The largest city in New Zealand has a lot to offer to the visitor because of its spectacular location alone. Auckland was built on more than 40 volcanoes, is located directly on the sea and also includes more than 50 small islands in the city area – what other major city can keep up with that? Extensive parks, sheltered bays and many small harbors with countless sailing boats characterize the image and incidentally led to the nickname “City of Sails”.
The city, which is said to have the third highest quality of life in the world, is best explored by simply letting yourself drift. The city center in Waitemata Harbour along Queen Street with its stores, cafés and restaurants invites you to linger. The numerous beaches are a wonderful place to relax. And because of its many different population groups, Auckland is also a real cultural experience, which is noticeable at every turn during a stroll through the city.
Tip 1: Sky Tower
The Sky tower is the tallest building in New Zealand and THE landmark of the Auckland skyline. No matter where you are in the city, you will never lose sight of the city center thanks to it. The giant observation tower is definitely one of Auckland’s best sights!
The base of the Sky Tower houses a casino, at the top of the tower you will find the “360° Orbit”, a restaurant with panoramic windows. The entire platform on which the restaurant is located rotates on its own axis! So you get the perfect view of the city, the harbor and the sea while you eat a delicious dinner.
Of course, you can also just enjoy the view of the city from the Sky Tower. There are several viewing platforms. The lowest one has a glass floor!
If you’re in the mood for a real adrenaline rush, you can also take a death-defying plunge from the Sky Tower. With the “Skyjump” you drop from the top of the tower down into the canyons.
If the Skyjump seems a bit too daredevil for you, but you still feel like heart palpitations and thin air, the “Skywalk” is something for you. On the same platform from which the skyjumpers drop into the depths, you can walk once around the entire tower. So you can enjoy the breathtaking view at your leisure – safely strapped in, of course.
Tip 2: Viaduct Harbour
The reconstruction of Viaduct Harbour is a legacy of New Zealand hosting the America’s Cup Yachting Regatta here and has made this waterfront area one of the city’s premier entertainment and dining destinations.
In addition to being one of the country’s premier marinas, Viaduct Harbour is also a tourist attraction.
Every Sunday, the flower market attracts live music and street markets. Regular free events during the summer months are popular with local families. The lively waterfront cafes and restaurants are a great place to take in the Auckland sights over lunch.
Tip 3: Auckland War Memorial Museum
The city’s largest museum is located in the middle of Domain Park overlooking Waitemata Harbor. Despite the name, it is much more than a military museum. While it was built in the 1920s in memory of those who died in the war, it is now much more: it contains great displays of both Maori and Polynesian culture and arts and crafts, as well as the geography of the Auckland region. There is also a planetarium and a replica of a street in the days of the first European settlers on the upper floors. There are daily Maori cultural and dance performances.
Tip 4: Harbour Bridge
One of the city’s most important transportation hubs is the Harbour Bridge, which runs between Saint Marys Bay and North Shore City. The eight-lane road bridge is about 43 meters high and has a span of 243 meters. Especially in the evening hours, the view of the brightly lit bridge is nothing short of spectacular.
The bridge, which is about 1.1 kilometers long, cannot be crossed by pedestrians, but the view of the construction from the shore is already unique. You can admire the bridge in its full extent from the water during a trip by boat or ship. By the way: Before the bridge was built, the only way to cross from Auckland City to North Shore City was by ferry.
Tip 5: One Tree Hill
This volcanic cone was the key to the isthmus and the largest fortress in the country. From the top (182 m) you have the opportunity to view the city from a 360 degree angle and see the grave of John Logan Campbell, who donated the land to the city in 1901 and requested the erection of a monument to the Māori on the summit.
Nearby is the stump of the last tree from which this hill got its name. Take time to explore Cornwall Park with its ancient trees and historic Acacia Cottage (1841).
The Cornwall Park Information Center offers fascinating interactive displays that illustrate what the park looked like when 5000 people lived here. Near the excellent children’s playground, the Stardome offers regular stargazing and planetarium shows that don’t depend on Auckland weather.