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Auckland

Known for Shopping, Dining and Skyscrapers

A great city with rainforests and volcanoes on the doorstep, Auckland ticks all the boxes, from fine cuisine and culture, to wildlife and wilderness.

How do you get to Auckland?

Auckland is framed by the mountains on one side, and the coast on the other, with the Waitakere Ranges to the west, Manukau Harbour to the south-west and Hauraki Gulf and islands to the east. But, before you think about what's outside the city, there are plenty of sights inside to occupy your time. Head for the Sky Tower in the heart of the city centre and take the glass lift that scales its 220 metres. The view from the top is impressive to say the least, offering a stunning panorama of the city, harbour and nearby mountains.

Auckland itself was originally built around a number of extinct volcanoes. The suburb of Mount Eden, for example, was built right on the side of a cone. A climb to the top of this cone is rewarded with a staggering view down its 50-metre crater. The volcanic soil and natural springs provided by Pukekawa volcano, meanwhile, allow the gardens at Auckland Domain, to truly flourish. A trip to the city's oldest park should be on the itinerary for any nature enthusiast, while the Auckland War Memorial Museum, also located in the Domain, at its highest point, is a major draw for those interested in learning about both the area's natural history and the history and culture of the Maori people.

If you prefer your nature a little more immediate, try a trip to the award-winning Auckland Zoo. With over 138 different species, including rhinos, cheetahs and a rare chance to see the elusive kiwi, this is a great day out for families in particular.

For those who do want to get out of the city, it usually makes sense to rent a car. Alternatively, you could head to Viaduct Harbour, where most of the city's most fabulous boats and yachts are moored. Stop in at one of the many bars and restaurants dotted along the water for a bite to eat before hopping a boat to Waiheke Island. Just 40 minutes away, this is a great spot for tramping, and home to some of the finest beaches in the area.

For those who take their tramping activities a little more seriously, there are plentiful trails for varying levels in the Waitakere Ranges situated behind the city. These include the popular and challenging Hillary Trail: 75 kilometres over 4 days, with 3 nights of camping. If this seems like a little too much activity for you, you can always hop onto one of the many tour buses and coaches that offer day trips through the hills, or even rent a car and discover the area for yourself.

Activities in Auckland

Ascend the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand for stunning views over Auckland. Dine in the rotating restaurant or take a dive from a height of 194 metres.

Pull on your walking boots and follow a trail that takes in a volcanic crater, a 19th-century prison and a quirky, creative village.

Just eight minutes from Auckland city centre white rhinos and a pride of lions roam. Wander safely and at your leisure amid tigers and elephants at Auckland Zoo.

Take to the black sand and rolling surf of Piha Beach for epic surfing and serene rainforest walks.

Once the site of an active volcano, Auckland Domain is now home to a wealth of exotic plantlife, sculpture and a wide-ranging museum.

Despite what you might think, there's more to this museum than guns and warplanes (though those are pretty impressive too).

Not just a landmark structure in the Waitemata Harbour, this box truss bridge also provides a thrilling experience for climbers and bungee-jumpers.

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Venture inside the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and enter a magical world shimmering with thousands of tiny glowworms. After discovering the incredible acoustic properties of the chamber known as the Cathedral, board a boat and glide beneath a dazzling ceiling illuminated by living lights.

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Connect with the underwater world at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium featuring 13-themed zones, 30 live animal displays, and more than 80 marine species. Designed by renowned diver and all-around adventurer, Kelly Tarlton.

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The Sky Tower has stood tall at 328 meters as an icon of Auckland's sky line for 20 years. It's an exciting hub of adrenaline activities, superb dining and breathtaking views from three observation levels. If you're visiting Auckland for just one day, then a trip up the Sky Tower is a must.

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Step into the world of Middle-earth, the Shire, and Hobbiton as you head to the movie set where acclaimed director Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved books to life. Find out how this once-sleepy sheep farm was turned into a movie set and take an up-close look at real sets and props.

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Cruise your way around Waiheke's highlights with a bus pass that makes navigating the island a snap. With the freedom to hop on and off the bus at conveniently located stops, discover the island's vineyards, restaurants, beaches, and shopping spots entirely at your own pace.

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We start our day travelling from Auckland to Hobbiton through Waikato, where you will take in the gorgeous scenery of Dairy Farms and the Hauraki Plains.

Best areas to visit in Auckland

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