Auckland is the biggest, busiest and most cosmopolitan city in New Zealand, though the capitol of the country is Wellington. Auckland is located at the northern end of the North Island, so it lies to the closest to Australia out of all New Zealandian cities. This location makes Auckland an ideal meeting point for cruises all around New Zealand and Australia, a centre of Pacific traffic.
Even cruise ships can dock in the heart of downtown Auckland, at Princes Wharf, right in front of Hilton Hotel. What is truly astonishing in Auckland that the water is full of traffic: water taxies and ferries are in abundance and the easiest and most convenient way to reach another part of the city is often through the water. You can get to small islands and charming coastal towns with just a hop on a ferry from the central port and visit scenic spots all around Auckland.
The downtown of Auckland is not so spectacular, since the city is quite new, the majority of its buildings was built in the last twenty or thirty years. Of course there are small and friendly cafés, restaurants and bars scattered in the city, and the proximity of the waterfront is everywhere refreshing.
The perfect way of getting familiar with the city is visiting the iconic Sky Tower. This 1082 feet high tower has a 360-degree observation deck with glass floor at certain parts and even the opportunity of bungee jumping from the Sky Deck for the truly adventurous. Sky Tower is naturally surrounded by a huge complex consisting of casinos, restaurants and shops called Sky City complex.
One of the other attractions of Auckland is the Auckland Museum. It is easy to spot the museum from the observation deck of Sky Tower, too, with its characteristic Greek style. The exhibitions of the museum are mostly centered around the maoris, the native inhabitants of New Zealand, around their culture, art and history.
With the frequent ferry lines it is easy to reach Waiheke Island, a popular vacation point in the neighborhood of Auckland. You arrive to the island after a 30-minute ride and you can immediately start discovering the island. Waiheke Island is famous for its gorgeous beaches, the opportunity for water sports and also for its vineyard with the restaurant which belongs to it.
Rangigoto Island, with ferry departures year-round, is another favorite destination. The island is actually a volcano, emerged from the ocean and you can take a hiking tour to lava caves and around the crater of the volcano across the lava fields.
You can also visit Devonport, a pleasant and picturesque little village, which was the first settlement on the north side of the bay, founded in the middle of the 19th century. With a calm, relaxing atmosphere you can see the fascinating view of Auckland from across the harbor, it’s an ideal place for walking around and having a meal in the afternoon or in the evening.