Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia New Zealand North Island Auckland Region Auckland



Auckland Night Cityscape

Auckland Night Cityscape

© ArnaMarie

Auckland is one of the world's most liveable cities, and Kiwis know it. Auckland is home to over a quarter of the country's population, which is over 1.4 million people, and all indications are that it will continue to grow rapidly. Auckland is also has the largest polynesian population of any city in the world! Originally settled by Maoris in the 1350s, because of fertile soil, many Maoris had left the area by the time Europeans had shown up because of fire arms had made coastal Maori towns too vulnerable to raids. Auckland was settled in February of 1840 and the Governor of New Zealand and it was the country's second capital, Russell in the Bay of Islands being the first. The capital was moved to Wellington in 1865 because at that time the South Island was being settled quicker. Even after losing the capital status Auckland continued to grow.

Known as the "City of Sails", Auckland is strung narrowly along an isthmus between two harbours at the north of New Zealand, with the Pacific Ocean to its east and the Tasman Sea out west. Auckland has many wonderful sights and museum, making this city a wonderful place to spend a few days. There is also a very nice night life which can get pretty rowdy. Just remember not to judge a bar by its name, because something that might sound like a dive might be a very classy place.




Auckland can be divided into four neighbourhoods:

  • Auckland City
  • Manukau
  • Waitakere
  • North Shore



Sights and Activities

City and Sky Tower, Auckland

City and Sky Tower, Auckland

© bex76

Sky Tower

The Sky Tower is located downtown. This large observation and telecommunications tower is over 328 metres (1,076 feet) tall making it the tallest free standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere and offers great views of the city. For the more adventurous traveller there is even an option to Sky Jump off the tower at speeds up to 85 km/h. A Sky Jump is a cross between a bungy jump and a base jump. Also the Sky City Casino and Event Centre, a large casino and event centre, is located in the Sky Tower complex for a different kind of adventurous traveller. This casino was refurbished in 2006 and has over 1,600 gaming machines. There are also over 100 tables for games like blackjack and roulette.

Other Down Town Sights and Activities

  • Aotea Square is large paved public square and is considered the city centre. It is littered with several shops and has a weekly arts and crafts market on Fridays and Sundays making it a great place for shopping. Queen Street runs along its eastern edge.
  • Queen Street is the main street of Auckland and is undergoing extensive repairs.
  • Auckland Civic Theatre is a large heritage theatre built in December of 1929 that can seat 2,378 people. It is one of only seven remaining cinemas in the world like it and incorporates many elements from Buddhist and Moorish building styles.
  • Auckland Town Hall is a concert hall which is believed to have some of the best acoustics in the world. Phone: +64 9 309 2677, Address: 50 Mayoral Drive.
  • Harbour Bridge is the eight lane bridge that connects Saint Marys Bay in Auckland with Northcote in Shore City.


  • Auckland War Memorial Museum, also known as the Auckland Museum, is a museum that has an excellent collection on New Zealand history from prehistoric times to the present. Located on a hill over looking the city it also offers excellent views. The War Memorial is located just outside the main entrance to the museum and is home to the ANZAC Dawn Parade and Ceremony on 25 April each year.
  • MOTAT is an museum dedicated to transportation and technology and is located in Western Springs.
  • Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World is a good aquarium located in the easter suburb of Mission Bay.


  • Eden Park Stadium is the Auckland's main rugby stadium holding almost 46,500 seated spectators. It is home to the Auckland Rugby Union and the Auckland Blues and it is where the All Blacks rugby play many of their home test matches. The Wellington Phoenix occasionally play football here too.
  • Viaduct Basin is the marina were the America's Cup regattas were held in 2000 and 2003.
  • Mount Smart Stadium is home to the Vodafone Warriors, New Zealand's only rugby league team playing in the NFL. Mt Smart also hosts pop and rock concerts and occasional New Zealand All Whites football matches.
  • QBE (formerly North Harbour) Stadium is a 25,000 seater stadium hosting provincial rugby matches and some football matches, including the New Zealand All Whites.

Natural Sights

  • Auckland Domain is the largest park within the city with great views and a good golf course.
  • Mount Eden is an volcanic cone with a grassy crater. It is also the highest point in the city offering great views.
  • One Tree hill - Although it no longer has its one tree this volcanic cone that dominates the skyline of the south and inner suburbs is a great hike. The tree was lost in a politically motivated attack but an obelisk marks its spot today.
  • Mount Victoria - This volcanic cone is located in Devonport in North Shore City and offers amazing views across the bay back at Auckland.
  • Rangitoto island - Protects the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour and is a main feature on the eastern horizon.



