The largest city in New Zealand, Auckland, occupies an enviable position with the glistening Waitemata Harbour to the east and Manukau Harbour to the south-west. It is a vibrant, multi-cultural city that has plenty to offer residents and visitors alike; from the lively waterfront and downtown core to the somewhat sprawling leafy suburbs the city is packed with interesting restaurants, cafes, museums, art galleries, heritage buildings and recreational parks.
It is often referred to as the city of sails due to the large number of boats moored along the harbourfront and indeed the sheltered waters of the harbour provide the ideal location for sailing enthusiasts, alongside many other water-based activities. Several offshore islands provide a relaxing break from the city – primarily the lava-covered landscape of Rangitoto and the sweeping bays and vineyards of Waiheke – but on a cruise around the bay you will see many more.
West of the city the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park offers an equally good antidote, with many cycling and walking trails that weave through the rainforest, and some stunning viewpoints. The rugged west coast beaches are famous for their black sands and surf, and Piha in particular is a popular day trip destination.
The beauty of Auckland is that you can do as much or as little as you would like. If you’ve just arrived off an international flight then it’s a great place to unwind and familiarise yourself with the local way of life, but if it’s the end of your holiday and you want that final quintessential Kiwi experience then there’s also plenty on offer.