With a volcano standing on sentry duty outside one of its two magnificent shining harbours, and surrounded by volcanic cones (extinct, fear not!), ’The City of Sails’ has a spectacular and unique location.
Once the capital of New Zealand, scenic, sunny Auckland was settled by the Maori around 1350. Europeans came 500 years later. The largest city in Polynesia, Auckland's pull has generated a rich cultural mix you can experience in its festivals and cultural life.
Home to first-class wine and food, bars and cafes, and a fashion scene supportive of both new and established fashion designers, Auckland is also the gateway to many nearby outdoor adventures. From its cosmopolitan core to the wonder and awe of rainforests and thermal areas, its beautiful beaches, or the thrill of bungy jumping, this is a city that has it all.
Getting in and around Auckland
Auckland Airport services both international and domestic routes, and is located about 30 kilometres from the city. You'll find here all the facilities you expect: post office, ATMs, internet booths, and even a crèche.
Free shuttle buses connect the airport to major hotels. If you want to be able to travel independently, car rental is available at the international terminal and can be arranged in advance, including online.
Transport choices are good within Auckland and you probably won't experience much need for a hire car unless doing a lot of cross-city travel or taking independent day trips. Ferries ply the beautiful waterways to the north shore and the Hauraki Gulf islands. The free service to major city tourist spots is a great way to get around to the attractions you'll want to see. There are good commuter trains, and bus services are frequent. Bus services end at 11:30pm; you can continue to catch taxis after this.Auckland Car Hire
If planning on doing a lot of cross-city travel or taking independent day trips, you'll probably find renting a vehicle to be more cost-effective than public transit. If you hire a car to get around town, take care around rush hour: Auckland is a very car-dependent city and its roads are known to suffer from a great deal of congestion in peak times.
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Auckland tourism is good for the local economy and the traveller is faced with a wide choice of accommodation, with everything from super luxury to the basic needs of the backpacker.
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Things to do in Auckland
The Auckland Great Day Out, a scenic bus tour of Auckland's leading attractions, lives up to its name. This 9-hour excursion introduces you to sights and places as varied as Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower, Mount Eden, Underwater World, and much more.
The Auckland Explorer Bus's Hop-on Hop-off Tour is a fun way to get oriented, with commentary along the ride as well as the opportunity to get around to Auckland's top fourteen attractions. The circuit (which includes audio commentary) takes an hour to complete in total, but you can hop off and hop on again at any stop over the course of a day. Two-day passes also available. Hop aboard at the Sky Tower or the Ferry Building on Quay Street.
Head up the Sky Tower the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere: you won't have to look hard for it when you arrive in town! Enjoy unparalleled views of Auckland from the top, or if you're feeling brave, walk the circumference on a 1.2 metre external ledge, with not even balcony rails to obstruct the panoramic views.
Auckland Harbour Sailing Dinner Cruise A 2.5 hour trip is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. A Coffee Cruise is also offered earlier in the day.
Westhaven Marina , the largest in the southern hemisphere. Shopping malls and cafes are only a stroll away.
Explore Parnell Village and check out the historic buildings of New Zealand's oldest suburb, known for its trendy cafes, galleries and interesting shops.
Auckland Zoo , near Western Springs Reserve, here you can learn about the key role this zoo, recognised as one of the most progressive in the world, plays in conserving New Zealand's unique fauna.
Auckland Museum in Auckland's most popular park, the Auckland Domain, for a mind-boggling range of experiences, including the most comprehensive collection of Maori and Pacific artifacts in New Zealand, in this beautiful and historic setting.
Auckland Bridge Bungy Jump. Touch the Waitamata Harbour water at the bottom of the bungy jump, a thrill whether you're 9 or 90. The operators - the original bungy jump pioneers - have a wealth of experience in providing an unforgettable adrenaline rush while keeping you safe. The same company is behind the Auckland Bridge Climb, offering exclusive harbour views from the opposite extreme.
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Day trips in and around Auckland
Coast and Rainforest Walk Eco-Tour. Departing from Auckland daily, the 7-hour trip visits NZ's largest regional park, Waitakare Ranges Regional Park, where you can see giant tree ferns and marvel at 1,000-year-old Kauri pines.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves , two hours south of Auckland, is an unforgettable experience. On the way, one of the interesting places to see is the Rangiriri Maori Wars battle site.
Cape Brett, Hole in the Rock Cruise. The luxury catamaran trip includes a visit to the Waitangi Treaty House and beautiful Paihia. Don't let your camera jam as your boat manoeuvres through the spectacular rock formation.
Great Barrier Island . Planes leave from Auckland's domestic airport crossing, the Hauraki Gulf to this island where you'll marvel at the magnificent beaches, enjoy a homestead lunch and, later, challenge yourself to try feeding some giant eels before taking the stunning walk to the top of Windy Canyon.
Wild and Free Harley Tours. Harley Davidson tours to amazing Rotorua. Travel along New Zealand's majestic coastlines and visit the famous Whakawerewera with its geysers and boiling mud pools.
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