Referring to the country of Kiwi birds – New Zealand, the name mentioned by many tourists instead of the capital Wellington is Auckland – the city in the top of the world’s most livable places. Located in the southwestern Pacific, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with the idyllic, poetic beauty of the seas and islands and along with particularly impressive geographical wonders. Traveling to Auckland is also an opportunity for you to explore 48 volcanoes sleeping quietly. So, what to do and how to plan a budget perfect trip to Auckland – the vibrant coastal city of New Zealand for the first-time? Let’s check out our Auckland travel blog (Auckland blog) with the fullest Auckland travel guide (Auckland guide, Auckland city guide, Auckland visitor guide) from how to get, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!
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- New Zealand travel blog — The fullest New Zealand travel guide for a great budget trip for first-timers
Auckland is known as the most populous and culturally diverse city of the island nation of New Zealand. Dubbed the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland has both a modern look of European architecture, while bringing the wild, classic charming features of hills, mountains, jungles and large and small beaches. Coming to Auckland, visitors can not ignore famous landmarks such as beaches with all kinds of sailing boats or strange caves created by volcanic lava on Rangitoto Island.
Auckland travel guide: Overview of Auckland
As the New Zealand’s largest city and home to more than 1.600.000 people and covering an area of 1,086 km². Auckland is considered one of the top ten livable cities with the best quality of life in the world.
Located on the North Island of New Zealand, the city is formed from ancient volcanic lava eruptions and surrounded by the Harbour of Manukau and Waitemata.
Traveling to Auckland, you can easily feel the fun and bustling atmosphere of a vibrant city in the South Pacific that can not be compared. The reason why Auckland is known as “City of sails” because the harbours here are always busy with sailing boats coming in and out.
With its geographical location located at the southeastern end of the globe, Auckland is one of the earliest cities to catch the morning light on earth. It is for this reason that Auckland is considered the city of rising sun.
Auckland travel blog: When is the best time to visit Auckland?
Inheriting the pleasant weather of temperate coastal climate, Auckland is an ideal tourist destination for all 4 seasons. Summer here is typical with warm, dry weather, the average temperature is from 18-25 degrees Celsius while winter is not too cold with temperatures ranging from 12-18 degrees Celsius and often accompanied by thunderstorms.
However, you should note that the 4 seasons in Auckland are not divided by the time normally found in other places. Auckland spring starts from September and lasts until the end of November; December to February is summer, Autumn is from March to May and June to August will be winter in Auckland.
However, the time that many tourists choose to come to Auckland is at Christmas. Not just because of the good weather but this also is the time when you can celebrate Christmas in New Zealand to experience how the Christmas atmosphere differs from that in other countries in the world. In addition, visitors coming here at this time can also participate in sports such as skiing, snowboarding!
Auckland travel guide: How to get and transportation in New Zealand?
Auckland City currently has Auckland International Airport to welcome passengers from all over the world. From Noi Bai airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you can directly fly to Auckland via airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Korean Air or Cathay Pacific Airways, Jestar Asia, Qantas… The ticket price will depend on the airline you choose with average price from $550/one-way if you depart from Ho Chi Minh City.
To getting around Auckland, there are public transport such as buses, trains, bikes that are convenient for you to travel to tourist attractions.
In addition, self-driving car rental is also an option for many visitor when self-sufficient traveling in Auckland because of its convenience. The traffic system here is very developed with many beautiful roads, traffic laws are not too strict, in addition you can actively move according to your itinerary and go further from Auckland. The car rental price in Auckland is about USD20-90/day including GPS fee and insurance.
See the very detailed article of New Zealand travel guide here to learn more about type of means of transport.
Auckland travel guide: Where to go and what to do
Let us check out the destinations in Auckland that are attracting a lot of tourists around the world!
Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana
With a vast, calm, quiet sea waters, Hauraki Gulf is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Here you can see the entire vast landscape or you also have the opportunity to participate in adventure activities such as windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking… If you like a quiet, peaceful scenery you can come here in the evenings.
Located in the east of Auckland, with many historical sites, wildlife and habitats, Waiheke Island is considered New Zealand’s national treasure, a jewel of Hauraki Gulf.
