Auckland City Guide
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and main transport hub. The region is home to some 1.5 million people and and is also the largest Polynesian city in the world. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. On 1 November 2010 the council was amalgamated with other councils of the wider Auckland Region into the new Auckland Council. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland City, New Zealand, our largest and most diverse city.
More than just a city, Auckland is a whole region full of things to see and do. Best of all, with so many experiences close by it’s easy to hop from one adventure to the next.
Short History Of Auckland City
The creation of Auckland City’s unique landscape is part of an ancient love story that brought about a fierce battle of incantations. The battle between two iwi (tribes) created deep cracks in the earth, thrusting upwards the many volcanic cones scattered across the region today.
The fertile soils left from this battle, combined with the abundant resources of the Waitemata and Manukau harbours, have drawn people to this region for centuries. It is for this reason that the Auckland City is widely known as Tāmaki Makaurau –
Tāmaki desired by many lovers.
These same natural assets also attracted waka (canoes) from tribes across the country to trade with the people of the Auckland region. It is said that at times hundreds of canoes could be seen on Auckland’s harbours, giving the region another name: Tāmaki Herenga Waka – Tāmaki the gatherer of canoes. Today these waters are sprinkled with hundreds of boats and Auckland is often referred to around the world as the ‘City of Sails’.
Getting To Auckland City
Getting to Auckland City by road is easy, whether you’re travelling by car, coach, bus or motorcycle. Best of all, you get to enjoy the scenery along the way and stop off anywhere you choose.
Motorways and expressways connect Auckland City to regions in the north and south, and throughout the wider Auckland region. Or if you are interested with another option, renting a vehicle in Auckland is easy, with cars, motor homes, campervans, bicycles, motorcycles and coaches all available for hire.
Shuttles in Auckland City will pick up/drop you to the door of your destination – which can be an efficient and quick option if you are the only passenger – less so if you are the first or last of six passengers to be picked up/dropped off. Rates are set by zone and do not vary much between drivers/companies. It is usual for a driver to wait for other passengers going vaguely the same way as you. There are regulations as to how long a driver can wait after the first passenger arrives at the van. If you turn up and other passengers are already loaded but going to another part of the city, the driver will direct you to the next shuttle in line.
Taxi fares in Auckland City range roughly between $50-100 from the airport to a city location, about the same as it costs to hire a car per day. Taxis are metered and wait in a rank outside terminals. A cheaper option might be to negotiate a flat fare (if you are familiar with fares and think you can cut a deal). Otherwise, it is possible to call one of the many taxi companies and enquire how much they will charge to take you to your destination – then have the cheapest pick you up from the Drop Zone immediately outside the terminal. Doors into the International Terminal are numbered. For clarity, advise the driver which door you will wait outside of.
The Auckland City’s InterCity Sky City Coach Terminal (located at 102 Hobson St, behind Sky City Plaza) is the main hub for national carriers InterCity Coachlines and GreatSights New Zealand. Regional Northland operator Northliner also departs from this location. Facilities include an InterCity Coachlines ticketing office, free wifi, cafe and luggage lockers.
The Auckland City’s Overlander train operates from central Wellington to Britomart Transport Centre at the north end of Queen St in central Auckland. The 681 km (423 mi) journey takes about 12 h. The trip takes much of the length of the North Island with stopping-off opportunity at Tongariro National Park. In a single day you will explore every kind of scenery: coastline, volcanoes and mountains, green farm pastures and dense New Zealand bush from $119.
Fly into Australasia’s second largest airport, Auckland City’s Airport, which is serviced by 18 international airlines flying direct to Auckland from 32 destinations around the world.
There’s also more than 300 daily flights to 20 cities around the country, making it easy for visitors travelling within New Zealand.
Auckland City’s international and domestic airport terminals are located approximately 45 minutes from downtown Auckland. Regular shuttles, transfers, private transport and bus services are all available 24 hours, seven days a week.
