- Head to the inner-city suburbs to check out the Victorian and Edwardian houses.
- If you’re looking for ethnic food on the cheap, visit one of the food courts in Auckland – Ponsonby Food Court on Ponsonby Road, Queen Street Foodcourt on Lower Queen Street, or Food Alley on Albert Street.
- Consider heading out of Auckland and drive to Clevedon, a small village just south of Auckland. You can catch some polo or visit some wineries.
Why you should add Auckland to your RTW travel list
- Take a walk around Whangaparoa Bay to the old Anglican church, hidden away under Norfolk pines
- Take a ferry out to Great Barrier Island and wander through massive kauri forests and natural hot springs
- Tramp to the top of Rangitoto, one of Auckland’s extinct volcanoes, for great views of the city and its huge harbour
- Explore the limestone caves, or go mountain biking in the nearby Hunua Ranges
- Check out the views from the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere
Why you should not add Auckland to your RTW travel list
- While Auckland is a great city, compared to the rest of the country, it’s can seem a little boring.
- While it still won’t break the bank, it’s the most expensive city on Auckland.
Auckland is by far the largest city in New Zealand and also definitely the most un-New Zealandy (or should that be most un-New Zealandish?). With a population of over 1 million in the metro area, Auckland is a sprawling city with a dense center and is basically the opposite of what brings people to these magical islands. Auckland might not be typical of New Zealand, but there are many reasons to hang around for a day or two on your way in or out of the country.
What To Do
You couldn’t miss it if you tried, but the Skytower in the center of Auckland is worth a short visit. New Zealand is the birthplace of bungee jumping and this tower has capitalized on that with a semi-freefall attraction that resembles a proper jump. You can see the tethered participants flailing about as they stream quickly toward the base of the Skytower. It’s not cheap, but you can also take the elevator up and get the best view in Auckland from the top.
The harbor itself is impressive and you can actually climb the harbor bridge. The New Zealand National Maritime Museum is recommended, as is the Auckland Art Gallery. But take our advice and don’t plan on lingering in Auckland too long. It’s an interesting city, partly for the fact that the native Maori population is well integrated into the society, unlike the Australian Aborigines, but New Zealand is about scenery and adventure so stay in Auckland for a day or two and then move on.
To get anywhere in New Zealand you’ll be best off booking a flight into Auckland International Airport. It’s by far the largest in the country and the best way to get a reasonable fare. The airport is located a bit out of town on the harbor and there is a shuttle called the Airbus that leaves the airport and then stops in front of most of the popular hotel and hostel districts on its loop back to the airport.
Where To Stay
Since this city is the inevitable beginning and ending point of most trips to New Zealand there is no shortage of hotels in Auckland and hostels in Auckland ready to house the in and outbound travelers. Prices near the center of town can be higher, but the nightlife there is fun and several famous hostels have large bars right on site. You can save a bit of money by booking further out of town, but prepare for a quiet night.