Visiting the Auckland War Memorial Museum is an opportunity for you to learn more about the history of not only of Auckland but also of New Zealand. The museum is built in the classical style, exhibiting more than 1.2 million images and 1.5 million prototypes of natural history, military, terrestrial plants and marine life in the ocean..
Address: Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
A new symbol of Auckland is Sky Tower, the 12th tallest tower in the world with a height of 328m. Standing on the observation deck of the tower, you can see the panoramic view within 90 km from the tower.
If you like the thrills and want to challenge your courage, take part in games like jumping from the top of the Sky Tower or try sky walking tour.
Address: Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Height: 328 m
Construction started: 1994
Cost: 85 million NZD
A wonderful and can not miss destination on your trip to Auckland. Not only there are many pristine beaches, but also home to rare birds such as Kiwi, Northern gannets, … and along with interesting activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing…
If you are a true fan of the movie series “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Hobbit” will surely remember the image of the fairy village appearing in this movie. To set foot in the Hobbiton studio, tourists will only take about 2 hours riding by bus. You can walk to visit this fairytale village and enjoy signature dishes at the restaurants.
Address: 501 Buckland Road, Matamata 3472, New Zealand
As the oldest park, is known as “backflow of time” when possessing quaint beauty, gurgling waterfalls and lush green lawn, flowers, plants and trees.
Address: 102 Hill Road, The Gardens, Auckland 2105, New Zealand
If you are an animal lover or accompanying children, the Auckland Zoo is a great suggestion. Auckland Zoo is currently raising more than 1.400 animals of 138 different species, you will have the opportunity to encounter large species such as lions, giraffes, zebras, … and especially Kiwi birds – a symbol of New Zealand.
Address: Motions Rd, Auckland 1022, New Zealand
Opened: December 17, 1922
No. of animals: 1,400+
Revealing to you one more place that you should not miss when having the opportunity to explore this Auckland city. Mount Eden is a vibrant and dynamic suburb in Auckland with the perfect combination of culture and majestic nature.
Rangitoto Island is located in the northeastern part of Auckland with an area of 2,311 hectares with an amazing and fascinating volcanic landscape and more than 200 species of moss, plants and trees. Tourists when coming to Rangitoto Island are overwhelmed by the idyllic, wild and attractive beauty of Rangitoto Island!
Relax at the beaches
Coming to Auckland, you absolutely can find yourself a peaceful space, full of fun and relaxation right next to the clear blue, stretching endlessly beaches. Typically Piha beach is made up of volcanic lava in the west of North Island, which is considered a familiar destination for professional surfers.
Or the beaches on the west coast like Muriwai, Bethells, Whatipu, Anawhata are equally attractive. These are all great beaches for visitors to participate in recreational activities such as sandcastle building, fishing, boating or walking along the coast.
Auckland is the birthplace of this thrilling game, created by AJ Hackett (Address: 105 Curran Street, Westhaven Reserve, Herne Bay, Auckland 1011, New Zealand / Hours: 9AM–3PM), the famous Bungy jumping game. Bungy jump spot here is not the highest spot like in Queenstown but still a thrilling game you should try, first try to jump from a moderate height probably not too scary, right?
If you’ve never climbed over the ends of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you can try your hand at an hour and a half to climb over Auckland Bridge. You will get a great view of both the harbor and the panorama of Auckland city and the surrounding areas.
Every Saturday, a Polynesia and Maori market is held outdoors. Here they will sell clothes, food and goods made domestically. This is also a great suggestion for an active weekend afternoon as well!
Address: Newbury Street, Manukau, Auckland 2023, New Zealand
Hours: Saturday: 6AM–12PM
It would be a mistake to come to Auckland without visiting Waiheke wine island located in Hauraki Gulf. Waiheke currently owns more than 30 vineyards and many large scale wineries. Besides, thanks to the suitable climate to grow world famous grapes such as Bordeaux, Sauvignon, or Chardonnay, … is the outstanding advantage of this island.
In addition, visitors can not miss the MOTAT Museum of Transport and Technology as well as SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, which is extremely interesting with real sharks swimming in front of your eyes. Moreover, parks like Albert Park, Rainbow’s End Theme Park and Monterey Park are also places you should visit during your trip.
Auckland travel blog: What and where to eat?
