Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city. Half urban and half marine, it’s a cosmopolitan experience wrapped up in a fascinating and spectacular water world. Auckland sprawls over a narrow isthmus between the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours – magnificent waterways on the vast Hauraki Gulf.

Auckland's waterfront location has fostered the locals' love affair with the sea, earning this unique and refreshing city the nickname "City of Sails". Auckland is defined by its harbour-side location, and the city spills down to meet the Harbour at Princes Wharf and The Viaduct. This bustling precinct offers everything from an expertly made espresso to elegant dining in some of the world’s finest restaurants, all just metres from the Harbour. You can also catch a ferry or charter boat that will take you across to the North Shore, or out into the blue waters of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands. Over 50 enchanting islands are scattered throughout this area, offering exotic holiday locations, or idyllic destinations for day trips. A cloak of rainforest covers Auckland's surrounding hills and dozens of  dormant volcanic cones are sprinkled across the landscape.

In just half an hour from Auckland you can be almost anywhere - sailing to an island, trekking through a rainforest, picnicking on a volcano, sampling wines at a vineyard or wandering a wild, black sand surf beach.

Step a few blocks back from the sea and you can wander the 19th Century lanes of the city, enjoying some of the southern hemisphere’s best shopping venues. Or explore the city fringes – vibrant Victorian suburbs like Ponsonby and Parnell, full of stylish cafés and trendy nightspots. The Auckland city centre offers a relaxed Pacific vibe by day and a night time pulse that spreads across the surrounding suburbs.

Auckland Central is also home to a wide range of attractions that are destinations in themselves: Auckland Museum, Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and Antarctic Adventure, the SkyTower and its  surrounding complex, and the Auckland Zoo.  

Auckland’s heritage stretches further back than the arrival of Europeans. In the indigenous Maori language, the city is known as Tamaki-Makau-Rau - “the maiden with a hundred suitors”. This name comes from Auckland's history as a region coveted by many Maori tribes.

From the top of any of the volcanic cones on the city’s edge, you'll get a sense of why Auckland became such a strategic prize for Maori. While enjoying the spectacular views, take a “hikoi”  – a walk with a Maori guide who will explain the cultural significance of all you see around you.

Today, Auckland's heart beats to a Polynesian rhythm, its people a melting pot of European, South Pacific and Asian cultures, all influenced by New Zealand's strong Maori heritage. This diverse range of cultures adds flavour and interest to the city’s lifestyle, and also brings with it an abundance of unique dining and shopping experiences.  Auckland has perfected a style of cuisine called “Pacific Rim”, which blends Asian and Pacific flavours, and is available in the many restaurants and cafes throughout the city.

Auckland’s blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern city environment has created a lifestyle ranked among the best in the world. The natural assets of the city have also made it a dream destination for all kinds of travellers from back-packers to families, adventure seekers, business people, and those wanting a luxurious holiday or the chance to explore a unique and fascinating part of the world.