New Zealand's indigenous Māori people called this land Tāmaki Makaurau, a maiden desired by a hundred lovers. It was a place fought over for its vast riches, including its forested hills, productive volcanic soils and harbours full of seafood. The name still holds true, as Auckland's lifestyle is ranked amongst the best in the world.
Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture (Auckland is the biggest Polynesian city in the world) and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland.
Whether it’s the ruggedly beautiful west-coast surf beaches, or the glistening Hauraki Gulf with its myriad islands, the water's never far away. Often known as The City of Sails, Auckland has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world. With so many bays, beaches and islands, glistening waters seem to beckon from every point. Make sure you get out on the water while you're here, whether it’s a relaxing harbour cruise, a fishing charter, whale and dolphin spotting, diving, kayaking or surfing.
Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park encompasses an incredible 1.2 million hectares of coast, sea and islands – and there are so many ways to explore it. The jewel of the Hauraki Gulf is Waiheke Island, a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves, farm land and golden beaches - and only a 35-minute ferry ride away from downtown Auckland. Sip on award-winning wines at some of the 30 boutique vineyards and wineries, enjoy fine dining and pick up superb local artwork. Rangitoto Island, just a 25-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, is the region's most iconic volcano and a favourite day trip destination for visitors, hikers and bird watchers.
Auckland’s diverse landscapes provide countless opportunities to get immersed in nature. In the west, lush native rainforest plunges down the hills to meet the sea on dramatic black sand beaches, while the east’s sheltered golden sand beaches are fringed with red-flowering pohutukawa trees. To the north the rolling hills of wine country meet stunning coastlines and in the south you'll find picturesque country gardens, unspoilt forest and tranquil bays to explore. The Auckland region is dotted with 48 volcanic cones, which provide spectacular panoramic views of the city and harbour. Many are surrounded by lush parkland, making them perfect picnic spots.
Within an hour’s drive from the city's high-rise heart, there are dense tracts of rainforest, thermal springs, wineries and wildlife reserves. No wonder Auckland is regularly rated one of the world's top cities for quality of life and liveability.
Auckland is a shopaholic's paradise, with everything from top-end designers to open air street markets. Discover the diverse range of cafes and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe and check out the buzzing nightlife of the city. Favourite spots in the city include Wynyard Quarter, the Viaduct Harbour, the Britomart precinct and City Works Depot. On the outskirts of the city, popular with locals are Kingsland, Mt Eden and Ponsonby.