Like New Zealand cuisine in general, Auckland cuisine is also influenced by British cuisine. It is famous for its dairy products, desserts, berries, wine and seafood.
However, the price of food in the restaurants here is considered quite expensive, about USD 25 for a meal. For those who travel on their own way and choose to stay in homestay, a useful suggestion for you is that you can buy food at supermarkets or convenience stores to cook by yourself or ask the chef at the hostel to cook for you which will only cost about USD50/week.
In addition, fast food is also a choice for many tourists because famous fast food brands like McDonald’s or Burger King are present in Auckland.
Lamb in Auckland New Zealand is appreciated worldwide. It is also one of the top export meats thanks to its fine flavor combined with rosemary leaves and lots of the best seasonal vegetables. You will find it on the menu of the best restaurants in this country.
Fish and chips
One of the best things to enjoy while sitting on a beach in Auckland on a cool summer evening that is enjoy fish and chips in an intimate way. The fish caught are fresh fish like tarakihi and hoki are prepared and deep fried. Fish and chips are pretty much everywhere and often serve with a cup of beer.
This is a specialty of Auckland in particular and New Zealand in general. Whitebait is often battered, add a little seasoning to make it richer. Then deep-fried and served with spicy sauce or chili sauce. When enjoy you should use it with a glass of wine to make the dish more attractive.
White Chocolate Mud Cake
In Auckland, White Chocolate Mud Cake is known as a top dessert dish in luxury restaurants. With its delicious and tasty. It not only receive the love of women and children but even men are conquered.
Some good restaurants you should check out: Covo, which serves Italian food, and Mezze Bar offers great Middle Eastern cuisine. At the beginning of Queen Street, there are also very delicious Japanese and Korean restaurants, you can go to any restaurant. If you are also a sushi fan like me, do not miss the Kura Sake Bar located near the town hall.
Auckland travel guide: Where to stay?
Traveling to Auckland, there are many types of accommodation for you to choose from such as hotels, hostels, farmstay, homestay … To have as many opportunities to experience and save money as possible, you should rent a hostel, homestay or farmstay to stay while in Auckland.
Room rental rates in hostels ranging from USD20 – USD80/night depending on the room category. Farmstay or homestay has a very cheap price, only about USD10/person/night. In addition, there are also cheap hotels in Auckland, about under USD100/night. However, you should book a room in advance via booking platforms Agoda.com, Booking.com to avoid running out of rooms, especially during the peak tourist season.
In addition, when booking in Auckland, you should pay attention to the hotel location located on the city center streets such as Symonds Street, Quay Street, Beaumont Street, Hobson Street, Corner of Vincent Street … for convenience of travelling and in use public transport in the city.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $181/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- The Grand by SkyCity, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $191/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hilton Auckland, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $164/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- CityLife Auckland, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $159/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Auckland travel guide: What to pack when travel to Auckland?
As mentioned above, Auckland weather is quite pleasant and warm, so you do not need to bring too many winter clothes for your trip. Depending on the season you choose to travel to Auckland, you choose for yourself the right outfit. Also, don’t forget to bring yourself a pair of sneakers as you may need to walk a lot.
You should also bring some common medicine and dry food in case the food in Auckland is not suitable for your taste. However, absolutely do not bring fruit because New Zealand does not allow passengers entering their country to bring this.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Auckland you can refer to
- Taste of Waiheke Day Tour from Auckland
- Hobbiton Express Small Group Tour with Lunch from Auckland
- Karekare Waterfalls and Piha Beach Day Tour from Auckland
- Auckland Zoo Ticket
- Auckland Explorer Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Pass 24 or 48 Hour with Devonport ferry
- SkyTower Auckland Tickets
- Auckland War Memorial Museum Ticket
- SkyBus Auckland Airport (AKL) Express Transfer Ticket
- SheepWorld Admission Ticket
- Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers for Auckland
- Shared and Private Auckland Airport (AKL) Transfers to/from Auckland CBD
- Soaring Kiwi Hop On Hop Off Bus Pass in Auckland (24 or 48 Hours)
Are you looking for more top things to do in New Zealand: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And Auckland itinerary 7 days — How to spend 7 days in Auckland perfectly for the first-timers?