Auckland is often the first stop of many visitors to New Zealand, and it is a great introduction to what to expect for the rest of your trip. It is a cosmopolitan city with lots of great food and drink, as well as plenty of shopping and activities. Auckland is a multi-cultural city so you can find just about any cuisine here. Its Asian food is particularly good as it is easier to import the speciality ingredients. New Zealand also does café culture really well, so be sure to head out to cafes for breakfast and lunch to enjoy some good quality food and drink.
New Zealand is well-known for its Sauvignon Blanc wines, but Chardonnays and Pinot Gris are also popular wines grown here. With its cool climate and island geography, white grapes do particularly well and retain a lot of natural acidity. One of the major wine regions, Waikato, is only an hour outside of Auckland, perfect for a day trip of wine tastings. If you don’t have enough time, don’t worry, you will find wine from all of the New Zealand wine regions at every bar in the city.
The local New Zealanders, even when they live in a city like Auckland, are really into their outdoor activities. When the outdoors is as beautiful as it is in New Zealand, who can blame them! Water sports like sailing or kayaking in the harbour are really popular spring and summer activities. There are plenty of sunset kayak tours which are a memorable way to see the city. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some penguins.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, then perhaps one of the many hikes will suit you better. The Coast to Coast Walk is the most popular and would be the best option if you can only fit one in. It is a 16km trail, but offers fantastic city skyline views and will take you through woodlands, parks, and heritage sites. Another popular hike is the Rangitoto Summit, which is located on Rangitoto Island a short ferry ride away. Here you can climb the largest volcano in Auckland.
If adventure and being active does not sound like your idea of a holiday, then there is plenty of relaxation to be had too! Mission Bay is a beautiful beachside suburb in Auckland with long stretches of sandy beaches. The neighbourhood, in general, is very laid back and dotted with locally-owned restaurants and cafes as well as little boutiques. Mission Bay is linked to Auckland by a 6.5km long waterfront promenade. It will take you approximately two hours to walk there, or it is just a 20-minute drive away if you can’t wait to relax on the beach. You’re in New Zealand after all, just take it easy!
Peak tourism season for Auckland is during their summer months, December to February. Weather is hot, and there is less rain. However, we think that the best times to go are during Autumn and spring, the weather is still mild, but there are less tourists around. Therefore March to May and September to December is when we would recommend visiting Auckland. It means cheaper accommodation or campervan rental, roads are quieter, and better availability for all the activities you have planned.
English and Maori are the official languages of New Zealand, but everyone you come across will speak English. Auckland is a very multi-cultural city, so you will hear other languages being spoken around you as you explore the city.
VOYA’S FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT INCLUDE
Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is our favourite place to go from Auckland. You can take whale watching tours that will pick you up from the city and take you out to the Marine Park. Dolphins, rays, whales, sharks, seals, and turtles all call this marine park home. Choose a tour that has a marine specialist on board so you can learn some interesting facts about the animals. Sky Tower is an absolute must for visits to Auckland. This 328-metre tall building is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. You can visit the observation deck and stop at the café or restaurant if you just want to admire the view. If you are a little more adventurous, you can do the SkyWalk or SkyJump. The SkyJump is an 11-second free fall from the tower, and the SkyWalk is an open-air walk along the edge of the tower.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY INCLUDE
Hotel Grand Windsor is the place to stay if you are looking to feel like a queen. The hotel is styled in an art-deco, roaring twenties style inspired by Wallis Simpson’s jewellery. All the floors are marble, there are gold chandeliers, and jewel-toned velvet touches. It is located right in the shopping district of Auckland.
The Cordis Auckland is a more health-focused hotel. The interiors are decorated in a calming, neutral palette to promote a good night sleep. Guests can relax in the rooftop pool or hot tub after a long day of exploring. Chuan spa, the onsite wellness sanctuary offers an extensive treatment menu and herbal sauna as well as steam and ice facilities.
VOYA'S FAVOURITE DISHES TO TRY
Brunch is basically a religion in New Zealand, skip the hotel breakfast and research the best place to get your eggs benny (Benedict) and coffee. Auckland brunch tends to be more wellness-focused with buddha bowls, eggs, or vegan dishes and juices and smoothies. However, there are still plenty of places to get pancakes or waffles if you want something indulgent. Our favourite places are Chuffed Café, Queenies Lunchroom, Major Sprout, and Odette’s.
When the weather is warmer nothing beats Hokey Pokey Ice cream as a sweet afternoon treat. It is vanilla ice cream with caramel pieces throughout and it is delicious! Ice cream shops and gelaterias are everywhere around Auckland and will all serve good quality ice cream in a waffle cone or cup.