Travel to Auckland To Escape the Winter Chill
Brrr! If you’re reading this from somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, you already know one thing — it’s cold! We’re still in for a bit more winter before Spring actually comes around.
Auckland is a great travel destination in the wintertime, because you will have warm weather while everyone else is fighting snow. What fun!
Auckland is actually the largest metro area in New Zealand. You have plenty of different things to see and do. We’re going to cover just Auckland City itself — there’s a vibrant population here, and this is where most of the activities are going to be contained.
Auckland is well known for being a place where great ships dock. It’s known as the City of Sails because of the large number of yachts that grace the Harbour (Waitemata) and also the Hauraki Gulf. There are also 48 volcanoes but don’t get scared — the volcanic field is technically active, but the 48 volcanoes are now extinct.
Getting in is pretty easy — you want to go through Auckland International Airport. It’s New Zealand’s largest airport, and it has frequent service to Australia. There are direct connections to the South Pacific, the US, Asia, and even to Buenos Aires and Santiago.
Getting around Auckland must be frustrating for travelers that are used to public transportation in their home country. The truth is that you are going to need to use other methods to get around Auckland. It’s mostly a car city. If you have a license in your home country, you should be able to drive without a problem. An International Driving License tends to help matters as well. You need to be aware that New Zealanders do indeed drive on the left.
If you are going to go with public transport, you would have to go with bus service. This is the most used method of public transportation in Auckland. The buses are nice, and they run about every 5 to 15 minutes.
Buses, however, aren’t always reliable. You’ll find that car hire and taxis will get the job done more efficiently.
Auckland is a very congested area, and this means that you’re going to be dealing with a lot of traffic. Drive carefully — there are red-light cameras around to see if you are following the rules of traffic.
There are some global car rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thirfty, and Europcar. They are all there to offer you private car hire service, if that’s what you would like.
Things to see in Auckland
Plenty! You can see tons of museums, including the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This one isn’t completely limited to a war memorial at all — it also showcases Maori arts and crafts. I’ts located in the Auckland Domain, which is a large park on an extinct volcano. Wow!
There’s also the New Zealand National Maritime Museum — tons of exhibits on New Zealand’s maritime history.
You can also check out the Sky Tower — the tallest free-standing tower in the Southern Hemisphere.
There’s the Auckland Art Gallery, which has the largest collection of national and international art in the country.
Traveling with kids? You’ll love the Auckland Zoo. There’s nearly 120 animal species, well over 750 animals, and plenty of different habitats. It’s a little expensive, but well worth it.
There’s also the StarDome observatory, Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium, the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens, the Museum of Transport and Technology, and the Otara Flea Market. The Otara Flea market is a great way to get some really cool clothes, check out household items, and even sample local food.
What about things to actually do? If you’re not just the sightseeing type, you’ll want to be able to go out and do some things. You can visit the Waitakere Ranges, which are filled with amazing waterfalls and gorgeous beaches. This is about 45 minutes away from the center of Auckland.
You can drive or walk up one of Auckland’s many volcanic cones…if you dare! You can see the entire city around you, which is pretty cool.
You can climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which is always a challenge.
You can even do the Sky Jump (a base jump from the Sky Tower), or the Sky Walk — a 1.2m walkway with no hand rails!
If you’re not trying to walk completely on the wild side, you’ll find that the Rainbow’s End theme park is more your speed. This is also a great place to take the kids.
You can rent skates to skate down Tamaki Drive. There’s also sea kayaks and ferries to check out.
Auckland is a shopper’s dream — there’s plenty of great deals, but there’s also some luxuries woven in as well. You’ll find most of this around the central region of the city.
As far as eating goes, you have tons and tons and tons of choices. One restaurant that gets attention immediately is One Tree Grill Restaurant. This is all about contemporary New Zealand cuisine and there’s also a great wine list.
There’s Italian food, Japanese food, Chinese food, takeaways, Polynesian food, Vietnamese food, Thai food, Korean, Indian, and even Mexican and Jewish food. There are also options for people that are looking for vegetarian options.
New Zealand has plenty of places to think as well — you will not lack for options!
One thing that attracts many to New Zealand is its overall gay friendly atmosphere. Most New Zealanders aren’t even concerned about it.
Just as there’s plenty of places to eat, there’s plenty of place sto sleep. it just depends on your budget and what you’re looking for. If you’re going to settle into the city for a while, you should look into a serviced apartment. They will give you all of the comforts of home for a price that’s far less than the hotels.
Staying safe in Auckland is easy. Follow common sense rules ad you should be fine. Make sure to lock your car, as theft from cars is very common.
Do not try to bribe the Auckland police. While some countries (Indonesia, we’re looking at you) thrive on corruption in this manner, Auckland police are not amused. Stick to the facts and let the police officers take over from there.
Do be careful on the weekends if you’re going to be on the road, as there are a lot of wannabe racers out and about. Drunk driving is also unfortunately common. Being aware can help you come home alive.
Internet access is pretty common — just check out all of the Internet cafes around the area. If you’re ready to head out of Auckland, you can check out Waiheke Island, which is only 35 minutes by ferry. There’s also other New Zealand cities such as Rotorua, Hamilton, Waitomo Caves, and Taupo. Get out and check out New Zealand while you’re in the country for a while!