When I moved to Auckland a year and half ago I had no idea that there would be so much more to this city then just the busy city life. Just a day in Auckland and I realised that the perception I had couldn’t be more wrong. To start with our accommodation was right next to the Viaduct Harbour and the view just blew my head off. Who got to live near such a beautiful view? I sure was lucky. And to top it my office was right next to the harbour as well. Lucky lucky me! What I didn’t realise that this was just a little trailer of all the beautiful sights that Auckland actually had to offer.
Whether you live up North Auckland or down South Auckland there’s always some natural beauty for everyone to enjoy. Up North you get to enjoy a great view to the city center, while down South you are surrounded by beautiful grass covered hills and trees. Imagine going to office and enjoying eye soothing, fantastic views throughout your journey!
When to visit:
Auckland remains beautiful throughout the year but I would say that Summer would be the ideal time to visit. But hold on…you do know that the summer in New Zealand is November to March, right? I’d say the perfect time to enjoy a taste of Auckland is December and January. Below I have a compiled a helpful list of to-dos if you are out here (Note: the list is applicable for all seasons but where the activity is limited to a particular season / month, I have mentioned it):
What to do:
- Beaches: Anyone who has been to Auckland would say that the number 1 thing to do is go out to the beaches. This is for both summers and winters but you are bound to enjoy more if you are here in the summer. For winters, there are always some nice cafes near the beach that you can go to while you soak in the spectacular views. If you google up beaches in Auckland, its bound to show many results but personally I would recommend Piha beach (the beach is one of the most popular ones for surfing but what I enjoyed the most about it was a little hole where you could witness water gushing in – see below for a picture). Another beach that I really enjoyed was Muriwai (the beach is home to a large colony of gannets and has black volcanic sand. So if you are looking for some great pictures this one place you should really go to). Also Mission Bay is one of the busiest beaches of Auckland mainly because it is near the city center and easily accessible but I tend to avoid it because its too crowded during the summer.
- Regional Parks: A perfect spot for some summer camping and barbeque, Auckland has a number of regional parks. So if you want to get up close to nature or just enjoy a picnic with family then you sure have a lot of options to choose from. My favourite ones are Shakespeare Regional Park and the Long Bay Regional Park
- Falls: Kitekite falls, Hanua falls and Wright watergarden to name a few. Where Kitekite offers a challenging trail to reach, Wright watergarden offers a waterfall within a beautiful garden…each waterfall is beautiful in its accord and each offers a different experience.
- Volcanoes: Nothing to be scared off…these are dormant volcanoes that I am talking about. Enjoy driving up the volcanoes or feel free to spend a day walking up. The easily accessible ones and the most popular ones are Mount Eden and One Tree Hill. The 360 views that each of them offers is spectacular! The pictures below speak for itself:
- Dolphin and Whale safari: If you are in Auckland in summer then this is an experience not to be missed and highly highly recommended! You will find a lot of companies offering this. Google it up and feel free to choose the one that best suits your schedule and budget. Oh and if you are looking for a discounted deal then visit the following link as they usually have a deal for Dolphin and Whale safari on:
- Botanic Garden: Looking for a free activity but too tired of going to the beaches then head out to the Auckland Botanic Gardens. It’s a perfect place to spend the day and enjoy beautiful flowers and get real close up to the nature. The place is spectacular and a must visit spot. Be it summer or winter, the garden is open throughout the year with blossoming flowers of each season.
- Strawberry picking: If you are in Auckland and its summer then what are you waiting for…head out for a strawberry picking experience! My favourite one is Sweet Red Strawberries – Massey Gardens. Get into the field and pick the strawberries that you like…you only pay for the ones that you pick. I really found this to be a unique experience and the strawberries are always so fresh that you love them. They even have a store that sells fresh strawberry ice cream and milkshakes. But the garden is open during strawberry season i.e. mainly from boxing day up to sometime early February. A highly recommended activity!
- Zoo and Kelly Tarlton Aquarium: Do you have kids that don’t let you sit in peace and always want some fun and adventure then be sure to visit the Auckland Zoo and the Kelly Tarlton Aquarium. I’ve been to Zoo’s around the world and can guarantee that I found Auckland Zoo to be one of the best ones. Make sure to check the website before you go because they usually have specials for every day of the week…be it getting to feed the Giraffes or an encounter with the Elephant they always have some special going on. The link to check the days and timings for the encounters is:
Dont forget Travel Insurance!
The best advice when looking for travel insurance is to use a brand with a global reputation. If something bad happens you want to know that your insurer is going to be there to honour their contract and take good care of you in your times of need. Noname insurers might offer great prices, but the fineprint will confirm you are paying for a certificate without any real coverage to back it up!
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