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Auckland, New Zealand
© Can Stock Photo / Kapai

Auckland is the capital of New Zealand and has a population of more than 1 million.  It is known as the City of Sails.  Auckland is located on an isthmus of the North Island where the city covers the width of the island.  Manukau Harbour, off the Tasman Sea, is on its western edge and Waitemata Harbour off the Hauraki Gulf forms its eastern border.  The Maori settled here in the 1300s and they represent the world's largest Polynesian cultural center.


Auckland is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so its seasons are reversed as compared to Europe or North America.  Temperatures in the winter months from May to September average highs of about 63 F (17 C) while average lows are 46 F (8 C).  The months of January and February mark the height of summer, with average highs of 75 F (24 C) and 60 F (16 C) for lows.  Rainfall is lowest during January and February, making it a perfect time to visit Auckland.



Auckland Airport (AKL) is New Zealand's largest airport.  It provides international access to Auckland from a location about 30 minutes south of the downtown area by taxi.  There is also regular bus service between the airport and the Britomart Transport Centre on the downtown waterfront.  The Britomart Transport Centre is the transportation hub of Auckland, including the central train station, the cruise terminal, the airport shuttle bus terminal, local buses and numerous ferries.  Check the Auckland Transport site for more information.  Although there are quite a few attractions in the Britomart Prescint and Auckland has excellent transportation services, it's worthwhile considering a rental car for an extended visit.  Unlike cities in Europe, the things to see and do in Auckland are spread over a wide area in distinct regions that are detailed below.  Visitors to Auckland often also visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings , the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the volcanic geysers, hotsprings and mud pots in Rotorua.  All these attractions are located within 3 hours of Auckland.

Westhaven Marina, Auckland, New Zealand

Westhaven Marina, © Can Stock Photo / lucidwaters

Attractions at the Auckland waterfront:

Things to see and do:

  • Auckland Harbour Bridge - for the adventurous, try the Bridge Walk or the Bridge Bungy.

  • Westhaven Marina

  • Wynyard Quarter - North Wharf, Karanga Plaza, Auckland Fish Market and Silo Park.  Try the North Wharf restaurants for fresh fish served at the waterfront.  Take a ride around Wynyard Loop on the Auckland Dockline Tram.  Watch the sailboats or charter one.

  • Viaduct Harbour (Basins) - waterside restaurants, Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum, boat cruises

  • Britomart Precinct - new pubs and restaurants, City Farmers' Market, specialty stores and the art work of the Britomart Project Space.  The Britomart Transport Centre is located here.

  • ExploreNZ - sail on an authentic America's Cup yacht or go whale watching.


Things to see and do in the Auckland Central Business District (CBD):

  • Auckland Central Business District (CBD) forms the backdrop for the waterfront.

  • The Edge - home of the Civic (theatre), Auckland Town Hall, The Aotea Centre, Aotea Square with its crafts and art festivals and Herald Theatre.

  • The Edge is right beside Queen Street which extends from Karangahape Road down to the harbour with its heritage walk, bars, clubs, smaller shops and red-light district.  

  • Sky Tower - the tallest building in New Zealand at 328 m (1,076 ft).  Enjoy views of the city.  Dine at the Orbit Restaurant, the SkyLounge or Orbit with 360 degree views.  At the 192 m level, take a SkyWalk around the outside of the building or a SkyJump off the building.

  • Auckland Art Gallery

  • Vulcan Lane, High Street & Chancery - pubs and a cobblestone plaza.

  • St Patrick's Cathedral

  • Albert Park - site of the Auckland Lantern Festival each February.

View from Sky Tower, Auckland, New Zealand

View from Sky Tower, © Can Stock Photo / Duncan

Things to see and do near downtown Auckland:

  • Ponsonby - designer fashion stores, some of Auckland's best cafes and restaurants, heritage walks.

  • K' Road - heritage walk along Karangahape Road, contemporary art galleries, dinner theatre.

  • Auckland Domain - one of the largest parks of the city, close to the CBD with views of the harbour and Rangitoto Island.  The Wintergarden Pavilion is located in the park.

  • Auckland War Memorial Museum

  • Dove-Myer Robinson Park (Parnell Rose Gardens)

  • Mission Bay - Rollerblade along Tamaki Drive, fish and chips, views from Bastion Point and the Michael Savage Memorial.  Visit Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium to see Sub-Antarctic penguins, stingrays and sharks.

  • Mount Eden - a volcanic cone with a grassy crater.  Views over Auckland and award winning gardens.

  • Eden Park - All Blacks rugby and Black Caps cricket.

  • Cornwall Park (also known as One Tree Hill and Maungakiekie) - One Tree Hill is a volcanic cone that forms part of the Auckland Volcanic Field of 48 volcanoes.  The tree at the summit is no longer there, but an obelisk now marks the top.  The park is also a Maori archaeological site with over 170 terraces and the Rongo Stone.

  • Stardome Observatory and Planetarium

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand, © Can Stock Photo / instinia

Things to see and do in Western Springs, Auckland:


Things to see and do in North Shore, Auckland:

  • Takapuna Beach located in North Shore City.  Walk over the rocks to Milford Beach.

  • Mount Victoria - a volcanic cone on the North Shore offering views of downtown Auckland. Walk from the Devonport ferry terminal.

  • Devonport - shops, cafes and great beaches.

Auckland Harbour Bridge, New Zealand

Auckland Harbour Bridge, © Can Stock Photo / lucidwaters

Things to see and do in the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland:

  • Arataki Visitor Centre, Kitekite Falls, Fairy Falls and the Hillary Trail.

  • Watercare's Rain Forest Express - a narrow-gauge railway located in the Waitakere Ranges.  There are 10 tunnels and 9 bridges.  See glow-worms and cave wetas in the train tunnels.

  • Muriwai Gannett Colony - thousands of gannetts from July to December at Muriwai Beach.

  • Bethells Beach - includes sand dunes and Lake Wainamu.

  • Piha Beach - surfing, black sand beach and Lion Rock in Auckland Centennial Park.

  • Karekare and Union Bay

Things to see and do east of Auckland:

  • Waiheke Island - Take a thirty minute ride on Fullers Ferry to the Onetangi Beach, Palm Beach, wineries and olive groves.

  • Rangitoto Island Scenic Reserve & Motutapu Island Reserve - hike to the top of Rangitoto.  Visit World War II bunkers.  See the world's largest pohutukawa forest.

Muriwai Beach, near Auckland, New Zealand

Muriwai Beach, near Auckland, © Can Stock Photo / droobie6

Things to see and do north of Auckland:

North Island New Zealand Tours:

Things to see and do south of Auckland:

Hotels in Auckland:

Take That Vacation Recommendations for Auckland:

Auckland Airport - AKL - including a list of hotels with a shuttle.

View Auckland map

View New Zealand Pics