Auckland’s diverse landscapes provide countless opportunities to get immersed in nature. In the west, lush native rainforest plunges down the hills to meet the sea on dramatic black sand beaches, while the east’s sheltered golden sand beaches are fringed with red-flowering pohutukawa trees. To the north the rolling hills of wine country meet stunning coastlines and in the south you'll find picturesque country gardens, unspoilt forest and tranquil bays to explore.
Central Auckland is a hub of urban delights set against beautiful coastal scenery. It’s not hard to see why this is regarded as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
The wider region is dotted with 48 volcanic cones, which provide spectacular panoramic views of the city and harbour. Many are surrounded by lush parkland, making them perfect picnic spots. Rangitoto Island, just a 25-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, is the region's most iconic volcano and a favourite day trip destination for visitors, hikers and bird watchers.
Auckland is a shopaholic's paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open air street markets.
Queen Street is the inner city's main street, with everything from clothing to electronics, books and souvenirs. Nearby Britomart is full of designer fashion as well as international brands, all set within graceful heritage buildings. From here you can walk to High Street and Chancery, home to designer labels and cutting-edge local boutiques. Newmarket, just a few minutes' drive from downtown, is a mecca of popular international labels and more than 40 designer stores. Look out for Kiwi designers Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Annah Stretton. And if you’re around on a Saturday, be sure to check out the French Market in the charming inner-city suburb of Parnell.
Downtown Auckland has an impressive array of cafes, restaurants and bars. Enjoy fine dining on the waterfront, relaxed eats around Queen Street, celebrity chefs’ creations on Federal Street, and ethnic cuisine on Elliot Street. The City Works Depot is a foodie hotspot - head here for delicious lunches with a Kiwi twist and New Zealand craft beers. For nightlife head to the Viaduct Harbour, Britomart or Wynyard Quarter; all are within walking distance of Queen Street. Karangahape Road (‘K Road’ to the locals) is known for its alternative bars, while trendy Ponsonby (about 10 minutes’ drive from downtown) is good for live music.
Once you've seen the city, head out to one of Auckland's beautiful wine regions where you can sample local wines against the backdrop of vine-covered hills and sparkling ocean.
The sea is right on the city’s doorstep with countless water activities and island adventures at your fingertips. Lonely Planet rated the Hauraki Gulf and islands as one of the best experiences in New Zealand, so make sure you get out on the water, perhaps even a trip over to Great Barrier Island on one of our many daily flights!
Auckland’s vibrant art scene has a lot to offer visitors. Start with the Auckland Art Gallery, and follow it up with a few of the city's many small galleries. Auckland Museum hosts exquisite displays of Māori and Pacific artefacts, as well as live Māori cultural performances. In the evening, catch a show or concert at the Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre or Town Hall, or head to The Classic Comedy Club for something light-hearted.
Find culture in every corner and exciting events including musicals, festivals, concerts and international sports.
There are a couple of experiences you won’t want to miss in central Auckland. Take a trip up the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, where you can experience spectacular 360-degree views of the city from the observation deck. The adventurous can also try SkyJump – New Zealand’s highest base jump – or the incredible SkyWalk, where you’ll walk around the outside of the Sky Tower on a platform high above the city for some extreme sightseeing .
If you've a picnic in mind you can climb Mt Eden, the city's highest volcanic cone with panoramic views from the summit. Auckland is known as the City of Sails – so whether you go on a harbour cruise, a dolphin safari or an America’s Cup Yacht, you need to get out on the water. To unwind, catch a ferry over to Waiheke Island and enjoy the many vineyards, olive groves and beautiful sandy beaches. Auckland City is also spoilt for choice when it comes to coastline – catch a bus to Mission Bay or a ferry to Devonport and you’ll be licking ice-cream by the seaside in no time.