New Zealand's biggest city bustles with buzzing nightlife
Along with its 48 dead volcanoes, Auckland is home to more than 1.3 million inhabitants, making it New Zealand's biggest, most populated and fastest-growing city. While the political powerhouse may be Wellington, Auckland has taken the title of being the country's cosmopiltan capital, making it the unofficial big smoke in the land of the long white cloud.
With a diverse population of Maori, European, Polynesian and Asian cultures, Auckland offers a brilliant blend of arts, cuisine and leisure activities. The city also has more boats per capita than any other city (earning it the title of the 'City of Sails'), plus 22 regional parks, 50 islands to explore, and more than 500km of walking and hiking tracks, so no excuses to be lazy.
The combination of stunning scenery, scorching summers and a sizzling social scene make Auckland a must-do on any trip to the southern hemisphere. Arguably New Zealand's most cosmopolitan city, Auckland is home to a wide range of shops and restaurants, as well as busy harbours and beautiful beaches. If the hustle and bustle gets too much for you, Auckland is also an ideal hub from which to explore the rest of the country.
When to go
Peak season in New Zealand runs from October to May, when winter sun-chasers from Europe arrive in their droves. However, Auckland also offers plenty to do during the winter season from June to August, when flights can be snapped up for a fraction of the usual cost.
How to get there
New Zealand's main international airport is Auckland International Airport, 24km south of the city. Wellington and Christchurch also have international airports. Air New Zealand and British Airways both fly to Auckland via Los Angeles, or offer alternative stops if you're keen to break up the flight with a stopover in Asia or the US.
The best views of the city can be seen from Auckland's Sky Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the southern hemisphere. Also be sure to check out the water-themed attractions, including the National Maritime Museum and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World - where you are submerged in a plastic tunnel surrounded by sharks, stingrays and less-scary penguins. However, the real highlight of Auckland is the plethora of shops, restaurants and bars on offer - you'll never be short of a late-night drinking den.