There are few places in which you can enjoy the indulgences of a cosmopolitan city lifestyle and still be within easy convenience of some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Yet such a place resides virtually in our own backyard.
The city is a fascinating cocktail of history, geographic treasures, culture and adventure, all presented in the casual and very friendly Kiwi atmosphere. Introduce yourself to Auckland, the City of Sails, the jewel of New Zealand's North Island.
Things to see
The three sparkling harbours that kiss the city's edges boast a number of charming islands, including popular Waiheke Island, which swells in the summer with holiday- makers enjoying its great beach life, restaurants, wineries, and outdoor sports. A short boat cruise from Auckland's ferry terminal is the best way to see the islands up close, and provides a spectacular view of the city from the sea. Otherwise, lace up your walking shoes, catch a ferry, and make a day of it.
Auckland is a convenient gateway through to some of the attractions of the North Island: the beautiful Bay of Islands; hissing and bubbling thermal Rotorua and the great volcanoes of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Also a highway's drive to Tauranga, the Coromandel Peninsula, and White Island (left), NZ's most active volcano.
Things to do
But Auckland itself should not be missed. Treat yourself to its amazing ethnic cuisine and fine seafood dining beside the marina. Discover the remains of extinct volcanoes lying inconspicuously beneath a bustling modern city. Try windsurfing or take a bungee jump from the 328m Sky Tower (pictured right). Visit beautiful native rainforest, black sand beaches, and the region's historical buildings and museums. Or just take in some great shopping. Whatever your preference, Auckland is a South Pacific adventure for all.