It is a sailor’s paradise. It is a beach lover’s haven. It is a shopper’s delight. It is Auckland, New Zealand. Known as the “city of sails” for its numerous yachts and boats found over at the Waitemata Harbour and bobbing along in the Hauraki Gulf, this city of over one million residents is a winning destination for the eager adventurer looking to experience an amazing metropolitan area without being too far away from the leisurely fun that all travellers love to incorporate into any getaway. Auckland has it all!
Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in New Zealand and is located at the northern end of North Island. Its residents are quite a mix as many come from European backgrounds, some form the British Isles, and still some from the Asian countries, but even with all the different cultures immigrating over, the indigenous culture of the Māori people is not lost in the mix. Although English is the dominant language, native Māori has been established as an official language since 1987.
The climate is New Zealand is the opposite of that found in the northern hemisphere so December to February is summertime! But don’t fret if you are planning to visit during their winter season. Winter weather is considered mild and it tends to be a short season so be sure to check the weather conditions as you plan what to pack. As with most places, it is probably best to think “dressing in layers” just so you’ll have the upper hand no matter what the weather is like.
If you love to shop, bring an extra empty piece of luggage or perhaps just buy another when you are there because you will be overwhelmed with the outstanding opportunities to shop, from local deals to haute couture; outlets stores and bargain deals to global fashion houses. Just in the downtown core you can find the high end shops on High Street or skip over to the newest shopping district in Britomart Precinct, also the city’s most historic district, so get a grand tour while you shop!
Queen Street is the main artery through central downtown and you can certainly find an abundance of great restaurants, cafés and bars along the three kilometer strip. Of course there are department stores brandishing the Gucci and Louis Vuitton names if that is an attractive point. But step away from some shopping to notice the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand just steps away from Queen Street – the Sky Tower, standing at 328 metres high. Ascend to the top and get a 360 degree view of Auckland.
As you travel the historic district you will enjoy the old architecture of Vulcan Lane’s buildings dating back to the 1800s and Chancery Square will give you a chance to visit the merchants of unique boutiques and enjoy a glass of fine wine on the cobblestone plaza.
As you navigate your way through downtown Auckland, try to integrate some of the following locations into your itinerary to learn more about the local culture and history: the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, the Auckland Art Gallery and the Regional Botanic Gardens. Certainly any trip merits a visit to the local zoo to see the animals of the region so head to the Auckland Zoo when you have a chance.
Auckland is also known as the “city of extinct volcanoes” so as sailing is synonymous with its other moniker of “city of sails”, then you can expect that as the city of extinct volcanoes, there is also ample opportunity to perhaps climb some of the volcanoes or see views of them. There are 48 visible volcanic cones across the region that you could look into adding into your sightseeing.
Happy trails in Auckland!