- For the wider region, see Auckland Region.
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, and often the arrival point for visitors to the country. It is a vibrant multicultural city, set around two big natural harbours, and ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world. It is in the warm northern part of the North Island, on a narrow isthmus that joins the Northland peninsula to the rest of the island.
Auckland consists of four districts that had separate city administrations until 2010: Manukau in the south, Waitakere in the west, North Shore (including Devonport) in the north and the former Auckland City itself, in the centre on the isthmus. It also contains a number of smaller urban areas and some nearby islands, most notably Waiheke Island.
Further information on the other districts, rural areas, small towns and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf can be found in the Auckland Region article.
Auckland is New Zealand's most world-class city in scale. It is home to 1.41 million people, nearly one-third (31%) of the country's population. It is the country's biggest economic hub and its travel hub, home to the main international airport. It's lucky enough to have its own beautiful landscapes, waterways, and other attractions to draw tourists in. It is not New Zealand's political capital though – that honour goes to Wellington.
Auckland is called the "City of Sails" for the large number of yachts that grace the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. It could also be called the "City of Volcanoes". Much of its natural character comes from the fact that it is built on the Auckland Volcanic Field which consists of about 50 volcanoes. All of the volcanoes are individually extinct but the volcanic field as a whole is not.
Auckland has the third best quality of life of the world's cities according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, and rates highly in other international quality-of-life polls. It features a large number of urban beaches and parks, numerous arts and cultural institutions and events, and is home to a multitude of sporting teams. There is also the city's love of sailing – 135,000 yachts and launches are registered in Auckland and several America's Cup regattas have been held here.
Auckland is very multicultural, with strong immigrant cultures (40% of Aucklanders are born overseas). It has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. For some Polynesian island nations there are more expatriates living in Auckland than in their homeland. There is also a large population of New Zealand's native Maori people, and populations of immigrants and expats from Asia, the UK and around the world. Auckland's rich cultural mix is celebrated with a wide variety of festivals and events throughout the city.
Auckland has a temperate climate with distinct seasons. Summers are generally warm and humid, while winters tend to be mild and damp. Auckland can have lots of rainfall throughout the year, with more in winter than summer, though it can also have periods of drought. Winter night temperatures never fall much below freezing (0°C). There is an average of nine ground frosts a year.
Auckland International Airport (IATA: AKL), New Zealand's largest airport, is in the southern suburb of Mangere on the shores of the Manukau Harbour. There are frequent services from Australia and other New Zealand cities. There are also non-stop flights from locations in Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the United States, and Vancouver (Canada) and Santiago (Chile). Air New Zealand flies right through from London (Heathrow Airport) with a stop in Los Angeles.
There are separate domestic and international terminals. A free bus runs between the terminals every 20 min and takes a few minutes. The walk is around 800 m and takes about 10 min. It is indicated by signposts and a blue line to follow. The path is level, and you are permitted to take luggage trolleys between the terminals. The walk is uncovered and exposed to the weather.
Transport options from the airport to central Auckland and the suburbs include buses, shuttles and taxis.
Airbus Express is an efficient bus service that runs from the domestic and international terminals to the CBD. The service runs 24/7 at 10 min intervals during the day (07:00–19:00) and 30 min during the night. After leaving the motorway, it alternates between two routes to the CBD, one via Mt Eden Rd, the other via Dominion Rd. Both run down Queen St, the main street of the CBD, and terminate at the ferry terminal, near Britomart Transport Centre. The trip takes 40–50 min. Fares are $16 one way or $28 return per adult, and $6 one way or $12 return per child. Multi-ride tickets and family passes are available. Tickets can be purchased either online, from ticket kiosks at the airport terminals, on board from the driver, or from selected hostels and i-Sites. You can use an AT HOP card (see #Get around) for one way fares (but there is no discount). You can buy HOP cards at the i-Site kiosk in the arrivals area of the international terminal.
Other bus services run to the suburbs. The 380 Airporter runs to Manukau City Centre and to Onehunga. A cheap option to get to the CBD is to take the 380 Airporter to Papatoetoe Train Station, from where trains connect to Britomart station in the CBD. Paying cash this method will cost $4 + $6 = $10 to the CBD ($7.75 using a HOP card). Total time approx 20 min + 33 min + a short wait for the train. Ask for the bus stop at the infocentre. It is very close to the exit from International, the same stop that the Airbus uses.
Shuttles for one person (at May 2014) cost approximately:
- to central city $35; from central city $29
- to Papatoetoe $37; from Papatoetoe $31
- to Manurewa $45; from Manurewa $39
- to Howick $51; from Howick $45
- to Takapuna $48; from Takapuna $42
- to Henderson $51; from Henderson $45
Taxi fares to Britomart (at May 2014) range from $35 (CheapCabs) to $86.55 (the top price for Corporate Cabs booked through Air New Zealand's taxi.co.nz).
The international terminal has ATMs on both sides of security. There is a typical food court in the departures area before security, more café-style food after security, and a McDonalds and a coffee shop in the arrivals area. There is the usual collection of expensive shops and souvenirs on both sides of immigration. When arriving from overseas, you have to walk through a duty-free shopping area to reach baggage claim.
