No other break quite merges city sophistication with a passion for outdoor adventure like Auckland holidays. Nicknamed the City of Sails, Auckland is shaped by its glorious waterfront where you can relax with a glass of local sauvignon blanc or board a day-tripping boat to discover the whales, bottlenose dolphins, olive groves, and rare birds of the Hauraki Gulf and surrounding islands. Few city centres can boast rainforest, sailing, and white sand bays within an hour's reach.
Things to do
Down at Viaduct Harbour and Wynward Quarter, super-yachts mingle with local boats headed to Waiheke Island for kayaking and winery tours. Every list of things to do in Auckland includes climbing the dormant volcano Mount Eden for 360-degree views of the city. For loftier, thrill-seeking panoramas, get in line to bungee down Sky Tower, the country's tallest building.
Food & restaurants
Don't miss the many Auckland restaurants serving authentic Asian cuisine, freshly caught seafood, and the national favourite, fish 'n' chips. Two of New Zealand's biggest exports are wine and coffee, best enjoyed on a winery tour and at local coffee houses. Aucklanders love weekend brunch – join them for expansive harbour views at Takapuna Beach Café and Store. For artisanal foodie treats visit Elliot Stables.
Auckland hotels cluster around its waterfront and central business district. Hotel DeBrett is a much-celebrated downtown boutique hotel with a light-drenched, glass-ceilinged atrium. Friendly B&Bs can be found in the inner-suburbs of Ponsonby and Eden Park. Travel slightly outside of the centre and discover secluded Auckland accommodation that affords endless views of the surrounding rainforest.
The Auckland shopping hub of Queen Street manages everyone's needs – from department store Smith + Caughey's to gift shops stacked with manuka honey. Head to Britomart where heritage buildings have been made over to redefine shopping in Auckland. This open, modern space is a jigsaw of independent NZ stores and design-led international brands. For Kiwi designers, check out the boutiques of Newmarket and Ponsonby.
While many tourist boats head for the larger islands, those with local knowledge go to Tiritiri Matangi Island. Because the island is protected, run by passionate volunteers, and is pest-free, come here to get up close and personal to rarely-seen, native birds, including the flightless, iridescent blue and green takahe.
Auckland Holiday Deals
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