New Zealand Holidays – Places To Visit
Auckland City is surrounded by nature and much of it is free to enjoy. For days when rain sets in there are plenty of indoor recreation options.
Waitakere Ranges – Scenic Drive begins in Titirangi, an artistic suburb with art galleries and cafes. Easy to difficult bush walk tracks are plentiful and many replete with impressive waterfalls and streams suitable for swimming are at Huia. You will need a car – take Exit 8 (Great North Road) off Northwestern Motorway (Hwy 16) and follow the urban arterial straight through all intersections to Titirangi. Around 45 min drive from central Auckland City. Rugged but beautiful west coast beaches are further on (swim only in patrolled areas at Piha and Bethells).
Volcanic Experiences – Drive or walk up one of Auckland City’s many volcanic cones such as One Tree Hill, Mount Eden or Mount Victoria to experience panoramic views of the city, and to see sheep and cows in a major metropolitan area!
Go Downtown Auckland – See what’s on in in the city’s entertainment precinct Aotea Centre, Auckland Town Hall and Civic Theatre (the incredible restored interior make this a must see). Nearby Sky City Cinemas offer the latest released movies in a world class multiplex. Large suburban centres also have multiplex cinema facilities – most notable of these is Sylvia Park with luxury movie watching options and one of the worlds largest 35mm projector screens. Sylvia Park is easily reached by car (Exit 438 from the Southern Motorway) or train or bus from Britomart (downtown) and Newmarket.
Go shopping or just hang out at any of Auckland City’s many shopping malls and fashion districts.
Sports Events – Catch a cricket or rugby match at New Zealands largest sports stadium Eden Park. Bus or Train to nearby Kingsland station. Or you can go climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge, do the Sky Jump, a cable controlled base jump from a height of 192m on the Sky Tower. Or try the Sky Walk, a walk around a 1.2 m wide walkway 92 m above the ground with no hand rails.
Relax At A Park – Rainbow’s End is one of Auckland City’s family-based theme park with many rides and attractions. Located 25 km south of the CBD. Nearby Manukau City Centre has a shopping mall and large retail outlets. Best reached by car but bus routes 471, 472, 474, 487, 497 from downtown Britomart will get you there.
Ferry Cruise – Take a ferry from downtown to the volcanic island of Rangitoto that stands prominently near the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour. Climb to the summit for fantastic views of the harbour and Auckland city. Take a picnic or have a swim.
Or take the ferry to Devonport, an historic harbourside suburb. Plenty of cafes await. Walk (or take a short taxi ride) to the summit of Mount Victoria for spectacular views across the Waitemata Harbour and city skyline. The Navy Museum with attached cafe is an easy and scenic 30 min walk away.
Bicycle Or Skate Tours – You can rent skates or a bicycle in Okahu Bay and take a scenic skate along Tamaki Drive. Combine with a visit to Kelly Tarltons and Mission Bay – well serviced by bus from the downtown Britomart transport hub.
Spend a day exploring the beauty of contemporary Māori culture in Auckland’s city centre and urban bush sites.
Viaduct Harbour Basin – Further explore Auckland City and New Zealand in general with the Waitemata Harbour sailboat cruises on a boat from the Pride of Auckland fleet. Also offer a 2 hr Sailing Experience on an original America’s Cup yacht or an excursion on a power catamaran to see whales and dolphins in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Other activities are available.
Auckland City Sea Kayaks – Sea kayak to one of Auckland’s amazing volcanic islands like Rangitoto island day or night.
Skydive Auckland City – (Skydiving in New Zealand at Skydive Auckland), 72 Green Road, Parakai (40 min north of Auckland City Centre), 0800 921 6500, . 08:00 to 17:00. Skydive Auckland is one of New Zealand’s best places to skydive. Enjoy one of New Zealand’s highest freefall zones – over 75 seconds and up to 200km/h whilst viewing two coastlines around Auckland. From $295. edit
Take A Trip To The Beach – Mission Bay combines urban chic with beach (on Tamaki Drive further on from Kelly Tarltons). Hibiscus Coast and Long Bay are other popular beaches. The coast path walk between Milford and Takapuna is recommended – all easily reached by regular public bus services from the downtown bus terminus.