When departing, you might want to avoid going to your gate until you are called: the gate lounges are dismal, and the waiting area upstairs is much more pleasant, with a nice view of the Waitakere Range and Manukau Harbour.
Lockers are available in the terminal for $15 per day.
There are short-term and long-term carparks within walking distance of the terminals. There are also considerably cheaper airport-owned and privately owned park and ride facilities that provide a shuttle to the airport – these can fill up so it is advisable to book ahead.
If you have time to kill, there is miniature golf about 1 km (15 min walk) from the terminal. It is complete with a hole on a pirate ship, which beats hanging around in the terminal for hours.
The InterCity Sky City Coach Terminal (located at 102 Hobson St, behind Sky City Plaza) is the main hub for national carriers InterCity Coachlines and GreatSights New Zealand. Regional Northland operator Northliner also departs from this location. Facilities include an InterCity Coachlines ticketing office, free Wi-Fi, café and luggage lockers.
The Overlander train runs from central Wellington to Britomart Transport Centre at the north end of Queen St in central Auckland. The 681 km (423 mi) journey takes about 12h. The trip runs much of the length of the North Island with stopping-off opportunity at Tongariro National Park. In a single day you will pass every kind of scenery: coastline, volcanoes and mountains, green farm pastures and dense New Zealand bush from $119.
Local transport options include bus, train, ferry, shuttle, taxi, and car rental. Use the Auckland Transport (AT) website to plan trips by public transport. AT also has a text messaging service that can be used to find the time of the next bus, ferry or train or to find the quickest way to get to your destination using public transport, as well as apps for iPhone and Android. If you wish to do a lot of cross-city travel, or travel outside the city, it may be more convenient to hire a car, though some city roads are congested at peak times.
Britomart Transport Centre on the corner of Queen St and Customs St in the CBD near the waterfront is the main information centre for public transport. You will find free bus, train and ferry schedules there – which is handy since the frequency of some services is low and sometimes irregular. Timetables can also be downloaded from the AT website.
The AT HOP card is a prepay smart card for travel on bus, train and ferry services that costs $5. It gives a 20% discount off single trip adult cash fares, except for Airbus and NiteRider buses and Waiheke ferries. Bus and train fares are measured in stages: one stage is $2 cash or $1.60 HOP; two stages is $4 cash or $2.95 HOP; three stages is $5 cash or $4 HOP; four stages is $6 cash or $4.80 HOP (as of July 2014).
For frequent travel on buses and trains, monthly passes can be loaded on a HOP card. These give unlimited bus (except Niterider) and train travel in defined zones. You must tag on and tag off each trip. A pass for a single zone costs $140, for two adjacent zones $190, and so on. Zone A covers the central Auckland isthmus, extending to New Lynn in the west and Otahuhu in the south.
Bus is the most-used form of public transport. Buses to popular destinations usually run every 5–15 mins. For example, Kelly Tarlton's and Mission Bay buses (numbers 745–769) run at least every 15 min Monday to Saturday, though much less frequently Sunday.
If you don't mind a 5–10 min walk to a bus stop you can get by without a car. However buses are not always reliable, especially during peak hours. Delays of up to 15 min are common on some routes. Buses are a slow way to travel long distances, and travel is remarkably more difficult going across town than on a main north–south route. Consider taking a train or ferry where they are available. If you are travelling to less frequented areas or outer suburbs be prepared for long travel times and long wait periods (30+ min) between services.
The bus companies that run to different parts of Auckland are:
- Central Auckland – Metrolink (includes the City Link, Inner Link and Outer Link), Urban Express
- North Shore (including Hibiscus Coast) – North Star, Ritchies, and Birkenhead Transport
- West Auckland – Go West, and Ritchies
- South Auckland – Waka Pacific
- East Auckland – Howick & Eastern
The Inner Link bus services the CBD and the surrounding areas of Newmarket, Parnell and Ponsonby – it is fairly frequent and costs up to $2 paying with cash or $1.60 with HOP card. The City Link bus runs in a circuit from Karangahape Rd/Upper Queen St to Britomart or the Wynyard Quarter – it's free with a HOP card (as long as it doesn't have a negative balance) and otherwise costs 50c (as of July 2014).
The Northern Express (NEX) provides a bus rapid transit service from Britomart alongside the Northern Motorway as far north as Albany on the North Shore. It operates at least every 15 minutes weekdays and daytime weekends (services at peak can be as little as 3 minutes apart).
Most bus services run to and from the CBD, and there are relatively few cross-town buses. It might sometimes be faster (and more convenient) to take a bus into the city to take another bus out! If you want to get around the same area easily, you can take a bus to a hub or interchange that a lot of buses run through, to connect to another bus. The bigger bus hubs include (but are not limited to):
- Takapuna on the North Shore
- Bus stations on the North Shore
- Otahuhu in South Auckland
- New Lynn in West Auckland
Most bus stops that are frequently used have displays showing the times the next buses arrive. These are fairly reliable but do not place all your faith in them – sometimes the signs display that a bus has come and gone, and then several minutes later the bus arrives.
