Don't think of Auckland as a city, even though it's New Zealand's largest. Think of it as half urban, half marine - a cosmopolitan experience built around three habours and is surrounded by over 50 islands. It is no surpise then that Auckland it commonly referred to as the City of Sails.
Aucklanders enjoy a warm, humid climate and an outdoor lifestyle. One of the best ways to get out and about is to escape to one of the many islands of the Hauraki Gulf and experience their beautiful scenery. Within 40 minutes by ferry of downtown Auckland, visitors can escape to an island experience - Waiheke, Motuihe, Rangitoto - or journey a little further to Tiritiri Matangi, Kawau or Great Barrier.
The Hauraki Gulf experience is complemented by a modern evolving city with restaurants and bars, theatre, art and fashion, a host of new hotels and apartment accommodation and a vibrant waterfront entertainment sector.
Auckland is the gateway to New Zealand for the majority of international tourist. There is a broad range of accommodation in Auckland, as well as attractions and activities, places to eat, and entertainment for all ages.
On the fringes of downtown Auckland, visitors can gain an insight into the outdoor experiences and lifestyles which have seen Auckland voted amongst the top lifestyle destinations in the world. These areas include:
- Waitakere Ranges: these are the perfect backdrop for mountain biking or walking. The Arataki Visitor Centre in west Auckland provides information about the parks, beaches and walking tracks in the area
- Wine Trail: follow the Winemakers of Auckland wine trail - take the Twin Coast Discovery Highway to Waitakere (west Auckland) for some of Auckland's premium wineries
- Beaches: visit the west coast - the wild black sandy beaches of Piha, and Karekare with its waterfalls, native rainforest and gannet colony
- Arts & Crafts: take the 'Art out West' craft trail for a mix of fabulous art and craft works and, for the best selection under one roof, don't miss Craftworld - a co-operative of Auckland and New Zealand artists
- The Hibiscus Coast: visit Gulf Harbour, a new coastal settlement that focuses on golf and sailing. Then visit Orewa, a sunny township spread along the edge of a beautiful beach
- Puhoi: taste Puhoi's cheeses - a great selection of innovative cheese blends - or travel a little further to Wenderholm, a wilderness park with bush trails