Looking for a big city full of endless adventures? Look no further than the stunning Auckland...
Auckland is a city at the top of the North Island of New Zealand and is the most populated urban area in the country.
You can fly straight into Auckland International airport, which is the biggest in New Zealand. Remember a book though. It’s a 23 hour flight from London including a layover (normally in Dubai).
Auckland is right on the coast of New Zealand, and is one of few countries which has a harbour on both the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. The hills surrounding the city are covered in stunning rainforest and dormant volcanic cones, and as a result, Auckland offers some of the most stunning views of any major city in the world.
The 328-metre high Sky Tower is the prime lookout point in Auckland. It’s the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and an iconic silhouette on the city skyline. From there you’ll be looking out over breathtaking bodies of water hugging the mainland and stretching out as far as the eye can see, and if that sparks your sense of adrenaline, ascend to the 53rd floor to take the quick route down via the ‘Sky Jump’.
The part-bungee jump, part-zip-wire allows you to jump 192m to the floor below, and is run by AJ Hackett, who also run a more traditional bungee jump off the Auckland Bridge which gives you a great lookout point over the harbour before you plunge towards the beautiful blue below. Auckland is also a surfer’s delight. With your board in the boot, drive 40 minutes to Muriwai Surf Beach, west of Auckland. Along this coastline there’s a whole lot of surf, but Muriwai is particularly popular because of the consistency of the waves. On the bigger days, it’s only for the more experienced, but the majority of time you can find something to suit everyone here.
A bit further along the coast you’ll find Piha. Head to Lion Rock to grab some waves besides the natural wonder of a rock face. You can find fantastic canyoning tours in Piha with AWOL Adventures.
For mountain bike trails in the heart of the city, ride to Arch Hill Scenic Reserve. Woodhill is the most popular place for serious riders near Auckland though, 45 minutes out and boasting over 130km of purpose-built trails.
Where to Stay
Heritage Auckland is a beautiful hotel right in the centre of the city. They offer luxury in Auckland, a whole range of different rooms and some truly amazing lookout spots over the city.
If you’re on a budget, Nomads Auckland Backpackers hostel has a rooftop spa, a sundeck and enough beds to host a small army. It’s a chain but it’s great for travellers and meeting people.
Where to Eat
Auckland loves dumplings. Don’t question it. Just get involved. Head to New Flavour Restaurant for some of the best and cheapest dumplings in town. The menu goes on forever and you can get about 20 morsels for just $13.
For fish and chips head to Greenwood’s Fresh Catch, an Auckland institution or for a taste of something different, head to Shaolin Kung Fu Noodle. They do a fantastic menu that offers great value for money.
Where to Drink
Brother’s Beer brew their own stuff and stock the best range of bottled beer in the city. Set in the City Works site (which has a range of food and drink options), it’s managed to turn an outdoor carpark area into one of the chillest spots in the city.
The Brewer’s Co-Op is another casual beer spot which offers a whole lot of options as well as gourmet food.
What the Locals Say
“Piha and Muriwai are great surf but if it’s the best sandy beaches you’re after head over to Orewa north of Auckland. There’s a lot of kitesurfers and windsurfers there, it’s great for families or dog walking and it’s a long beach as well, so there’s space for everyone” – Greg, ex-pat surfer.
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