A lot of people will tell you to skip our most beautiful and largest city, but don't listen to them, the City of Sails has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Before you head off in your camper up north or anywhere else that isn't Auckland, we'll give you our top 10 things to do during your adventure.
1. Visit The Viaduct
Chances are you're booked somewhere downtown Auckland city, you're tired from your long flight (sorry about our location at the bottom of the globe) and want to get some sleep. So sleep! To stretch those legs of yours after that long flight and small nap, head down to the waterfront and wander down to the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter. The waterfront's always buzzing and with a picture perfect view of the harbour, on a sunny day you really can't beat it. You'll also change your mind about Auckland being just another built up concrete jungle! Did we mention that some of the city's best bars and restaurants call this downtown hub home?
2. Explore the City Fringe Suburbs
The inner city is just a warm-up! Auckland is diverse and is a melting pot of different cultures, with many city fringe suburbs being unique to one another. The likes of Parnell, Ponsonby, Mount Eden, Karangahape Road (also known as K Road), and Kingsland are hip n' cool. You'll be looking for the orange Outer Link bus loop for many of these suburbs, which runs every 15 minutes and fares start from $4.50. Be sure to check the Auckland Transport website for a full timetable. Ponsonby is an artsy suburb with a mix of high-end retail stores, locally owned shops and some of the best eateries, cafes and restaurants in town! K Road is another iconic suburb and is known as Auckland's 'red light' district with various clubs, restaurants, bars and stores. During the day, go vintage shopping and at night, head out on the town!
3. Visit the Skytower
If you have not seen the Skytower yet, look up! You can go up it, walk around it, jump off it, or alternatively if you're not such the adventurous type, take pictures looking through the glass floor on the observation deck. Not an advisable activity if you have a fear of heights.
4. I Scream For Ice Cream
There are lots of ice creameries in Auckland, too many almost, but they are good, really good. Start an ice cream tour in downtown at Giapo. These are works of art, you'll look at your deliciousness and won't want to eat it cos' it's so damn attractive (also a great opportunity to drop a picture on the 'gram). Another beaut is Ben and Jerry's or Duck Island in Ponsonby!. If you're searching further afield, go to Phil Greig Strawberry Gardens in Kumeu for fresh real fruit ice cream (with melted chocolate on the top!) or go strawberry picking while you're there.
5. Discover The Auckland Museum
Auckland Museum is one of the best examples of the Neo-Classical architecture style in the southern hemisphere. Surrounded by Auckland's biggest park, The Domain, you don't feel like you're in Central Auckland! A picture perfect summer's day would be checking out the exhibitions at the museum in the morning, followed by a stroll around the domain and a picnic in the afternoon sun. How lush?
6. Take a Step Back in Time
The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is the fun museum, suitable for all ages and is home to several antique cars and trains! With monthly exhibitions delving in to important historic eras to remember, along with a tram ride, it's a great day out for everyone. The Auckland Zoo is also just around the corner for those animal-enthusiasts, or the Maritime Museum in the heart of the Viaduct, is also a good visit for those sea-inclined.
7. Head to the Beach
You're bound to be itching for the beach, especially if you're visiting during New Zealand's summer! Jump in the car or hop on the bus and enjoy an afternoon over on the North Shore and go beach-hopping. With so many epic beaches to choose from (Mairangi Bay, Castor Bay, Browns Bay ... so-many bays), you could quite easily spend a full day over here and pop into one of the local cafes for lunch, or pack a picnic!
8. visit The Wild West
Auckland's wild west coast beaches are also worth a visit for the perfect 'gram! They say west is best so head out to Piha, Karakare or Bethell's Beach and witness our very own black sand beaches! These beaches are no cruise in a lagoon however, they're full on surfer style, so stick between those yellow flags or just dip your toes in!
9. go for a Day Trip
There are many places to pick and choose from here. With plenty of charming towns on Auckland's doorstep, you're spoiled for choice. Places like Warkworth, Omaha, Matakana, Bombay and Leigh are all an easy drive from the city. These towns have a more rural and relaxed feel but there's plenty to see and do, or nothing to do if you're wanting to chill out! Omaha and Leigh are for the water lovers, Matakana and Bombay are for the foodies and wino's, and Warkworth is a historic village that is now growing rapidly.
10. Head out on the harbour
One of the best ways to see Auckland is from the water! Take your pick from the many daily ferry services heading out to Waiheke Island, the Hibiscus Coast, the North Shore, Rangitoto, east or west! If you're up for a more memorable experience and feel like treating yourself, book tickets on a day cruise. If you're lucky, dolphins and whales can be spotted in the harbour. During one of Auckland's beautiful blue sky days, you really can't beat a day out in the sun on the water!