It frequents the list for most liveable city year after year and after a bit of time in Auckland it’s not hard to understand why. New Zealand’s largest cosmopolitan centre is a lively mix of culture, cuisine, music and art with ample green spaces and easily accessible beaches.
With a population of 1.4 million, Auckland makes up 30% of New Zealand’s population and is three times the size of the next city in line; Wellington. It is the modern melting pot of the Pacific with influences from Asia, the Pacific islands and Europe along with traditional Maori culture.
A fresh and vibrant city, Auckland boasts some of the best eateries and cafes in the country, many of which are found in the downtown dining and shopping heart; Britomart. The city’s harbour, previously lacking in soul, underwent a revamp before hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2011 which saw the development of some excellent entertainment hubs. One of these was Wynyard Quarter, a bustling meeting point for locals and visitors alike with its cutting-edge cafes, restaurants and bars breathing new life into Auckland’s waterfront.
However, Auckland’s true character is revealed in its neighbourhoods. From the fashion and foodie elite Ponsonby in the west to the sophisticated and elegant Parnell in the east. Around the city’s waterfront you’ll discover the settlements of Mission Bay and Kohimarama with sandy beach promenades and laid-back eateries. Across the Harbour Bridge you leave city life behind, replaced instead with the laidback beach town mentality of Takapuna and Devonport. The city’s skyline is dotted with grassy volcanic cones, jutting out of tree-lined suburbs, the most famous of which is Mount Eden – offering some of the best views over Auckland.
There is plenty to see beyond the city, with the Hauraki Gulf filled with tranquil, inviting islands. Closest to the mainland is Waiheke, a foodie’s haven and home to world-class wineries. Or head out west to the dramatic black-sand coastline and rustic, surfer hangout; Piha.