Events and Festivals

  • Auckland Festival is a festival where you can enjoy the work of great composers, choreographers, directors, dancers and artists.
  • New Zealand Comedy Festival is held both in Auckland and Wellington.
  • Auckland Marathon - The Auckland marathon is held annually in October (sometimes early November). Known for crossing Auckland Harbor which requires a 108 foot climb, the New Zealand race attracts about 9,000 runners from around the globe.
  • Matariki Festival - One of the most interesting cultural events is the Maori New Year. When the so-called Matariki star rises, the Maori celebrations begin. In Auckland, visitors can enjoy a range of traditional concerts, art and dancing.




Auckland has a warm but temperate climate with generally mild conditions throughout the year. Temperatures during the day average from around 15 °C from June to August to around 22-24 °C from December to March. Nights average between 7-8 °C and 14-16 °C respectively. The average annual precipitation is around 1,240 mm with June and July the wettest months and January and February the driest.

Avg Max23.3 °C23.6 °C22.5 °C19.8 °C17 °C14.8 °C14 °C14.8 °C16 °C17.6 °C19.6 °C21.6 °C
Avg Min15.8 °C15.9 °C14.9 °C12.5 °C9.9 °C7.9 °C6.9 °C7.9 °C9.4 °C10.9 °C12.6 °C14.3 °C
Rainfall74.3 mm81.2 mm86.4 mm92.9 mm100.4 mm116.3 mm125.6 mm111.4 mm92.9 mm80.2 mm83.6 mm91.4 mm



Getting There

By Plane

Auckland Airport (AKL) is the main airport for New Zealand and is where most travellers start and end their trip in the country. This large airport has direct flights to several countries around the world and is located in a western suburb about 21 kilometres south of the Auckland city centre. Remember the airport has very strict bio-security with the use of dogs and x-ray machines. To avoid any fines just declare any biological material. With over 13 million passengers a year it is the busiest airport in the country and has most international connections.

To/from the airport:

  • Car: Two state highways connect to the airport. State Highway 20A goes north with access to central Auckland, the western and northern suburbs, and Northland. State Highway 20B leaves the airport to the east and allows access to southern and eastern Auckland, and the rest of the North Island.
  • Taxis and shuttles are available at both terminals.
  • Bus: The Airbus Express operates 24 hours and connects the airport to the Downtown Ferry Terminal in the central city via Mount Eden and Queen Street. The Downtown Ferry Terminal is opposite the Britomart Transport Centre, which allows bus and train connections to the wider Auckland area. Bus routes 375 and 380 operate from the airport to Botany Town Centre and Manukau City respectively.

By Train

Tranz Scenic operates several trains a day (some night trains are available) betwee Auckland and Wellington. It departs from Auckland at 7:25am (daily December to April, Friday to Sunday May to November) and arrives in Wellington at 7:20pm (the return train from Wellington departs and arrives at the same time).

By Car

Auckland is accessed from the south via State Highway 1. From Hamilton and New Plymouth you'll follow State Highway 1 north of Hamilton through northern Waikato and across the Bombay Hills into the southern suburbs of the city. From Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty, you'll follow State Highway 2 west of Tauranga to meet State Highway 1 at Pokeno, on the Waikato side of the Bombay Hills. From most other points south (including Rotorua, Napier, Palmerston North and Wellington), you will travel north to Tirau in the southern Waikato where you can choose between two routes; via Hamilton along State Highway 1, or via Matamata along State Highways 27 and 2.

From Northland, you'll follow State Highway 1 to Wellsford. From there, you can continue to follow State Highway 1 to approach Auckland through the northern suburbs and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Alternatively, you can follow State Highway 16 to approach Auckland from the northwest via Helensville.

Approximate distances and non-stop travel times to Auckland:

  • Whangarei - 160 km, 2 hours
  • Hamilton - 125 km, 1.5 hours
  • Rotorua - 230 km, 2.75 hours
  • New Plymouth - 360 km, 4.5 hours
  • Napier - 415 km, 5 hours
  • Wellington - 650 km, 8 hours

By Bus

Intercity and Newmans Coach Lines serve quite a few cities and towns throughout the country from Auckland. Nakedbus serves places as well including Whangarei and Wellington (12 hours), and buses to Gisborne and Napier. Dalroy Tours has buses to New Plymouth (5.5 hours). Main Coachline has buses to Dargaville (3 hours). Go Kiwi travels between cities on the North Island as well.

