Auckland City Profile

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, and its most culturally diverse.

The sprawling city is home to a magnificent harbor, unique black sand surf beaches, and challenging rainforest hiking trails. Aside from the great outdoors, Auckland is also home to New Zealand’s most bustling shopping districts. The city’s large Polynesian and Asian communities have influenced the city’s renowned “Pacific Rim” cuisine.

1,333,300 [Source: – 2009]

Located in the central north of New Zealand’s North Island, Auckland lies to the north of Hamilton and to the south of Whangarei. Its urban center is situated between the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours.

Auckland’s climate is warm to temperature, with humid summers and mild winters. It is the warmest of New Zealand’s major tourist centers. However, temperatures can vary dramatically in areas near the coast and hills. The city experiences high levels of rainfall all year round. It has not snowed in Auckland since 1939.

Places of interest

While not as iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge in neighboring Australia, the Auckland Harbour Bridge is revered as a symbol of the city.

The eight-lane bridge crosses the Waitemata Harbour, joining St Marys Bay with North Shore City. It is the North Island’s longest bridge, and the second-longest in New Zealand. Just like the similarly named bridge in Sydney, tourists are invited to climb to the top and enjoy the view. However, the bungy jumping tours give this bridge a traditionally Kiwi flavor. New Zealanders are passionate about competition, and Auckland is home to some of the country’s most important sporting venues. Eden Park is known as the home of rugby union. It’s the home ground of New Zealand’s international team, and will host the 2011 Rugby World Cup final. New Zealand’s only rugby league team, the New Zealand Warriors, plays its home matches against Australian teams at Mount Smart Stadium. International tennis tournaments, the Heineken Open and ASB Classic, are held at the ASB Tennis Centre every January. Competitive netball squad the Northern Mystics play their ANZ Championship home games at Auckland’s Trusts Stadium.

Auckland’s shoppers love to hit High Street, Queen Street, and Ponsonby Road. Newmarket and Parnell offer a more up-market retail experience, while the flea markets of Otara and Avondale are popular with those looking for something a little bit different. You’ll need to step outside the city centre if you want to hit the malls. Sylvia Park, Botany Town Centre, and Westfield Albany on Auckland’s outskirts are three of the largest. Auckland’s volcanic summits offer an alternative to the city’s urban streets. Mount Eden is the highest point in Auckland. Its 360-degree views make of the city below make it a favorite spot for tourists. Mount Victoria also offers excellent views. Here you can take in the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. The mount is steeped in history, having hosted a shipping signal station, artillery emplacements, and army bunkers. One Tree Hill, or Maungakiekie as it is known to Maori tribes, is Auckland’s other notable volcanic mountain. The Stardome Observatory and obelisk stand proudly on the peak.

Another more relaxed activity in the region is a tour through Auckland’s wineries. The area is home to some of the oldest vineyards in New Zealand, which produce Bordeaux-style wines including cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. It takes at least three days to properly explore Auckland’s many wineries, but if travelers can only sample a few they shouldn’t miss Babich Wines, Kerr Farm Vineyard, and Kumeu River Wines.

Where to eat
Auckland is famous for Pacific Rim cuisine, a melting pot incorporating Asian and Polynesian flavors. The inner city suburb of Ponsonby is one of the most popular dining areas, with eateries serving up Pacific Rim and ethnic cuisine along both sides of the main road. As most restaurants are open to late, they’re the ideal locations to meet with friends, or make new ones. Try GPK, known for its Pacific infused cuisine and famous wood-fired pizzas, or Estasi with its eclectic mix of Italian, Mediterranean, and Pacific Rim dishes.

With its coastal location, seafood is always fresh and tasty in Auckland. To enjoy the city’s best fish and crustaceans with a view, try dining at Princes Wharf. The Korean Buffet and Seafood Restaurant serves up the treasures of the sea with an Asian flavor, while White Restaurant is an elegant choice for a romantic evening.

Where to stay
Auckland offers many accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets. Most hotels, including modern high rises, restored historic buildings, and luxurious self-contained apartments, are located in the city center. The Langham is one of the most lavish hotels in the area, while the Lincoln Green and Copthorne Hotels are more affordable choices for families.

While it can be appealing to stay within walking distance of major attractions, you’ll pay for the privilege. Comparable motel rooms tend to be less expensive in the Auckland suburbs of Remuera, Epson, and Mangere. Check out the Cornwall Park Motor Inn, Alpers Lodge, and Hansens Cottage Motel.

Youth travelers flock to backpacker hostels in the inner-city suburbs of Ponsonby, Parnell, and Mount Eden. While the facilities are basic and shared with other guests, they generally include kitchens, laundries, and car parking. Verandah’s Backpackers Lodge in Ponsonby is a converted villa from the turn of the 20th century, while Auckland International BBH Backpackers Hostel in Parnell has an outdoor barbecue area, TV room, and free storage area.

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