For the vast majority of people visiting New Zealand, the first place you'll end up is Auckland. As I have mentioned in my Hey, New Zealand post, Auckland gives you very weird expectations of your NZ experience. You arrive into a crowded city filled with people, restuarants, cafés, bars etc. and feel like you're in any other big city. However, at the same time you're surrounded by tropical forests, pristine islands and a couple of volcanoes. Auckland is not your average city.
I stayed in the Auckland area for about 2 weeks so managed to experience most of the highlights. Without further ado, here is my complete Auckland city guide.
Where To Stay
Auckland is an expensive city. Let me just put that out there. This is why we opted to stay in the more suburban areas of Auckland rather than in the middle of the city.
Our first Air BnB was staying in a cabin in the back garden of a lovely Kiwi couple. They have 2 dogs and 2 cats which is always a bonus. There is a communal kitchen and bathroom available for you to use too. This Air BnB is particularly good if you are visiting on a Working Holiday Visa and need to set up a bank account, IRD number and want to buy a car as Alison, one of the hosts, is willing to help you sort all of this out. And, let me tell you, it's great to have someone who knows what they're doing. Price £
|Air BnB Massey (see v good pool)|
After this, we moved onto another area in Auckland, this time a place that's a bit more rural. We were surrounded by fields, hills and amazing scenery that's not to be missed. Once again we were staying with a lovely Kiwi couple with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. A perk was definitely the swimming pool which was amazing and not expected! Price £
Where To Eat
When we arrived into Auckland airport, we headed straight for the city centre with grumbling tummies and jet lagged brains ready for some caffeine. We spotted Remedy Coffee right in the heart of the city. We munched on avocado and toast, sipping iced coffees whilst playing a game of chess. Bliss. Price ££
If you're in Auckland take advantage of the cheap sushi - that's an order. There's also lots of veggie sushi options which is amazing. I remember St Pierre's sushi being particularly good which we munched on before heading to the museum. Sounds like a perfect day to me. Price £
Coffee is so cheap in New Zealand in comparison to the UK. Your usual £4.00 mocha is about $5.00 for a large here which is about £2.50. Coffix is even better, fixing all of its coffees at a measly $2.50 (£1.25) for any type of coffee, whether it has extra shots or almond milk, it's one flat price. A little coffee kiosk that serves amazing coffee, providing super friendly service. Price £
We really needed to spend a day being productive and applying for jobs. Armed with our laptops, we headed to The Junction for iced coffees, chips and of course free wifi. I can't really think of a better place to be productive really as the views were stunning. Price ££
When you're doing the coast to coast walk, you're going to need an ice cold pint of your chosen beverage, especially if you wish to tackle Mount Eden. The Good Home is a good spot to head to for a drink or maybe a bite to eat and have a bit of a relax before completing your journey. Price ££
What to Do
One of the first things we did upon arrival in Auckland was the coast to coast walk. It's a 16km walk from one side of Auckland to the other. It's a great way to see some of the highlights of the city including Auckland Domain, Albert Park, Cornwall Park, One Tree Hill Domain and Mount Eden and all in one day. We did the recommended route of starting at the Viaduct Harbour in Central Auckland and ending in Onehunga which is a bit of an anti-climax as there isn't that much to see in there but you could easily do it the other way. Price Free!
If you're in Auckland then Rangitoto is a must. Emerging from the sea only 600 years ago, Rangitoto is New Zealand's youngest volcano and you can walk to the very top. Get the ferry from Auckland harbour for $36.00 return. Make sure you take food and drink with you as there are no shops to purchase anything. The island is also pest free so make sure there's nothing lurking in your bags. Also, be sure to check the timings of the last ferry back to the city otherwise you will be stranded. Price ££
|Auckland War Memorial Museum|
An amazing museum dedicated to the history of New Zealand, including the vast Maori heritage, the volcanic nature of the country and surrounding islands in addition to the country's involvment in various international wars. If you're on a WHV, take a copy with you for super discounted entry. Price ££
Auckland Domain & Wintergardens
Auckland Domain & Wintergardens
75 hectacres of land situated around the cone of the extinct volcano, Pukekawa. It also home to the War Memorial Museum and the Wintergardens which is a tropical paradise in the centre of the park. Price Free
If you want a chilled day in the city I would recommend visiting Cakes n Ladders for a day of board games and cake. You can play anything from Cards Against Humanity and Scrabble to Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride (my personal faves). Price £ ($2.50 pp per hour + price for cake and coffee)
In NZ you're never too far away from the beach. Piha beach was a personal favourite in Auckland and definitely worth visitng. It has black iron swept up onto the beach which is remanants of a volcanic eruption a very long time ago so basically it has black/grey sand. Price Free!
You're also never too far from a tropical rainforest. Unfortunately a lot of the Waitakere Ranges are closed due to Kauri Dieback disease which is harming a lot of ancient Kauri trees in NZ but if you head to the visitor centre you can see what tracks are still open. Price Free!
Auckland is an incredible city with an exciting history and diverse surroundings like no other!
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