mills International and visit the filmings or just visit the gym. Have you previously thought about participating in a Les Mils filming class and not sure how to go about it? Or have you never thought about it previously and now your curiosity is peaked?

The information in this section is the knowledge I have gathered during the last 4 years as a Les Mills  instructor and my own experiences on travelling to Auckland for the Les Mills filmings. I cannot guarantee any of the information is 100% correct and I apologise if there are any errors. Please notify me immediately if there is anything which you know of to be untrue and I will investigate it. Please also notify me of anything which you think should be added to this section. I hope this helps anybody planning to travel to Auckland for the Les Mills filmings or just planning to visit Les Mills in general.

Going to Auckland 

The Auckland airport is situated about 30 mins drive from Auckland city. Both taxis and shuttle buses travel from the airport to the city. Be careful when catching a taxi though, because the price is generally a set rate of NZ$35 to NZ$50. Some taxis operators have been known to charge unsuspecting travellers more by charging via the meter instead. So be wary of this and confirm with the taxi driver what the rate will be before getting into the taxi.

Also not all the cab companies take credit card. From my experience the cheaper cabs take cash only, so be prepared for this aswell and make sure you get some New Zealand currency before you leave the airport.

Arriving In Auckland 

The Auckland airport is situated about 30 mins drive from Auckland city. Both taxis and shuttle buses travel from the airport to the city. Be careful when catching a taxi though, because the price is generally a set rate of NZ$35 to NZ$50. Some taxis operators have been known to charge unsuspecting travellers more by charging via the meter instead. So be wary of this and confirm with the taxi driver what the rate will be before getting into the taxi.

Also not all the cab companies take credit card. From my experience the cheaper cabs take cash only, so be prepared for this aswell and make sure you get some New Zealand currency before you leave the airport.

Finding Les Mills

Les Mills in Auckland actually has 3 entities:

Les Mills International (LMI)
Les Mills New Zealand (LMNZ)
Les Mills – World of Fitness (LM-WOF)

Obviously they’re all connected, but let me explain the purpose of each one. Les Mills International is the company which creates, choreographs and films all the program releases that we get every 3 months. Those who work for LMI mainly consist of Program Directors, International Master Trainers, Marketing and those who assist with production etc.

Les Mills New Zealand is essentially the New Zealand agent. An agent exists in each country and NZ is no exception. LMNZ focuses on training instructors, conducting workshops and sale of music and DVD’s etc, and exists in a separate location across the road from LMI.

Les Mills – World of Fitness is the actual gym which exists a bit further down the road from LMNZ and LMI. A huge massive complex with 1 way glass windows, 2 group fitness studios and 55 steps to Studio 1, the massive group fitness room where all the filmings are held. 55 steps may seem like no biggy, but I hope you’re more organised than me since you don’t want to be running late, then to get to the top of the stairs and realise you have another 10 mins so decide to go back to the café and get a drink, then return to the top of the stairs and realise you need to use the toilet, go back down the stairs, then back up………you get the drift? Luckily most people in society are much more organised than me so you shouldn’t have a problem.

Participating in the filming classes is free of charge. Les Mills widely encourage instructors and members from all over the world to come along and enjoy the experience of the filmings. Sometimes the filmings are held all on one day. Sometimes they’re spread out over a week. But they’re ALWAYS held every 3 months and generally occur the beginning of February, May, August and November each year. I will try to publish the provisional dates and times as they become available, however if you wish to attend you will need to contact Carla Fitzsimons This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it for the updated filming schedule.

The good news is that Carla Fitzsimons This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it may also give you access to the gym for the rest of the time you’re visiting Auckland if you are a qualified Les Mills instructor. Remember only the filmings are free, so if you plan to visit the gym at other times you’ll need to take this into consideration.

Filming Dates

I will try to publish the provisional dates and times as they become available, however if you wish to attend you will need to contact Carla Fitzsimons for the updated filming schedule.

Sometimes the filmings are held all on one day. Sometimes they’re spread out over a week. But they’re ALWAYS held every 3 months and generally occur the beginning of February, May, August and November each year.

While You Are In Auckland

While you are in Auckland don’t let anybody tell you that you can claim a certain amount of tax back on purchased goods over NZ$300. You can’t. Plenty of people in Auckland told me that I could claim this tax back upon returning to Australia, however it’s actually the other way around. When people from New Zealand buy stuff in Australia they can claim some tax back when they return to New Zealand.

There’s 2 destinations that I feel it’s really important to go while you’re visiting Les Mills. The first one is the markets that are just 5 mins down the road (Victoria Street) from LM-WOF. There’s lots of touristy trinkets, shirts, etc to buy from there. The second destination is within the market itself and that is the Nike store. Maybe other people will feel differently but we don’t have a Nike store here in Adelaide so this was quite a novelty for me. Following the filmings Nike has in the past sometimes closed the store and held drinks, nibbles and discounts for instructors. This is a good time to buy if you need to get new shoes or fitness gear. Just check out the exchange rate first though to see if it’s worth it. 

Going Home

I know you probably don’t want to go home yet, but eventually this will be inevitable! There’s a few things to be aware of before you spend off the last of your New Zealand currency. As mentioned in “Arriving in Auckland”, not all the cab companies accept credit cards, so you’ll need at least enough to cover the fare back to the airport. But worse than this, something that isn’t widely advertised is that you actually need to pay to LEAVE the country. Yes that’s right, you have to pay a departure tax. It’s not actually as scary as it sounds as every country actually has a departure tax. It’s just that most of them have the tax included as part of your airfare. To my knowledge, there is only 1 other country other than New Zealand that doesn’t have this fee as part of your airfare.

The bad news is that travel agencies don’t seem to warn you of this impending fare. So be careful you don’t do what I did and spend off all of your last trusted NZ coins, only to get to airport and have them say “we need NZ$25 before you can leave”.

The good news is that they accept credit card…..phew!

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