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Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, with a population of over 1.5 million. 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. Auckland holds the distinction of being the most isolated city with a population in excess of 1 million – the nearest city of such size is Sydney, Australia, 2,169 km (1,348 mi) away! This article only deals with Auckland City itself. In November 2010, four formerly separate cities were amalgamated. These four were 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. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Auckland
- Auckland Art Gallery, corner Kitchener and Wellesley Sts, ☎ +64 9 307-7700. Daily 10:00-17:00, closed 25 Dec. The largest 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 Auckland. Regularly hosts touring international exhibitions and offers a calendar of talks, performances, film screenings and children's activities to complement its exhibition programme. Free entry; charges for some special exhibitions.
- Auckland Botanic Gardens, Hill Rd, Manurewa (South Auckland). Has over 10,000 different plant types spread over 65 hectares with both natives and exotics. Free.
- Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Domain, Parnell, ☎ +64 9 309-0443. 10:00-17:00. Despite the name, this is not even primarily a war museum – it is a general museum and one of the best in New Zealand. It stands in an imposing position in the Auckland Domain, a large park on an extinct volcano. It includes excellent displays of Maori and other Polynesian peoples' arts and crafts. Suggested donation $10 adult. 15 years and under free.
- Auckland Zoo, Motions Rd, Western Springs, ☎ +64 9 360-3800, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1 Sep-30 Apr 09:30–17:30 (last admissions at 16:15), 1 May–31 Aug 09:30-17:00, closed 25 Dec. Has 120 animal species, over 750 animals and a number of different habitats such as the Rainforest and Pridelands (an African savannah). Adults (15 years+) $25, children 4–14 $10, seniors and students with ID $20, family rates available.
- Auckland's Whale and Dolphin Safari, Viaduct Harbour Basin, ☎ +64 9 359-5987, toll-free: 0800 397 567, fax: +64 9 358-3137, e-mail: email@example.com. An excursion on a power catamaran to see whales and dolphins in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. $160.
- Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei (bus routes 740–769). Located on the scenic Tamaki Drive and the home of Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World. It 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 WWII Avro Lancaster Bomber and the Solent Flying Boat in the Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Collection. Adult $14, child $8, senior citizen $7, child under 5 free.
- Sky Tower, corner 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.
- Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, 670 Manukau Rd, One Tree Hill Domain (on the slopes of the hill). The park also contains Maori archaeological sites, a kid's playgrounds and a working farm.
- Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, 64 King Edward Parade, Devonport (across the harbour from the CBD, about a 15min walk along the foreshore from the Devonport Ferry Terminal), ☎ +64 9 445-5186, fax: +64 9 445-5046. 10:00-17:00. Presents the history of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Free.
- Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum, corner Quay and Hobson Sts, Viaduct Harbour, ☎ +64 9 373-0800. Interesting exhibits chronicle New Zealand's maritime history. Adult $17, child $8.50, senior or student $14, Auckland residents free.
All houses have at least some gardens available to the public to wander through.
- Alberton, 100 Mt Albert Rd, Mt Albert (entrance from Kerr-Taylor Ave). W-Su 10:30-16:30. An 18-room mansion started in 1863. It was the centre of social life for its area during the late 19th century. Admission charge.
- Highwic, 40 Gillies Ave (entrance from Mortimer Pass) (walking distance from Newmarket). W-Su 10:30-16:30. A very large family home (21 children, although the older ones would have left home before the youngest was born) built from 1862. Admission charge.
- Ewelme Cottage, 14 Ayr St, Parnell (walking distance from Parnell shops). Su 10:30–16:30. Much smaller than Alberton and Highwic. Built in 1863–64 as a home for a vicar's family. Admission charge.
- Pah Homestead, 72A Hillsborough Rd, Hillsborough. Tu–F 10:00-15:00, Sa-Su 10:00-17:00. An art gallery with a very substantial collection in a mansion built 1877-79. The large Monte Cecilia Park surrounds the house and was once its grounds. Free.
Auckland has a temperate climate with distinct seasons. Summers are generally warm and humid, while winters tend to be mild and damp. Auckland experiences high levels of rainfall throughout the year, though the winter months tend to receive somewhat more rain than the summer months. Snowfall is extremely rare, having occurred only twice in the last century, with a 72-year gap between the two instances.
- Visit the Waitakere Ranges, replete with impressive waterfalls and rugged but beautiful beaches. Around 45min (peak hours) drive from central Auckland.
- 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 cows and/or sheep in a major metropolitan area!
- Climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
- 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 walkway with no hand rails.
