Auckland Harbour Bridge
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Auckland Harbour Bridge

© / Craig Jakich

Auckland travel guide

As the largest and most multicultural city in New Zealand, Auckland is far more than just a gateway to the country’s blockbuster natural scenery.

Indeed, it’s an attractive place in itself, formed by volcanoes and flanked by natural harbours. Its population is as notable for its size as its diversity, with one-third of all Kiwis calling it home. It’s a genuine cultural melting pot, and the nation’s most vibrant city.

Thanks to their location on a narrow isthmus, many of Auckland’s districts weave around bays and harbours and most residents live within 5km (2 miles) of the sea. As a result, the city and its surrounds are blessed with over 1,600km (994 miles) of coastline.

If you fancy a dip, head to the beaches at Mission Bay, Takapuna or Devonport; for surfing, try the outlying settlements of Piha and Muriwai. Auckland is also obsessed with sailing, with more boats per capita than any other city in the world.

Significant Polynesian, Asian and Maori communities help create an eclectic feel, seen in everything from the Pacific Rim cuisine (the fish and seafood here is excellent) to the range of diverse neighbourhoods. Alongside the regenerated waterfront area and ever-expanding Downtown zone, you’ll also find hip districts still characterised by Edwardian and Victorian architecture.

One of Auckland's key attractions is New Zealand’s tallest building, the Sky Tower, where visitors can drink in the views from a height of 328m (1,076ft). There's also Auckland Museum, renowned for its Maori and Pacific collections which tell the story of New Zealand and its people.

While Auckland’s Harbour Bridge might lack the global resonance of its Sydney counterpart, it does – in true Kiwi style – allow you to bungy jump from it.

And when you want to escape the urban jungle, head out to the unspoilt Waitakere Ranges, a chain of hills lying 25 km (14 miles) from the city to the west, where you’ll discover traditional Maori carvings, black-sand beaches and ancient kauri trees.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.