Your trip to Auckland will be a whirlwind of adventure, which will lead you from one dazzling experience to the next. Auckland’s Maori name, Tamaki-makau-rau, means “Land of a Hundred Lovers”. The city gained its name for its lush, fertile soil which people fought over for centuries. Today, people love Auckland not for its fertility, but for its vibrancy – stunning scenery, a cosmopolitan city vibe and seemingly endless opportunities for fun, happiness and success. In Auckland, it really does feel like the roads are paved with gold. New Zealand’s largest city is located on the North Island. Despite having everything one would expect from a major city: high-end restaurants, a hip arts scene, architecture and thriving economy, in Auckland you are never far from natural beauty. There are myriad opportunities to escape from contemporary city life and find peace on one of many beaches, the rainforest, thermal springs or wineries. Many people say that Auckland is like England in the 1970s. The city may feel a little like England in its heyday, but Auckland has so, so much more: all the trappings of urban life, with dizzyingly beautiful geography, a sunny climate and the undeniable draw of Polynesian culture. Welcome to the City of a Hundred Lovers – you may just become one of them.
Direct flights to Auckland will bring you to Auckland Airport (AKL), about fifteen miles from the city centre.
Located in the southern hemisphere, Auckland’s winter is June-August, with summer December – February. Winter is mild, with temperatures hovering between 10 and 15°C. The occasional warm day isn’t unusual, but nor is the odd frosty day. Summer is warm and unpredictable – Auckland is known to experience four seasons in one day – but showers are short-lived and the lush greenery throughout the year more than makes up for the odd chilly shower. If you are looking for cheap flights to Auckland, plan your trip in spring and autumn, when there are also fewer tourists and you are less likely to encounter seething crowds. Avoid Auckland over the Christmas period as many inhabitants escape to the South Island for the festive periods, leaving many restaurants and bars closed.
The Auckland Museum is a good place to start on your trip to Auckland, for the architecture alone; its incredible exhibitions are simply an added bonus. Built in 1929, the neoclassical temple is topped with a glass and copper dome, which was added in 2007. The imposing structure is an iconic part of Auckland’s skyline and can be seen from the harbour. Within its walls, the museum offers an insight into Maori life, including a war canoe and carved meeting house, as well as a display on Auckland’s stunning geography, including its volcanic activity and a simulated eruption. A great way to familiarise yourself with a new city is with a birds-eye view, and there is no better place than the Sky Tower, which dominates Auckland’s skyline. The 328-metre tower is an incredible feat of engineering; made all the more beautiful on special occasions, when it is spectacularly illuminated. If you have a head for heights, take the lift up forty floors to the observation deck, complete with glass floor panels for the braver souls. While you are there, you can always take in a cocktail at the Sky Bar and watch the sun set over the glorious city. Following a refurbishment in 2011, Auckland Art Gallery is deserving of its title as Auckland’s leading art gallery. An opulent wood and glass atrium leads into the main building, which was constructed in French chateau style in 1887. Beyond this impressive entrance, you will find 19th Century portraits of intricately tattooed Maoris, works of art from New Zealand’s most talented artists, as well as pieces by notable greats from across the globe, including Matisse, Cezanne and Picasso.
With its stunning coastline, volcanic cones, fertile farmland and dense rainforests, Auckland really does have it all on its doorstep. One Tree Hill is a volcanic cone; standing at 182 metres high, the cone offers stunning views across the countryside. It is also home to the grave of John Logan Campbell, who gave the land to the city along with a request that a memorial to the Maori people be built at the top. The monument is a poignant reminder of the indigenous people of New Zealand and is a symbol of acceptance and togetherness. Auckland’s highest volcanic cone stands at 196 metres high. Mount Eden, or Maungawhau, is one of 48 volcanic cones and the highest point in Auckland. The crater at the top is perfectly symmetrical and is 50 metres deep. Known as TeIpa Kai a Mataaho (the Food Bowl of the God of Things Hidden in the Ground), the crater itself is sacred and can’t be entered. However, you can take a tour of the rest of the mount, enjoy the spectacular views and see the lasting vestiges of traditional Maori life. New Zealand Zoo is home to the usual imported show-stealers, but it also represents a valuable ecological insight into New Zealand’s nature. TeWao Nui, the zoo’s New Zealand section, is divided into six zones: Islands, Night, Wetlands, Forest, High Country and Coast. Here you can see indigenous species of Auckland and the surrounding area, including kiwis, frogs, birds, lizards and penguins.
Hauraki Gulf Marine Park covers 1.2 million hectares of islands, coastline and sea, and on your trip to Auckland, some water-based activity is essential. Take a trip to Waiheke Island, where you can explore world-renowned vineyards (and have a little taste, of course), discover idyllic golden beaches and vast olive groves. Whether you explore by jet ski, kayak, or with your feet firmly on terra firma, the opportunities to enjoy Auckland’s coastline are endless and truly unforgettable. Twitchers will love Tiritiri Matangi Island, which is an open-air wildlife sanctuary offering guided walks and talks. Take a sea safari and see whales, dolphins and other of New Zealand’s magnificent animals in their natural habitat. For a white-knuckle experience, take a bungee jump from the 43-metre-tall Kawarau Bridge, home of the world’s first bungee jump.
Cited as one of the world’s best cities, Auckland is packed with fantastic places to eat and drink. And when in New Zealand, one must surely indulge in some wine. Take a tour of the vineyards – you will be spoilt for choice as to which one – where you can admire the vast vineyards, learn more about the wine-making process and, of course, sample a glass (or two). Food tends to be local and seasonal, with influence from Maori cuisine, as well as Southeast Asia and European influences. Seafood is, of course, some of the best in the world and due to New Zealand’s favourable climate, dining alfresco is often the preferred option – with a barbeque on almost every corner. On your trip to Auckland, you will be able to enjoy plenty of lamb and seafood with seasonal vegetables washed down, of course, with a glass of local wine. Your trip to Auckland will be packed with adventures and help you to make memories that you will treasure for a lifetime. If you want to make your Kiwi dream come true, Travangelo can help you to find cheap flights to Auckland.