Most of you arrive in Auckland first when coming to New Zealand and although some people say you either love it or hate it there is still a lot to see before making your judgement. It is the biggest city in New Zealand with approximately 1.4 million inhabitants living on about 480 stretched out square kilometers.
Almost a third of the country’s population lives in Auckland, so I figure it can’t be that bad.
Where should I go... ?
We get this question a lot from backpackers that just arrived here at Nomads Auckland and have a few hours to spare: "Where should I go or what can I do today in Auckland?"
Well for a start the world famous Auckland Sky Tower is a nice option to get a great overview of the city and the Hauraki Gulf. But you could also save this for the end and then see how many sights you recognize from above.
Another great lookout spot is Mount Eden south from the city center. The Viaduct down at the waterfront is full of nice bars and restaurants, but they might not be made for a backpackers budget. But the benches outside are free and you can just enjoy the view and atmosphere from there if you want to hold on to your money.
Another cool place down there to check out is the Voyager Maritime Museum to learn about the relationship between New Zealand and the sea that surrounds it.
Or if it is a beautiful day and you just want to go for a stroll, you have plenty of space for that in the Auckland Domain, the oldest and largest park in the city with 75 hectares.
And if you are already there you can have a look at the Auckland Museum which holds a large collection about New Zealand’s history including the Maori culture.
But if you are a city person then you are probably happy with wandering around and doing some shopping on Queen Street, Ponsonby Road, K’Road or Newmarket.
… for some action?
If you like action and are very adventurous there are quite a lot of things you can do in Auckland, but most of them aren’t for free. Unfortunately. But if you are really up for it, they are definitely worth it. Starting at the harbour: There is the Jet Boat, the Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb or Bungy. You can go sailing or on a Dolphin safari or if you want to be your own captain try Kayaking.
If going up the Sky Tower and just looking out of windows is too boring for you then you might enjoy the Sky Walk or Sky Jump (192 m / 630 ft). In case you are thinking: ”Pff! 630ft!That is not high enough! I want more!” then we challenge you to do the 16500 ft skydive at Skydive Auckland and enjoy the nice view while gliding down back to earth.
… for a break?
Probably a lot of people are not that enthusiastic about cities but are more into New Zealand’s beautiful countryside which is indeed understandable. I mean it is just breathtakingly stunning, so no offence taken. But there are still a lot of places that have a different spirit to it than downtown Auckland but are still a part of Auckland. The easiest way to get to some of these nice and beautiful spots is by taking the ferry. For example take a ferry over to Devonport which is a nice little town on the North Shore with an amazing view of Auckland’s skyline.
But if you want to lose sight of the city you should go to Waiheke or Rangitoto Island. If you’re into hiking and stunning views then Rangitoto Island is your first choice. It is the youngest volcano, about 600 years, but no worries it is not very likely that it’ll be active again.
Waiheke Island in comparison is a nice Island with lots of beaches, vineyards and huge houses all with ocean views you wish you could afford. It is the closest little paradise to Auckland and if you need a break from the crazy city this is definitely the place to go.
… for a good nights sleep and a bit of help if needed?
Nomads has a hostel in Auckland on Fort Street which is like a five minutes walk from the waterfront.Nomads Auckland has a lovely rooftop kitchen and a spa where you can enjoy the sun while cooking.
The hostel provides travel advice at the travel desk or in the Mad travel shop and can provide you with lots of information where to go and what to do throughout New Zealand. And then there is of course our jobs desk where you can come to get further advice on getting a job. Placed in the Mad travel shop just next door from Nomads Auckland it is the perfect place to come to, to plan your travels and have a look at the job options for where you’re going next.
… to get your bank account and IRD number sorted?
To find a bank branch in Auckland is easy as pie. Almost every bank is represented on Queen Street which is just around the corner from the hostel. You can either visit all of them to get some information or have a browse through the internet and compare prices. To apply for an IRD number just visit the post office around the corner from the hostel on Commerce and Customs Street. For that make sure to bring your picture ID.
… to get snacks, dinner and breakfast?
Around both of the hostels in Auckland are a lot of different Food shops. You can get Mexican, Sandwiches, Sushi, Thai, Pizza, Kebabs and of course good old McDonalds just around the corner. If you like more choice there is a food court just on the second floor of the Westfield Downtown Shopping Center which is like a 5 minute walk from your accommodation or there are lots of tempting sensations up on Queen Street. If you are a good cook yourself or are just looking for supplies, then your main address is the Countdown supermarket on Quay Street, again just a short walk from Fort Street. But if you are looking for anything in particular or need some recommendations just ask our lovely reception staff.
Even if the beautiful nature and peacefulness brought you to New Zealand in the first place, you should still take some time for our biggest city. It is also a part of Aotearoa and definitely worth a visit. And maybe, just maybe, you will find a favorite spot here as well.