A favourite destination with wine lovers, gourmets, eco-tourists and outdoor adventurers, New Zealand packs a wide range of options into a small, manageable package.
The city of Auckland, at just over 1.4 million residents, provides a wonderful introduction to New Zealand and serves as a quasi-microcosm of the country as a whole. With all the comforts of modern urban life and a zest for recreational pursuits, Auckland is a complete vacation destination.
Here are 10 terrific ways to spend your time in the cosmopolitan conurbation on the North Island of New Zealand.
10. Rangitoto Island
The most perceptible landmark around Auckland is without a doubt, Rangitoto Island. The volcano island is the most impressive of many in the region and serves as a wonderful destination for a scenic trek outside of the city. From unique fauna and flora to decrepit WWII installations, there is a lot to see on Rangitoto.
A source of confusion from time to time, as many refer to it as Auckland Harbour, Waitemata is the ideal spot from which to explore many areas of the city. The large harbour is the defacto connection to the main port of Auckland, the waterfront, Hauraki Gulf and Pacific Ocean.
The immense natural harbour of Manukau is a branch of the Tasman Sea and source for endless recreational pursuits. Southwest of Auckland proper, the harbour is a favourite spot for boaters, aquatic life enthusiasts and people who just want to kick back on idyllic sandy shores.
7. Wine Tours
The ability to tour world class wine producers and vineyards in close proximity to a major urban area is a rare treat. With New Zealand a New World wine powerhouse, take advantage of the oenophile culture of the country with a wine tour around Auckland. From the trailblazer West Coast to relative newcomer Matakana, Auckland has much to offer wine lovers.
If you love boats, Auckland is the place for you. Known as the “City of Sails”, yachts and the culture around the luxury vessels, make up a vital part of the city fabric. The marina of record south of the equator, Westhaven is a great place to explore and admire these super boats.
For a taste of New Zealand culture, the Auckland Art Gallery is the prime nexus point in the country. In a beautiful structure that overlooks central Auckland from Albert Park, a walk through the gallery is a virtual lesson on New Zealand art.
A massive park in the suburb of Grafton, Auckland Domain contains over 75 hectares of land within the crater of the Pukekawa volcano. Attractions in the park include the Auckland War Memorial Museum, cricket grounds and Wintergardens.
3. Auckland Zoo
A zoo may seem like a quaint way to kill a few hours but in Auckland, they have a great one. With exhibits of endemic New Zealand fauna, the zoo is miles in front of most in North America and Europe. If you have a family, a superb afternoon of fun and education is in store.
The Sky Tower in the Central Business District of Auckland has become the physical icon of the city, most notably to outsiders. While a trip to the observation deck may sound like a square suggestion, the view will be worth the subsequent mockery – or panic attacks from a lifelong fear of heights.
Few events characterize the life of a city like a football game, auto race or tennis tournament. Sports provides a wonderful avenue for expression among denizens and in New Zealand, that means rugby. Whether you catch the Blues at Eden Park or the All Blacks national team, a rugby match in Auckland is a must.
Discover the best hotel rates in and around Auckland before you plan your next trip to New Zealand.