Auckland  is the largest metropolitan area in New Zealand, with a population of over a million in the greater urban area. It is located in the northern half of the North Island, on a narrow isthmus of land that joins the Northland peninsula to the rest of the North Island. It is composed of four separate cities, Manukau city in the south, Waitakere city in the west, North Shore city in the north and Auckland city itself, on and around the isthmus. The wider local government area which includes rural areas, small towns and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf is Auckland Region.
Auckland is often known as the "City of Sails" for the large number of yachts that grace the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. It could also be known as the "City of Volcanoes". Much of its natural character comes from the fact that it is built on the Auckland Volcanic Field which consists of about 48 volcanoes. All of the volcanoes are individually extinct but the volcanic field as a whole is not.
Auckland is the largest city in Polynesia. For some Polynesian island nations, there are more expatriates living in Auckland than in their homeland. Auckland's rich Pacific cultural mix is celebrated at festivals  and sporting matches.
Auckland rates well in quality-of-life polls consistently rating in the top 5 of the major polls
The aging Auckland International Airport, New Zealand's largest airport, is located in the southern suburb of Mangere on the shores of the Manukau Harbour.
There are a variety of ways to get around including bus, train, ferry, taxi, shuttle and hiring your own car. You can use the Maxx website  to find ways to get round Auckland using public transport. Rideline also has a SMS (text messaging) service which can be used to find out the time of the next bus or train; or to find the quickest way to get to your destination using public transport.
Bus is the most preferred method of public transport in Auckland, carrying over 50 million passenger trips a year. Buses to popular destinations are often regular (usually every 5-15mins).
Travel by train is a good option if you are near a railway line but for many people in the suburbs this is not the case. There are a limited number of routes serving only 30 stations throughout the greater city. The North Shore does not have any railway services at all. There are occasional delays of up to an hour during the 7-9am and 4-6pm peak period. The Western Line in particular is known for its unreliability although this will improve as the single track is expanded to a double track. During off-peak periods, however, train travel on all lines typically is very quick and reliable.
The Auckland roading network experiences severe congestion at rush hour. The geography of Auckland constrains the network to a limited number of routes. Studies have shown that Auckland has one of the most comprehensive roading networks of any city in the world relative to its size, but lack of investment in public transport means the city is largely dependent on the private automobile. It is often easier and cheaper to hire a car instead of use taxis, simply because the city is so large and spread out. Taxi fares may be NZ$50 - NZ$100 from the airport to a city location, about the same as it costs to hire a car per day.
- Auckland War Memorial Museum, . 10am-5pm. Don't make the mistake of thinking this is just a war museum. This is a general museum and one of the best in New Zealand. It stands in an imposing position in the Domain, a large park on an extinct volcano. Suggested donation $5 adult.
- New Zealand National Maritime Museum, .
- Sky Tower, . At 328 meters, this is the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, offering view of up to 80 kilometers.
- Auckland Art Gallery, . The largest collection of national and international art in New Zealand. It is split across two buildings (main gallery and new gallery)
- Auckland Zoo, Motions Rd, Western Springs, 64 9 360 3800, , . Sep-May 9.30am-5.30pm (last admissions at 4.15pm), Jun-Aug 9.30am-5pm, closed 25 Dec. Has 150 animal species, 500 animals and a number of different habitats such as the Rainforest and Pridelands (an African savannah). Adults $16, children 4-15 $8, seniors and students with ID $12, family rates available.
- The StarDome Observatory, . Located on the slopes of One Tree Hill. The park also contains Maori archaeological sites, a kid's playgrounds and a working farm.
- Kelly Tarlton's, . Located on Auckland’s scenic Tamaki Drive and the home of Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World. It's a world-class aquarium which includes a trip through a transparent tunnel while the fish swim all around you. Bus routes 740-769
- Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens, . Located in Manurewa (South Auckland) has over 10,000 different plant types spread over 65 hectares with both natives and exotics
- MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology), . Situated near the Zoo in Western Springs. $14 Adults, $7 Child & Senior citizens. Children under 5 FREE. It's an interactive museum with over 300,000 items. Look out for the WWII Avro Lancaster Bomber and the Solent Flying Boat in the Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Collection
- The Lion Beer Experience, . Not a traditional brewery tour but rather an educational beer experience
- Otara Flea Market. Every Sat, open from 6am - 12 noon at the Otara Shopping Centre, Newbury St. Huge selection of clothes, household items and food. Otara is densely populated by polynesian people and this market reflects the culture of the area. Well worth a wander around. For other markets see local city council websites.
- Climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge
- Do the Sky Jump, a cable controlled base jump from a height of 192m on Sky Tower.
- Visit Ponsonby, Auckland's cafe mile.
