It may not quite be the case – as Aucklanders are fond of saying – that New Zealand ends south of the Bombay Hills. But Auckland is without a doubt a world-class city, home to many of the top-ranked cultural, entertainment and shopping attractions of the nation. And no-one can deny that its setting – caught between the glittering waters of Waitemata and Manukua Harbours and peppered with extinct volcanoes – is as dramatic as it is beautiful.
It's also an ample city, spread over 20 kilometres across the northern tip of North Island. It includes a diverse bunch of districts, from the towering busyness of the waterfront to the quiet refuges of its further flung islands. So if you're coming to the city, whether for business or pleasure, choosing the best hotels for your Auckland trip can be daunting. Which is why Expedia.co.nz have selected the top hotel districts in the City of Sails, to make your planning a breeze.
The tower-decked skyline of the waterfront draws the eye Auckland-bound. And the benighted strip of the CBD is home to the cream of the city's hotels. Many business travellers choose to stay here, due to the range of accommodation – several five-star hotels, and a large number of mid-priced, but high-calibre, modern hotels.
The adjacent districts of Newmarket-Rumuera, south of the CBD, have more of a retail focus. Hotels here tend to be large and modern, catering for all manner of visitors: business people, tourists and shoppers alike. Lying in the heart of the city's night-life, and right next to the cultural buzz of down-town, accommodation here is attractive – if relatively expensive.
Close by is the contrasting district of Parnell, with its smaller scale and more individual shopping experience. It is still firmly in the upmarket category, but as the oldest part of Auckland, this district has an authentic chic about it. The hotels are an interesting and diverse bunch too. There's a mix of new and old, high-class boutique establishments, which rub shoulders with well-presented guest-houses. Prices are still quite high, but less so than in the more central districts.
One way to get a superb view of Auckland, with less expense (and yet still remain close to the city-centre action) is to head across the Harbour Bridge. Here, on the North Shore, you'll find a mix of newly-built suburbs and older bay-side villages. There are many good family hotels here, and even a few affordable B&B-style of lodging. Choose the right hotel, looking back south over the Harbour, and you'll have the whole of Auckland's famed skyline as your backdrop.
That view will be lost almost entirely if you hop on the boat to Waiheke Island. But the short trip will be worth it. While the urban centres remain close to hand, this large island in the Hauraki Gulf is famed for its lush plantations of olive groves and vines. There is a good range of accommodation, mainly aimed at visitors wanting to put the city to one side. Beach-fronting hotels, farmhouses for rent, boutique guest-houses – and lungfuls of fresh air – make this an Auckland experience to relish, especially for anyone hitting the big smoke from the south.