Travel by urban train is a good option, but only if you are near a train line; there are few lines and not all suburbs are served. Services have improved in the last 10-15 years due to upgrading of lines and many of the stations. Electric trains are being introduced to replace diesel trains on some lines, with all lines (except Papakura to Pukekohe) converting to electric by late 2015.
An AT HOP card provides easier tag on/tag off travel.
The four main lines are the Southern, Onehunga, Eastern and Western lines. The Southern Line runs from Britomart station in the CBD, roughly parallel to the Southern Motorway, to Papakura, with some services continuing on to Pukekohe. The Onehunga Line follows the Southern Line as far as Penrose, before diverting southwest to Onehunga. The Eastern Line runs from Britomart through the east of central Auckland to Manukau Central, sharing with the Southern Line between Westfield and Puhinui. The Western Line runs from Britomart westward to Swanson station, with some weekday services continuing on to Waitakere station. There are no train services on the North Shore or in the suburbs east of the Tamaki River, although the Northern Express bus (see By bus above) from Britomart to Albany provides rapid transit service to the rail-less North Shore.
The Southern and Eastern lines have the most frequent and reliable services. Trains on these lines run every 10 minutes on-peak, 20 minutes off-peak and 30 minutes on evenings and weekends. Approximately 85-95% of these services run on time. Trains on the Western Line run every 15 minutes on-peak, and every 30 minutes off-peak and on weekends. The Onehunga Line runs every 30 minutes all day every day.
The road network experiences severe congestion at rush hour. Geography constrains the network to a limited number of routes. Auckland has a comprehensive road network for a city its size, but lack of investment in public transport and geographic sprawl means it is largely dependent on private cars.
It is often easier and cheaper to hire a car instead of using taxis, simply because the city is so large and spread out. Auckland city is well covered by the main global car rental companies, such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty and Europcar. All car rental companies offer competitive pricing for economy class vehicles and unlimited mileage options. Local car rental companies like Apex and Jucy may also offer competitive pricing.
There are three main motorway systems running through Auckland. The Northern Motorway (from north of Orewa to the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ) a.k.a. Spaghetti Junction) – note that it has a toll for the last few kilometres beyond Silverdale. The Southern Motorway runs from the CMJ past the Bombay Hills where it splits into State Highway 2 (SH2), and merges to the Waikato Expressway. The Northwestern Motorway runs from Auckland Port through CMJ to near Kumeu. These motorways clog up during the morning rush in the CBD-bound direction, and in the opposite direction during the evening rush. The Harbour Bridge has a method of mitigating this traffic load – it changes the lane system from 4-4 to 5-3, favouring the side which has the heavier traffic load. So be careful when crossing the bridge – some lanes will be available for you at one time but not another.
Watch heading southbound over the Harbour Bridge – if you are heading to the Southern Motorway (e.g. to the Airport or Manukau), make sure you are in at least lane 3 (if not lane 4) before you reach the bridge to ensure you go over on the main bridge and not the clip-on lanes. Otherwise you will have only a few hundred metres after the bridge to cross two lanes of traffic to lane 4 before lane 1, 2 and 3 split off towards the city centre and the Northwestern Motorway. Inner lanes go to the CBD, middle lanes to West and the port, outer lanes South, but mind that the directions are not clear or timely and it is easy to head off in the wrong direction.
Some motorway on-ramps have traffic lights operating in busy periods – they allow one or two cars to proceed every three to eight seconds to ease the merging onto the motorway. Cameras may be operating to catch red-light runners.
Taxi fares vary considerably from company to company. For example, see the Get in: By plane section for an indication of fares from the airport to Britomart.
- Auckland Art Gallery, corner Kitchener and Wellesley Sts, ☎ . Daily 10:00-17:00, closed 25 Dec. The largest collection of national and international art in New Zealand, housed in an award-winning landmark building on the edge of Albert Park in the heart of Auckland. Regularly hosts touring international exhibitions and offers a calendar of talks, performances, film screenings and children's activities to complement its exhibition programme. Free entry; charges for some special exhibitions.
- Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Domain, Parnell, ☎ . 10:00-17:00. Despite the name, this is not even primarily a war museum – it is a general museum and one of the best in New Zealand. It stands in an imposing position in the Auckland Domain, a large park on an extinct volcano. It includes excellent displays of Maori and other Polynesian peoples' arts and crafts. Adult $25, 5-14 years $10, NZ residents donation.
- Auckland Zoo, Motions Rd, Western Springs, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1 Sep-30 Apr 09:30–17:30 (last admissions at 16:15), 1 May–31 Aug 09:30-17:00, closed 25 Dec. Has 120 animal species, over 750 animals and a number of different habitats such as the Rainforest and Pridelands (an African savannah). Adults (15 years+) $28, children 4–14 $12, seniors and students with ID $23, family rates available.
- Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei (bus routes 740–769). Located on the scenic Tamaki Drive and the home of Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World. It includes a trip through a transparent tunnel while the fish and sharks swim all around you, and tanks of rays with feeding-time talks.
- MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology), Great North Rd, Western Springs (near the zoo). Daily 10:00-17:00. An interactive museum with over 300,000 items. Look out for the WWII Avro Lancaster Bomber and the Solent Flying Boat in the Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Collection. Adult $16, child $8, child under 5 free.
- Sky Tower, corner Victoria and Federal Sts. At 328 m, this is the tallest free-standing tower in the Southern Hemisphere, offering views of up to 80 km away and fine dining in the Orbit revolving restaurant.
- Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, 670 Manukau Rd, One Tree Hill Domain (on the slopes of the hill). The park also contains Maori archaeological sites, a children's playgrounds and a working farm.
- Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum, corner Quay and Hobson Sts, Viaduct Harbour, ☎ . Interesting exhibits chronicle New Zealand's maritime history. Adult $17, child $8.50, senior or student $14, Auckland residents free.
All houses have at least some gardens available to the public to wander through.
- Alberton, 100 Mt Albert Rd, Mt Albert (entrance from Kerr-Taylor Ave). W-Su 10:30-16:30. An 18-room mansion started in 1863. It was the centre of social life for its area during the late 19th century. Admission charge.
- Highwic, 40 Gillies Ave (entrance from Mortimer Pass) (walking distance from Newmarket). W-Su 10:30-16:30. A very large family home (21 children, although the older ones would have left home before the youngest was born) built from 1862. Admission charge.
- Ewelme Cottage, 14 Ayr St, Parnell (walking distance from Parnell shops). Su 10:30–16:30. Much smaller than Alberton and Highwic. Built in 1863–64 as a home for a vicar's family. Admission charge.
- Pah Homestead / Wallace Arts Centre, 72A Hillsborough Rd, Hillsborough. Tu–F 10:00-15:00, Sa-Su 10:00-17:00. An art gallery with a very substantial collection in a mansion built 1877-79. The large Monte Cecilia Park surrounds the house and was once its grounds. A collection of New Zealand art is displayed in the homestead as the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre. Free.
- Visit the Waitakere Ranges, replete with impressive waterfalls and rugged but beautiful beaches. Around 45 min (peak hours) drive from central Auckland.
- Drive or walk up one of Auckland's many volcanic cones such as One Tree Hill or Mount Eden to experience panoramic views of the city, and to see cows and/or sheep in a major metropolitan area.
- Climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge. If you have a head for heights, you can walk up the arch of the bridge, but you can't take your camera. Bungy jumps from the bridge are also available. $120.
- Do the Sky Jump, a cable-controlled base jump from a height of 192m on the Sky Tower. Or try the Sky Walk, a walk around a 1.2m walkway with no hand rails.
- Rangitoto Island (take a ferry from downtown). A dormant volcano that stands prominently near the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour. Climb to the summit for fantastic views of the harbour and Auckland city. Take a picnic or have a swim.
- Rent skates in Okahu Bay and take a scenic skate along Tamaki Drive.
- Visit Waiheke Island, home to an abundance of art galleries, sculptures and beautiful winery cellar doors. You can rent a scooter and get around the island fairly quickly.
- Explore NZ, Viaduct Harbour Basin, ☎ , fax: +64 9 358-3137, e-mail: email@example.com. Waitemata Harbour sailboat cruises on a boat from the Pride of Auckland fleet. Also offer a 2 hr Sailing Experience on an original America's Cup yacht. Other activities are available.
- Auckland Sea Kayaks, St Heliers Central Boat Ramp, 384 Tamaki Dr, ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sea kayaking tours including to the islands of Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe and Motukorea (Browns Island). Auckland is one of the world’s most unique sea kayaking locations. Tours suitable for all experience levels. Tours launch at St Heliers - free pickup from downtown.
- Hauraki Blue Cruises, Viaduct Harbour, e-mail: email@example.com. Hauraki Blue Cruises offer lunch cruises and overnight cruises around the Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, taking in key landmarks and visiting secluded island beaches.
- Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, Viaduct Harbour Basin (at the western end (left as you are looking at the water) of Quay St in downtown Auckland. On arrival by foot, look for the Voyager Maritime Museum entrance on your right immediately after the large ‘KZ1’ yacht), toll-free: , fax: +64 9 358-3137, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 12:30–5PM. Explore the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park during a 4.5 hour marine eco-safari on a purpose-built vessel the ‘Dolphin Explorer’. They have years of experience and guarantee that you will see marine mammals – or your next trip is free. $160.
- Manukau coastal walks between Onehunga and Blockhouse Bay. The track is 9 km long in total, but meets the roads in many places, so you can easily do just part of it. It includes areas of native forest.
There are many beaches, due to Auckland's straddling of two harbours. The most popular ones are in three areas:
- North Shore beaches are on the Pacific Ocean and stretch from Long Bay in the north to Devonport in the south. They are almost all sandy beaches with safe swimming, and most have shade provided by pohutukawa trees. Most are accessible by bus. Takapuna Beach is the most centrally located, with a lovely beach-front café at one end. Just north of Long Bay is a family nudist beach. St Leonard's Beach is gay male nudist. Others are conventional.
