- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Park and garden
- Place or Historical Monument
With 1.5 million residents, Auckland is the most densely populated town in New Zealand. The town has a lot going on, whether it be cultural sights and sounds, little restaurants or great shops. It even has its own French cheese grocery. Being French, you can imagine how happy I was to, after eight months in New Zealand, treat myself to a 'reblochon' cheese; pricey but worth every cent!
Even though I didn't find downtown Auckland particularly charming, I did fall for Devonport, a little Victorian style village, ten minutes away by ferry.From here, you can head to the foothills of Mount Victoria, where you'll find an amazing view of Auckland and its volcanoes. Going there at sunset makes it all the more beautiful. Another great view of Auckland is from the Mount Eden, the highest of the volcanic peaks in the area.
A less touristy area that is superb, is the west coast at thirty or so kilometers from Auckland. The beach of Muriwai is stunning, bordered by steep cliffs housing colonies of Australian gannets. And for those of you who want to get off the beaten track, I can recommend Bethells Beach, further south and just as pretty.
The economic capital of New Zealand, Auckland is a dynamic and lively city. Comprising nearly a third of the population, it is characterized by multiculturalism that is strengthened by the presence of Asian communities.
Located along the seaside, the Wynyard quarter is full of little bars and restaurants. For me, sipping a drink on the terrace gave me the chance to witness the return of a fishing boat, with the sailors cutting some fresh fish. The site was planned out very well, in tune with the sea, and it offers various places to rest along the promenade.
The ferry from downtown brought me to Rangitoto Island, a volcanic island that rose from the water around 600 years ago. A short 2-hour walk brought me to the edge of the crater, where I enjoyed a panoramic view of the city of Auckland and Hauraki Gulf.
“Climbing” Mount Eden and One Tree Hill, dormant volcanoes in the heart of the city, offered me an unobstructed view of Auckland and allowed me to meet my first New Zealand sheep!
When in New Zealand I tend to avoid the big towns and prefer to seek out quiet little corners. Hence the reason why I like the less populated South Island so much. Auckland is a pleasant town but I recommend that you don't come here by car. Parking costs a fortune and the four-lane streets are nightmarish.
Once there, it's the area around the port that I recommend. It's been entirely renovated and it's an enjoyable place for a stroll. It's packed with bars and restaurants for evening meals and numerous boats to ferry you to the islands. There's Waiheke, Devonport and loads of other places for you to discover whilst on vacation in New Zealand.
Auckland also has a few museums that are fun to visit, but if there's only one thing you do whilst you're there, I suggest you go to the top of Sky Tower. Even if, like me, you suffer from vertigo, you should still try - you'll end up with some great photos!