Auckland City Guide
Auckland, the largest city is New Zealand, is known for its scenic splendor. Auckland, which is acknowledged as one of the most ‘beautiful’ cities in the world, is located in the northern central region of the North Island of New Zealand, across an 8 mile wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbors to the east and west.
The shallower of the two, the Manukau Harbor opens out the Tasman Sea, while Waitemata Harbor, which is Auckland’s deep water port, lies in the heart of the city center. Auckland is regarded as a major gateway to New Zealand. Additionally, this city has a deeply entrenched sailing tradition and is often referred to the ‘City of Sails’ that became very prominent after the successful hosting of the 2002/2003 America's Cup sailing championship.
Auckland is a lush, verdant city, which meanders over picturesque bays and harbors and volcanic hills. It is sparsely populated and offers a friendly small-town, relaxed atmosphere that is popular with tourists who tend to regard it as a favored vacation destination.
Where to stay in Auckland
Inner City Area Hotels
Auckland’s loosely defined inner city area is its bustling downtown area that is home to the southern hemisphere’s tallest building, the Sky Tower and many hotels and major attractions like the Viaduct Basin, the former America’s cup village. Auckland’s many popular harbor tours in fact originate from the Quay Street Area located here. Auckland’s inner city area is easily navigable on foot and if you don’t wish to rent a car for your stay in Auckland then you should perhaps consider staying a hotel located in Auckland’s inner city area.
Parnell/ Newmarket Hotels
The Parnell/Newmarket neighborhood of Auckland is an upscale area of the city that hosts expensive stores and restaurants along with luxury and boutique hotels. The area is located within close proximity to Auckland’s inner city area and also hosts attractions like the Auckland Museum and the Auckland Domain Park. Aside from luxury hotel properties, these two areas also host a variety of budget accommodation options like bed and breakfast inns and motels.
The Eastern Suburbs
The eastern suburbs of Auckland offer various beachside delights at communities like Howick, Pakuranga, Panmure but if you choose to stay here, you will need to rent a car to access the many attractions of Auckland’s inner-city area.
Near the Airport
The Auckland airport area also offers a good selection of hotels that mainly cater to business travelers who sometimes have early morning flights out of Auckland.
Places to see in Auckland
The Auckland Domain is Auckland’s oldest park that is spread over 75 hectares and has been developed around the cone of an extinct volcano. The park displays the tuff rings of the ancient volcano and offers formal gardens, duck ponds, picnic areas and sports fields where sports like cricket, rugby and soccer are played.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland’s War Memorial Museum is located at the highest point of the Auckland Domain and overlooks the city and the Waitemata Harbor. This museum was built as a World War I memorial and today commemorates those who sacrificed their lives in both World wars and offers displays of both Maori and Pacific Island artifacts. The museum also hosts a Children’s Discovery center and offers Maori song and dance performances every day. The Auckland War Memorial Museum is a must do attraction if you are visiting Auckland with your children in tow.
The Sky Tower rises to a height of 328 meters and is the tallest, free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. This tower belongs to Auckland’s Sky City Entertainment group and offers gorgeous vistas of the city, harbor and the gulf islands. The tower is an entertainment complex that houses a casino, theater, hotel and conference center. It is also equipped with four observation decks that offer stunning 360 degree views of the city.
The Auckland Zoo is definitely a recommended attraction if you are on a visit to Auckland with your children. The zoo offers displays of several native and exotic animals that are housed in their recreated natural habitats.
The Auckland zoo offers a variety of interactive experiences and is especially well known for its many conservative efforts that target some of the world’s most endangered species like the native tuatara, believed to be the world’s oldest living dinosaur along with other animals like the cheetah, the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran orangutans and the Vietnamese turtles.
Best time to visit Auckland
Auckland experiences a year round sub-tropical climate that features warm, hot summers and mild and damp winters. As Auckland is located in the southern hemisphere, it experiences its summers from January to March and its winters during the months of June and July.
These seasons are characterized by average temperatures of around 74°F( 23C) in February, and approximately 58F( 14C) in July. The city also experiences much rainfall all throughout the year and if you don’t mind incessant rainfall, you can choose to visit Auckland at any time of the year. In fact, Fare Buzz periodically announces attractive flight deals for Auckland and if you are in the market for cheap air flights to transport you across the globe to Auckland, you should connect with Fare Buzz on Facebook and Twitter in order to get advance notice of these cheap air tickets for your trip.
Getting around in Auckland
Auckland is accessed via its Auckland International Airport which is located 14 miles to the south of the city. This airport is served by a variety of international and domestic carriers and is connected to its inner-city area by an airbus services as well as shuttle buses and taxis operated by Maxx, the public transport authority of Auckland.
Auckland is in fact served by various modes of public transport that include ferries, buses, trains and taxis. Taxis can be hailed in the street as well as called on the phone. Buses serve most points in the city, however if you choose to stay in one of the outer suburbs of the city, you probably would need to rent a car to get around. The city is well equipped with outlets of most of the major car rental companies, however if you would like to have good rates for car rentals in Auckland, you should probably consider reserving your car rental before you leave US shores. Fare Buzz can be of help at this instance for it offers a bouquet of affordable car rentals for Auckland as well as various other cities, which can be booked via its regular travel channels.
Where to shop in Auckland
Auckland offers a multitude of shopping options at its many malls, markets and individual stores and boutiques located within its precincts. Some of the largest malls in Auckland include shopping centers like the Westfield Malls which have several outposts within the city. These Westfield Malls are home to myriad stores that offer a wide range of products like clothes, gifts, accessories, furniture and food sourced from domestic and international brands.
Other much-frequented malls in Auckland include the Botany Town Centre which hosts more than 150 stores set amongst charming streets, lanes and piazzas. Dress-Smart is an outlet mall in the city, which has more than 100 stores of well-known domestic and international brands like Nike, Country Road, Esprit, Sunglasses Hut onsite. These outlets offer merchandise of past seasons at great rebates. So if you enjoy hunting for bargains, Dress Smart should feature on your Auckland shopping must-do list.
Aside from malls, Auckland offers much retail therapy at boutiques located within its various precincts like the waterfront Britomart, a district that hosts several lanes, streets and open spaces that are home to stylish stores offering a profusion of fashion wear, home wares and gift articles. Also worth perusing is the achingly cool precinct, Ponsonby Road, located on the fringes of the city which is home to trendy fashion stores and beautifully appointed retail stores that have on offer designer furniture, gifts, kitchen wares and more. Another notable precinct is Newmarket, which is often referred to as the fashion capital of New Zealand for it hosts boutiques of leading New Zealand designers like Karen Walker, Zanmbezi and the highest concentration of shoe shops in New Zealand along its centrally located Nuffield and Teed Streets.
Yet another important feature of Auckland’s shopping scene is its many vibrant local markets, like the Night Market which is held in downtown Auckland every Thursday evening between 5pm and 9pm, the Browns Bay Sunday Market, the Titirangi Village Market, the Auckland Indoor Market and the Matakana Village Farmers Market amongst others.
Where to eat in Auckland
Auckland’s many farmer’s markets like the Matakana Village Framers Market (held every Saturday in North Auckland), the Night Market in Downtown Auckland and the Le Cigale French Style Farmers market (held on Saturday and Sunday mornings on the city fringe) give locals and visitors a chance to sample delicious, freshly made products like artisan breads, cheeses, cakes, chocolates and more from various individual growers and producers from in and around Auckland. These Auckland markets are a real treat in city where fresh and local food is much appreciated.
Aside from these local markets, Auckland offers diverse dining experiences at its many top-notch restaurants that offer both local and international fare. Highly ranked restaurants in Auckland include spots like Clooney, Number 5, the French Café and the Grove. Global cuisines offered at popular eateries like Atico Cocina(Caribbean fare), De niro(Italian) Torchon French Creperie, Café Midnight Express(Turkish cuisine) and Calcutta Wala (Indian cuisine).
Nightlife in Auckland
Auckland offers a wealth of nightlife choices at various locales around the city. The Skycity entertainment complex located in the heart of the city’s CBD and the lively Britomart and Ponsonby Road precincts which are lined with cafes, bars and lively nightclubs are popular nightlife haunts in Auckland. The Skycity complex features a casino, hotels and great bars like the XO bar, the Red Hummingbird, Twentyone and Sammy’s Place. Other popular haunts in the city include bars like 1885 Britomart, Agents and Merchants, Sale St and Brew on Quay.