- Tamaki Drive beaches are on the Waitemata Harbour, in the upmarket suburbs of Mission Bay and St Heliers. These are sometimes-crowded family beaches with a good range of shops lining the shore. Swimming is safe. Mission Bay beach is Auckland's equivalent of Los Angeles' Venice beach and is extremely popular on a hot summer's day. To its east, Kohimarama and St Heliers beaches are usually less crowded. Ladies Bay to the east of St Heliers has historically been a nudist-friendly beach, but is frequented by regular beachgoers too, and is accessible by a 5 min walk down from the cliff-top road.
- West coast beaches are on the Tasman Sea, and have large expanses of sand and rolling surf. They have unpredictable rips so you should swim only between the lifeguards' flags, which cover select areas of the most popular beaches. They are about 40-min drive from central Auckland and the roads are narrow and winding. You'll need your own transport. There's little shade available, and few shops. The sand on these beaches is dark in colour due to high iron content from its volcanic origins. There are several smaller beaches accessible only by foot. The major beaches from south to north are:
- Whatipu is the southernmost beach, and the most isolated. The last 7 km of the road there is unsealed, but in good condition. There's a track from the carpark to the beach conservatively signposted as 15-min walk. There are several volcanic outcrops surrounding the beach, and native vegetation including cabbage trees along the path. Manukau Harbour is just to the south of the beach, separated by Paratutae Island. Paratutae is joined to the beach except at high tide. There are caves signposted 20-min walk from the car park; the track is muddy during winter. The caves are less spectacular than they once were because they've partially filled up with sand. No dogs are permitted.
- Karekare is the next beach north of Whatipu. It's considerably more popular and there are lifeguards patrolling the beach during summer. Karekare Falls is a waterfall not far from the road.
- Piha is the best known and most popular beach. It has lifeguards during summer. The most notable feature is Lion Rock, which separates the northern and southern sides of the beach. There's a steep track partway up Lion Rock to get decent views. Kitekite Falls are a small and pleasant waterfall near the beach. Laird Thomson Track is a walkway from North Piha to the isolated Whites Beach, which usually has very few people on it.
- Anawhata has no road access to the beach, but there's a fairly steep track down from an unsealed road. This is the least used beach and you may be the only people there at any given time.
- Te Henga (Bethells Beach) is accessible by road, and has lifeguards in the summer. Erangi Point separates it from unpatrolled O'Neill Bay to the north, which can only be reached by foot.
- Muriwai is the second most popular of the west coast beaches. There's a colony of gannets (seabirds) which nest in huge numbers and are worth seeing year round. Muriwai has a café, a golf course, and lifeguards during summer.
There are a number of markets in Auckland; perhaps the most famous for Aucklanders are the Otara and Avondale markets (serving South and West Auckland respectively).
- Avondale Market, Avondale Racecourse, Ash St, Avondale (8 min walk from Avondale railway station). Su 06:00-c. 12:00. Mostly produce but also second hand items and other general goods. Not much in the way of fast food for immediate consumption.
- La Cigale French Market, 69 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell. Sa 08:00-13.30, Su 09:00-13.30. The emphasis is on seasonal fruit and vegetables (organic or spray-free whenever possible), artisan baked bread, cheese, confectioneries, oils, spices and home made preserves and jams.
- Otara Market, Newbury St, off East Tamaki Rd, Otara. Sa 06:00-12:00. A wide variety of goods, mostly produce but also other marketable items
- Victoria Park Market, Victoria St West (walking distance from the CBD). Daily. Cafés from 07:00, shops from 10:00. It used to have lots of craft stalls, then was renovated and reopened in 2013.
Britomart is the up-and-coming fashion centre of Auckland, home to local designers and international brands.
The High Street/Vulcan Lane/O'Connell Street area is another popular fashion centre. Look out for womenswear in Ruby, Moochi, Ricochet, Karen Walker and Agatha Paris French Fashion Jewelley as well as many other international brands. For menswear, visit Little Brother, Crane Brothers, and World Man. For New Zealand and international brands in both mens and womenswear, see Workshop, Brave, Browns and Fabric, along with Ashley Ardrey for shoes.
Made on Customs St West (parallel to Quay St, near to the Britomart transport centre). Recently, some of New Zealand's notable designers moved their flagship stores into this new Britomart precinct, including Zambesi, World and Kate Sylvester.
On Ponsonby Rd, find womenswear in Zambesi, Karen Walker, World, Cybele, Sera Lily, Miss Crabb, Hepburn, Jaimie stocking local and international brands (Vivienne Westwood), IsaKelle, and various other stores, including Sybella for shoes.
K' Rd (short for Karangahape Rd) has cultural stores such as Third Eye (Indian), Buana Satu (Polynesian), vintage stores like Fast and Loose and Vixen (St Kevin's Arcade), designer stores like Girl and Vicky Sudarath (both St Kevin's Arcade) and Adrian Hailwood. Across the road from St Kevin's, find Illicit and Miss Illicit. Tattoos from Dermographic, also in Ponsonby.
