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Not to be confused with Auckland Region.

Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in both Polynesia and New Zealand, with a population of 1.65 million people. It is 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.

This article only deals with Auckland City itself. In 2010 four cities amalgamated; Manukau in the south, Waitakere in the west, North Shore in the north and Auckland City itself, on and around the isthmus. These other cities, rural areas, small towns and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf can be found in the Auckland Region article.


Auckland Harbour View

Auckland is a modern cosmopolitan city with a population of over 1.65 million people — roughly one third of New Zealand's entire population reside in Auckland.

The city and suburbs have developed within the same time frame and similar urban patterns as California (Los Angeles and Auckland have shared urban planning designs and are sister cities). Today the city and suburbs sprawl over a large urban area, hemmed to the east and west by two large harbours (Waitemata and Manukau) and ocean (Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea) beyond.

Many suburbs were once separate towns and offer examples of early European settlement (Mission Bay, Parnell Village and Ponsonby are historic suburban centres that remain well preserved and contain good examples of Victorian, Edwardian and Deco residential styles).

An extensive tram system was removed in the 1960s and motorway systems have since been implemented, although recent efforts to return two areas to trams for tourism purposes (in the CBD Wynyard Quarter and at Western Springs linking the Zoo and Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)) have had mixed results.

Because of its large geographic sprawl (and urban design focus on motorway systems) public transport can be frustrating and is not cheap by international comparisons - however - most destinations within 5km of the CBD and of appeal to visitors are served by frequent bus, train and ferry services from the Britomart transport centre (located in the downtown area of the CBD). An information desk operates at the ferry building and from inside the street level entrance to the train station with information for all public transport options across the city.

Regular ferry services depart the ferry building; with historic Devonport just 15min away - the view of the city and islands of the harbour make this a highly recommended trip. Further away with plenty of good beaches, boutique accommodation, wineries and olive groves is Waiheke Island (45min). Also worth a visit by ferry is Rangitoto (the large volcanic island that flanks the eastern horizon) - take good walking shoes, food and water to walk to the top - it can be very hot in summer - a bus service operates on some days for those that dont want to walk (enquire at the Britomart or ferry building information centre before setting out - and don't miss the last ferry back to the city as there is no accommodation on Rangitoto).

The city offers a number of locations to explore its cultural offerings. The starting point for any visitor should be its recently reclaimed waterfront, which has been developed from an industrial zone into a thriving, stylish centre of business and leisure. Silo Park is a great place to take the kids and see views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Wynyard Quarter offers a variety of bars and restaurants by the water's edge (including the recently refurbished Auckland Seafood Markets), the Viaduct is a lively precinct famed for its nightlife and Britomart is one of the most stylish areas in the city, full of heritage buildings, local shops and markets and some of the city's best eating options. Further afield, Ponsonby Road offers a bustling inner city experience. Ponsonby Central is a great place to start, and the suburb is great for wandering - the leafy side streets offer some of the best examples of colonial villas in the world. Karangahape Road (known as K'Rd by locals) is an eclectic, alternative street that is fast becoming known for its stellar dining options as it is for its rough-around-the-edges selection of second-hand clothing stores, live music venue and LGBT+ venues. Parnell offers upmarket shopping for affluent Aucklanders, Newmarket is great for shopping and Kingsland is a small high street with a funky feel. Further afield, head to Sandringham for a taste of Auckland's Indian and Sri Lankan community (including second-to-none Indian restaurants), check out the section of Dominion Road that is a bustling hive of dumpling restaurants and Chinese culture, or make your way to Avondale, which is home to Auckland's thriving Samoan community (including the wonderful Avondale Markets on Saturdays).

Popular areas on good bus routes include Ponsonby, Newmarket, Parnell, Mission Bay, Takapuna. A tourist explorer bus also completes a regular circuit of popular tourist sites. For travel to more distant suburban locations a car is recommended - many car hire firms have set up business in Auckland and rental rates are reasonable especially if renting for longer periods of time. Be aware that parking in Auckland can be complicated - make sure you read and understand parking control signs ( local government enforces parking fines and has no hesitation to have your vehicle towed). Be aware also of bus lanes (zones marked out on the road where only buses are permitted at certain times). These zones are also signposted but it can be easy to miss seeing them if concentrating on traffic. Fines are large and the authority administering is not tolerant.

The Auckland area was first settled by a confluence of Māori people of different tribes more than 700 years ago. From 1600 to 1750 the Tāmaki tribes terraced the volcanic cones, building pā(settlements behind protective palisades). Across the isthmus they developed 2,000 hectares of kūmara (sweet potato) gardens. These earthworks are easily seen on Mt Eden - a volcanic hill easily accessible from the CBD.

European settlement began in the early 1800s. The settlement resembled a shanty town in parts and ran along the gully in what is now Queen Street - alongside a creek (now under the road). The original shoreline remained until port reclamation and road development obscured it (although the original sea cliff can still be seen in Shortland St, Fanshawe St and along The Strand in Parnell). The port is the biggest in New Zealand and continues to grow but continued harbour filling is controversial.

In 1840 the city became the capital of New Zealand for 25 years and migration from Europe and Australia began in earnest. The University of Auckland was founded in 1883 and historic buildings and fortifications can be seen on campus.The War Memorial Museum (which houses a good collection of early Māori and European settlement on the ground floor and top floor respectively) was built in 1929 and the eight lane Harbour Bridge (linking the North Shore to the rest of the city) was completed in 1959 (and carries some 170,000 vehicles per day).

Dominating the midtown skyline of the CBD is the Sky Tower - an observation, restaurant and telecommunications tower completed in 1997. It is 328m (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere.

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 Extinct 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 boats

Auckland often rates well in international quality-of-life polls, consistently rating in the top five. Culturally, the city is an interesting mix. As Europeans only settled in New Zealand less than 200 years ago, an immigrant culture is prominent - many migrants from the British Isles and their immediate offspring populate the city. The city has attracted a sizeable population of Asians and Pacific Islanders in recent years and in some areas Asian migrants represent 50% of the enrolled voting population. Along with changing demographics and decentralisation of commerce to suburban nodes, the central city has witnessed significant residential influx over the last decade. Education facilities and related services, many aimed primarily at Asian students, now represent a significant portion of commercial and residential building use in the CBD.

