Visit Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is New Zealand at its most metropolitan: over a third of the population live here. Glittering modern glass towers cluster its waterfront and line its streets, but you don’t have to wander far before something more quintessentially New Zealand begins to make itself felt.
The city is overlooked by gang of extinct volcanoes, some of which are touchpoints for Maori culture and identity. Native ferns and flora mingle with European newcomers in green spaces and parks. And, farther afield lie islands of unspoiled bush and the semi-tropical beaches of Northland.
Central Auckland has all the ingredients of a busy, forward-looking city. In the CBD (central business district), big-name stores and entertainment venues line Queen Street (often referred to as the ‘Golden Mile’). Markets beloved of food-enthusiast locals are scattered liberally about, crammed with fresh produce. A few sterner-looking Edwardian- and Victorian-era administrative buildings sit alongside the shiny skyscrapers. The spindly Sky Tower, with its revolving restaurant and observation decks, watches over it all.
A little farther out, you’ll find landscaped parklands and Parnell and Ponsonby, two leafy inner suburbs of restored clapboard villas, galleries, boutiques and alfresco cafes.
Seafaring is central to Auckland: a short walk from Queen Street you can meander on boardwalks lining the waterfront district. From Waitemata Harbour, Viaduct Harbour and Hobson West Marina, you look out over a forest of masts: of all the world’s watery cites, Auckland allegedly has the highest number of pleasure craft per capita. It’s also here, on the waterfront, that you’ll find some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, many with views of the sparkling waters.
Auckland’s nickname (‘City of Sails’) also reflects its past success as both host of and competitor in the America’s Cup. You can have a go at crewing one of the fastest full racing yachts, the NZL40, in an America’s Cup sailing experience in Waitemata Harbour. (You’re also free to sit back and enjoy the ride).
The city’s Maori heritage is less visible, but deeply felt. The best way to get an understanding of it is through a guided tour with a Maori resident. Tours visit One Tree Hill, a volcanic cone now smothered under a grassy hilltop, and once the site of a Maori pa (fortified village). Spoiler alert: there’s no tree. The obelisk monument that stands in the tree’s place has a controversial history, which Maori guides will relate.
Waiheke Island is a bit like an offshore garden to Aucklanders, who come here to summer on its beaches and saunter around its boutique vineyards. You can experience its viticulture on a Waiheke Island wine tour. Meanwhile, the shield volcano of Rangitoto Island can be glimpsed from around Auckland. You can hike to its summit through native pohutukawa forest, and both islands can be reached via ferry.
Farther afield lie the semi-tropical beaches of Northland, which make for either a restful opening or finale to a New Zealand trip. There are good beaches close to Auckland (which New Zealand specialist James details in his guide to campervanning in New Zealand). Farther north, you come to the secluded waterworld of the Bay of Islands with its boat tours and diving opportunities.
Best time to visit
Auckland is at its best weather-wise between October and May. Our preferred month to experience it is November, when the city is warm yet washed with cooling breezes.
Suggested itineraries featuring Auckland
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Auckland, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Auckland
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Auckland
- Devonport less than 5 miles away
- Waiheke Island 16 miles away
- Warkworth 32 miles away
- Waikato 38 miles away
- Thames & Kauaeranga Valley 48 miles away
- Coromandel Peninsula 57 miles away
- Great Barrier Island 58 miles away
- Tauranga 97 miles away
- Waitomo 100 miles away
- The Kauri Coast 105 miles away
- Bay of Plenty 110 miles away
- Paihia 115 miles away
- Russell 116 miles away
- Bay of Islands 120 miles away
- Rotorua 121 miles away
- Kerikeri 121 miles away
- Matauri Bay 134 miles away
- Lake Taupo 146 miles away
- Taranaki & New Plymouth 158 miles away
- Tongariro National Park 171 miles away
- 90 Mile Beach & Cape Reinga 176 miles away
- Whanganui National Park 214 miles away
- Napier 218 miles away
- Eastland & Gisborne 219 miles away
- Hastings 224 miles away
- Hawke's Bay 225 miles away
- The Kapiti Coast 280 miles away
- Collingwood & Farewell Spit 288 miles away
- Greytown 295 miles away
- Abel Tasman National Park 299 miles away
- Wairarapa & surrounds 300 miles away
- Marlborough Sounds 300 miles away
Photos of Auckland
Accommodation choices for Auckland
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Auckland. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
The SKYCITY Hotel is located right in the center of Auckland. Its bright, comfortable rooms all feature large windows with city or harbour views.
Heritage styling meets contemporary design in this landmark Auckland hotel that harks back to the glory days of the roaring twenties. With sophisticated styling, a highly regarded restaurant and a new spa, it offers old world elegance in the heart of the city.
Eden Park B&B offers guest accommodation in just four rooms. Each enjoys comfortable, quality furnishings and en suite or private bathroom facilities.
Sky City Grand is a luxury hotel that blends style and elegance with a central city location.
Located in the heart of Auckland's center, Hotel DeBrett is a small boutique hotel. Each of its rooms has been individually designed and features an eclectic mix of furniture, fittings and artwork.
Located in the heart of central Auckland, the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is just a short stroll from the many restaurants and entertainments on offer in this vibrant part of the city.
The Sebel Suites is situated right in the heart of Viaduct Harbour. This all-suite property combines the services of a top hotel with the freedom of self-contained facilities.
Ideas for experiencing Auckland
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Auckland, and which use the best local guides.
Known as the 'City of Sails', this tour is the perfect introduction to the city as you visit several points of cultural and scenic interest; including Mount Eden with its amazing 360 degree views of the city and the city's oldest park, Auckland Domain.
Indulge in a culinary exploration as you visit two of the city's most vibrant foodie locations: Britomart and the viaduct Harbour.
This is a two hour excursion offering the opportunity for you to participate in sailing these grand prix racing machines. Passengers become the crew and are encouraged to take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the action while sailing around the beautiful Waitemata Harbour.
Enjoy Waiheke's award-winning wines and locally produced gourmet delights, along with gardens and galleries, music and poetry, native birds and bush walks.
Tiritiri Matangi is a world-renowned bird sanctuary off the coast of Auckland. You will hike through the native bush on well formed tracks and boardwalks as your guide identifies fauna, bird species and birdsong, as well as many other points of interest along the way.