Cosmopolitan and modern, Auckland in North Island, is New Zealand’s largest city. Spread over 425.8 square miles or 1,102.9 square kilometers, Auckland is also a city of arts, culture, leisure, and sports. The city has a vibrant nightlife and food scene. Once the capital of New Zealand, almost a third of the country’s population now live here. As of June 2018, Auckland has a population of 1,628,900, including the largest number of Polynesians in the world.
Auckland is a top tourist destination in New Zealand. 417,934 tourists visited the city in February 2019. There is a lot to see and do here. Visit the volcanoes – there are 48 volcanic peaks. Mount Eden, One Tree Hill, and Rangitoto are the most popular. Choose from the many ferries to the Bay of Islands, Gulf of Hauraki, and Waiheke Island. The city’s waterfront is bustling. Spend time at the coastal town of Devonport, and catch an impressive view of the city across the harbor.
While in the city, visit the zoom war memorial museum, and the art galleries. The Sky Tower is a symbol of the city, you will find often in the postcards and travel brochures. Go up to the observation deck for a 360 degrees panoramic view.
It is one of the finest cities to live in. The Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland as the world’s 3rd most livable city for 2016. It is never too hot or cold. You will find some of the most scenic beaches. Volcanic peaks are a must-see. Tourism contributes significantly to the city’s economy.
The Maori name for Auckland is ‘Tamaki’. It is also called ‘Tamaki-makau-rau’, which means Tamaki-with-a-hundred-lovers after its fertile lands and extensive waterways.
Auckland – 10 Quick Facts
- Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand.
- In the North Island of New Zealand
- Area – 425.8 square miles or 1,102.9 square kilometers
- Population – 1,628,900 (June 2018)
- ISD Code – +64
- Most foreign-born residents are from England, followed by Chinese and Indians
- Maori is an official language
- The world’s largest Polynesian population
- Auckland has trains, buses, and ferries
- 417,934 tourists visited Auckland in February 2019
How to Reach Auckland
Flight: Auckland Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the country. There are many flights to different places in Asia, North America, and Europe. But the maximum traffic comes from Sydney and other Australian cities. Auckland Airport (IATA: AKL) is also the home of New Zealand’s official airline – Air New Zealand. From the airport, you will find buses, shuttle vans and taxis to reach the city center.
Train: Auckland is well connected to the towns and cities of North Island. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand is 681 kilometers from Auckland by train. It is a scenic journey with views of volcanic mountains, forests, and coastal areas.
Bus: The city is also linked by highways to North Island destinations. Buses run by the InterCity and GreatSights companies will stop at the Sky City Bus Terminal.
Ship: The Auckland port hosts over a hundred cruise ships annually. Many tourists reach Auckland by water from Australia. Cruise ships dock at shed 10 on Queens Wharf.
Public Transport – Choose from buses, trains, and ferries. Buy the AT HOP Card. It is valid on almost all public transports within the city, including the ferry services. It is also a good idea to download the Auckland Transport mobile app. This will help you easily find the next connection on your journey around the city. The hop-on-hop-off Explorer Bus service, running on the inner city loop will take you to most city attractions. The trains here run along 4 lines, a good choice for reaching your destination, especially if you are staying close to a station. Rainbow’s End, Newmarket, Sylvia Park, and Lynn Mall are some of the popular destinations that fall along with the rail track system.
Walking – The beautiful city has many interesting walks. A walk around the Auckland Zoo is highly recommended. Also, the volcanic peaks will offer you scenic views of the cityscape. You will find many walking tours here. Choose your focus, whether it is street art or a food tour, night photography, or harbor tour. You can also do it yourself by downloading an Auckland audio walking tour.
Taxi: You will find taxis throughout the city. You can hail one on the road or book over the phone. Uber fares cost almost 50% less than a normal taxi fare.
Cycling: Cycling has always been popular. Many take their bikes to go to work. The government is also promoting cycling as part of the green initiative. You will thus find many cycle-ways. There is also bike-sharing.