The indigenous peoples of New Zealand are the Māori, a large portion of whom have emigrated from their tribal villages in the last 60 years to cities such as Auckland. Representing about 11% of the city, most of these Māori are fully integrated into the urban culture and many are estranged from their tribal roots.

Many think that Central Auckland does not have enough green space. Instead of parks having been planned as centre pieces of the city from inception, as most other British Empire cities were, Auckland parks were after-thoughts, located on marginal land, as if no one ever expected Auckland to grow beyond being a port town. Myers Park (bought for the city by the Myers family) is tucked out of the way in a gully. Albert Park is well worth a visit and adjacent to the University of Auckland main campus and historic buildings. Further up, Grafton Bridge crosses an historic cemetery where it is an easy walk to the Auckland Domain which is the largest green space in Central Auckland.


Auckland is in a temperate climate zone and does not experience hot or cold extremes at any time of year. The summer months are December to March. The sun is very strong during this time and it is advisable to use sunscreen and cover skin from prolonged exposure. April to June brings cooler temperatures and rain toward the end of June which persists through winter until September and October. Westerly airstreams predominate throughout the year and there's occasional high altitude haze from summer wildfires in Australia; making for spectacular sunsets.

Humid and moist conditions are usual in all seasons. There is no monsoon but tropical cyclones spin down from the Pacific Islands a couple of times a year bringing damaging winds and heavy rain. Rainfall is never far away especially outside the summer months - outdoor activities should be planned with an alternative inside option in case it rains. Localised tornadoes occur infrequently in summer months (they have always occurred but only recently been reported as the areas where they occur have only been developed within the last decade).

Summer brings settled dry weather systems most years from early January - but being a maritime environment with no continental land mass it is not unusual to have wet summers also. Winter brings chilly temperatures and overnight frosts to sheltered suburban areas. Snow flurries are a once in a generation event.

Best time for beach swimming is between late December to May.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Inside the airport in Auckland

Auckland Airport (IATA: AKL) - New Zealand's largest airport is well connected by frequent non-stop services.

# Destinations requiring transit lounge layover but not requiring a change of aircraft

## Seasonal schedule

Travel Warning WARNING: NZ has strict quarantine laws with large on-the-spot fines for undeclared food and other biohazards such as wood and bamboo cane. Do not bring honey into New Zealand. Make sure that banana or sandwich you stashed into your day pack has been removed and put in the disposal bin. Sniffer dogs and bio-sensitive X-ray machines operate at Auckland Airport. Some processed or packaged food items will be accepted but must be declared (on your arrival card) or ask for clarification before you pass to the baggage claim area. You must declare all outdoor equipment (including hiking boots, tents, and dive gear), so clean them before you leave to make the inspection process go more quickly.

Airport facilities[edit]

Free internet Wi-Fi for 30 minutes is provided throughout the airport.

A special area is provided for assembling bikes that have been crated for air transport: ask one of the security guards.

International check in desks are located on the ground floor. Arriving passengers come into the ground floor at west end of the terminal.

The food court and shops on the first floor in the departures area before security provides comfortable seating and electricity sockets to recharge devices. Tired passengers can get a bit of snooze time - or for a better rest there is a modern hotel located within the parking zone - five minute's walk from the terminal. A well positioned public viewing area and seating area is up the escalator beside the first level food court. A small games arcade and children's play area is also there. A news stand, information booth and a coffee shop is located in the arrivals area - nearby escalators will take you to the first level if you want the food court.

There is duty free shopping available in both the arrivals and departure terminals. Alternatively, travellers can pre-purchase their duty free goods via the Aelia Duty Free website. There are also multiple collection points in the airport for you to collect your goods upon return.

ATMs, currency exchange booths and Duty Free and souvenir shops are on both sides of security.

  • If you are arriving internationally, there is a final chance to purchase duty-free shopping area before immigration and baggage claim.
  • If you are departing, the area past immigration and security has good shopping and food amenities and views over the runway, Manukau Harbour and Waitakere Ranges. Keep your eye on the departures screen for notice to proceed to your boarding gate. Auckland Airport has no problem offloading luggage for passengers that fail to show at the gate.

Lockers are available in the terminal for $15 per day.

If you have time between flights:

  • Take a taxi to the top of One Tree Hill (the namesake of the song title by U2) for extensive views over the city and suburbs (allow 1.5 hr)
  • Head downtown by bus or taxi for a ferry ride across the harbour and back (allow 5 hours)
  • There is miniature golf about one km (15min walk) from the terminal. It is complete with a hole on a pirate ship.
  • A small retail park with a supermarket, cafes and large discount store is about 20min walk from the terminal - turn right out of the international terminal and follow the road; turn left at the first major intersection and walk straight on.

Domestic Terminal[edit]

A free shuttle bus loops between the International and Domestic terminals every 20min. It's a 5min ride. Otherwise, a paved uncovered walking path is well signposted - follow the line painted on the pavement. The path is level and suitable to take luggage trolleys.

From/to AKL[edit]

The airport's 25km south of central Auckland and 15km west of Manukau's centre, in the south of the greater conurbation on the shore of the Manukau Harbour. Transport to central Auckland and suburbs includes bus, shuttle van and taxis. Parking is plentiful for private motor vehicles and car hire firms are located in the area. If driving, orient yourself with a map first - and remember NZ drives on the left (passenger side always at the curb or road edge unless on multiple lane roads).


For central Auckland bus 380 departs every 15 min daily 05:00-23:38 from both the Domestic and International terminals and takes about 20min to Papatoetoe Train Station (bus stop 6480) from where suburban trains connect to Britomart station in another 33 min (if the schedules meet up).

For Manukau City Centre retail and travel hub; check with the driver and stay on the the 380 bus.

