Auckland is a modern and the biggest city in New Zealand. The city moves fast, but beyond the bustling streets, jungles, volcanic beaches, traditional Māori culture, and remote landscapes stretch out. Auckland is your gateway into this strange and beautiful world. South Africans need a visa for New Zealand.
Auckland is one of those places it is impossible to get bored of. It is a modern city that is the gateway to a wild world. The streets of central Auckland are fast paced and exciting – but beyond the sleek metropolitan streets is the wild volcanic jungle wilderness of New Zealand’s North Island. Some of the best things to do in Auckland happen on North Island. Trek up one of the 53 volcanic peaks, sail across the watery crater of a super volcano, search for thermal wonderlands and black sand beaches, hike through underground caves in search of glow worms, walk through geothermal fields of bubbling craters and hissing vents. It also has some of the most remote Pacific beaches in the world. A Māori walking tour on Maungawhau (Mount Eden), hike up Rangitoto volcano, and canyoning expedition in Piha are 3 of the best things to do in Auckland. The Māori walking tour is the best way to learn about the native Polynesian people of New Zealand. Auckland is a great destination for families and travellers in search of outdoor thrills.
The best areas for shopping in Auckland are in the CBD. Queen Street and High Street are situated side by side and two of the most popular shopping streets in Auckland. Big brand name stores and boutique shops line these two streets. If you are more interested in independent labels, Ponsonby Road is the place to be. Auckland is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world. The cost of accommodation in Auckland ranges between R500 to R3000 (for two people) depending on where you stay and what kind of accommodation you choose. A meal at an average restaurant is about R200 or R450 for a three course meal at a nice restaurant. A beer goes for about R90, a cappuccino is about R45, and a bottle of wine from the store costs about R140. A prepaid public transport card is R100 and a rental car is about R1000 per day. Although travelling to Auckland can be expensive, there are numerous inexpensive restaurants, bars, and accommodation options, so it is entirely possible to travel on a budget.
There are 3 modes of public transport in Auckland: train, bus, and ferry. There are various routes running through the city and services run regularly, so using public transport is an efficient and affordable way to get around Auckland. Walking is also a great way to get around if you are staying in the city or one of the outlying neighbourhoods. Britomart is the main transport hub in downtown Auckland. The AT HOP is a prepaid card that is worth getting if you are staying in Auckland for a while and want to use public transport. If you want to travel to other parts of New Zealand, renting a car is the best way to get around.
Auckland has just about every type of accommodation. Beach cottages, self-catering apartments, hotels, bed and breakfasts, backpackers, villas, aparthotels, guest houses – Auckland has it all. Each part of the city has its own personality, so when deciding where to stay depends on what you want to do on your trip. The central city is the best area to stay in Auckland if you want to be near public transport, restaurants and bars, and some the most popular attractions in Auckland. The areas around Ponsonby Road are known for their trendy cafes and restaurants and nightlife. It is a 20 minute walk from the city centre. Parnell is a more posh area buzzing with award winning restaurants, galleries, boutique shops, and upmarket bars. The best areas to stay in if you want to be near the ocean are Mission Bay, Piha, and Takapuna.
Direct flights to Auckland are currently unavailable, but connecting flights to Auckland are available from most cities in South Africa. A connecting flight from Johannesburg with one stop over is about 17 hours. Most flights to Auckland have a layover in Australia. Some of the most popular airlines operating flights to Auckland are Qantas Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qatar Airways. Flights to Auckland land at Auckland Airport (AKL) near the suburb of Mangere.
Visiting the volcanic islands in the surrounding Hauraki Gulf is one of the best things to do in Auckland. These islands take you into the remote wilderness of New Zealand and are home to some of the best beaches in Auckland. Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island are the largest islands. Waiheke Island has over 20 vineyards and wineries, and Great Barrier Island is an idyllic spot for camping and searching for the Kaitoke hot springs. And no trip to Auckland is complete without hiking up the 600 year old volcano on Rangitoto.