Top 5 Reasons To Visit Auckland
|Beautiful Nature||You are never far from gorgeous natural beauty – dense green forests, rolling hills, or sandy beaches. Hunua Ranges, Shakespear National Park and the Waitakere Ranges provide some unspoiled scenic beauty.|
|The Coastline||The city is almost surrounded by the ocean and has some beautiful beaches and harbors. Mission Bay is the nearest to the city center and the most popular. Takapuna, Piha, and Karekare beaches are pristine and isolated.|
|Art and Culture||The city is proud of its rich Maori heritage. When in Auckland, don’t miss the Auckland Art Gallery to see Maori art and craftsmanship. Te Tuhi, Gow Langsford, and Artspace are some of the other galleries worth visiting for contemporary art.|
|Adventure Sports||Auckland has its fair share of thrilling sports and adventure activities. Try bungee jumping from the Sky Tower or the Auckland Harbor Bridge. Canyoning and hiking are popular on the west coast. You can also enjoy sea kayaking and mountain biking.|
|Weekly Markets||The French Markets of Parnell held during the weekends are very popular. On the weekdays, there is also the Britomart Market in the center of the city. Also, visit the famous night markets to try street foods and see live performances.|
Auckland is often called ‘The City of Sails’ because sailing is extremely popular here. There are more than 135,000 registered launches and yachts. 1 in 3 homes in the city has a boat. Auckland also hosts America’s Cup challenges.
How To Visit Auckland On A Budget
Travel – Get your flight ticket at least 4-6 months in advance, especially if you are visiting during the peak tourist season.
Accommodation – You will find hotels of all budgets. There are also B&Bs and hostels in the city. Try staying near a train station, even if it is further away from the central business district or tourist destination. The price will be lower.
Bus – See the red buses in the city center. They offer free hop-on-hop-off service for tourists.
Card – Buy the HOP transport card to save 20% on single fare journeys on all public transports within Auckland city limits.
Taxi – Uber is cheaper than traditional taxis. You may be able to save up to 50%.
Food – Plan for just one or two proper sit-down dinners. The street food is very good, and it is much cheaper as well. You can also have a picnic lunch at a beach.
|Month||Max Temp °C||Min Temp °C||Rainfall Days|
Best Time To Visit Auckland
Auckland is in the southern hemisphere so summer in the north is winter here. The months of December, January, and February are extremely popular with tourists. This is the best time to visit Auckland. You will have very little rain this time of the year. The days will be sunny and warm. However, the prices will be higher, as this is the peak tourist season.
Summer: The peak tourist season and also the Christmas holidays. The city has many tourists and locals. The weather is perfect after the middle of January for outdoor activities and adventure sports. The Auckland Folk Festival is held in January. The Flamingo Pier and Auckland Pride Festivals are in February.
Fall: March to May. Most tourists are gone, so the prices will be lower. The temperature drops to a comfortable 10-20 degrees. May sees a bit of rain. Auckland Arts Festival and Royal Easter Show are held at this time.
Winter: June to August. These are cold and wet months with the wind sometimes quite chilly. The temperature is between 5 and 15 degrees, with only a little bit of snow. This is a good time for indoor activities like visiting galleries, museums, and even shopping. The Film Festival and Fashion Week are held now.
Spring: September to November. The weather is good, though a few days can be chilly, especially in September. Airfare and hotels will be cheaper. Food lovers look forward to the Taste of Auckland Festival in November.
Top 3 Places To Stay At Auckland
1. Parnell: A laid-back, cozy, and comfortable neighborhood. Close to the Central Business District and must-see attractions. It is a family neighborhood with lovely shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Parnell has much of the old-world charm and looks like a village out of a movie-set. See the Auckland Museum, Hobson Bay walkway, and Parnell village. On weekends it is home to the La Cigale French Market, a must-visit for food.
2. Devonport: On the southernmost tip of the North Shore, it is popular for its proximity to the sea. There are two volcanic peaks in Devonport offering gorgeous views of the water and cityscape. Victorian-style houses. There is a lot of Maori heritage in this part of town too. Take a ferry from the city center.
3. Mission Bay: Best place for beach life and laidback vibe. It is not far from the city center and is well-connected by public transport. The neighborhood has some of the city’s best beaches. There are many cafes and restaurants with beautiful water views.