Shuttle vans[edit]

Shuttles will pick up/drop you to the door of your destination - which can be an efficient and quick option if you are the only passenger - less so if you are the first or last of six passengers to be picked up/dropped off. Rates are set by zone and do not vary much between drivers/companies. It is usual for a driver to wait for other passengers going vaguely the same way as you. There are regulations as to how long a driver can wait after the first passenger arrives at the van. If you turn up and other passengers are already loaded but going to another part of the city, the driver will direct you to the next shuttle in line.


Taxi fares may be $50-100 from the airport to a city location, about the same as it costs to hire a car per day. Taxis are metered and wait in a rank outside terminals. A cheaper option might be to negotiate a flat fare (if you are familiar with fares and think you can cut a deal). Otherwise, it is possible to call one of the many taxi companies and enquire how much they will charge to take you to your destination - then have the cheapest pick you up from the Drop Zone immediately outside the terminal. Doors into the International Terminal are numbered. For clarity, advise the driver which door you will wait outside of.

Mobile apps Uber and Zoomy offer flat rate airport service. Uber charges $70 to CBD whereas Zoomy charges between $39 and $66. Dialkiwi offer $10 rides for distance travelled within 3 KM.

Hire car[edit]

Many car hire firms operate close to the airport or nearby suburbs and have free shuttles from airport terminals. Best deals are often when booking in advance. If you arrive on a public holiday to pick up a car without a booking, you could be out of luck or asked to pay inflated rates.

By bus[edit]

The InterCity Sky City Bus Terminal (102 Hobson St, behind Sky City Plaza) is the main hub for national carriers InterCity and GreatSights. Facilities include an InterCity ticketing office, free Wi-Fi, cafe and luggage lockers.

By train[edit]

The Overlander train runs from central Wellington to central Auckland, a 681km (423 mi) journey. The trip runs much of the length of the North Island with stopping-off opportunity at Tongariro National Park. In a single day you will pass every kind of scenery: coastline, volcanoes and mountains, green farm pastures and dense New Zealand bush from $119.

By boat[edit]

Auckland is a major cruise ship port of call with over 100 cruise ships a year. The main cruise terminal, Shed 10, is on Queens Wharf next to the central business district (CBD) and Britomart Station. To get beyond the CBD, look for a bus called "The Link". The red city LINK bus runs along Queen Street and is only $1. It will always end up back at the place you started so you can never get lost - stay on the bus and see it all for one low flat fare. Explorer runs a hop-on, hop-off bus service. Taxis are relatively plentiful; many, such as those that serve the airport, accept credit cards.

Get around[edit]

There are a variety of ways to get around including bus, train, ferry, taxi, shuttle and hiring your own car. You can use the Auckland Transport website to find ways to get round using public transport or download the AT Mobile App. Auckland Transport also has a text messaging service which 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.

It may be prudent to hire a car if you wish to do a lot of cross city travel, particularly if you plan on leaving to see the nearby natural beauty, though roads frequently become heavily congested.

The Britomart Transport Centre on the corner of Queen Street and Customs Street is the main information centre for public transportation. You can get free bus, train or ferry schedules there. Timetables are also downloadable from the AT website.

Explorer Bus offers a sightseeing tour which runs regularly around an inner city loop to main attractions, and which you can hop on and off as you please.

AT HOP card[edit]

AT HOP cards can be used on all Bus, Train and Ferry services in Auckland.

They cost $10 (as of February 2016) and can be topped up with a minimum of $5. They offer a minimum of 20% discount of the equivalent cash fare. Those not wanting to purchase an AT HOP card can still pay by cash (buy a ticket from the driver onboard the bus, from ticket machines at train stations, or from ferry operators).

On buses, AT HOP card users must tag on and off with the blue card readers placed adjacent to the doors. Wait for the tone and green light. On trains and ferries, users must tag on and off with card readers on the platforms. Failing to tag off incurs a penalty fare.

On buses, multiple users can use one AT HOP card. The driver will need to process the tag-on though.

By bus[edit]

Bus is the most-used method of public transport. The network can work for you with a bit of planning (decide where you want to go then consult the Auckland Transport website or downtown information centre at Britomart).

For a fun way to see the city, buy a day pass and hop on and off buses (and trains and ferry) all day.

Generally the further your destination the longer it will take to get there - some exceptions (such as Hibiscus Coast) where express buses operate during peak times making use of exclusive arterial and motorway lanes.

It's usual to hail (wave) as the bus you want approaches so the bus driver will know (bus stops can be used by a number of routes - these sometimes have displays showing the times the next bus is expected).

Most bus drivers will let you know where to get off - ask when you get on the bus - otherwise, ask a fellow passenger or consult your smartphone map GPS location and ring the bell when you approach your destination.

Buses usually depart on time but often face traffic delays en route. Frequency of services in the CBD and inner city suburbs usually mean little waiting until the next bus arrives.

Bus services operate every day from early in the morning. Higher frequency services operate during commuter times. Last buses are around 11pm except for [Night Buses] that depart the CBD to distant suburbs and points in between in the early hours of Friday and Saturday night.

Bus routes[edit]

Most bus routes of importance to the traveller terminate/originate in the CBD.

  • Downtown Auckland (routes that terminate/originate at Britomart)
  • Midtown/Civic Centre (routes that terminate/originate in Wellesley Street).
  • Symonds Street in the uptown area
  • Some services to/from North Shore display City and terminate/originate in Victoria Street.

The Link bus operates four loop routes around the CBD, Tamaki Drive and inner city suburbs and pass many areas of interest - the Link bus will always end up back at the place you started so you can never get lost - stay on the bus and see it all for one low flat fare or combine with the Day Pass to hop on and off where you like. The red City Link bus is 50 cents for those with an AT HOP card and $1 for cash riders.

If you want to explore Auckland's more distant suburbs, it's possible to take a service from the CBD to a hub where information and further connections are available. Hubs are located in larger suburban centres - retail malls, entertainment facilities and (depending on destination) beaches are never far away.

