On the North Island of New Zealand is Auckland, a vibrant cultural city with stunning natural scenery right on its doorstep. It’s the largest Polynesian city in the world and also the country’s largest and most populated urban area home to over 32% of the New Zealand's population.
Formerly the capital city of New Zealand, Auckland beams with culture and history. In 1840, Auckland was declared the capital when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed; however this was moved to Wellington in 1865 due to its central location in New Zealand.
In traditional Maori times, Auckland was a region that many tribes fought to claim as their own. It was given the name Tamaki Makaurau, meaning ‘the maiden with one hundred suitors’. In modern times, the name still fits the city which is home to a variety of cultures including Polynesian, European, South Pacific and Asian. It is the hub of the North Island of New Zealand and is consistently ranked in the top five of the world’s most liveable cities.
Auckland lies on the peninsula between Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. Radiating a relaxed, waterside vibe, the city has just the right mix of coastal and urban environments. The surrounding hills are lush with rainforest plantations and several inactive volcanoes.
Boasting the best views of the city is the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you can have dinner at Orbit, a revolving restaurant with breathtaking 360 degree views of the city. A stroll down Queen Street is where you’ll unearth great boutiques and cafés and New Zealand’s oldest department store, Smith & Caughey’s. Behind the department store you’ll find Elliot Stables, a gourmet food village of shops, delicatessens and cafés.
Taste the flavours of Auckland’s cultural diversity at the many restaurants at Viaduct Harbour. There are also several bars where you can enjoy the harbour views over a glass of one of New Zealand’s many great wines.
Auckland from the water is also a sight not to be missed so take a ferry across Waitemata Harbour and enjoy the scenic ride. Moving from sea level to the mountains, the 360 degree city views from Mt. Eden are simply amazing.