- Rainbow's End (Bus routes 471–472, 474, 487, 497). A family-based theme park with many rides and attractions.
- Visit Rangitoto Island, a dormant volcano 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. Get there on a ferry from downtown.
- Rent skates in Okahu Bay and take a scenic skate along Tamaki Drive.
- Visit Waiheke Island, home to an abundance of art galleries, sculptures and beautiful winery cellar doors. You can rent a scooter and get around the island fairly quickly.
- Explore NZ, Viaduct Harbour Basin, ☎ +64 9 359-5987, fax: +64 9 358-3137, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Waitemata Harbour sailboat cruises on a boat from the Pride of Auckland fleet. Also offer a 2h Sailing Experience on an original America's Cup yacht. Other activities are available.
- Auckland Sea Kayaks, ☎ +64 21 192 4939, toll-free: 0800 999 089, e-mail: email@example.com. Sea kayaking tours including to the islands of Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe and Motukorea (Browns Island). Auckland is one of the world’s most unique sea kayaking locations. Tours suitable for all experience levels. Tours launch at St Heliers - free pickup from downtown.
- Manukau coastal walks between Onehunga and Blockhouse Bay. The track is 9 km long in total, but meets the roads in many places, so you can easily do just part of it. It includes areas of native forest.
There are many beaches, due to Auckland's straddling of two harbours. The most popular ones are in three areas:
- North Shore beaches are on the Pacific Ocean and stretch from Long Bay in the north to Devonport in the south. They are almost all sandy beaches with safe swimming, and most have shade provided by pohutukawa trees. Most are accessible by bus. St Leonard's Beach is gay male nudist. Just north of Long Bay is a family nudist beach. Others are conventional. Takapuna Beach is the most centrally located, with a lovely beach front café at one end.
- West coast beaches are on the Tasman Sea, and have large expanses of sand and rolling surf. They have unpredictable rips so you should swim only between the life guards' flags, which cover select areas of the most popular beaches. They are about 40min drive from central Auckland and the roads are narrow and winding. You'll need your own transport. There's little shade available, and few shops. The sand on these beaches is dark in colour due to high iron content from its volcanic origins. There are several smaller beaches accessible only by foot. The major beaches from south to north are:
- Whatipu is the southernmost beach, and the most isolated. The last 7km of the road there is unsealed, but in good condition. There's a track from the carpark to the beach conservatively signposted as 15min walk. There are several volcanic outcrops surrounding the beach, and native vegetation including cabbage trees along the path. Manukau Harbour is just to the south of the beach, separated by Paratutae Island. Paratutae is joined to the beach except at high tide. There are caves signposted 20min walk from the car park; the track is muddy during winter. The caves are less spectacular than they once were because they've partially filled up with sand. No dogs are permitted.
- Karekare is the next beach north of Whatipu. It's considerably more popular and there are lifeguards patrolling the beach during summer. Karekare Falls are a waterfall not far from the road.
- Piha is the best known and most popular beach. It has lifeguards during summer. The most notable feature is Lion Rock, which separates the northern and southern sides of the beach. There's a steep track partway up Lion Rock to get decent views. Kitekite Falls are a small and pleasant waterfall near the beach. Laird Thomson Track is a walkway from North Piha to the isolated Whites Beach, which usually has very few people on it.
- Anawhata has no road access to the beach, but there's a fairly steep track down from an unsealed road. This is the least used beach and you may be the only people there at any given time.
- Te Henga (Bethells Beach) is accessible by road, and has lifeguards in the summer. Erangi Point separates it from unpatrolled O'Neill Bay to the north, which can only be reached by foot.
- Muriwai is the second most popular of the west coast beaches. There's a colony of gannets (seabirds) which nest in huge numbers and are worth seeing year-round. Muriwai has a café, a golf course, and lifeguards during summer.
- Tamaki Drive beaches are on the Waitemata Harbour, in the upmarket suburbs of Mission Bay and St Heliers. These are sometimes-crowded family beaches with a good range of shops lining the shore. Swimming is safe. Mission Bay beach is Auckland's equivalent of Los Angeles' Venice beach and is extremely popular on a hot summer's day. To its east, Kohimarama and St Heliers beaches are usually less crowded. Ladies Bay to the east of St Heliers has historically been a nudist-friendly beach, but is frequented by regular beachgoers too, and is accessible by a 5min walk down from the cliff-top road.
Britomart Precinct on the waterfront in the city centre is home to an array of popular and diverse bars and eateries. Agents + Merchants, Cafe Hanoi, Tyler St Garage, Ebisu, Britomart Country Club, Mexico to name a few. A must visit.