The bigger hubs are (buses only unless otherwise indicated):

  • Albany
  • Orewa/Hibiscus Coast
  • Botany
  • Sylvia Park (buses and trains)
  • Henderson (buses and trains)
  • Otahuhu
  • Onehunga (train station nearby)
  • Manukau (buses and trains)
  • Newmarket (buses and trains)
  • New Lynn (buses and trains)
  • Takapuna
  • Highbury/Birkenhead

Paper tickets[edit]

Paper tickets for single trips are charged on the amount of zones travelled. When purchasing a paper ticket you need to tell the driver how many stages you wish to travel. If you are not sure, tell the driver your destination and the driver will tell you how much it costs. Or use Auckland Transport's on-line journey planner to calculate the cost of your journey in advance. Some services, such as City Link and Inner Link, have a fixed price regardless of how far you travel.

AT Hop Day pass[edit]

AT HOP day passes can be purchased for $18 from Auckland Transport customer service centres, ticket offices or AT HOP retailers. AT Hop Day Pass The pass is valid until midnight hours from first tag-on. They are not available for purchase on board.

AT HOP Day pass may be used on all Auckland busses, all trains and Fullers inner harbour ferries (Does NOT include Waiheke). See for full information.

AT HOP Monthly Pass is also available, typically used by commuters that require multiple services on one journey.

Other Day Passes[edit]

See: Auckland Day Passes

Waiheke Island Day pass: Unlimited travel on Waiheke Bus Company buses after 9am weekdays. $9 Adult, $5.50 Child and $21.50 family.

By train[edit]

Travel by train is a good option if you are near a train station and travel on weekdays.

The lines are:

  • The Southern line runs from Britomart station to Papakura station. Selected services continue on to Pukekohe station. Weekdays peak services runs every 10 minutes. Weekdays off-peak and weekend services runs approximately every 20 minutes until 7pm and half an hour evenings.
  • The Onehunga line runs from Britomart station to Onehunga station. It follows the Southern line as far as Penrose station then it branches off to Te Papapa and Onehunga stations. Services run every 30 minutes seven days a week.
  • The Eastern line runs from Britomart station to Manukau station. Weekday peak services runs every 10 minutes. Weekdays off-peak and weekend services runs approximately every every 20 minutes until 7pm and half an hour evenings.
  • The Western line runs from Britomart station to Swanson station. Weekdays peak services runs every 10 minutes. Weekdays off-peak and weekend services runs every 20 minutes until 7pm and half an hour evenings.

Popular places to visit by train are Sylvia Park (Eastern Line), Rainbows End (Manukau Station, Eastern Line), Newmarket (Southern, Onehunga and Western Lines), Dress-Smart (Onehunga Line), coast to coast walkway (Onehunga), Lynn Mall (Western Line) and Eden Park (Kindsland Station, Western Line).

By car[edit]

The road network experiences congestion at rush hour.

Auckland city is well covered by the main global car rental companies. All car rental companies offer competitive pricing for economy class vehicles and unlimited mileage options. Local car rental companies like Apex & Jucy also offer competitive pricing.

The three main motorway systems running through Auckland are the Northern Motorway (from Orewa to the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ) a.k.a. Spaghetti Junction), the Southern Motorway (from the CMJ past Bombay Hills, where it merges to the Waikato Expressway), and the Northwestern Motorway (from Auckland Port through CMJ to Westgate). These motorways clog up during the morning rush in the CBD-bound direction, and the same thing happens 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 during different times, some lanes might not be there at some times!

Some motorway on-ramps have traffic lights operating in busy periods - they allow one car to proceed every three seconds to ease the merging onto the motorway. Cameras are operating to catch red-light runners.

By taxi[edit]

Auckland taxis are plentiful and may be hailed from the road side, booked over the phone or increasingly with mobile apps. Check for the prices printed on the door - they do vary between operators. Taxi drivers always use the meter and are honest. Most taxis are fitted with CCTV and many take EFTPOS and credit cards. Traditional Taxis are expensive however.

Apps Uber and Zoomy operate extensively in Auckland. Users can hail a cab to their exact location using their smartphone. They will be notified of their driver's car type, registration number and name once he is on his way. Ola and Didi have also been recently introduced and operate in a similar manner to Uber and Zoomy.

Uber operated its own considerably cheaper fare structure and are usually less than 1/2 the cost of a regular taxi. Payment is handled entirely within the app - all the user needs to do is ensure he sees the driver "end" the journey by swiping the red bad on his iPhone screen. Note: Many Uber drivers are also regular taxis. If you book a ride through Uber, it will be charged through the Uber system - not the taxi's own meter. This is legal and cheaper.

Regardless of app or regular taxi, all drivers must be licensed and will display their government issued ID card on the dashboard.

Dialkiwi - 100% New Zealand Owned & Operated Company based in Auckland providing a cheaper taxi to ride across Auckland. Dialkiwi provides hassle-free Taxi and shuttle services. There charges estimated as per the distance travelled, minimum fare starts from $10.

See[edit][add listing]

