Auckland, known as the City of Sails, is New Zealand’s largest and most multi-national city.
The Hauraki Gulf wraps around Auckland, bringing yachts and ferries through its waters every day. The Harbour Bridge is iconic, and if you’re brave enough you can bungee jump off it. Not a fan of heights? Take a thrilling jet boat tour that will send you spinning through the gulf.
Amidst 48 volcanoes (they’re all extinct, don’t worry!) lives the bustling city centre, packed with cafés, restaurants and shops. If you like all things creative, a visit to the Auckland Art Gallery is a must. Karangahapé Road is where you’ll find Auckland’s underground, with regular music gigs, craft shops and many more unexpected events. In the summer, Silo Park on Auckland’s waterfront also holds weekly markets and outdoor movie screenings – perfect for a cheap night out. There’s plenty to do here, but if you feel like something different, catching the public transport is easy.
If you’re more of an adventure junkie, spend the weekend hiking in the beautiful Waitakere Ranges or learn to surf at Piha Beach. The Waitakere Ranges have 250 km of walking tracks through native New Zealand bush to beautiful waterfalls, beaches and cliffs. A popular walk is to Kitekite Falls. It’s easy and short, but very rewarding. Remember to bring a camera and your swimsuit, because there are so many photo opportunities and it’s a great spot to cool off! Piha beach is one of the west coast surf beaches. It has picturesque sand dunes and great surf. The best part about Piha and most other New Zealand beaches is that they are never crowded. You won’t believe you are just half an hour out of the city centre with such stunning landscapes in front of your eyes.
One of the best things you can do is take a ferry to Auckland’s youngest volcano, Rangitoto Island. The day-hike to the summit will take you through the largest pohutukawa forest in the world and finishes with a breath-taking view of the Hauraki Gulf, with the city-centre in the distance.
No visit to Auckland is complete without a trip up the Sky Tower. Taking the elevator 220 metres high will give you a complete 360-degree view of the entire city from the viewing deck. If you want to make a night of it, there are three restaurants to choose from up the Sky Tower, so you can relax, eat and take in the massive views. Sunset is the best time to go, so you can soak up the scenery and then see Auckland glimmer at night with all her lights.
There’s always something happening at any corner of the city, no matter what you like doing in your spare time, so check out Heart of the City.