The Ultimate Guide to Auckland

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by Hertz NZ - 21 January 2020

So you’ve just touched down in Auckland? Firstly,Kia Ora and welcome! Secondly, we’re jealous of the amazing time you’re about to have in one of the world’s most interesting, fun and friendly cities. If you came to Auckland expecting anything less than a great experience, you’re about to be blown away by just how muchNewZealand’s metropolitan mecca has to offer.

Wining and Dining in the City of Sails

New Zealand’s wine industry is globally renowned for a very good reason, and nowhere is that more evidently on display than in Auckland. As you begin to explore Central Auckland, the first thing you’ll notice is how everywhere seems to have better wines than the place before it.

There’s a simple reason for that; there are three distinct and famous wine regions all within an hour’s drive (or boat, in the case of Waiheke Island, but more on that later) of the city. What that means is that you’re absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a good drop. Pick a designated driver and head on your way.

However, if you’d care to sample the produce as fresh as it comes, the 45-minute drive out to the Matakana wine region is an absolute must-do. Its rolling countryside, vineyards and quaint cellar-door farmhouses will make you reluctant to ever leave.

Of course, what’s a great glass of wine without a few culinary delights to go with it? Well, foodies won’t leave Auckland disappointed either, as the city is renowned for some of New Zealand’s best restaurants, eateries and street-food vendors.

If the experience is as important to you as the food itself, we can’t recommend Pasture highly enough. There are only ever 25 seats available on any given night and only one choice to make – to eat or not to eat. That’s because the 10-course meal is selected for you by the night’s chefs and served direct to your table by those same chefs themselves. It’s a food-lovers dream come true.

Stunning scenery for all to see

Let’s be honest for a moment. If you didn’t come to Auckland expecting to be absolutely blown away by the landscape and scenery both in the city itself and the surrounding countryside, then you didn’t really do your homework. Well the hype is well deserved.

The best place to really discover the breathtaking beauty of the city itself is undoubtedly atop the Sky Tower, Auckland’s most immediately recognisable landmark with panoramic views of the city from a height of 328 metres.

Travelling a bit further afield from the city itself, the 45-minute ferry ride out to Waiheki Island is certainly an experience to write home about. The island boasts a unique micro-climate that is significantly warmer than the mainland, and it’s this micro-climate that makes it one of the region’s distinct wine districts that we alluded to earlier.

Excitement and thrills to pay the bills

While natural serenity is all well and good, we know that some of you need to get the adrenaline pumping just a little harder. Fortunately for you, you’ve come to the right place, as New Zealanders have a well-deserved reputation for going above and beyond with adventure tourism. And Auckland is no exception.

While taking in the Sky Tower, you may notice that some tourists are getting down a lot faster than others. That’s because of the Sky Tower Jump – a heart-stopping plummet of 328 metres from the top of the tower (with a smooth and gentle landing, of course). Then there’s also the more conventional bungy that New Zealand is world-famous for, which you can do if you dare from the Auckland Harbour bridge.

And of course, what better way to see the majestic City of Sails than a via 100km/h zoom around the harbour with Auckland Jet Boat Tours?

A culture of the cultured

Whatever you do, don’t leave Auckland without soaking in the rich culture, both traditional and contemporary, that the city is most famous for. This city isn’t known as New Zealand’s cultural hub for nothing, so you’ll definitely want to get out there and make the most of it.

The city’s shopping hub can be found in Queen Street, with high-street fashion and contemporary couture to satisfy even the trendiest of socialites. You’d be forgiven to think you’d accidentally wandered into Paris or Milan with the apparel on display. If art and artistry are more your thing, you won’t go wrong with the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.

This stunning wander through native trees, wildlife and tranquil ponds is punctuated with sculptures by the best artists from New Zealand and around the world.

And lastly, a visit to Auckland wouldn’t be complete without a better understanding of the unique cultural depth of the country’s first peoples, the Maori. The Auckland Museum has the country’s most in-depth histories of Maori culture, and a visit to Auckland wouldn’t be complete without it. Plan for a full day, as there’s just so much to learn and you won’t want to miss a thing.