Auckland Art Gallery's clock tower
The modern extension of Auckland Art Gallery, 2011
Auckland War Memorial Museum at night
Carving, Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, +64 9 307-7700, [1]. Daily 10:00-17:00, except Christmas Day. The most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand, housed in an award-winning landmark building on the edge of Albert Park in the heart of the city. Has a shop and café. The Gallery regularly hosts touring international exhibitions and offers a calendar of talks, performances, film screenings and children's activities to complement its exhibition programme. Admission charges apply for international visitors. Charges may apply to special exhibitions.  edit
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum, Museum Circuit, Parnell, +64 9 309-0443, [2]. 10:00-17:00. Displays collections of significant importance and offers scenic views of the Waitemata Harbour and islands of the Hauraki Gulf from a prominent position in Auckland Domain. It was constructed in the 1920s as a war memorial to those that fought and died in war. The cenotaph on the grounds below the steps to the museum entrance is the focal point for annual ANZAC day remembrance services. The top floor records names in stone as well as sobering tombs and lists of war events and their locations. The museum contains excellent exhibitions of Māori and other Polynesian peoples' arts and crafts and daily Māori cultural performances (ground floor) as well as geography of the Auckland region. Has a cafe. International visitors from $25, NZ residents suggested donation $10. No admission fee requested of Auckland residents.  edit
  • The historically important winter gardens are nearby and well worth the short walk from the Museum to see impressive flower bed displays, tropical plants and statues (free).
  • Auckland Domain is Aucklands oldest park and also hosts weekend sports events.
  • Sky Tower, Cnr Victoria and Federal St. At 328 m, this is the tallest free-standing tower in the Southern Hemisphere, offering views of up to 80 km away and fine dining in the Orbit revolving restaurant.
  • Auckland Zoo, Motions Rd, Western Springs, +64 9 360-3800, [email protected] 09.30-17.30 (last admission 16.15), closed 25 Dec. The largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand, in 17 hectares of lush parkland, minutes from central Auckland.
  • The StarDome Observatory on the slopes of One Tree Hill. The park also contains Māori archaeological sites, a kid's playground and a working farm.
  • Kelly Tarlton's on scenic Tamaki Drive and the home of Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World. It's an aquarium which includes a trip through a transparent tunnel while the fish and sharks swim all around you, and tanks of rays with feeding-time talks.
  • MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology), Great North Rd, Western Springs, near the Zoo. An interactive museum with over 300,000 items. Look out for the WW 2 Avro Lancaster Bomber and the Solent Flying Boat in the Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Collection.

Do[edit][add listing]

Auckland is surrounded by nature, much of it free to enjoy.

  • 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 and cows in a major metropolitan area!
  • See what's on in in the city's entertainment precinct Aotea Centre, Auckland Town Hall and Civic Theatre (with its incredible restored interior). Nearby Sky City Cinemas offer the latest released movies in a world class multiplex. Large suburban centres also have multiplex cinema facilities - most notable of these is Sylvia Park with luxury movie watching options and one of the worlds largest 35mm projector screens. Sylvia Park is easily reached by car (Exit 438 from the Southern Motorway) or train or bus from Britomart (downtown) and Newmarket.
  • Catch a cricket or rugby match at New Zealand's largest sports stadium Eden Park. Bus or Train to nearby Kingsland station.
  • Do the Sky Jump, a cable controlled base jump from a height of 192m on the Sky Tower. Or try the Sky Walk, a walk around a 1.2m wide walkway 92m above the ground with no hand rails.
  • Take a ferry from downtown to the volcanic island of Rangitoto that stands prominently near the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour. Climb to the summit for fantastic views of the harbour and Auckland city. Take a picnic or have a swim.
  • Rent skates or a bicycle in Okahu Bay and take a scenic skate along Tamaki Drive. Combine with a visit to Kelly Tarltons and Mission Bay - well serviced by bus from the downtown Britomart transport hub.
  • Explore NZ, Viaduct Harbour Basin, +64 9 359-5987 (, fax: +64 9 358-3137), [3]. Waitemata Harbour sailboat cruises on a boat from the Pride of Auckland fleet. Also offer a 2 hr Sailing Experience on an original America's Cup yacht or an excursion on a power catamaran to see whales and dolphins in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.  edit
  • Auckland Sea Kayaks, 0800 999 089 or +64 21 192 4939 (), [4]. Sea kayak to one of Auckland's volcanic islands like Rangitoto island day or night.  edit
  • Go to the beach. Mission Bay combines urban chic with beach (on Tamaki Drive further on from Kelly Tarltons).
  • Auckland Historic Bar Tour, 102 Quay Street CBD, [5]. 6:30 till 9:30PM Saturday nights. Rated by TripAdvisor as Auckland’s top nightlife activity, Auckland Historic Bar Tour is for the more discerning traveler and is a journey through central Auckland and its history, come along and sample New Zealand beers while learning about New Zealand history and culture. 115.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

From fashion districts to flea markets, department stores to malls and retail parks - shopping is as much a recreational activity for Aucklanders as watching for the latest sale (discount promotion) is a sport - big retailers are only too happy to oblige - widely advertised sales and offers are announced daily. Competition keeps prices reasonable - although supermarket (food) prices are expensive when compared with some countries in Europe.

Credit cards and cash[edit]

ATMs for cash withdrawals are plentiful in high pedestrian areas and at malls.

Most retail shops and supermarkets accept credit cards and EFTPOS (an electronic card similar to a credit card linking directly to your (NZ) cash account). At markets and smaller shops/food outlets pay with cash or EFTPOS. Some larger retailers and supermarkets allow cash back when paying with EFTPOS (i.e. amount deducted from your account is the sum of the goods purchased plus the amount you wish to take from the retailer in cash).

Foreign exchange[edit]

Bank branches prominently display current exchange rates and many have an exclusive currency window. There are also exchange booth operators in tourist areas. Some tourist or souvenir shops might exchange foreign money for purchases (usually at inferior rates) - otherwise, presenting anything other than $NZ will get you a blank stare.

Haggling and bargaining[edit]

Haggling or bargaining on marked prices is not customary in NZ - there are exceptions on higher priced goods if you need to save a few dollars (whiteware, electronics and motor vehicles for instance). Simply ask the retailer if there is a discount for cash when you are pricing items... this may get an on the spot reduction (usually a split of the % that would otherwise go to the credit card or finance company).

New Zealanders are a bit shy to haggle over small items - try asking for a discount if buying more than one of something at a market...

Sales tax[edit]

A 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applied to all goods and services. Prices on display include GST. Unless otherwise stated you should not be charged extra at the checkout (although the till receipt may document the sales tax component of the total amount).

Sales Tax Refund: the bright side (for international visitors) is New Zealand has a tax refund arrangement on goods purchased (over a certain value) and taken from the country when the visitor leaves.

