New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has an abundance of sights and activities for visitors to enjoy. From museums and art galleries to high street shopping, beautiful beaches and many water-based activities, the challenge is deciding what to do and where to go first. Whether you are looking for family fun, quiet relaxation or cultural experiences, there is enough variety to cater for most traveller’s tastes.
Take to the water and explore the gulf
Located in the Hauraki Gulf between two harbours, Auckland is easily accessible to a number of islands that dot the bay. A 35-minute ferry ride takes you across the harbour to Waiheke Island, home of around 30 boutique wineries, local produce and specialty foods.
360 Discovery Cruises operate ferries to the Coromandel, Beach Haven and Gulf Harbour as well as offering a variety of day trips and tour packages. The office is located in the old Harbour Board building at 139 Quay Street with daily departures from the piers beside Queens Wharf.
Auckland domain and museum
Developed around the edge of the extinct Pukekawa volcano, Auckland Domain is the city’s oldest park. The Domain is home to the War Memorial and Auckland Museum. Here you can experience a Maori cultural performance, take in some local history and explore the museum’s collections and exhibits.
A short bus trip or an energetic walk from the city centre, the Domain is as diverse as it is large with formal gardens, sports grounds and large sculptural works from leading New Zealand artists. Take a self-guided walking tour, visit the beautiful winter gardens or just enjoy a coffee from the kiosk near the large spring fed duck pond.
Pack a picnic and spend the day. Take your time visiting the Museum and War Memorial then spend a few hours exploring the Domain. If picnics aren’t your thing, you can lunch at the Winter Garden Kiosk or the museum’s Columbus Coffee Shop.
Shopping and entertainment
Auckland’s Queen Street is in the heart of the city and is a central shopping precinct. Here you will find popular international brands and many of New Zealand’s top designers like Rodd & Gunn Menswear, Vinka Design and Walker & Hall Jewellery. For a variety of New Zealand designers under one roof, Frontline Designer Clothes stocks many New Zealand designers such as Macjays, Euphoria, Obi and Lisa Law.
Aotea Square beside Queen Street is a large paved public area and entertainment hub that plays host to a number of community events, markets, ice-skating and open air concerts.
The Aotea Centre, Basement Theatre and Comedy Club are all located within the Square. Aotea Centre is New Zealand’s largest performing art centre. Check out the Auckland Live website for details of current and upcoming events at these venues.
From fine dining to fast food and everything in between. There is no shortage of cafes, restaurants and mobile vendors in Auckland. The Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar on Federal Street is a popular choice and you can opt to dine inside or outdoors. Delicious seasonal food comes in an eclectic choice of share platters. The wood roasted cauliflower is unlike any cauli you have ever tasted. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so at busy times you might have a short wait for a table.
Head out to Mission Bay
Located eight kilometres from downtown Auckland is the beautiful suburb of Mission Bay. Take a drive around Tamaki Road, as it hugs the coastline, and spend a day at the beach. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants and eateries along the promenade with views across to Rangiatoto Island. Buses run every 15 minutes from the Britomart Transport Centre on Tyler Street to Mission Bay.
Gateway to New Zealand
Auckland offers everything you would expect from a major city. It is cosmopolitan, multicultural and kiwi at heart. Whether you are on a stopover or venturing to other parts of the country, plan to spend a day or two and experience this vibrant city.
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