Country: New Zealand
Currency: Dollar (NZD)
Peak Season: December-March, May
Shoulder Season: April, October-November
Median Temperature: 15.30 C / 59.54 F
Main Languages: English, Dutch, Maori
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, taxi, motorcycle, motor home rental
Recommended Duration of Stay: 2 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $100.00/day
Tourist Passes: Auckland SuperPass
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A scenic city and views of majestic landscapes is what a trip to Auckland can offer. The green-pastured city is known to trekkers and sports enthusiasts for its challenging landscape near the outskirts and the artsy vibe within the city proper. Here you can dive, lay on the beach, find wild animals, skirmish along gardens, take on extreme sports, saddle on a horse, or watch cruise ships and yachts pass by from adoring vantage points. Auckland is urban life in its modest form, and definitely a place to stay if seeking solace. And rest assured – Auckland is statistically one of the safest places to live and visit.

With relatively few locals, a menagerie of sports, lots of scenic sea vistas and boat rides, plenty of greenery and volcanic hills, Auckland—the resilient city down under—is truly sight for sore eyes. Auckland is a cosmopolitan city comprised of a unique blend of European, Pacific Islander, Maori and a now-growing Asian community.

Auckland was once the fortified settlement of Maori—the country’s first inhabitants (whom today also play key roles in the economic and political landscape of the country). The city is abundant with fertile land and displays an eclectic proximity near the Pacific Ocean. The dynamism of the Maori people has a profound effect on both tourism and cultural preservation of the country. Tattoos permanently inked on the face and skin—Ta Moko—display the unique artistry of the Maori people. It is considered sacrilegious for a non-Maori to get the ta moko, since designs actually signify lineage. The Matariki Festival is a month-long celebration of the Maori New Year celebrated in either late May or the start of June. Matariki means “Eyes of God”.

Going back, the city, despite boasting a stellar economic run and plenty of career opportunities, has some catching up to do with regards to urban landscaping and compression: noticeable are plush Victorian houses sitting idly by on an acre of land with no neighbors in the vicinity—all due to the extremely low population density. And while quaint to the person looking for space and solitude, it does pose transportation problems. With less than a quarter of the population utilizing public transport and not a comprehensive train circuit in sight, any tourist won’t get to relish the city’s attractions without renting a car.

Packing List

  • Seasonal, layered clothing; one could experience all four seasons in a day, as the weather is very changeable; bring extra clothes if you intend to stay longer in the suburbs and renting an RV
  • Backpacking gear for day-long excursions, since a lot of tourists stay only for a couple of days (sometimes even just a day); first-aid kits may come in handy if doing some nature explorations
  • Backpacking gear for day-long excursions, since a lot of tourists stay only for a couple of days (sometimes even just a day); first-aid kits may come in handy if doing some nature explorations
  • A decent camera, zoom lenses, plenty of film/memory and batteries; there are plenty of panoramic sites here, so consider renting an SLR from a friend if you don’t have one—every snapshot counts
  • A detailed map, GPS device, and anything to keep you on track if exploring the outer edges of the island; also, keep yourself company by bringing books, portable media and a laptop

Things to Do

  • Visiting the Auckland Zoo, which is known for effectively implementing near-identical biomes of captive wildlife; the zoo is known for its hippos, elephants, tigers, lions, polar bears and orangutans
  • Witnessing Maori artifacts, weapons and armament inside the Auckland War Memorial Museum; its main exhibits are not only limited to those from the South Pacific—it also hosts popular craft
  • Basking in the sun and fertile grounds of the Auckland Domain, the city’s largest park and the preferred venue for outdoor hikes and holiday celebrations; park has an expanse of 75 hectares
  • Partaking in the many adrenaline sports offered atop Auckland Harbour Bridge: bridge climbs, bungee jumping, ledge swings and trampolining; the bridge spans 800 feet and rises at 142 feet
  • Enjoying a series of land and water adventures, as well as forestry and agriculture explorations, all at Waiheke Island, 11 miles from the city; it’s also houses the vineyards of expensive wine labels

DON'T

  • Ignore the law, as simple as that; New Zealanders are friendly people and may tolerate tourists toying around, but keep in mind: obey traffic rules, keep your cool and always ask for permission
  • Forget to absorb much as Maori culture as you possibly can; the first settlers of New Zealand have a very intriguing history and are famous for their celebrations, body art, handicraft and cuisine
  • Do anything considered taboo, especially by Maori standards; locals have become cognizant of these, so also do some research on forbidden acts, such as touching the head and hair of natives
  • Mention race in a conversation, unless you’re talking to someone who knows the topic really well; there is a bit of blame game between Maori, Pacific Islanders and Europeans, so be tactful
  • Forget to come prepared with necessities if staying in an RV, especially in the fringes of the city; places outside the Central Business District (CBD) lack convenience stores and pharmacies