How the process works:

  • the retail outlet must be registered for the scheme (a tax refund sticker is often displayed in shop windows)
  • typically there will be a minimum purchase amount per shop/transaction to qualify - ask the shop assistant
  • on checkout: the shop assistant will prepare your receipt and complete the paperwork
  • on departure: present the paperwork at the refund desk after immigration
  • technically the refund officer will want to see the goods to make sure you are taking them overseas (and haven't given them to a citizen without tax being paid)... so technically you should carry the goods with you as you wont be able to retrieve your goods if the officer insists on seeing them and you've checked them in with the airline or already have them on board and the cruise liner is going to depart
  • in practical terms it's nigh on impossible to carry those new shoes, possum duvet and everything else you've bought, certainly not as hand luggage on an aircraft - so with a bit of luck your refund officer will understand, greatly appreciate your contribution to the economy, want you to have a good impression so you will come back and shop again; and will process your refund anyway (if not, you still keep the goods but will not get the 15% refund).

Duty Free shops[edit]

Another privilege of being an international visitor is that you may purchase goods on arrival and departure at Duty Free shops - without paying another tax known as Duty. These are the shops you pass by on the way to immigration - or the very large up market duty free department store DFS Galleria in Customs Street West (downtown CBD).

Duty free prices are generally better than buying at full New Zealand (or Australia) retail (i.e. with tax included) but in recent years international competitiveness on electronics and tobacco items seem to have slipped... much better prices are available at the beginning/end of a long haul flight to Asia or Middle East. Cosmetics are another item you might want to check the price of internationally - you might find that jar of moisturizer is cheaper at Bangkok or Heathrow. You can often buy New Zealand beer and wine on sale cheaper at Auckland supermarkets.

Also, make sure you don't exceed your duty free allowance - and be aware of the allowance of your destination if leaving New Zealand. Duty may be requested if you taking more than you are allowed to.

You will need to present your airline ticket or boarding pass to get duty free prices.


The downtown area of the CBD has a number of souvenir shops for a range of budgets. Check around the lower Queen Street and lower Albert Street area. Also DFS Galleria on the corner of lower Albert Street and Customs Street West.

Hobson Street (at the top end) has a couple of large shops also stocking honey and health products.

Auckland Museum has a well stocked shops as does the Zoo. The airport has souvenir items both before and after immigration.


Freyberg Place, an Auckland shopping plaza located in the CBD


The High Street/Vulcan Lane/O'Connell Street area is the Fashion centre of Auckland Central and has local designer stores as well as international brands. Look out for womenswear in Ruby, Moochi, Ricochet, Karen Walker and Agatha Paris French Fashion Jewellery as well as many other international brands.

For menswear, visit Little Brother, Crane Brothers, and World Man. For New Zealand and international brands in both mens and womenswear, see Workshop, Brave, Browns and Fabric, along with Ashley Ardrey for shoes.

Made on Customs St West (parallel to Quay St, near to the Britomart transport centre). Recently, some of New Zealand's notable designers moved their flagship stores into this new Britomart precinct, including Zambesi, World and Kate Sylvester.

Ponsonby Road[edit]

Womenswear in Zambesi, Karen Walker, World, Cybele, Miss Crabb, Hepburn, Jaimie stocking local and international brands (Vivienne Westwood), IsaKelle.

Karangahape Road (K' Rd)[edit]

Cultural stores such as Third Eye (Indian), Buana Satu (Polynesian), vintage stores like Fast and Loose and Vixen (St Kevin's Arcade), designer stores like Adrian Hailwood. Across the road from St Kevin's, find Illicit and Miss Illicit.


Branches of the many stores listed above, as well as a few others. Nuffield St is home to Lucy Boshier (a local designer), Trelise Cooper Kids (upscale kids clothing from the New Zealand designer), and Superette (predominantly Australian designers). Look to Teed St for Drop Dead Gorgeous - offering brands such as Stella McCartney, Chloe and 3.1 Phillip Lim and Muse offering international labels such as Diane von Furstenburg, James Perse, and Rebecca Tayl stenbeck&morse stocks directional New Zealand & Australian labels such as Jimmy D, Cybele, Deborah Sweeney and Josh Goot.


Malls offer an ambient environment with good retail options and typically have a food court and cinema multiplex within the facility, if not nearby. Specialst as well as large New Zealand department stores (Warehouse, Farmers, K'Mart), along with large supermarket chains, add scale - many families and teens make malls a destination after school, on late nights and on weekends.


Suburban malls can be reached by bus and in some cases by train, however, a car is often the most convenient and efficient way of crossing the urban sprawl - and mall car parks are plentiful (and free). Late night shopping hours are usual on at least one night of the week.

  • St Lukes was the first of the suburban malls to be constructed (1971) - now a large mall complex having been modernised and expanded over the years. Remains a very popular mid to up-market destination. Two supermarkets and cinema muliplex. Exit 6 (St Lukes Road) Northwestern Motorway. Is on the Link bus route (see bus section).
  • 277 Broadway (Newmarket) upmarket fashion and retail shops, a food court with a view down Broadway and a supermarket. Closest suburban mall to the CBD - easily reached by car, bus or train. Two hours free parking with a receipt from one the shops.
  • Sylvia Park (New Zealand's largest mall) mid to upmarket shopping. Luxury cinema multiplex experience with one of the worlds largest screens. Two supermarkets. Warehouse. Exit 438 from the Southern Motorway - or train or bus from downtown Britomart and Newmarket.
  • Dress-Smart is an outlet mall specialising in deeply discounted big brand names. Sprawling food court. No supermarket or cinemas. A [[34] free tourist shuttle bus] runs from various hotels in the CBD.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Auckland has a vast selection of eating choices reflecting a diverse ethnic mix.


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 at 9 Albert St.

Very good value and good quality non-Asian choices are available at The Stables located in Elliott Street. Also on Elliott Street is a good quality food court of predominantly Asian food Atrium on Elliott.


The Ponsonby International Food Court has the cheapest eats in this somewhat pricey neighbourhood with the Mexican stall a standout among the Asian stalls.

There is also a popular food court at 184 Karangahape Rd (with a mini buffet) and at the nearby Chinese supermarket at the bottom of Mercury Lane. Also on Karangahape Road is Hare Krishna Food For Life (286 Karangahape Rd) with $5 vegetarian morsels.


