New Zealand’s largest city and the buzzing cultural hub of North Island as a whole contains almost a third of the country’s population. Settled by Maori explorers around the 14th century, the land known today as Auckland was then discovered by British colonialists in 1840. After rapid expansion over the last century and a half, this city is now a hub for New Zealand’s contemporary life, with bungee jumps, cool bridges and soaring skyscrapers et al.
With wine produced in New Zealand being internationally renowned as some of the best in the world, there is plenty of opportunity to taste some top-class reds and whites in Auckland. Take a tour to some of the North Island’s beautiful vineyards and do some sightseeing in Auckland’s surrounding countryside. With day-long tours around the Auckland region’s premier wineries, Auckland Wine Trail Tours offers everything you could need to sate that desire for this nation’s most famous liquid export.
With views extending over all of Auckland, Mount Eden is the highest volcano in the city. This volcanic crater is a short five-minute drive from Auckland’s city center and is alive with native fauna. As well as being a natural wonder, Mount Eden also contains historical records of the Maori habitation, with authentic gardens and terraces dotted around its heights. Although this site was eventually colonised by European settlers, it remains a precious piece of Maori history that’s open for everyone to see.
Being flanked by ocean, Auckland is unique in that it is quite easy to make an excursion out to the beach. Because Auckland’s beaches are so easily accessible and navigable, kayak is a great way to see Auckland and the islands in the area. Auckland Sea Kayaks provides specialized kayak tours with knowledgeable local guides that come with professional kayaking experience. Perfect for beginners or people with a little experience in kayaking, this is a safe and fun way to see Auckland and its surrounding area.
The Maori people were the native inhabitants of New Zealand’s two major islands. A culture that has been prevalent in the land for almost seven centuries, the Maori community has a unique and very special background. From art, music and dance to war, weapons and food, the captivating Maori culture is a must-see. Holding enthralling tours of New Zealand’s indigenous culture and nature, Navigator Tours offers enriching experiences to learn and understand more about the Maori way of life.
Home of the All Blacks, New Zealand is a country obsessed with rugby. Auckland is no exception, with New Zealand’s largest sport stadium, Eden Park, you can’t miss the opportunity to see a couple of teams go head-to-head in this “gentleman’s” sport. If you’re worried you won’t understand the rules, you can relax: New Zealanders are known for being extremely friendly and would be more than happy to explain what’s happening on the field over a beer or two!
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, +64 9-815 5551
This city, settled by colonial explorers in the mid 19th century, is filled with varying styles of architecture. From the first major building, St Patrick’s Cathedral, built in 1848 in the Gothic revival style, to the famous modern Sky Tower, there is oodles to spy out between its streets. Other architectural points of interest in Auckland include the Italian Renaissance-inspired town hall, as well as the ferry terminal constructed in 1912 in the Edwardian Baroque style.
By far the coolest way to visit this gorgeous island on the edge of the city is by helicopter. As one of the largest islands in the Auckland region, Waiheke Island is home to dozens of vineyards, giving it the reputation of New Zealand’s “island of wine”, as well as a gorgeous landscape to go hiking in and plenty of gorgeous beaches to watch the sunset on. Check out Heletrans for information on how to get a fantastic scenic flight from Auckland to Waiheke Island.
By Matthew Clark
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Matthew Clark is currently living in the south of France as an English language teacher. After graduating from a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, he plans on travelling the world to experience the food, wine and culture it has to offer.