The Auckland region is a sprawling area of suburbs, beaches, harbours, and islands. It includes Auckland City, the North Shore, the cities of Manukau and Waitakere, the district of Rodney, and the islands of the Harauki Gulf.
The city of Auckland is New Zealand’s metropolis, a buzzing urban centre set between two beautiful harbours. It offers both big-city thrills and a lovely, tranquil waterfront setting. Adventure activities, water-based fun, dining, art, nightlife, a strong Polynesian influence and much more give travellers a wealth of choices in Auckland. There’s much more to it than the bars and clubs of the downtown area.
Although there is definitely a charmless suburban sprawl circling Auckland, within half an hour on most sides of the city there are beaches, vineyards, islands and native bush.
The islands of the Hauraki Gulf make a great escape from the urban jungle. It’s a short ride to artsy, counter-cultural Waiheke Island, a laid-back world of beaches, cafés, and forest. Further into the gulf, Great Barrier Island is an unspoiled, remote island paradise that is still easily accessible by plane or ferry.
Heading north into the Kowhai Coast, there are charming small towns, still-uncrowded beaches, wine and food trails, and some great snorkelling and diving opportunities.
Most travellers arrive in Auckland by air, but very few see any of the region surrounding the city – they don’t realise what they are missing.