Situated on an isthmus cushioned between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Auckland boasts an array of long sweeping bays, sparkling waters and cliff edges peppered with Victorian villas. Palm trees blow in the cool ocean air and hundreds of boats bob gently in the expansive harbour, paying homage to this City of Sails. Welcome to Auckland.
With a population of 1.3 million, vibrant yet small on a world scale, this city actually boasts over 30 percent of New Zealand’s population and is also home to the largest population of Polynesians of any city in the world, lending a distinct island feel to this cosmopolitan city.
Separated by the august Harbour Bridge built in 1954, the northern shore is characterised by golden sandy beaches to the east with vistas out to Rangitoto Island – the volcano rising 260 metres over the Hauraki Gulf with a truly distinctive view of Auckland city.
Be sure to enjoy a shopping trip to Takapuna and a beachside latte, while watching stand-up paddle-boarders coast up and down the glistening horizon. To the west, take a trip out to Piha with its black volcanic sand beaches and pumping surf. Watch the experts ride the waves with ease or, if you are feeling brave, take a lesson; there is nowhere better to learn!
The central city is a hive of activity, so catch a ferry from here to the outer islands such as Waiheke, where vineyards meet secluded countryside, or stay central and stroll around the shipping warehouses of Britomart – a rejuvenated, historical area, famous for its alley bars and unique shopping opportunities.
A trip to Auckland is not complete without visiting its famed museum, atop the city’s most beautiful park. Immerse yourself in the award-winning galleries that tell the stories of the country’s land, sea and people, and then take in the excitement and vibrancy of a Maori cultural performance – the only regular performance of its kind available in Auckland.
Auckland simply wouldn’t be Auckland without the immense Sky Tower standing 328 metres tall. Home to the Sky City Casino, a revolving restaurant and 360-degree viewing platform, this is obviously hard to miss. Vulcan Lane hosts a glut of idiosyncratic bars and eateries and don’t neglect the local markets such as Parnell Farmers’ Market for the freshest produce in the city.
Auckland’s charm is in its village feel in a city environment, a place that is home to modern Kiwi culture in a historical city of colonial architecture, framed by the natural beauties found in New Zealand, its picturesque beaches, volcanoes and bright sunshine.
Shop in the suburb of Ponsonby with boutiques galore, courtesy of famous designers such as Kate Sylvester and WORLD.
Stop in at Euro – the brainchild of celebrity New Zealand chef, Simon Gault – and hobnob with the rich yachtsmen and celebrities at this harbourside eatery.
Words: Emily Parker