Sprawling, cosmopolitan, diverse, exciting, intriguing, enjoyable - all words that contribute to the description of Auckland, the Gateway to New Zealand.
Built between two major harbours and dotted with extinct volcanic cones, Auckland has a unique geography that provides the chance to enjoy a wide range of activities, sports, arts and sightseeing the equal of any in the Pacific.
Home to over 1.4 million people, Auckland has a distinctive population mix of European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian communities all offering their contribution to the culture and lifestyle.
It is believed that the first Maori settled in Auckland over 650 years ago. The Maori name for Auckland is Tamaki Makaurau and the name Tamaki features in many parts of Auckland through the names of a river, a suburb, and a major road.
European settlement commenced around 1840 and Auckland was chosen to become the capital of New Zealand and remained as such until 1865. Early settlement was achieved relatively peacefully with the local Ngati Whatua people welcoming the newcomers to their region. Ngati Whatua contribute significantly to the lifestyle and enjoyment of the city.
Auckland is surrounded by a large number of beaches ranging from gentle, sandy bays of the inner Waitemata Harbour to the wild West Coast where large ocean swells crash onto the black sand coastline, all within easy driving distance of the city.
Auckland has rightly been referred to as the City of Sails and has on two occasions hosted the prestigious America’s Cup international yachting regattas. The Waitemata (meaning sparkling waters) Harbour provides the opportunity for yachting, cruising and travelling by ferry to Devonport or to Waiheke, an exotic island that’s home to some of New Zealands leading vineyards and cafés.
The central city also has a wonderful mix of attractions, many based on the Viaduct Harbour which is home to leading restaurants, bars and cafés and hosts from time to time some of the world’s leading luxury launches and yachts. And overlooking the city is the Sky Tower, where you'll find the ever popular Sky City Casino.
A picturesque drive along Tamaki Drive follows the harbour to the east where you'll find the world renowned Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World. It was the first of its kind and is a perfect wildlife feature on Auckland’s waterfront.
Continuing along Tamaki Drive you'll arrive at Mission Bay, which is a lively seaside suburb popular with locals. The road then continues through the affluent suburbs of Kohimarama and St Heliers. Head up Cliff Road at the far end of St Heliers Bay to get a great view back down the Waitemata Harbour towards Auckland city.
The various hills in Auckland provide ample opportunity for great sightseeing, walking and gentle climbing. Rangitoto Island provides a gentle climb on a volcanic cone with magnificent views of the city, harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.
Closer to the city centre is One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) an historic site of a previous extensive Maori pa (fortified settlement), surrounded by parkland and gardens and again providing a gentle climb rewarded by magnificent views.
To the west of the city, bush-clad Waitakere Ranges offer a brilliant natural experience. Piha, Bethells and Muriwai Beaches have pounding surf and exotic black sand, but these are dangerous surf beaches and they need to be respected. Always swim between the flags and follow lifeguard instructions when in the water.
With so much to see and do in the Auckland area you really need your own transport, so book your Budget rental and drive your dollar further.
Other popular destinations include: