Auckland is a place where vibrant city style and spectacular landscapes go hand in hand.

More than just a harbor city, Auckland is a whole region brimming with stunning islands, vineyards, ancient volcanoes and modern art. There’s always something happening, from major sporting events, concerts and outdoor adventures, to designer shopping and world-class food and wine. Best of all, with so many experiences close to the city center it’s easy to hop from one adventure to the next.

Auckland Harbour on Explore Groups Pride of Auckland Yacht (by Todd Eyre Photography)
Auckland Harbour on Explore Groups Pride of Auckland Yacht (by Todd Eyre Photography)

Enjoy the stunning harbour. Auckland has more boats per capita than any other place in the world, hence its nickname: “City of Sails.” With over a million hectares of sparkling blue waters dotted with emerald islands, the Hauraki Gulf offers countless water activities ranging from whale and dolphin eco-safaris to adrenaline-fueled heli-fishing.

Escape to an Island.


Take the ferry to Waiheke Island, 40 minutes from downtown Auckland, renowned for its vineyards and restaurants, white-sand beaches, and olive oil producers. Or take the ferry to Rangitoto Island (35 minutes away) Auckland’s largest volcanic cone and explore lava caves by foot or take a guided 4WD tour to the summit for breathtaking 360-degree views.

Cable Bay Winery, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Cable Bay Winery, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Sculpture and wine in Matakana.

Book a tour to beautiful Matakana where art, boutique wineries, local produce and white-sand beaches await. The recently opened Sculptureum, features a finely curated private collection of international sculpture set amongst lush tropical gardens and highly-acclaimed restaurant Rothko, while Brick Bay Winery and Sculpture Trail has an ever-changing collection of contemporary sculpture amidst rolling countryside. Find fresh organic produce and artisan food at the Matakana Farmers’ Market on Saturdays before heading north to explore Tāwharanui and Scandrett Regional Parks – go swimming, walking, mountain biking and bird watching. Goat Island Marine Reserve is popular for snorkeling, and horse riding at Pakiri beach is a fun option before stopping at the Leigh Sawmill Café for pizza and live music, or the Sawmill Brewery for a craft beer.


Cafe on the riverside, Matakana, New Zealand.
Cafe on the riverside, Matakana, New Zealand.

Discover three wine regions.

Spend a few hours – or a few days – exploring Auckland’s three wine regions, Waiheke, Matakana and Kumeu where every glass is matched with beautiful scenery and a unique story.

Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Shop in style.

Shop for designer fashion from internationally successful New Zealand designers in the hip inner-city precinct of Britomart, or on thriving Ponsonby Rd which is also a foodie hot-spot for some of the city’s best-loved restaurants, bars and cafes.

Immerse yourself in culture.

More than 200 different ethnic communities call Auckland home and it is this diversity that makes the city’s culture so fascinating. Discover the world-class exhibitions in the beautiful Auckland Museum and see one of the daily cultural performances for an insight into Māori traditions. Wander through more than 15,000 traditional and contemporary artworks and see visiting exhibitions at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.


Maori Culture
Maori Culture, by Chris McLennan

Auckland enjoys a warm coastal climate, with daily temperatures in summer around 74F and during July and August, 57F. Avoid the summer crowds, and take advantage of the low season airfares and hotel rates and plan an escape to Auckland this summer.

For more information about Auckland, including tours to the region, check out Down Under Answers.

Author: Bryan

Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won't let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.

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