Viaduct Harbour provides upmarket dining, starting at $30 for mains. While this area has some very nice bars and restaurants, be wary of restaurants lacking customers and usually very quiet. An example is The V Grill (The Viaduct Grill), where the service is appalling – Chinese staff with bad attitudes and the food is below average. Avoid at all cost.
- Richmond Rd Cafe, 318 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn (walking distance from Ponsonby Rd). Excellent, laid back, but very high standard café. Enjoy their great variety of food (their breakfasts are particularly good), their outstanding coffee or their delicious sweet selection, while soaking up the sun on the balcony. Although not the most central, it is a favourite with the locals, and is therefore regularly busy (particularly during the weekend). Suitable for small business meetings, family breakfasts, or can even be used as a good quiet working space during the day.
- One Tree Grill Restaurant, 9-11 Pah Rd (Greenwoods Corner), Epsom (near One Tree Hill), ☎ +64 9 625-6407. Enjoy outstanding, down-to-earth dining at this iconic restaurant, consistently rated in the top restaurants in Auckland. It specializes in contemporary New Zealand cuisine and offers an outstanding cellared wine list. One Tree Grill offers a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of inner city dining. Since 1996, it has been a staple part of the Auckland restaurant scene, having evolved from their small 40 seat suburban beginnings to the modern, up market restaurant it is today. Enjoy the best of Pacific Rim cuisine in a stylish setting. Outstanding cellared wines, innovative cuisine, thoroughly professional service – it offers a complete dining experience where it's the little things that make the difference.
- SPQR, 150 Ponsonby Rd, ☎ +64 9 360-1710. Modern Italian cuisine, dimly lit, loud music, great atmosphere, you may feel like you are in New York. Mains $30–40.
- Deve Bar & Brasserie, 460 New North Rd, Kingsland. Has top-notch beef & lamb among others. A relaxed place, and the neighbourhood has other good restaurants, cafés and a couple of bars.
- Saika Japanese Takeaway, Elliott St. 10:00-21:00 (closed on national holidays). Common Japanese food. Gyudon, Katsudon, Chicken-don etc. Japanese-speaking staff available. Meals from $8.
- Japanese Cuisine Bien, 55-65 Shortland St. M-F 11:00-15:00 Tu-Sa 18:00-22:00. Sushi, teriyaki chicken rice bowl, eel, etc.
- Fujisan, 474 Queen St, ☎ +64 9 357-0866. Cozy and delicious Japanese restaurant near the upper end of Queen St. Try the Teriyaki beef set ($15.50).
- South Vietnam Restaurant, 39 Elliott St. M-F 10:00-15:00, Su 11:00-22:00, closed for lunch on Sa, Tu-Sa 17:30-22:00, closed M and national holidays. Lunch from $6.50, dinner from $12.
- Valentine's Restaurant. Traditional buffet restaurants in many locations around Auckland.
- Hare Krishna Food For Life, 286 Karangahape Rd. $5 vegetarian dinner.
- Korean Pancakes, High St opposite the New Gallery. $4.50.
- Finale Restaurant and Cabaret, 350 Karangahape Rd, ☎ +64 9 377-4820. Buffet meal and drag cabaret shows.
- Ariake Japanese Restaurant, corner Albert & Quay Sts, ☎ +64 9 379-2377. M-Sa 12:00-14:00, M-Sa 18:00-22:00 (21:30 last order); closed on Su & public holidays. Serving most Japanese dishes, but no teppanyaki. $12 lunch specials.
- Sushi Bento, Parnell Village, Parnell Rd.
- Burger Fuel, Parnell Rd; and Dominion Rd (Mt Eden). Delicious gourmet burgers.
- Fatimas, Ponsonby Rd in Ponsonby; and Anzac St in Takapuna. Excellent kebabs and pitas, a step above typical post-clubbing fare.
- 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. Tu-Th 17:00-21:30, F-Sa 17:00-22:30. Limited seating, but you can order from the Corner Bar across the street. No delivery. $15-25.
- Mexicali Fresh, Prince's Wharf, ☎ +64 9 307-2419. 11:00-22:00. Fast Mexican food on Auckland's waterfront. Mouthwatering but not for the health-conscious. $13.50.
- SKYCITY entertainment complex, corner Federal & Victoria St, has a dozen restaurants for all tastes and budgets, including the authentic Spanish Tapas bar Bellota, the fine dining dine by Peter Gordon and the revolving restaurant Orbit.