Newmarket has outposts of the many stores listed above, as well as a few others. Nuffield St is home to Lucy Boshier (a local designer), Trelise Cooper Kids (upscale kids clothing from the New Zealand designer), and Superette (predominantly Australian designers). Look to Teed St for Drop Dead Gorgeous – offering brands such as Stella McCartney, Chloe and 3.1 Phillip Lim and Muse offering international labels such as Diane von Furstenburg, James Perse, and Rebecca Taylor. stenbeck&morse stocks directional New Zealand and Australian labels such as Jimmy D, Cybele, Deborah Sweeney and Josh Goot.
Britomart Precinct on the waterfront in the city centre is home to an array of popular and diverse bars and eateries. Agents + Merchants, Cafe Hanoi, Tyler St Garage, Ebisu, Britomart Country Club, Mexico to name a few. A must visit.
Viaduct Harbour provides upmarket dining, starting at $30 for mains. While this area has some very nice bars and restaurants, be wary of restaurants lacking customers and usually very quiet. An example is The V Grill (The Viaduct Grill), where the service is appalling – Chinese staff with bad attitudes and the food is below average. Avoid at all cost.
- Richmond Rd Cafe, 318 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn (walking distance from Ponsonby Rd). Excellent, laid back, but very high standard café. Enjoy their great variety of food (their breakfasts are particularly good), their outstanding coffee or their delicious sweet selection, while soaking up the sun on the balcony. Although not the most central, it is a favourite with the locals, and is therefore regularly busy (particularly during the weekend). Suitable for small business meetings, family breakfasts, or can even be used as a good quiet working space during the day.
- One Tree Grill Restaurant, 9-11 Pah Rd (Greenwoods Corner), Epsom (near One Tree Hill), ☎ . Enjoy outstanding, down-to-earth dining at this iconic restaurant, consistently rated in the top restaurants in Auckland. It specializes in contemporary New Zealand cuisine and offers an outstanding cellared wine list. One Tree Grill offers a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of inner city dining. Since 1996, it has been a staple part of the Auckland restaurant scene, having evolved from their small 40 seat suburban beginnings to the modern, up market restaurant it is today. Enjoy the best of Pacific Rim cuisine in a stylish setting. Outstanding cellared wines, innovative cuisine, thoroughly professional service – it offers a complete dining experience where it's the little things that make the difference.
- SPQR, 150 Ponsonby Rd, ☎ . Modern Italian cuisine, dimly lit, loud music, great atmosphere, you may feel like you are in New York. Mains $30–40.
- Deve Bar & Brasserie, 460 New North Rd, Kingsland. Has top-notch beef & lamb among others. A relaxed place, and the neighbourhood has other good restaurants, cafés and a couple of bars.
- Saika Japanese Takeaway, Elliott St. 10:00-21:00 (closed on national holidays). Common Japanese food. Gyudon, Katsudon, Chicken-don etc. Japanese-speaking staff available. Meals from $8.
- Bien Japanese Cuisine, 55-65 Shortland St. M-F 11:00-15:00 Tu-Sa 18:00-22:00. Sushi, teriyaki chicken rice bowl, eel, etc.
- Fujisan, 474 Queen St, ☎ . Cozy and delicious Japanese restaurant near the upper end of Queen St. Try the Teriyaki beef set ($15.50).
- South Vietnam Restaurant, 39 Elliott St. M-F 10:00-15:00, Su 11:00-22:00, closed for lunch on Sa, Tu-Sa 17:30-22:00, closed M and national holidays. Lunch from $6.50, dinner from $12.
- Valentine's Restaurant. Traditional buffet restaurants in many locations around Auckland.
- Hare Krishna Food For Life, 286 Karangahape Rd. $5 vegetarian dinner.
- No.1 Pancake, Lorne St (just off Wellesley St). Korean pancakes. $4.50.
- Finale Restaurant and Cabaret, 350 Karangahape Rd, ☎ . Buffet meal and drag cabaret shows.
- Sushi Bento, Parnell Rd, Parnell Village.
- Burger Fuel. Parnell Rd; and Dominion Rd (Mt Eden). Delicious gourmet burgers.
- Fatimas, Ponsonby Rd in Ponsonby; and Anzac St in Takapuna. Excellent kebabs and pitas, a step above typical post-clubbing fare.
- Mezze Bar, Little High St Arcade. Serves tapas and other dishes. Often busy but worth the wait.
- Al Volo Pizzeria, 27 Mt Eden Rd, ☎ . Tu-Th 17:00-21:30, F-Sa 17:00-22:30. Limited seating, but you can order from the Corner Bar across the street. No delivery. $15-25.
- Mexicali Fresh, Prince's Wharf, ☎ . 11:00-22:00. Fast Mexican food on Auckland's waterfront. Mouthwatering but not for the health-conscious. $13.50.
- SKYCITY entertainment complex, corner Federal & Victoria St, has a dozen restaurants for all tastes and budgets, including the authentic Spanish Tapas bar Bellota, the fine dining dine by Peter Gordon and the revolving restaurant Orbit.
For kosher food, the Auckland Jewish Community Centre, which includes the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, has a kosher shop located on Greys Ave, CBD (right next door to the Duxton Hotel) and is open every day except Mondays, Saturdays and Jewish festivals. It includes a large range of kosher products.