- Wine tasting on Waiheke Island. Waiheke is home to some fantastic wines and has some of the best beaches in the area. Can get crowded during the weekends, but very quiet during the week, it seems a world away from Auckland, and is only 35 minutes away via Ferry.
- Greater Auckland wine route here
- Rainbow's End, is NZ’s premier family-based theme park with many rides and attractions. Bus routes 471-472, 474, 487, 497
- Take a ferry from downtown to Rangitoto and climb to its summit. Fantastic views of the Waitemata harbour and Auckland city.
- Hire skates in Okahu Bay and take a scenic skate along Tamaki Drive
- Drive or walk up one of Auckland's many volcanic cones such as One Tree Hill or Mount Eden to experience panoramic views of the city, and to see sheep in a major metropolitan area!
- Yifan's Family Entertainment Centre, Mid City Centre, 239 Queen St. An amusement arcade
- Potiki Adventures Spend a day exploring the beauty of contemporary Maori culture in Auckland's city centre and urban bush sites.
- Visit the funky little city village Kingsland (New North Road) and have a coffee or visit the cool individual shops
- Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret Spectacular dining experience! Located at 461 Karangahape Road (K Road) Price is NZD$50 this is inclusive of a bread starter, soup, your choice of 6 delicious a la carte mains which includes a vegetarian option. Award winning floorshow and dancing till late with a resident DJ. Doors open at 7pm.
- Spookers Auckland's only "haunted" attraction. Spookers is located in the former nurses hostel in the Kingseat Hospital grounds, Karaka (former psychiatric hospital). Most activities are restricted to persons 16 years and over. Walk around Spookers haunted house or walk through the Freaky Forest, a real live forest with ghouls. There is also CornEvil Haunted Horror Corn Maze. If you're going to do all three then allow at least 2 hours. Awesome props and costumes. You will not be disappointed.
- The Viaduct Harbour provides upmarket dining, starting at ~$NZ30 for mains.
- Saika Japanese Takeaway, Elliott St, Phone: (09)307-3667. 10am-9pm (closed on national holidays). Common Japanese food. Gyudon, Katsudon, Chicken-don etc. Japanese-speaking staff available. $8.
- Japanese Cuisine bien, 55-65 Shortland St, Phone: (09)358-1255. Lunch M-F 11am-3pm; dinner Tu-Sa 6-10pm. Sushi, teriyaki chicken rice bowl, eel, etc.
- South Vietnam Restaurant, 39 Elliott St, Phone: (09)377-3288. Lunch M-F 11am-3pm, Su 11am-10pm, closed on Saturdays, $6.50; dinner Tu-Sa 5:30-10pm, closed on Mondays and national holidays, $15.
- Valentine's Restaurant. Buffet restaurants in heaps of places around Auckland.
- New Orient Restaurant, Strand Arcade, Queen St. Chinese restaurant. A la carte or buffet options.
For Kosher food, the Auckland Jewish Community Centre, which include the Aucland Hebrew Congregation has a kosher shop it is located on Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD (Right next door to the Duxton Hotel) and is open every day except monday + saturday. it has a wide varietion of kosher products.
- Bamber House, 22 View Rd, Mt Eden (From Queen Street (IMAX-Theater), catch buses 255-258 to first stop View Rd), Phone: (09)623-4267 (Fax: (09)623-4267, email:firstname.lastname@example.org). Prices from $20 (Dormitory) to $26 (Double) http://www.oaklands.co.nz/bamberhm.html
- The Brown Kiwi, 7 Prosford St, Ponsonby, Phone: (09)378-0191 (Fax: (09)378-0191, email:email@example.com ). Prices from $20 (dormitory) to $26 (double) http://www.brownkiwi.co.nz/
- Verandahs Backpacker Lodge, 6 Hopetoun Street, Auckland Central, Phone: (09)360-4180 (Fax: (09)360-9465, email: firstname.lastname@example.org ). Prices from $20 (dormitory) to $40 (single) http://www.verandahs.co.nz/
- Aachen House, 39 Market Road (at Remuera), +64-9-5202329 (Fax: +64-9-5242898), . Upscale bed and breakfast. $300-600 (varies by size and season).
- Braemar, 7 Parliament St, Auckland Central, . Beautifully renovated 1901 Edwardian townhouse. Ph +64 9 377 5463; Fax +64 9 377 3056
- Heritage Hotel, Albert Street, Central City
- Hilton Auckland, Princess Wharf, Central City
Auckland is by far a safe place to visit.
Be vigilant as you would in any other cities in the world, and with a little bit of common sense will keep you safe.
The local emergency contact number is 111 for all Police, Fire and St John Ambulances.
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