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Top 5 Things To Do In Auckland

Westhaven Marina
Waiheke Vineyard
Shopping In Auckland
Viaduct At Sunset
Bethells Beach
Auckland Bridge Bungy

Top 5 Things To Do In Auckland

story by: Tom Ricketts

Easily the biggest city in New Zealand, Auckland has multitude of different things to see and do. The central city is full of shops, bars and restaurants while the suburbs hide amazing beaches and beautiful parks. Known internationally as the City of Sails, the city maintains its love affair with the harbour which is full of yachts and launches ferrying people away to islands full of vineyards, beaches and wildlife. The place everybody loves to hate, may just surprise you with how good it really is! There’s regular flights to Auckland from just about everywhere in New Zealand with Air New Zealand and Jetstar. Here’s our top things to do…

City Beaches
With the Bay of Islands and the Coromandel only a few hours away, it’s not surprising Aucklanders flee the city for their holidays. However the city does boast some great beaches itself. Trying to get to Mission Bay on any hot day is... well it’s a mission, but the hugely popular beach is worth it. There's a large grassy park, huge fountain for even the littlest kiddies, great sandy beach, and plenty of ice cream available at the shops. For somewhere quieter, continue on Tamaki Drive to St Heliers, or drop in to Judges Bay in Parnell. The North Shore has its own busy spots like Takapuna and famous Devonport, but there’s even more quiet suburban beaches up there too. Or if you’ve got wheels, head out to the black sand beaches of Bethells, Karekare and Piha just an hour from the city, but a world away.

Waiheke Island
Just 40 minutes from downtown Auckland by ferry is the island of Waiheke. The island has a colourful history and it’s cheap land but proximity to the city made it once popular with the alternative and hippy crowds. The cheap land is long gone and it’s now the playground for Auckland’s rich and famous with huge multimillion dollar mansions lining the secluded beaches. But the main attraction these days is the wine. The island has a Mediterranean like climate which is perfect for growing grapes and has seen the island become home to over 30 different vineyards. Most have a cellar door, several with some of New Zealand’s top restaurants, and of course they all have plenty of wine to sample. A great day out.

Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter
Made for the hosting of the America’s Cup, Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter are two harbourside restaurant and bar precincts which have become the eating and drinking locations of choice for locals and tourists alike. Viaduct Harbour is adjacent to the city and its restaurants are perfect on a warm sunny evening, getting the sun until it dips below the harbour bridge to the west. When the sun has gone down, the music amps up and it becomes one of the city’s busiest night spots. Wynyard Quarter is across the drawbridge to the west and has a quieter, classier vibe than the Viaduct. At the far end is a playground and water feature for the kiddies too.

Bungy the Harbour Bridge or Sky Tower
Two of the city’s most famous landmarks now have bungy! The Auckland Harbour Bridge combines a guided walk along the side of the bridge where you’ll learn all about the history of the bridge, and get amazing views of the city. Then when you’re at the middle, chuck a bungy cord around your feet and jump out over the harbour, it’s even possible to have a bit of a dunk in the harbour too. The Sky Tower isn’t technically a bungy, but it's just as good. Get amazing views over Auckland from atop the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the southern hemisphere! Then get suited up and do either the SkyWalk around the viewing platform 200 metres up, or the SkyJump, a base jump style which has you hurtling towards the ground at up to 85 kilometres per hour before slowing you to touch down gingerly on the landing pad. 

Shop with the Locals
Downtown Auckland is home to its fair share of shops (particularly boutique fashion stores on High Street), but the locals will tell you to leave downtown to the tourists and join the locals in the CBD fringe suburbs of Parnell, Ponsonby and Newmarket. Parnell and Ponsonby on are opposite edges of the CBD, just a quick bus ride away. Both suburbs were once poor areas of the city and the beautiful villas that line the streets were originally built as state houses, but today they’re million dollar houses and some of the most sought after real estate in the city. Both have upmarket fashion stores, restaurants and bars in their respective shopping strips. Many of the stores are in converted villas which gives a real quaint vibe to the experience. Ponsonby is particularly well known for its high end restaurants and bars where people go to be seen. Newmarket is adjacent to Parnell and is much more focused on shopping with all the big national and international brands having a presence here. There’s a large mall, plenty of restaurants and a plethora of shops to keep you busy all day.

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