The Auckland region is named for Auckland City, New Zealand’s largest urban area. Known as the ‘city of sails’, Auckland sprawls along a picturesque harbour sprinkled with islands and edged by sandy beaches.
The city itself is an interesting and unique landscape of volcanic cones and craters created by the dormant volcanic field on which it lies. To the west, native rainforest and rocky outcrops fall away to rugged black sand beaches offering spectacular scenery and providing the perfect base for outdoor adventures.
As well as its scenic beauty, Auckland is a bustling major city with excellent shopping, world-class dining and plenty of attractions to keep you busy for days! Here are our top ten reasons why you need to visit Auckland on your New Zealand motorhome rental holiday.
- Auckland’s unique location atop a dormant volcanic field has created a fascinating landscape of volcanic cones and craters, many of these readily accessible and easy to explore. The two best-known are Mt Eden and One Tree Hill. Drive to the top of One Tree Hill for a great view over the city and surrounding harbour, then stroll through the park. Or catch a bus to Mount Eden and walk up the mountain for fantastic city views. You can also climb down into the central crater.
- The Auckland War Memorial Museum sits in a spectacular location in Auckland Domain, just a stone’s throw from the city. It’s a fascinating place to visit, as well as a beautiful building in its own right. Discover the history of New Zealand and its people or view one of the Museum’s excellent exhibitions. You can also view the largest and most significant collection of Maori treasures in the world, and attend an authentic Maori show. Afterwards, take a stroll in the nearby winter gardens or enjoy a picnic in the Domain.
- Rugby is New Zealand’s national game and boy, are we passionate about it! If you get the chance, watching a rugby game at Eden Park is a must-do. If your schedule doesn’t coincide with a game you can still take a tour of this iconic New Zealand sports ground conveniently situated only 3km from the CBD.
- What better way to view the City of Sails than while savouring delicious cuisine at a harbourside restaurant? The Viaduct offers over 30 bars and restaurants where you can enjoy anything from a few drinks to a multi-course degustation dinner while watching the boats on the harbour.
- New Zealand has the largest population of Pacific Island people outside the islands themselves. For a taste of Polynesia, visit the Otara Market. You’ll find arts and crafts, clothing, jewellery, gifts and food from a variety of Pacific Island cultures.
- Auckland’s harbour and the Hauraki Gulf beyond are dotted with picturesque islands and there’s a great ferry network to help you explore them. Take a ferry ride to Rangitoto Island to climb to the top of this dormant volcano (or take a ride up on the road train) to explore the volcanic terrain. Or visit Waiheke Island, famous for its food and wine. If you don’t have time for a day trip, take the 15 minute ferry trip (or drive in your motorhome) from the CBD to Devonport, a quaint village on the North Shore known for its boutiques and cafes. Walk to the little Navy Museum or take a drive to North Head.
- Visit the Sky Tower. At 328 metres high, it’s the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, and offers commanding 360 degree views for up to 80 kilometres. Travel in the glass-front lifts to the breathtaking viewing platforms. If you feel daring, do the sky walk (192m above ground) or bungy off the top!
- For a great family experience, visit the world-famous Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World and Antarctic Centre to see over 30 live animal exhibits from over 80 different species.
- Eat fish and chips on the beach. Mission Bay (conveniently close to Kelly Tarltons, and a pleasant short drive from the city) is a favourite local picnic spot. Walk along the promenade before enjoying your fish and chips kiwi-style, straight from their newspaper wrapping.
- Take a drive to the West Coast of Auckland, well known for its rugged black sand beaches and beautiful native bush (forest). Visit Piha or Karekare for a stroll on the magnificent beach or a swim in the surf, or find the gannet colony at Muriwai.
Worried about driving around a big city like Auckland in your motorhome? You needn’t be. If you stick outside the peak driving times (7-9am and 4-6pm), driving around Auckland is easy. The motorway (State Highway 1, or the Nothern/Southern motorway) runs right through the city, making it easy to get from one end of the city to the other. If you’re not sure about finding a park for your motorhome in the city centre, stay at one of the excellent holiday parks within easy reach of the city, and take public transport into the city centre.