There are some good cheap food courts (food halls) offering a variety of usually Asian foods. For downtown food halls, try next to the Queens' Arcade at the bottom of Queen St (slightly hidden entrance), or the Metro award winning one at the bottom of Albert St. The Ponsonby International food court has the cheapest eats in this somewhat pricey neighbourhood with the Mexican stall a standout among the Asian stalls.
- Nishiki, Robata-Yaki Bar, 100 Wellington St, Freemans Bay, ☎ . Tu-Su 18:00-23:00. Great Japanese restaurant. Requires reservation for all days of the week. Great value for money. $10-25.
- The Dominion, 234 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden (corner of Valley Rd), ☎ . Bar, restaurant, and cocktail bar. Handy to Eden Park.
- Blue Bird Vegetarian Cafe, 299 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, ☎ . Vegetarian café located in the Valley Rd shops. Along with the usual cakes and coffees, they serve tasty bowls with a either rice, potato or kumara, and a selection of toppings. $7–15.
- Zap 4 Esan Thai (Zap Thai), 10 Commerce St, Downtown Auckland CBD, ☎ . 11AM-9PM. Authentic Thai food at decent prices. Their generous servings are delivered to your table very quickly. A self-seating restaurant with room to accommodate groups. Basic beer and wine available. $10-15 main dishes.
There's a high concentration of bars in the viaduct area near the waterfront.
- Tyler St Garage, Britomart precinct.
- The Camel Bar, Fort St. Part of a hostel and has nightly activities including live music and quiz nights.
- Cock & Bull English Pubs. Various locations throughout Auckland.
- Galbraiths Alehouse, 2 Mt Eden Rd, Eden Terrace. A brewery and pub, with a great selection of traditional beer and wine.
- Family, 270 Karangahape Rd. Daily until 05:00. Gay drag/DJ bar/club. Gay owned and operated.
- The Patriot, 14 Victoria St, Devonport. British themed pub. Has a great beer garden.
- The Occidental Belgian Beer Cafe, 6 Vulcan Lane, CBD (just off Queen St). A popular place with the after-work crowd. Serves traditional Belgian beers alongside mussels and frites.
- Shadows Bar, Student Union Building, 34 Princes St (University of Auckland campus). Student bar with decent prices.
- Cassette Number 9, Vulcan Ln. A new bar and club featuring different music nights.
- Skycity, corner of Federal & Victoria Sts. Entertainment complex with a dozen bars & cafes including a Spanish tapas bar, Bellota.
- Northern Steamship, 122 Quay St. A Mac's brewbar with a unique and eclectic décor, including hundreds of antique lampshades.
- Bar Tabac, 6 Mills Ln. In a rustic heritage building in the back streets of downtown Auckland. Co-owned by musician Neil Finn of Crowded House.
- Khuja Lounge, 3/536 Queen St (top of Queen St, intersection with K Rd). A great bar to soak up some live music in. Open weekends and various weekdays.
- Bamber House, 22 View Rd, Mt Eden (from Queen St at the IMAX Theatre, catch buses 255-258 to first stop View Rd), ☎ , fax: +64 9 623-4267, e-mail: email@example.com. $25 dormitory, $66 double.
- BK Hostel, 3 Mercury Ln, ☎ . They do not have dorm rooms. Nice atmosphere, kitchen and laundry. Single/twin/triple rooms from $40/$50/$81.
- Brown Kiwi, 7 Prosford St, Ponsonby, ☎ , fax: +64 9 378-0191, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. $25 dormitory, $66 double.
- Nomads Auckland, 16-20 Fort St, City Centre, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. $26 dormitory, $99 standard double room.
- Nomads Fat Camel, 38 Fort St, City Centre, ☎ , fax: +64 9 307-0182, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Free supper $24 dormitory, $72 standard double room.
- Ponsonby Backpackers, 2 Franklin Rd, ☎ , fax: +64 9 360-1365, e-mail: email@example.com. Located in an original 19th century villa right in the heart of Ponsonby. $25 7 bed dormitory, $27 4 bed share, $31 pp double.
- Queen Street Backpackers, 4 Fort St, City Centre, ☎ , fax: +64 9 358-2412, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Shared rooms starting from $25 to private rooms for $65.
- Choice Backpackers, Wellesley St W (cnr of Wellesley and Albert Sts, across post office), ☎ . Easygoing, friendly, cheap. Dorms from $18, doubles $52.
- Verandahs Backpacker Lodge, 6 Hopetoun St, ☎ , fax: +64 9 360-9465, e-mail: email@example.com. $26 dormitory, $70 double.
Bed & breakfast
- Aachen House, 39 Market Rd, Remuera, ☎ , fax: +64 9 524 2898. Upscale bed and breakfast. $300–600 varies by size and season.
- Auckland Waterfront Apartments, Princes Wharf, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Luxury 1, 2 & 3 bedroom serviced apartments with harbour views.
- Braemar, 7 Parliament St, ☎ , fax: +64 9 377-3056. Beautifully renovated 1901 Edwardian townhouse.
