Arriving or departing a trip to New Zealand, you will end up in the capital city of Auckland – New Zealand’s metropolitan playground.
The Home of the Maori people for nearly a millennium, New Zealand was explored and settled by Europeans in the beginning of the 18th century. After the British claimed the Islands in 1840, Auckland grew rapidly as a point of commerce for travelers from around the world. Today the city is the commercial hearth of New Zealand, providing endless outdoor adventures in its spacious parks and busy harbors, as well as opportunities for shopping and viewing this lands unique culture.
Make sure you leave some time in your trip to explore this fascinating city. There are many hotels of all levels of cost and service, from first class to backpacker hostels. A couple of days would give you enough time for the major attractions, longer and you could explore the surrounding countryside and beaches.
Start your time in Auckland by just walking around the bustling downtown area. Grab something to eat at any number of small restaurants featuring cuisine from all around the world. A specialty of Auckland is the large number of authentic Indian restaurants. After grabbing some lunch, head on down to the harbor.
Auckland is often called the City of Sails for good reason. It straddles two harbors:the northern Waitemata Harbor and the southern Manukau Harbor, as well as several islands . On any given day, there will be countless sailboats meandering around the harbors. Auckland has the highest per capita ownership of sailboats of anywhere in the world. Many Aucklanders sail across the harbor on weekends to their cottages and second homes. The view is spectacular, with the volcanic islands rising out of the harbor and all the sailboats.
Aucklands warm sunny climate and wild landscape including Bushland, deep forest and volcanic islands, make it an outdoor activity paradise. From rugby and tennis to extreme sports in the land, sea and air. Wander around on any weekend day, and if you come across a park, you will get to watch a rugby or cricket game. Kiwis (New Zealanders) take these sports very seriously, so don’t ask too many silly questions. Wander on before the cricket game lulls you to sleep.
A a great view and people-watch is One Tree Hill. Historically there has been only a single tree standing on top of this hill, which can be viewed from much of Auckland. In 1994, a Maori (New Zealand Natives) activist took a chain saw to the tree and damaged it severely. However, the view of the city remains spectacular.
Most of the major shops in Auckland are found surrounding the central business district the city’s commercial hot stop. Make your first stops Queen street and High Street, featuring cool collections of designer clothing, antique shops, music stores and boutiques. Fashionable shopping centers combine a wide range of products with food and cafés in a relax setting, while busy outdoor markets sell handmade gifts, second hand goods and other surprises, both in the downtown area and the surrounding country side.
Aucklands night scene reflects the city’s status as an international gathering place relaxed and inviting with urban flair mingling with a warm traditional Welcome. Hit to Viaduct harbor as the crowds gathering to hit restaurants and pubs, cocktail lounges and wine bars to kick off the night. You can visit Princes Wharf or Queen street for the hottest night clubs or laugh the night away in a laid back comedy club in Quay street.
Whether you are in Auckland for a day or a week, you will find lots of interesting things to do.
Next time you’re flying through New Zealand…
Seriously, if you ever find yourself flying through New Zealand, either as a layover or destination, do yourself a favor. Pick up some No Jet-Lag pills at the airport. In the thin blue and white box that looks like a nasal decongestant.
Why you can’t find these anywhere else in the world is a mystery. Everyone who’s tried them and who follows the directions take one pill two hours before take-off, every two hours while flying, and one when landing swears by their effectiveness. Travel-wise Kiwis won’t leave home without them.
They’re even standard issue for the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, the world’s finest traveling rugby side. Players are required to use the pills whenever traveling. Maybe their lack of jet lag is part of the reason why they’re the most feared guests on rugby fields around the world.
They’re non-narcotic, purely homeopathic, and relatively inexpensive. Pick up some, try them, and you’ll be hooked. So pick up two or three boxes. Because it might be a while until you’re back.