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Auckland Guide

Auckland City Guide

Called the "City of Sails" because it is home to the most yachts – per capita – of any city in the world, Auckland offers everything from stunning beaches to fine dining that can't be beaten.

Auckland has amazing seafood. Couple that with the region's gourmet wines and you have the makings of a world-class meal that you can't find anywhere else!

Top attractions

Auckland is home to two harbours - the Manuakau and the Waitemata. The Waitemata is the more popular of the two, and it's also the bigger, which is why you'll commonly hear it referred to as the "Auckland Harbour". While there are several ferries that travel around it, you can also see the Waitemata from above, by looking down from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

There are plenty of tours that will give you a great view of the Auckland Harbour. Depending on what you're in the mood for, you can take a dinner tour cruise, see the city's historic sites from the deck of a tour boat, or float through the Harbour and into the Hauraki Gulf - where you can make a few pit stops at nearby islands.

One thing that you can't leave Auckland without doing is whale and dolphin watching. The best place to see them is aboard a boat in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. There is so much wildlife to see there that some tours will even guarantee that you'll see dolphins on 90% of their trips - and that you'll see whales on 75% of their trips!

If you want to learn more about Auckland's sea history, you can do it at Auckland's Voyager New Zealand National Maritime Museum. Inside, you'll learn about the country's first inhabitants, who arrived more than 3,000 years ago. There are also exhibits that highlight the European influence in New Zealand.

If you want something more interactive, hop onboard the museum's heritage vessel fleet and take a tour of the Waitemata Harbour! The tours are offered Wednesday-Sunday, weather permitting.

Far away from the surface of the water lies the Auckland Sky Tower - the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand. The Sky Tower is used as a telecommunications tower, but there is also a variety of activities inside that visitors will enjoy - like the revolving restaurant, the sky jumping (similar to base jumping), and the great views. In fact, the Sky Tower offers views for 80 km in every direction!

Eat and drink

Whether you have a boat or not, the Viaduct Harbour is a great place to spend some time - whether it's the middle of the afternoon or late in the evening.

The Viaduct Harbour is especially popular because of its food. There are more than two dozen restaurants and bars to choose from - that offer everything from Italian cuisine, to Chinese food, to seafood, to Soul Food.

Mecca is one creative restaurant. Considered to be "modern cuisine with a Mediterranean influence", Mecca is famous for its Beef Iskender - or, roasted sirloin strips on grilled pide, in a tomato butter sauce.

If you want to indulge in some of the local seafood, there is no better place to do it than at Kermadec. In addition to the restaurant, Kermadec also features a number of different theme rooms and bars that each offer a unique dining experience.

If you're simply looking for a fun place to kick back with your friends, O'Hagans Irish Pub is the perfect place. O'Hagans offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and virtually every televised sporting event you can think of!

Another Irish-inspired place, Danny Doolans offers beer jugs, pints, and live music every night of the week. You can even get there early for the traditional Irish breakfast!

Another popular watering hole in town is Fox's Ale House. With a variety of locally-produced beers and wines, it's the perfect place to watch your favourite rugby games. As an added benefit, Fox's has a great view of Auckland Harbour.

f you're looking for something a little more relaxed, head to The Khuja Lounge. With its soul and jazz music, it's far less rowdy than the sports bars.

Rugby Union

Spend some time in Auckland, and you'll see that Rugby Union is king here! The All Blacks - the national team - are of course known around the world, and the fans are complete die-hards.

The All Blacks play in stadiums all over New Zealand. When they're in Auckland, you can catch them at Eden Park.


Auckland is right on the water and home to some great beaches. In fact, depending on where you set up your lounge chair, you can either take a dip in the Pacific Ocean or the Tasman Sea!

With its dark sand, tall grass, and thunderous waves, Karekare beach is totally different from any beach you've seen anywhere else. It's also incredibly desolate - making it the perfect secluded getaway.

If you want to catch a wave, Piha beach is the perfect spot. The giant waves break dramatically around Lion Rock - the exact spot where the Kawerau people once defended their land.

Also called "Bethells", Te Henga beach is chock full of black sand. This beach is a popular spot for fishing and dog-walking.

If you spend time at Muriwai beach, you'll have to share your spot with gannets, fur seals, and terns. Muriwai used to be home to motor racing, but now it's a surfer's paradise.

Arts and entertainment

If you have some spare time on a Saturday morning, head to Otara Market. Located in the southern part of the city, Otara Market offers everything from produce to baskets to quilts. But, the market is only open from 6am to noon. Luckily, though, there are plenty of cheap hotels near Otara Market, so you can stay within walking distance if you want to beat the crowds.

To get your creative juices flowing, take a trip to Parnell. Nicknamed the "Creative Quarter" because of its fashion designers, art galleries, and cuisine, Parnell is just east of city centre. Since more than a dozen Auckland hotels call Parnell home, it is easy to find a place to stay in the trendy neighbourhood. That way, you can take advantage of the stores, museums, and unique quirks anytime, day or night!

Accommodation and Hotels in Auckland

Since it is New Zealand’s biggest city, there are countless Auckland hotels in every price range. If you are looking for cheap Auckland hotels, your best bet will likely be to head inland. Auckland’s waterfront views are beautiful, but they can really add to your nightly cost!

If you're travelling on a budget, don't worry. There are plenty of cheap and affordable accommodation options around Auckland. You'll have to look further inland to find them, but start your search on Symonds Street. There, you can find budget-friendly hotels and even budget apartments. As an added benefit, you'll still be close to the centre of town.
Auckland serviced apartments are ideal for family visits or executives wanting more space and long stays. Most are self catering and not far from a restaurant or takeaway if cooking is not on your menu.

If you don't mind driving back and forth to town, Auckland's southern suburbs usually feature good deals on hotels that you can't find amongst the hustle and bustle.

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