A City Guide to Auckland
New Zealand is one of the most iconic countries in the South Pacific. Despite being frequently overshone by its bigger counterpart Australia, the Land of the Long White Cloud is actually home to a number of creative and exciting holiday experiences. The former capital city of Auckland is no exception. If you only have a short time here, be sure to take in these must-see spots and hidden treasures:
This is at the top of everyone’s list for Auckland. The tallest building in the city provides uninterrupted, panoramic views of the skyline; we went up in the evening to see all the skyscrapers illuminated. With 360-degree views of the city, you can even see the lights of Devonport across the bay. Entry to the Sky Tower observation deck is NZ$29pp. For those seeking a few more thrills, try the SkyWalk and SkyJump, both of which taking advantage of the tower’s staggering height to get the heart pumping.
Wander across the Waterfront
Easily accessible from the city centre, you can walk all around the Auckland Waterfront, taking in the sights across the bay. We started at Teal Park and walked past Prince’s Wharf, down to The Big Wheel (a random but interesting sight). It’s about a 90-minute round trip on foot, and takes you past local attractions including the New Zealand Maritime Museum (entry NZ$20pp).
Eat and drink down by the water
New Zealand is best known for its delicious wines, fro m both the North and South Island, so take in the sights by day, then settle in for the night with some fabulous food and drink. There’s all styles of dish, from fish and chips to succulent steaks. The best part is that the Kiwis don’t do things by halves, as evidenced by this cheese platter I devoured atThe Right Track Sports Bar & Café. I think my face says it all!
One of the most famous areas in Auckland, Mount Wellington is only a 15-minute drive from the city centre. After a half-hour hike to the top you will be rewarded with vistas across the city. You don’t really need to be a hiker or outdoorsy person to enjoy this walk and, best of all, it’s completely free.
A 45-minute ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke Island provides some of the best wines that New Zealand has to offer. From the voluptuous grape vines to the sparkling blue of the bay, you can enjoy a bicycle ride around the island or a bite to eat at one of the vineyards here. All the restaurant staff know exactly what wine to match with the dish you order, so it’s definitely worth asking for their recommendations.
Hire a car and explore the rest of the North Island
Whilst this is a city guide to Auckland, it would be remiss of me not to highlight the fact that it is such an accessible city. Linking to the major highway, it is only a short drive south to Hamilton, two hours to the laid-back city of Whangarei, or just three hours away from the beautiful Bay of Islands. New Zealand is full of so many different experiences, from adventure to coastal drives, why not begin your Journey in Auckland?
Discover Auckland and the rest of the North Island on our tailor-made Essential North Island itinerary – 15 days from £2,099pp.