City of sails, culture and sights

New Zealand’s largest city is far more than just a gateway to the rest of the country. Auckland is a vibrant, multicultural hub complete with yacht-speckled harbour, wild, rugged beaches and a host of galleries, museums and festivals that celebrate the city’s diversity.

Some 50 volcanoes dot the Auckland region, making for exciting vantage points to take in the stunning harbour and cityscape. Beaches on both coasts make Auckland an appealing summertime destination, but the cultural lure of the city makes for a great getaway at any time of year. It’s also the perfect jumping-off point for a campervan expedition to take in the splendours of the north or the Coromandel Peninsula to the east.

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Things to do: Auckland

  • Bars and restaurants in Wynyard Quarter at night with cityscape behind, Auckland, New Zealand.

    Go wining and dining

    Auckland has some eclectic neighbourhoods to explore, showcasing the city's creative and culinary scenes. Dive into the food, wine and fun in nightlife precincts like Ponsonby, Wynyard Quarter, Britomart or the Viaduct, where you'll find countless bars, restaurants and clubs. If you want to sample New Zealand’s famed wines, take a quick ferry ride over to Waiheke Island and explore more than 30 wineries and cellar doors.
  • Kayakers in a rocky bay at sunset with cityscape in background, Auckland, New Zealand.

    Island-hop in the Hauraki Gulf

    The epic and sparkling Hauraki Gulf, peppered with emerald islands, is a wonderland of water activities and outdoor adventures. It’s right there on Auckland’s doorstep, so you can take a ferry to the white sand beaches of Great Barrier Island or visit Rangitoto to walk to the summit of a dormant volcano. Hit the walking trails on Rotoroa Island, visit the open-air wildlife sanctuary on Tiritiri Matangi Island, take a harbour cruise or jump in a kayak and explore the bays.

    Image credit: Miles Holden/Tourism NZ
  • Auckland Museum at night with cenotaph in foreground, Auckland, New Zealand

    Visit museums and galleries

    Auckland packs a cultural punch with its galleries and museums, which span from the historic to the contemporary and interactive. While away the hours at the Auckland Art Gallery or Auckland Museum to get a taste of Māori, colonial and Pasifika art, culture and history. Get lost under the stars at the Stardome Observatory, take to the seas of the past at the New Zealand Maritime Museum or travel back in time at the Howick Historical Village.

  • Surf the West Coast beaches

    Auckland has a wealth of rugged, captivating beaches to explore. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of West Coast beaches like Muriwai, Bethells, Whatipu, Anawhata, Karekare or Piha, which are about 40km from downtown Auckland. Piha is particularly popular with surfers, but it’s also a prime spot for a picnic. Become part of a time-honoured Kiwi tradition: go for a swim or a surf and follow it up with fish and chips on the beach.

  • Person doing bungee jump with Sky Tower in background, Auckland, New Zealand

    Head up the Sky Tower

    Ascend the 328m of Auckland’s soaring Sky Tower for unrivalled views of the city and beyond. There’s a range of restaurants to dine at, including the revolving Orbit 360° Dining, but the star of the show is the SKYJUMP. If you dare, step off a ledge 192m up and whizz all the way down to the bottom before making a smooth landing. For something a bit less nerve-wracking, try the SkyWalk or dial it down even further with a session of Yoga in the Sky.

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Airport information

Auckland Airport (AKL) 

Distance to city centre 22km

Taxis are available from the domestic and international terminals. The trip into the city centre takes around 30 minutes and costs NZD $38-75.

Shuttle The SkyBus shuttle travels between the airport and Auckland city, departing every 20-30 minutes. The journey to the centre of town takes around 50 minutes. Tickets cost around NZD $17 and are available online, at Skybus stops or from the bus driver (card only).

Bus The 380 Airporter bus goes from the airport to Onehunga, from where you can catch a train into central Auckland. The trip takes around an hour and costs NZD $5-11.

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When to go

Auckland’s subtropical climate is affected by the close proximity of its west and east coasts, which are less than 2km apart at the narrowest point. The result is warm, humid summers and mild, damp winters. Summer begins around Christmas and lasts until March, with winter typically at its peak around July and August. This means wind and rain, with occasional hailstorms.

A small city with big aspirations, Auckland boasts music festivals such as Laneway in January and Splore in February, Pacific culture festival Pasifika in March, the Writers Festival in May, a biennial arts festival in odd-numbered years and the must-see New Zealand International Film Festival, which takes place each July.

Ready to go? Find cheap flights to Auckland

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Getting around

Auckland’s Link bus service covers the whole city with regular departures and cheap fares. The red City Link buses serve the city centre every 7-10 minutes, the bright green Inner Link buses cover the inner-city suburbs and the orange Outer Link buses serve the universities, some inner-city and western suburbs, plus the Museum of Transport & Technology.

Trains cover the southern, eastern and western suburbs, as well as the central city.

Ferries operate from the Downtown Ferry Terminal. There are more than 10 routes, including Waiheke Island, Birkenhead, Bayswater, Stanley Bay, Devonport and Half Moon Bay.

With a pre-paid rechargable AT HOP card you’ll get at least 20% discount on most public transport.

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