Suburban malls are a good choice for good quality food at reasonable prices (see the Malls section). 277 Broadway (Newmarket) is the closest mall to the CBD.


  • SPQR Cafe and Bar. Modern Italian cuisine, dimly lit, loud music great atmosphere, you may feel like you are in New York. 150 Ponsonby Rd. ☎+64 9 360-1710.
  • The Viaduct Harbour provides upmarket dining, starting at $30 for mains. Whilst this location has some very nice bars and restaurants, be wary of certain restaurants lacking customers and usually very quiet.
  • Fujisan, 474 Queen St, Ph. +64 9 357 0866. Cosy and delicious Japanese restaurant near the upper end of Queen St. Try the Teriyaki beef set ($15.50).
Meat pies are a popular New Zealand dish
  • Korean Pancakes, High St opposite the New Gallery. $4.50.
  • Burger Burger, Ponsonby Central. Delicious burgers, made with fresh produce from plenty of local New Zealand suppliers!
  • Fatimas, Ponsonby Rd in Ponsonby. Excellent kebabs and pitas, a step above typical post-clubbing fare. [35]
  • Mezze Bar, Little High St Arcade. Serves tapas and other dishes. Often busy but worth the wait.
  • Al Volo Pizzeria, 27 Mt Eden Rd, +64 9 302-2500, [6]. 5PM-9:30PM, til 10:30 F Sa, Closed M. Limited seating, but you can order from the Corner Bar across the street. No delivery. $15-25.  edit
  • Mexicali Fresh, Prince's Wharf, +64 09 307-2419, [7]. 11AM-10PM. Fast Mexican food on Auckland's waterfront. Mouthwatering but not for the health-conscious. $13.50.  edit
  • The SKYCITY entertainment complex, cnr Federal & Victoria St, has a dozen restaurants for all tastes and budgets, [36] including the authentic Spanish Tapas bar Bellota, [37], the fine dining dine by Peter Gordon, [38] and the revolving restaurant Orbit, [39].

For kosher food, the Auckland Jewish Community Centre, which includes the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, has a kosher shop located on Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD (right next door to the Duxton Hotel) and is open every day except Mondays, Saturdays and Jewish festivals. It includes a large range of kosher products.

  • Nishiki, Robata-Yaki Bar, 100 Wellington St, +64 9 376-7104, [8]. 6PM-11PM, closed M. Great Japanese restaurant. Requires reservation for all days of the week. Great value for money! $10-25. (36°51'8.48S,174°45'5.19E) edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Galbraiths Alehouse, 2 Mt Eden Rd, Eden Terrace, [40]. A brewery and pub, with a great selection of traditional beer and wine.
  • The Occidental, 6 Vulcan Lane, City Centre. A popular place with the after-work crowd. Serves traditional Belgian beers alongside mussels and frites.
  • Shadows Bar, University of Auckland campus. Student bar with decent prices.
  • Cassette 9, 9 Vulcan Lane [41]. Great bar and club featuring different music nights.
  • Skycity, cnr Federal & Victoria Streets, [42]. Entertainment complex with a dozen bars & cafes including a Spanish Tapas bar Bellota, [43].
  • Bar Tabac, 6 Mills Lane, [44]. In a rustic heritage building in the back streets of downtown Auckland. Co-owned by musician Neil Finn of Crowded House.
  • Whammy Bar, 83 Karangahape Rd. Down a flight of stairs in St Kevins arcade, premiere venue for local music of a wide range of genres  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]


An Auckland Backpackers building
  • BK Hostel, 3 Mercury Ln, +64 9 307-0052, [9]. They do not have dorm rooms. Nice atmosphere, kitchen and laundry. single/twin/triple rooms from $40/$50/$81.  edit
  • Borders Beyond Backpackers, 8 Nixon St, Grey Lynn, +64 9 360-9880 (), [10]. Really nice, friendly backpackers. Run by a very friendly french guy named David who will help with any queries. Located right next to nightlife in Ponsonby, 10 minute walk to CBD. $20 dorm, $56 dbl air-con.  edit
  • City Garden Lodge, 25 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell, +64 9 302-0880, [11]. Charming, individual backpackers', not right in the middle of the city, but beautifully located in Parnell within walking distance of the Auckland War Memorial Museum (also, only a 20mins walk to the city)  edit
  • Queen Street Backpackers, 4 Fort St, City Centre, +64 9 373-3471 (, fax: +64 9 358-2412), [12]. Shared rooms starting from $25 to private rooms for $65.  edit
  • Verandahs Backpacker Lodge, 6 Hopetoun St, +64 9 360-4180 (, fax: +64 9 360-9465), [13]. $26 dorm, $70 dbl.  edit
  • Surf 'N' Snow Backpackers, Corner Victoria St. & Albert St, CBD, +64-9-363-8889 (, fax: +64-9-363-5502), [14]. a backpackers with many Asians, especially from Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Dorms from $18, Singles from $58, Doubles from $72.  edit
  • Choice Backpackers, 10 Wellesley Street East, Auckland Central, 1010, +64-9-309-8802 (, fax: +64-9-309-8802), [15]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. Centrally located, very good value for your money, many South American guests Dorms from $23, Privates from $61.  edit

Bed & breakfast[edit]

  • Eden Park Bed & Breakfast, 20 Bellwood Avenue, Mt Eden, +64 9 6305721 (, fax: +64 9 6305720), [16]. Luxury Inn that offers affordable B&B accommodation in a historic Edwardian villa.  edit