- CityLife Auckland, 171 Queen St, ☎ , fax: +64 9 379-9223, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Crowne Plaza Auckland, 128 Albert St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 4 star plus hotel, 352 guest rooms and suites, offering first class accommodation.
- Heritage Auckland, 35 Hobson St, ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: email@example.com. Four star plus hotel with restaurant and bar. Serviced apartments available.
- Hilton Auckland, Princes Wharf, 147 Quay St, ☎ . A modern waterfront building.
- Langham Hotel Auckland, 83 Symonds St, ☎ , fax: +64 9 377-9367. 5 star luxury hotel. Price varies by season.
- Pullman Auckland, corner Waterloo Quadrant & Princes St, ☎ , fax: +64 9 353 1000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 5 star hotel in central Auckland. 340 rooms and self contained apartments, free Wi-Fi, health club and spa, restaurant.
- Quay West Suites Auckland, 8 Albert St, ☎ . A luxury apartment hotel in the centre of the city featuring balconies with harbour & city views.
- Rendezvous Hotel Auckland, 71 Mayoral Drive, cnr Vincent St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Four star plus hotel, 452 guest rooms and suites, 2 restaurants and a bar.
- The Sebel, 85–89 Customs St W, Viaduct Harbour, ☎ . Apartment hotel in the business and dining precinct at Viaduct Harbour.
- SKYCITY Grand Hotel, 88 Federal St. Five-star luxury hotel.
- Quest Serviced Apartments, 363 Queen St, ☎ . Close to Aotea Centre, the Town Hall, restaurants and shopping. 70 studios, one and two bedroom serviced apartments all with kitchen and laundry facilities.
Auckland is generally a fairly safe place. Be careful in these areas:
Karangahape Road (K Rd): A large number of pubs and clubs are located here, and care should be taken late at night.
Queen Street: During the day, this is a respectable shopping area, and after dark, there are usually still a large number of pedestrians and traffic until the early hours of the morning so the area it is relatively safe. On Friday and Saturday nights, there are typically many heavily intoxicated people wandering up and down the street. Some may seem intimidating, but they are usually more interested in getting to their next drinking destination than anything else. An increasing number of homeless people sleep around this area, but they are unlikely to bother you except a plea for loose change.
Fort Street: Once the centre of Auckland's red light district. Fort Street is now considered backpackers street with 3 major backpackers' hostels calling it home. During the day you can drink at one of Fort Streets many cafes and dance the night away in one of Fort Streets many bars.
High Street/Vulcan Lane: During the day, this is an elegant and upmarket shopping area. At night, it gets quieter, but on weekends, there will be a large young crowd at the various bars and clubs along the street, and is usually quite safe. Police regularly patrol this street on weekends for disorderly drunk youths.
Viaduct Harbour: Many bars are located here, and care should be taken late at night as intoxication levels rise.
There are many internet cafes in the CBD with prices ranging from $1 per half an hour to $5 per hour. Free internet is available from the public library (limited 100MB per IP address per day). There is also free Wi-Fi in the Skycity food courts. There are 40 HotSpots that offer Wi-Fi connectivity, most notably Esquires cafe (inside Skycity Queen St, Middle Queen St, Lower Queen St, Nelson St), Starbucks (Victoria St, K' Rd, Lower Queen St) and other cafes around Auckland.
- Midcity Internet Cafe, 54 Wellesley St, opposite the ASB Bank (corner of Albert and Wellesley Streets). Open 24/7 and probably the best internet cafe in the city with the fastest and most reliable computers / network. Rates are $3 per hour, or $4 for a card with 2 hours access or $6 for 4 hours, which expires within 24 hours. A $5 refundable deposit is required for cards.
Other notable cafes include HTC Internet Cafe at 63 Wakefield St.
- Austria, 22a William Pickering Drive, North Harbour, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 10:00-12:00 by appointment. Honorary Consulate-General - the actual embassy is in Canberra, Australia. Accepts applications for new passports and identity cards but can not issue emergency travel documents. This consulate deals with Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty regions and there are other honorary consuls in Wellington and Christchurch.
- Bangladesh, Apartment 7P Harvard on Hobson, 147 Hobson St, ☎ , fax: +64 9 302-0549, e-mail: email@example.com. Mr Ataur Rahman, Honorary Consul.
- Barbados, 19 Vaughan Rd, Okura, RD2, Albany, ☎ , fax: +64 9 473-5948, e-mail: FredWatson@xtra.co.nz. Mr Frederick Nelson Watson, Honorary Consul.
- China, 588 Great South Rd, Greenlane, ☎ , fax: +64 9 525-0733, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-12:00 & 14:00-16:00.
- Greece, 108 Paihia Rd, One Tree Hill, ☎ , fax: +64 9 571-0529, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 09:00-16:00. Mr Nikos Petousis, Honorary Consul.
- Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Level 18, 120 Albert St, ☎ , fax: +649 302-3399, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go wine tasting on Waiheke Island. It's home to some fantastic wines and has some of the best beaches in the area. Can get crowded during the weekends, but very quiet during the week. It seems a world away from Auckland, but is only 35 minutes by ferry.
On your way through the Waitakere Ranges, head to the little beachside village of Piha and be prepared for stunning natural beauty.