Ideal duration: 4-6 days
Best Time: Summer months from December to February Read More
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Auckland is one of New Zealand's oldest and most historic cities apart from it being the largest and most populous, making it one of the country's most important tourist hubs. Situated by two large harbours, Auckland combines natural beauty and city scapes, drawing in visitors for leisure and business alike all year round.
Auckland has a plethora of activities and attractions on offer for every kind of traveller, giving visitors the luxury of choice in terms of experiences. It is world-renowned for being home to a number of volcanoes, islands and mountains. To add to its beauty, the city is dotted with beautiful green parks, gardens and lakes. You can head to one of the numerous viewpoints around the city for a beautiful view of the natural landscapes with the gorgeous modern skyscrapers, making Auckland’s cityscape a treat to the eye. With New Zealand’s reputation for adrenaline activities, Auckland is a hub for adventure sports. Due to the proximity to the water and the massive harbours, the city is known worldwide for its love affair with boats and the ocean, so much so it is called the 'City of Sails' and has dominated America's Cup in recent years. This is well captured in the Maritime Museum of Auckland, which is just one of the several museums in the city dedicated to the fields of art, national and natural history, and even plant and animal history.
Auckland also offers a great assortment of adventure activities, the most famous being the bungee jump from the harbour bridge and the Sky Tower. The same two places also provide quite stunning vantage points of the city. The city is the site of various cultural events throughout the year, like the Auckland Festival, the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, and the New Zealand International Film Festival, to name just a few.
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Located in downtown Auckland, Britomart is where first-timers to the city usually stay and explore. Ideal for a short stay in the city, it is home to many shopping boutiques, restaurants and trendy cafes and is a convenient area of the city for tourists to spend some leisure time. Takutai Square, within Britomart, is a large public space that hosts many events, gigs and the Saturday Market.
In northern Auckland, Takapuna is one of the coolest neighbourhoods, popular for its amazing beaches and fantastic open roads for cycling, walking or running. Tourists can also enjoy their days at the beach, sit back, relax by cafes or pubs overlooking the shore, and enjoy the sunsets.
3. Grey Lynn's
An artsy part of Auckland, Grey Lynn is where one learns to live like a local in the city. A robust residential neighbourhood, it is home to many houses, villas and B&Bs that host seasonal renters and couch surfers. One can expect to find many local cafes, small pubs, wine bars and Asian food shops around most corners.
An upscale neighbourhood in Auckland, Ponsonby's main strip is where visitors can find high fashion outlets, designer boutiques, fine dining restaurants and classy art galleries. One can visit boutiques by local designers and try out their latest collections.
Day 1 - A Cultural Day in Auckland's CBD
On your first day, head to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, a famous art gallery. After that, spend some time taking a leisurely stroll in the nearby Albert Park. Next, visit the Auckland War Memorial and learn about New Zealand's fallen soldiers and its history as part of the two world wars. After that, head to Queen Street, explore the numerous shops, eateries and bars, and spend the rest of the day enjoying some fine food and drinks.
Day 2 - Trip to Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is a 40-minute ferry ride away from the city. On the island, try your hand at some ziplining, forest hikes or sailing. There are beautiful beaches across the island to spend a leisurely afternoon. Vineyards and wineries on the island also offer private and group tours with personalized tasting menus for brunch or lunch. Enjoy your day, and head back to Auckland in the evening.
Day 3 - Sightseeing and A Special Dinner
Head to the iconic Sky Tower and soak in the sights from above. If brave enough, try your hand at Bungee Jumping. Then visit the nearby parks such as Cornwall Park and enjoy some leisurely strolls. You can also have a mini picnic if you bring along snacks and drinks. In the afternoon, head to the top of Mount Eden and enjoy some fantastic panoramic views of Auckland. Later, head to Missions Bay, and choose from the several restaurants and bars to have a quiet dinner in the evening.
There are several companies which offer currency conversion options throughout Auckland.
Auckland is not an overly expensive city. That said, it is one of New Zealand's most important cities, so don't expect very cheap prices either.
The Maoris had lived in and around Auckland for more than 20,000 years before the Europeans finally arrived in the 19th century. However, by the time the Europeans came, the Maoris had shifted inland due to a lack of modern weapons and fear of raids. Colonial rule in Auckland was established as late as 1840, and the land was obtained from a Maori himself.
Auckland was declared capital in 1841 and held on to that status till 1865. There have been severe conflicts between Pakehas (Europeans New Zealanders) and Maoris throughout the 19th century over land and resources. The Maoris felt that they were being alienated from their own land and being stratified away from the benefits. Although the Maoris were compensated, and some of their titles and businesses were restored, there remains severe contention to this day regarding what is actually the just way to deal with what happened back then.
In modern times, the expansion of the city area was largely due to the dominance of the motor car, which dramatically increased the area that could be accessed. In more recent times, Auckland has become the economic hub of the country after the reforms took place in the 1980s. Today, the city is the main source of tourism-based income for the entire country.