  • Auckland Waterfront Apartments, Princes Wharf, +64 21 972004 or 0800 287 338 within NZ (, fax: +64 9 817 9329), [17]. checkin: 2.30pm; checkout: 11am. Luxury 1, 2 & 3 bedroom fully self contained apartments with harbour views.  edit
Auckland Hilton and Princes Wharf with Sky Tower in background
  • Braemar, 7 Parliament St, +64 9 377 5463 (fax: +64 9 377-3056), [18]. Beautifully renovated 1901 Edwardian townhouse.  edit
  • Crowne Plaza Auckland, 128 Albert St, +64 9 302-1111 (), [20]. 4 star plus Hotel, 352 recently refurbished guest rooms and suites, offering first class accommodation.  edit
  • Heritage Auckland, 35 Hobson St, +64 (09) 379-8553 (toll free: 0800 368 888, ), [21]. Four star plus hotel with restaurant and bar. Serviced apartments available.  edit
  • Hilton Auckland, Princess, +64 9 978-2000. A modern waterfront building.  edit
  • Langham Hotel Auckland, 83 Symonds St, +64 9 379 5132 (fax: +64 9 377-9367), [22]. 5 star luxury hotel. (Price varies by season).  edit
  • Quay West Suites Auckland, 8 Albert St, +64 9 309-6000, [23]. A luxury apartment hotel in the heart of Auckland featuring balconies with harbour & city views.  edit
  • Rendezvous Grand Hotel Auckland, 71 Mayoral Drive, Auckland Central, +64 9 ­366-3000, [24]. Only a minutes' walk from Queen Street and the CBD. $138+ for a double room.  edit
  • The Sebel Auckland, 85 - 89 Customs St W, Viaduct Harbour, +64 9 978-4000, [26].  edit
  • SKYCITY Grand Hotel, 88 Federal St, [27]. Five-star luxury hotel.  edit

Serviced apartments[edit]

  • Quest Serviced Apartments, 363 Queen St, +64 9 300-2200, [28]. Close to Aotea Centre, the Town Hall, restaurants and shopping. 70 studios, one and two bedroom serviced apartments all with kitchen and laundry facilities.  edit
  • Metro Suites, 40 Kitchener Street, +64 9 377 1000 (), [29]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Located in the center of Auckland's commercial precinct, Metro Suites offer accommodation suitable for families, couples and individuals alike. Facilities include kitchens, laundry facilities and home entertainment systems  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Auckland is generally a safe place to visit.

However, be careful in these areas: Karangahape Rd (K Rd): A large number of pubs and clubs and cafes are located here, but care should be taken late at night and you should avoid being alone or intoxicated during very late hours on Friday and Saturday night. Taxis frequent the area at these times and should be used if you are not confident or familiar with the city. Taxi fares are set by meter and shouldn't cost more than $15 within the CBD.

Queen Street: During the day, this is a respectable shopping area, and after dark, there are usually still a large number of pedestrians and traffic until the early hours of the morning so the area it is relatively safe. On Friday and Saturday nights, there are typically many heavily intoxicated people wandering up and down the street. Some may seem intimidating, but they are usually more interested in getting to their next drinking destination than anything else. An increasing number of homeless people sleep around this area, but they are unlikely to bother you except a plea for loose change.

High Street/Vulcan Lane: During the day, this is an elegant and upmarket shopping area. At night, it gets quieter, but on weekends, there will be a large young crowd at the various bars and clubs along the street, and is usually quite safe. Police regularly patrol this street on weekends for disorderly drunk youths.

Viaduct Harbour: Many bars are located here, and care should be taken late at night as intoxication levels rise. During the day, be wary of street scams, such as needing money for petrol to get to work, as tourists are generally targeted. The scammers will approach you and start over-explaining their situation but just simply say no and move along.


  • Midcity, 54 Wellesley Street, Opposite the ASB Bank (corner of Albert and Wellesley Streets). They are open 24/7. This is probably the best internet cafe in the city and have the fastest and most reliable computers / network. Rates are $3 per hour, or $4 for a card with 2 hours access or $6 for 4 hours, which expires within 24 hours. A $5 refundable deposit is required for cards. Other notable cafes include HTC Internet Cafe at 63 Wakefield St.

There are many internet cafes around the CBD area with prices ranging from $1 per half an hour to $5 per hour, however free internet is available from the public library (limited 100MB per IP address per day). There are also free wifi internet in the skycity foodcourts. There are 40 HotSpots that offer WiFi connectivity, most notably Esquires cafe (inside Skycity Queen Street, Middle Queen Street, Lower Queen Street, Nelson Street), Starbucks (Victoria Street, K' Road, Lower Queen Street) and various other cafes around Auckland.



  • As-flag.png Australia, Level 7 PriceWaterHouseCoopers Tower, 186-194 Quay St ☎ +64 9 921-8800
  • Ca-flag.png Canada, Level 9, 48 Emily Pl, ☎ +64 9 309 3690
  • Ch-flag.png China, 588 Great South Rd, Greenlane, Auckland ☎ +64 9 525-1589
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, 108 Paihia Rd, One Tree Hill, +64 9 571-0238 (, fax: +649 571-0529).  edit
  • Ja-flag.png Japan, Level 15, AIG Building, 41 Shortland St, +64 9 303-4106 (, fax: +64 09 377-7784), [30].  edit
  • Ks-flag.png Korea (South), Level 12, Tower 1, 205 Queen St, +64 9 379-0818 (, fax: +64 9 373-3340), [31].  edit
  • Tw-flag.PNG Taiwan (Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office), BDO Tower Level 18, 120 Albert St, +64 9 303-3903 (, fax: +64 9 302-3399), [32].  edit
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, Level 17, 151 Queen St 1142, +64 9 303-2973, [33].  edit
  • Us-flag.png United States, 3rd Floor, Citigroup Building, 23 Customs Street East, +64 9 303-2724 x2800 (fax: +64 9 366 0870).  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Go 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, but is only 35 minutes by ferry.
  • Take a ferry to Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto Island has trails around the majority of the island, as well as a bridge that connects to the neighboring Motutapu Island, and is a great hike for even the most inexperienced hikers. Rangitoto Island has several lava caves that can be crawled or climbed through as well a spectacular 360 degree view at the summit (only about an hour hike on the most direct trail). This is one of the more convenient islands that is nearby as it is only 20-25 minutes by ferry.

On your way through the Waitakere Ranges, head to the little beachside village of Piha and be prepared for stunning natural beauty.

Hamilton and Waitomo Caves are within several hours drive.

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