Auckland, nicknamed the “City of Sails” for its dazzling boat-filled harbor, is a cosmopolitan city where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted islands. Add to that a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you have the perfect vacation destination. Built on a narrow isthmus between two harbors, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city. Half urban and half marine, it’s a cosmopolitan experience wrapped up in a fascinating water world that’s dotted with lush islands just waiting to be explored.
As the most significant city in the South Pacific, Auckland is a lively fusion of international style, local creativity and Polynesian charm. Fun is the operative word here. Auckland’s urban personality is bold, fast and fashionable. Everything seen, heard, tasted or touched has a twist of originality which can be found in the fashions of High Street and the bouquet of the chardonnay. The region offers a wide variety of diverse experiences – sailing to an island, trekking through a rainforest, picnicking on a volcano, sampling wines at a vineyard or wandering a wild, black sand surf beach.
- Visitors will enjoy national and international award-winning vineyards and restaurants all around the region.
- Action and adventure activities galore: bungy jumping, quad biking, mountain biking, sailing, horse trekking, canyoning, fishing and much more to suit every adrenaline-junkie’s itinerar
- Auckland has the highest number of boats per capita than anywhere else in the world. Make sure to book a sailing adventure while visiting.
- Make sure to check-out Auckland Museum’s Maori cultural performance and guided tour or take in a guided Maori cultural walk.
- If you are looking for souvenirs, go to Queen Street in downtown Auckland and at the Victoria Park Markets
- A great way to see Auckland’s unique wildlife (think kiwis and penguins) is cruising on the Hauraki Gulf and visiting the islands and coasts around the region.
Freebie: Auckland has a free downtown bus! You can pick up a free city bus brochure at Auckland’s i-SITE Visitor Centres. The bus operates a small circuit that runs around central downtown linking key destinations in Auckland city. The bus runs every 10 minutes from 8am to 6pm, seven days a week.
More to do in and around Auckland
New Zealand’s oldest town, Kerikeri, lies on the banks of the Kerikeri River in the Kerikeri Basin. Formerly a mission post established in 1819 by pioneer missionary Reverend Samuel Marsden, the town has a rich Maori and European history. Today it forms the heart of a fertile fruit-growing area and possesses a thriving arts and crafts industry. It contains several landmark buildings, including New Zealand’s oldest surviving European building. Other attractions are the Rainbow Falls, bushwalks, sailing trips, golf, tennis, bowls, horseback riding tours and flight seeing.
Taupo’s beautiful resort and holiday base enjoy a scenic location on the shores of Lake Taupo at the center of the North Island. The town sits on a thermal belt, and visitors can see areas of boiling mud, steam and geysers north of the town at Wairakei Park and Orakei Korako. Thermal activity first attracted visitors during the 1880s, but today the town lures anglers from throughout the world with a plentiful supply of rainbow and brown trout. Lake Taupo is popular for swimming, boating, waterskiing, jet skiing, kayaking, rowing and scenic cruises, while thrillseekers can enjoy bungee jumping, tandem skydiving, jetboating and whitewater rafting.The spectacular Huka Falls and the Aratiatia Rapids lie to the north of the town, while to the south are the imposing mountains of the volcanic plateau and the skifields of Mount Ruapehu.
Enjoying a spectacular location at the head of Port Nicholson Harbour, Wellington is the political heart of New Zealand. The capital city’s compact size makes it an easy place to explore, yet its cosmopolitan flavor offers all the sophistication of a big city. Known as New Zealand’s Cultural Capital, Wellington is a stronghold for the arts and home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. At the heart of the city, Civic Square provides world-class venues for the performing arts, including the Michael Fowler Centre and City Gallery, while Cable Street is home to the country’s landmark national museum, Te Papa. The downtown quarters of Willis, Lambton, Cuba and Courtenay offer plenty of choices for shopping, dining and live entertainment.