Auckland city which is also known as the ‘City of Sails’ is the largest and most cosmopolitan city of New Zealand with a population of about 1.4million people. Although it is quite a large city it has a small town vibe to it with everything within access and a friendly feeling to it.
There are plenty of things to do in Auckland for everyone, whether it be sailing across to one of the beautiful islands such as Waiheke or Rangitoto, sailing on the America’s Cup Yacht, going kayaking and fishing or walking or jumping off the tallest building in the southern hemisphere the Skytower, there is fun for everyone.
Below I have listed the top things I recommend to do when visiting Auckland in no particular order! :
1) Island hopping: Take a sailing trip or ferry to Waiheke island for the day and explore the great beaches and secret bays on the island as well as checking out one of the 30 or so Wineries there and sitback and enjoy the views over a glass of wine! Just a 30minute Ferry Ride from Auckland Harbour, it is definitely a great day trip! http://www.fullers.co.nz/
B) Take the ferry to Rangitoto island which is a volcanic island which last erupted 600 years ago, it offers great views at the summit of the island and back towards Auckland and beyond. There is also walking trails, bird-watching and fishing opportunities.
2) Check out the Skytower: The largest tower in the Southern Hemisphere at 328metres, the Skytower is an impressive landmark to visit to say the least. Whether it be having dinner at Orbit the revolving restaurant, shooting in the lift to the top of the observation tower to enjoy the 360degree view, taking a SkyWalk on the outside of it or even taking the Skyjump off it! (www.skyjump.co.nz). Definitely worth it on a great day or clear night! Orbit Restaurant: (http://www.skycityauckland.co.nz/Restaurants/Orbit.html)
3) Waitakere Ranges: Take a scenic drive to the Waitakere Ranges to see Piha Beach (www.piha.co.nz) amongst others and enjoy the amazing views, great hiking trails and good surf at some of the beaches!
Otherwise a road Trip around the Coromandel is also another great day trip with breath taking sites along the way! Both are great trips! (www.thecoromandel.com)
4) Popular spots in Auckland: Check out Mission Bay (www.missionbay.co.nz) and St Heliers for a great view of Rangitoto, good cafe culture, and good old Fish and Chips. Also there is the cafes and bars in the Viaduct Harbour and eateries in the Wynyard Quarter (www.waterfrontauckland.co.nz) which is a relatively new area since the Rugby World Cup. For a hike and great views of Auckland check out one of Auckland 49 volcanoes, I would recommend One Tree Hill in Cornwall park which is beautiful and then also Mount Eden.
5) Auckland Museum and Art Gallery: Auckland Museum and Art Gallery are both quality places to visit, the Museum is free if you say you live here and allows you to discover the history and culture of New Zealand through a well structured layout. The Art Gallery has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand with over 15,000 artworks and are currently showing the Degas to Dalí exhibition. www.aucklandmuseum.com/ www.aucklandartgallery.com
I hope you enjoy your time in Auckland and some of the great places above and I appreciate any feedback you might have! cheers!