For kosher food, the Auckland Jewish Community Centre, which includes the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, has a kosher shop located on Greys Ave, 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.
There are some good cheap food courts (food halls) offering a variety of usually Asian foods. For downtown food halls, try next to the Queens' Arcade at the bottom of Queen St (slightly hidden entrance), or the Metro award winning one at the bottom of Albert St. The Ponsonby International food court has the cheapest eats in this somewhat pricey neighbourhood with the Mexican stall a standout among the Asian stalls.
- Nishiki, Robata-Yaki Bar, 100 Wellington St, Freemans Bay, ☎ +64 9 376-7104. Tu-Su 18:00-23:00. Great Japanese restaurant. Requires reservation for all days of the week. Great value for money. $10-25.
- The Dominion, 234 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden (corner of Valley Rd), ☎ +64 9 623-2121. Bar, restaurant, and cocktail bar. Handy to Eden Park.
- Blue Bird Vegetarian Cafe, 299 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, ☎ +64 9 623-4900. Vegetarian café located in the Valley Rd shops. Along with the usual cakes and coffees, they serve tasty bowls with a either rice, potato or kumara, and a selection of toppings. $7–15.
There's a high concentration of bars in the viaduct area near the waterfront.
- Tyler St Garage, Britomart precinct
- The Camel Bar, Fort St. Part of a hostel and has nightly activities including live music and quiz nights.
- Cock & Bull English Pubs. Various locations throughout Auckland.
- Galbraiths Alehouse, 2 Mt Eden Rd, Eden Terrace. A brewery and pub, with a great selection of traditional beer and wine.
- Family, 270 Karangahape Rd. 7 days till 5AM. Gay drag/DJ bar/club. Gay owned and operated
- The Patriot, 14 Victoria St, Devonport. British themed pub. Has a great beer garden.
- The Occidental Belgian Beer Cafe, 6 Vulcan Lane, CBD (just off Queen St). 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 Number 9, Vulcan Lane. A new bar and club featuring different music nights.
- Skycity, (cnr Federal & Victoria Streets). Entertainment complex with a dozen bars & cafes including a Spanish tapas bar, Bellota.
- Northern Steamship, 122 Quay St. A Mac's brewbar with a unique eclectic decor, including hundreds of antique lampshades.
- Bar Tabac, 6 Mills Lane. In a rustic heritage building in the back streets of downtown Auckland. Co-owned by musician Neil Finn of Crowded House.
- Khuja Lounge, 3/536 Queen St (top of Queen St, intersection with K Rd). A great bar to soak up some live music in. Open weekends and various weekdays.
There are a number of markets in Auckland; perhaps the most famous for Aucklanders are the Otara and Avondale markets (serving South and West Auckland respectively).
- Avondale Market, Avondale racecourse, Ash St, Avondale (8 min walking distance from Avondale railway station). Su 06:00-c. 12:00. Mostly produce but also second hand items and other general goods. Not much in the way of fast food for immediate consumption.
- La Cigale French Market, 69 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell. Sa 08:00-13.30, Su 09:00-13.30. The emphasis is on seasonal fruit and vegetables (organic or spray-free whenever possible), artisan baked bread, cheese, confectioneries, oils, spices and home made preserves and jams.
- Otara Market, Newbury St, off East Tamaki Rd, Otara. Sa 06:00-12:00.
- Victoria Park Market, Victoria St West (walking distance of the CBD). Daily. Cafés from 07:00, shops from 10:00. It used to have lots of craft stalls, then was renovated; reopening in 2013.
Britomart is the up-and-coming fashion centre of Auckland, home to local designers and international brands.
The High Street/Vulcan Lane/O'Connell Street area is another popular fashion centre. Look out for womenswear in Ruby, Moochi, Ricochet, Karen Walker and Agatha Paris French Fashion Jewelley 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.
On Ponsonby Rd, find womenswear in Zambesi, Karen Walker, World, Cybele, Sera Lily, Miss Crabb, Hepburn, Jaimie stocking local and international brands (Vivienne Westwood), IsaKelle, and various other stores, including Sybella for shoes.
K' Rd (short for Karangahape Rd) has 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 Girl and Vicky Sudarath (both St Kevin's Arcade) and Adrian Hailwood. Across the road from St Kevin's, find Illicit and Miss Illicit. Tattoos from Dermographic, also in Ponsonby.
Newmarket has outposts 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 Taylor. stenbeck&morse stocks directional New Zealand and Australian labels such as Jimmy D, Cybele, Deborah Sweeney and Josh Goot.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Auckland on Wikivoyage.