By Boat

Auckland is a major cruise ship port of call with over 100 cruise ships a year. Auckland's main cruise terminal, Shed 10, refurbished in 2013, is located on Queens Wharf next to the central business district (CBD) and the Britomart Station.



Getting Around

By Car

The road network experiences severe congestion at rush hour. Geography constrains the network to a limited number of routes. Auckland has a comprehensive road network for a city its size, but lack of investment in public transport and geographic sprawl means it is largely dependent on private cars.

There are three main motorway systems running through Auckland. The Northern Motorway (from north of Orewa to the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ) a.k.a. Spaghetti Junction) – note that it has a toll for the last few kilometres beyond Silverdale. The Southern Motorway runs from the CMJ past the Bombay Hills where it splits into State Highway 2 (SH2), and merges to the Waikato Expressway. The Northwestern Motorway runs from Auckland Port through CMJ to near Kumeu. These motorways clog up during the morning rush in the CBD-bound direction, and in the opposite direction during the evening rush. The Harbour Bridge has a method of mitigating this traffic load – it changes the lane system from 4-4 to 5-3, favouring the side which has the heavier traffic load. So be careful when crossing the bridge – some lanes will be available for you at one time but not another.

Some of the options to rent cars include the following companies:

By Public Transport

Use the Auckland Transport (AT) website to plan trips by public transport. AT also has a text messaging service that can be used to find the time of the next bus, ferry or train or to find the quickest way to get to your destination using public transport, as well as apps for iPhone and Android.
Buses are the most-used form of public transport. Buses to popular destinations usually run every 5-15 minutes. The bus companies that run to different parts of Auckland are:

  • Central Auckland - Metrolink (includes the City Link, Inner Link and Outer Link), Urban Express
  • North Harbour (North Shore and Hibiscus Coast) - North Star, Ritchies, and Birkenhead Transport
  • West Auckland - Go West, and Ritchies
  • South Auckland - Waka Pacific
  • East Auckland - Howick & Eastern

Travel by urban train is a good option, but only if you are near a train line; there are few lines and not all suburbs are served.

The four main lines are the Southern, Onehunga, Eastern and Western lines. The Southern Line runs from Britomart station in the CBD, roughly parallel to the Southern Motorway, to Papakura, with some services continuing on to Pukekohe. The Onehunga Line follows the Southern Line as far as Penrose, before diverting southwest to Onehunga. The Eastern Line runs from Britomart through the east of central Auckland to Manukau Central, sharing with the Southern Line between Westfield and Puhinui. The Western Line runs from Britomart westward to Swanson station. There are no train services in North Harbour or in the suburbs east of the Tamaki River, although the Northern Express bus (see By bus above) from Britomart to Albany provides rapid transit service to the rail-less North Shore.

The Southern and Eastern lines have the most frequent and reliable services. Trains on these lines run every 10 minutes on-peak, 20 minutes off-peak and 30 minutes on evenings and weekends. Approximately 85-95% of these services run on time. Trains on the Western Line run every 15 minutes on-peak, and every 30 minutes off-peak and on weekends. The Onehunga Line runs every 30 minutes all day every day.

Ferry services operate from the CBD to other points on the mainland and to Hauraki Gulf islands.

By Foot

Much of central Auckland can easily be explored on foot, even if you want to go a little further beyond the CBD.

By Bike

Renting a bicycle is a good idea if you want to venture a little further into the suburbs or want to speed up compared to walking.




There are some good cheap food courts (food halls) offering a variety of usually Asian foods usually priced around $10. Try next to the Queens' Arcade at the bottom of Queen St (slightly hidden entrance), or the Metro award winning Food Alley (9-11 Albert St). Very good value and good quality predominantly non-Asian choices are available at Elliott Stables (39 Elliott Street, near Wellesley). Also on the same block is the Atrium on Elliott (21 Elliott Street), a good quality food court of predominantly Asian food.

Britomart Precinct on the waterfront in the city centre is home to an array of popular and diverse bars and eateries. Agents + Merchants, Cafe Hanoi, Tyler St Garage, Ebisu, Britomart Country Club, Mexico to name a few. A must visit.

