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New Zealand's biggest city is more than just a stopover in the Pacific. Built on top of dormant volcanoes, Auckland is filled to the brim with architectural delights, up and coming neighbourhoods rich with restaurants and art, close to a series of pristine beaches, and provides plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Make the most of your trip to this harbour-side city with The Travelling Souk. We’ll help you to create memorable experiences in Auckland, with a selection of hand-picked tours, places to visit, shops to browse, and galleries guaranteed to delight.
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Home to two glistening harbours, it’s no surprise that Auckland has been coined the ‘city of sails’. You’ll find Waitemata and Manukau speckled with a mix of yachts, ferries, and small sailing boats, transporting travellers to nearby islands and waterside suburbs. Whereas Highway 1 will take you to many of Auckland’s sensational beaches, including Orewa and Red Beach, flawless spreads of white sand and crystal blue seas. Traverse the same stretch of coastline and you’ll find the dense rainforest landscapes of the Shakespear Regional Park, filled with hiking and mountain bike trails. Head further inland to explore some of the country’s best wineries, including Te Whau, Stonyridge and Obsidian, all found in the depths of regional hills.
Unsure where to begin? Don’t worry! We have plenty of travel tips and recommendations, to make planning your Auckland vacation a little easier. Whatever adventure you’re looking for, you can find it here at The Travelling Souk.
In Māori, the city of Auckland is referred to as ‘Tāmaki Makaurau’, which means 'an isthmus of one thousand lovers'. The city is actually built within a narrow straight filled with about 50 inactive volcanoes - great for hiking and mountain biking.
If adventure sports are not your thing, you could try rainforest canyoning in the hidden pools of the Waitakere Ranges, or take a jet boat tour through the city’s waters. Adrenaline lovers can try Auckland’s unique alternative to bungee jumping: a 192-metre, feet first sky jump at Sky Tower.
When you’re feeling peckish, you can head to any one of Auckland’s top-notch international restaurants, from Italian with a view at Amano, to home cooked crepes at the La Cigale French market, or contemporary Indian fusion at Cassia. As food critics will eagerly inform you, New Zealand’s culinary scene is in the midst of an awakening, due in part to its fresh local produce and rich history of immigration.
Auckland is filled with incredibly diverse attractions. Whether you’re an avid thrillseeker, an art aficionado, nature lover, or wine buff, New Zealand’s largest city is sure to keep you captivated. Here are the 10 must-visits for any trip to Auckland:
Auckland is just a 40 minute ferry ride away from Waiheke Island’s, otherwise known as Auckland’s island of wine. This little slice of paradise is dotted with some 30 wineries - why not join a wine tasting tour and enjoy a lingering tour of the vineyards, taking in the gorgeous views, and a scrumptious lunch.
Want to see a dormant volcano? You can hire a kayak and paddle out to Rangitoto Island, not too far from downtown Auckland, and walk up the old lava flows to the summit. You’ll see some spectacular views from the top, looking out across the harbour and back to the city.
Kelly Tarlton’s SEALIFE Aquarium is home to the world’s largest penguin colony exhibit, as well as the world’s only display of Spiny Sea Dragons. You’ll find plenty of colourful fish, stingray, and sharks on a visit to the SEALIFE Aquarium, and you can even book your own shark dive.
Auckland is home to one of the largest Polynesian populations of any city in the world. You can explore authentic villages, each representing the different Pacific Island nations at the annual Pasifika Festival, browse a selection of food and art stalls, and catch the live music and dance.
Rotoroa Island was reopened to the public in 2005, after being sealed off for nearly 100 years. It was once a private rehabilitation centre, but has since been converted to an exhibition centre and museum, where tourists can visit the historic chapel and jail house, and soak the scenery along the bush trials and sandy beaches.
You’ll find more than 1,000 taonga (treasures) in the Auckland Museum, which houses the largest collection in New Zealand, and the world. Discover small artefacts such as pieces of jewellery and figurines, to an original full-size waka (canoe) and marae (meeting house). It's a fascinating glimpse into early Māori culture, and a must-see for any trip to Auckland.
Auckland’s two coastlines are so close to one another that you can grab a surfboard and checkout the rugged black-sand surf beaches in the west in the morning, and take a quick dip at one of Auckland’s east coast beaches in the afternoon. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding your own sandy sanctuary, with plenty of stunning coastal gems, hidden harbours, and bustling beaches to explore.
The Great Barrier Island was the first in the world to be designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary – joining only two other locations. It’s a place of incredible beauty, day or night, that’s firmly off the grid. With minimal outdoor lighting, it’s a great place for star-gazers to take in the stunning night skies.
It’s possible to cross New Zealand in 5 hours, by taking the Coast to Coast Walkway. If you start in Viaduct Harbour on Auckland’s east coast, and then travel west through the city, over dormant volcanoes, and through beautiful parklands, you’ll end up at the Manukau Harbour 16km later.
Take a ferry to The Riverhead, New Zealand’s oldest historic riverside tavern, and retrace the route of the early Māori settlers and European Pioneers. Enjoy premium pub fare on an airy outside deck surrounded by 100 year old oak trees, or grab a cold beer in a traditional Kiwi pub.
Explore New Zealand with The Travelling Souk. Find top travel stories from around the country, and experience famous attractions differently, with unique tips and advice. Explore more of Auckland:
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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.