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Tips on Visiting Auckland, New Zealand for the First Time

As the most populous city in New Zealand, Auckland boasts some of the best cultural institutions, museums, nightlife and shopping on earth.

Auckland, New ZealandThere are countless family-friendly attractions to enjoy, ranging from animal-centric spots like the Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary, Auckland Zoo and the city’s Sky Tower.

And for nature lovers? You’ll be in your element among the fantastic landscapes of Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island and Mount Eden.

Just a few hours of travel from the CBD (central business district / downtown) will bring you to the world-famous Waitomo Gloworm Caves and the Hobbiton Movie Set – these locations themselves are enough reason to go to Auckland!

Now let’s list some of the top locations you should visit during your first trip to Auckland, whether with your friends, family, partner or alone!

Escape to Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island, AucklandThe absolute top destination in Auckland, Rangitoto Island is reached just off the coast of central Auckland from Devonport. Interestingly, the island itself is a volcanic island that’s famous for its fantastic hiking trails and picturesque vistas.

There are several unique trails to explore, including the popular Summit Track that allows hikers to tread through lava fields and the world’s largest pohutukawa forest to the island’s summit.

Explore Maori Art & Culture at the Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art GalleryVisit this fascinating areas located in the southwest corner of Albert Park. It’s the perfect stop for art lovers and culturally curious explorers. There are more than 16,000 pieces of historic, modern and contemporary art pieces to enjoy. The oldest collection here was created between the 10th and 12th centuries.

Don’t forget to take a few pictures of the top exhibits, which include the Maori Portraits Gallery and the obliteration room with art collection from Yayoi Kusama.

Dine at the Top of Auckland’s Iconic Sky Tower

Auckland Sky TowerAs one of the most prominent buildings of Auckland’s skyline, the Sky Tower lets visitors to experience 360-degree views of the entire city while enjoying a meal at a revolving restaurant. Want an even bigger thrill? You can also stroll around or bungee jump off the tower’s 53rd-floor platform.

Party at Viaduct Harbour

Viaduct Harbour AucklandFeed your inner gastronome at some of Auckland’s most famous restaurants and bars. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and nightlife at the city’s waterfront Viaduct Harbour.

This is Auckland’s version of Sydney’s Darling Harbour – and equally as impressive. It boasts more than 30 eateries and watering holes, plus a marina. Here you’ll also find the New Zealand Maritime Museum and several other hotels to suit all budgets.

Show Your Respects at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial MuseumThe Auckland War Memorial Museum provides a historical introduction to the Auckland region and commemorates fallen service members. Exhibitions focus on Pacific Island communities, such as the Maori people, as well as the area’s history as a whole. A fascinating insight into local culture and history. 

Practical Advice for Visiting Auckland

Getting there: Located on its northern tip, Auckland Airport is New Zealand’s main airport. New Zealand is a 3.5 hour flight from Eastern Australia, so be sure to visit Oz while you’re ‘in the area’.

Getting around: There’s so much to see in and around Auckland that it warrants renting your own wheels – check out DriveNow cars here to get the best deal.

Temperature: Auckland’s average temperature is 23˚C during the summer and 12˚C during the winter months, so be sure to pack accordingly.

Time difference: Auckland is 16 hours ahead of the US and 11 hours ahead of the UK.

Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD).

Language: English and Maori.

Required travel documents: Travellers from Europe (including UK) and the US require a visa to enter New Zealand.

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