Viaduct Harbour provides upmarket dining, starting at $30 for mains. While this area has some very nice bars and restaurants, be wary of restaurants lacking customers and usually very quiet. It may be a sign of below average food or poor service.

Other places include:

  • Tanuki's Cave - Japanese Yakitori Restaurant serving delicious skewers and other Japanese dishes. 319b Queen Street.
  • Prego - atmospheric Italian restaurant on Ponsonby Road.
  • Ichiban - cheap and tasty ramen and other Japanese dishes at 17 Albert Street.
  • Saint Tropez - In Parnell suburb, great French food.




You can find neighbourhood pubs in many parts of the city, but the highest concentration of bars and clubs is in Auckland Central, particularly around the Viaduct area, K Road, Ponsonby and Parnell.

  • Elbow Room - Cosy, Mediterranean style bar, on Jervois Road in Herne Bay.
  • London Bar - Live Jazz every Friday and Saturday night and no cover charge. Corner of Queen & Wellesley Streets.
  • Galbraith's Alehouse - Originally a library at the city end of Mt Eden Road, this traditional pub is the closest you can get to real ale - cask conditioned ales served here under a light blanket pressure. The Bitter and Twisted is wonderful!
  • Shakespeare Hotel & Brewery - just off Queen Street in the CBD, sells its own craft beers served "live" but under a light gas pressure.




Accommodation can be found throughout the city, but the largest selection is in Central Auckland, particularly the central business district.

Read more in our article on the best areas to stay in Auckland.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




  • Auckland University - widely regarded as the top ranked university in New Zealand, and is consistently ranked by several ranking agencies among the top 100 in the world.



Keep Connected


Internet cafés are widely available throughout New Zealand at rates of around NZ$2-4, though sometimes more in smaller places. Besides internet and e-mail services, most big internet cafés also offer some way for travellers to connect their digital camera and burn cds. Many public libraries have public Internet access, and most of them offer short free internet sessions. Wi-Fi access is getting more and more common in for example coffee places or fast food chains. It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels, though sometimes at a fee. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available.


See also International Telephone Calls

Dial 111 for emergency police, fire or ambulance services. The worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used.
The country code is 64.

Most payphones in New Zealand require the use of phone cards for payment and it is getting harder to find payphones that accept coins. As phone cards are available at a lot of outlets, they are easy to purchase and very handy as a backup in case of emergencies. Many of them also accept creditcards. Local calls are free from residential phones and charges for calling outside that area can be found at the front of the regional phone books, amongst many other services.

Mobile telephone coverage is effectively national in near urban areas although the mountainous terrain means that outside the urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage does have huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain. Mobile telephone users can call 555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police. There are currently three major mobile carriers in New Zealand.

  • Telecom operates a UMTS (3G) network, named XT Network, nationwide on 850MHz with supplementary 2100MHz in metropolitan areas. (the same frequencies as Telstra in Australia and AT&T in the U.S.)
  • Vodafone operates a GSM network on 900MHz/2100 MHz and a UTMS (3G) network operates nationwide 900MHz with supplementary 2100MHz coverage.
  • 2degrees operates a UMTS (3G) network (2100MHz) in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, with supplementary GSM coverage provided elsewhere by Vodafone.

A prepaid sim-card connection pack with $10 credit from Telecom or Vodafone costs around $30, and prepaid sim-cards from 2degrees cost $10. Telecom has broader coverage in remote areas away from major cities compared to Vodafone and 2degrees.


Most areas have dedicated PostShops, however stamps can also be bought at grocery shops, supermarkets and book stores. There are two main formats for domestic mail, namely Standard Post and Fast Post. Fast Post is used next day delivery between major towns and cities (two days from rural areas), whereas Standard Post will take a few working days to deliver nationwide. Standard costs NZ$0.50 for letters/postcards (NZ$0.80 for larger envelopes), Fast Post costs NZ$0.80 (NZ$1.20 for larger envelopes). International mail takes about 3-6 days to Australia (NZ$1.50), and 6-12 days to Europe, Asia and the United States (NZ$2). Post boxes are white, red and black and can be found in many areas throughout towns and cities, including information about when their contents are collected. Most post offices and smaller post shops have opening hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday. You can buy stamps here, or at newsagents and general stores. For parcels, you can use the NZ Post or otherwise courier companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -36.8574525
  • Longitude: 174.7392432

Accommodation in Auckland

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Auckland searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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Auckland Travel Helpers

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