Auckland, which is a harbourside city, is New Zealand’s only real metropolis. It is the vibrant economic soul of the country. Known as the “City of Sails,” Auckland spans out in helter-skelter fashion sandwiched between Manukau Harbour to the west as well as Waitemata Harbour to the east. The compact central city district is right beside the waterway.
For most of the visitors to New Zealand, Auckland is the point of arrival, and a number of days soaking up the cultural as well as outdoor attractions here needs to be on every tourist’s to-do list.
In fact, the monuments, museums as well as the many art galleries here are among the best in the country. Other fun things to do include:
- Discovering the suburban coastline of the city, popular for its fine beaches, while
- The islands of the Hauraki Gulf offer a taste of New Zealand’s spectacular national park scenery right on the doorstep of the city.
The Sky Tower
Along with being a very prominent feature of Auckland’s skyline, the Sky Tower is the tallest tower of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Fine diners, adventurous bungee jumpers as well as travellers wanting to catch some of the best views of the city are among those who are attracted to this magnificent architectural landmark.
The wide stretch of Waitemata Harbour slices Auckland into two and is the city’s most famous natural feature. It was owing to this easily navigable waterway that Auckland became New Zealand’s capital in 1840 (the country’s capital city is now Wellington, although Auckland remains New Zealand’s economic powerhouse). It’s a really lovely area to explore on foot and features a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences.
Other fun things to do here involve exploring Quay Street, which runs parallel to the harbour in the main district with access to Princes Wharf as well as the ferry terminals to the Hauraki Gulf islands. A number of fun, distinctive experiences may also be enjoyed on Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Great Barrier Island
Untapped beauty at its finest – as well as only a short ferry trip away – the Great Barrier Island feels wonderfully off-grid. The island is indeed a slice of paradise that has remained untouched by the modern world for the most part. Here, the free-range lifestyle is part of the appeal: accommodations are low-key, the beaches are picturesque, and the usage of technology is actively discouraged.
An underrated, however beautiful heritage site, Rotorua Island is a must-visit for all passing tourists in between your favourite bingo games. Once functioning as an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility that was run by the Salvation Army, the island has since been moulded into a conservation park, acting as a haven for native plants as well as animals. Now possessed by the city of Auckland, the island can be accessed easily by ferry.
As Auckland’s highest natural point, Mount Eden (Maungawhau in Maori), is an inactive volcanic cone that rises 196m (643ft) above sea level. An astounding bowl-like crater with a depth of 50m (160ft), it is as much a part of the summit’s appeal as the spectacular 360-degree city views on show.