Auckland, Uusi-Seelanti

City of Sails, Auckland

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and is likely to be your first stop as the largest international airport is located there. Auckland Airport is a familiar place for me as I worked there some years ago.

Auckland is also known as the “City of Sails” for good reason – the sea is visible in every direction. You can enjoy sailing with a group or hire a sailboat for a day.

A day trip to Waiheke Island is also a must. You can quickly reach the island by ferry and admire the stunning scenery. Waiheke Island is the second-largest island in the Gulf of Hauraki and a popular day trip destination. You can visit a winery, spend a day on the beach, or shop in the island’s many small shops.

Waiheke, New Zealand

Devonport is a small village that makes for a great day trip destination. You can reach it quickly by ferry. Once there, you can explore the popular restaurant area and grab a light lunch, or head to a seafood restaurant for dinner. If you’re interested in a more traditional experience, you can check out one of the local New Zealand pubs. For a spectacular view of central Auckland, be sure to climb to the top of Mount Victoria.

The downtown region is the liveliest and busiest part of the city, serving as its primary business hub. Many office workers commute to this centre, making it a hive of activity. The Viaduct Harbor, Wynyard Quarter, and Britomart areas offer an array of restaurants and bars to enjoy, while Queen Street is home to the best shops in the area. The city centre is relatively small and easy to explore on foot.

If you’re looking for something fun to do in Auckland, you might want to consider heading to Rangitoto Island. Known for being the youngest and largest volcano in the area, Rangitoto offers stunning views of the city and Hauraki Bay from the top. Since it is a dormant volcano, it is generally considered safe to visit. However, it’s always good to check its activity and follow the instructions of the authorities before going. Keep in mind that there are no settlements or services on the island, but there are plenty of walking trails and toilet facilities to use. Additionally, you can visit the world’s largest pohutukawa forest on the island. As the Pohutukawa tree is also known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree, it’s a great place to see the magnificent red flowers bloom during Christmas time. Daily ferry services from Auckland are available to take you to the island.

Rangitoto, Auckland, New Zealand

Just outside Auckland’s city centre lies the trendy Ponsonby area. This popular neighbourhood is filled with small boutiques, galleries, bookshops, cafes, and plenty of restaurants and gastropubs. It’s a great place to go out for dinner, and just a short taxi ride from the city centre.

If you’re visiting Auckland in spring or summer, I highly recommend visiting the Parnell Rose Garden (Dove Myer Robinson Park), which is within walking distance of the city centre. Parnell is a charming area boasting many little boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and cafes. On the other side of Parnell is the large Auckland Domain Park, home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Winter Garden.

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland has many sights to see. I recommend exploring the local neighbourhoods outside the city centre. The restaurant culture in New Zealand is exceptional, with new eateries constantly popping up.

Author: Asko Meriläinen
Photo Credits: Asko Meriläinen, Matt Crawford, Camilla Rutherford and Fraser Clements