Locals love their water sports and, thanks to beaches located within the city, you can swim, stand-up paddle, surf or kayak (board and kayak rentals are available) just minutes away from the CBD. A lot of off-road cycling paths and walkways make it possible to venture around the city by bike or on foot. Visit gentrified neighbourhoods where historical buildings stand proudly alongside modern malls and food enclaves.
Auckland’s multicultural population ensures there’s something to satisfy every culinary mood (even Michelin-star whims) at any budget, too. Of course, with New Zealand wine’s growing popularity, you can now also enjoy scenic drives on the way to family-owned vineyards in Matakana and Kumeū, the oldest one, for excellent local labels.
When to go
Celebrate Maori history, culture and food during the annual Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, which occurs on 31 January on Captain Cook Wharf along Auckland’s waterfront. The North West Auckland Wine, Beer & Food Festival returns every February, and the annual Auckland Arts Festival with both local and international performers, every March. Autumn to Spring (May to September) tend to be quieter as the weather cools. And, although there is more rain during winter (June to August), temperatures are mild.
How to get around
Buy an AT Hop Card for NZ$10 (US$7) and load it with NZ$18 for a day pass for use on all Auckland trains, scheduled buses (except SkyBus) and Fullers-operated ferries till midnight.