Combine a visit to Auckland City Zoo (Kiwi enclosure) and MOTAT – ride the historic tram that runs between the two attractions and walk through Western Springs Lakeside Park.
Accommodation In Auckland City
Auckland City has all types of accommodation for everyone, from luxurious resorts and 5-star international hotel chains to charming bed and breakfasts and beautiful holiday homes. Choose from a vast selection of accommodation throughout the whole Auckland region, from the CBD to island retreats.
Recommended hotels in Auckland City
Here is the list of recommended hotels you can stay:
City Lodge and YMCA Hostel are both located in central Auckland. City Lodge is fresh and modern in design, offering tourists a great place to stay.
Nomads Auckland Backpackers Hostel & Bar
Located close to Vector Arena, Skytower, Viaduct Harbour, train station and all the downtown shops, Nomads Auckland is the perfect place to stay in Auckland City.
Fossil Bay Lodge
Fossil Bay Lodge is a unique retreat offering cabins, glamping and an apartment surrounded by birdsong, lush gardens and tranquility. With overwhelmingly positive reviews many have found this to be a place where beautiful memories are made.
Verandahs Backpackers Lodge
Built from prized native New Zealand Kauri timber, Verandahs two colonial style villas have been lovingly restored to surpass their original grandeur.
Whether you’re spending time alone in our comfortable rooms or mixing with fellow travellers in our elegant lounge’s, spacious garden or on our picturesque verandahs, you’ll enjoy style, serenity and space in the heart of the city.
Bed And Breakfasts
Qualmark 4 star accommodation situated in peaceful North Cove, Kawau Island. Only 45 minutes from Auckland city and then a 20 minute boat ride.
Nicely appointed queen rooms with ensuites, tea & coffee making facilities, private deck overlooking the water and surrounded by bush. Delicious breakfast served to your private deck area. Super king room with own private deck.
All meals are provided during your stay using fresh produce from our garden or nearby markets. We are eco-friendly, have solar heating and bio waste systems in place.
Peace And Plenty Inn
The Peace and Plenty Inn is a magnificently restored Victorian villa (circa 1880), situated in an unbeatable waterfront location in the heart of the historic maritime village of Devonport.
Stay at this gracious home offering comfortable and friendly luxury accommodation. The Inn host visitors who come to relax from all over the world, along with New Zealanders enjoying a weekend away. The Inn is also able to hold boutique weddings and Victorian High Teas.
Braemar on Parliament Street
Braemar on Parliment Street is the only late Victorian townhouse in the Auckland Central Business District still used as a residence. Built in 1901, it has been lovingly restored but with the addition of up to the minute technology for comfort and convenience.
Skycity Grand Hotel
Ideally situated in the heart of Auckland City’s CBD, with many of the city’s most impressive attractions and eateries literally on our doorstep, the SKYCITY Grand Hotel offers guests a truly five-star experience. The best stay in Auckland City you could ever wish for.
Stamford Plaza Auckland
At this Auckland City CBD hotel, you’ll be well placed to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Westfield Downtown Shopping Centre, both steps away. Queen Street Shopping District and Britomart Transport Centre are also within half a mile (1 km).
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Imagine the elegance of old world values and new world energy, where service and style are always in sync. Imagine Sofitel. A luxury French hotel with a global reach. Where you are always welcomed with a heartfelt Bonjour. Where dining is an art form and spa therapy an indulgent rejuvenation. Each Sofitel combines this consistent quality with location-specific charm. Experience inspired serenity at the award-winning Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour.
Travel to discover the best of Auckland City, from bush to beach, skyscrapers to caves, accommodation, shopping and transport. Open roads, picnic lunches, new places, adventure, tranquility friendly faces AND MUCH MORE!
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