City Guide: Auckland
Auckland is situated on the North Island of New Zealand and is its largest urban area in the country containing about 32 percent of the entire population. While that might sound like a lot, the city seemed rather small to us. Although its skyline is rather unimpressive, it has a nice small harbour, several frequent ferry routes to nearby islands as well as a few historic buildings.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for a day trip over to one of the islands (Waiheke Island being one of the more famous ones), but we spent a few hours strolling around Devonport just opposite of Auckland and enjoyed a nice sunset from there.
Definitely worth mentioning is also the University building with its beautiful, small park and Mount Eden, which is just a short drive or bus ride away from the city centre.
The harbour of Auckland
As we stayed at the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct and arrived quite late in the afternoon after our flight from Sydney and a rather long Uber ride to the hotel, we decided to just briefly explore the harbour in the evening.
Being known as the ‘City of Sails’, we saw quite a few nice sailing boats in the harbour. Moreover, there is a cosy bar/restaurant area just by the harbour, where lots of locals sat in the evening and where we decided to have dinner. Although it was still quite chilly, you could sit outside and enjoy the view of the harbour as the restaurant had several radiant heaters on its terrace.
You can also enjoy a few pictures of the harbour in daylight as this is where we started our sightseeing the next day.
Town Hall in Auckland
The historic Town Hall, which is located directly next to Aotea Square in the city centre of Auckland seemed rather unspectacular, so we didn’t spend much time exploring it.
University of Auckland and Auckland Domain
The University is unsurprisingly the largest in the country as well as the highest-ranked university in New Zealand and was first established in 1883.
It consists of different campuses, with its historical part being located next to the Auckland Domain, a lush green garden surrounding the Auckland War Memorial Museum. As we were very lucky with the weather, we enjoyed a nice stroll through the garden with its beautiful flowers.
Devonport and Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park
After moving to the Pullman Auckland we decided to take one of the ferries to Devonport, which is basically just situated opposite of Auckland. The ferry takes just about 10 minutes to reach Devonport, which is much faster than taking the route via Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Devonport itself is a very nice suburban area with beautiful houses, a very small beach and the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park right at the coast. The walk up there is relatively easy to manage and the views from up there are definitely worth the short hike.
If the weather is very clear you can even see some of the islands and you definitely have a stunning view over the skyline of Auckland. While that by itself is not very spectacular, the lighting and the peacefulness around us made the view very enjoyable.
On the next day we picked up our car to start our journey towards Lake Taupo. But before leaving Auckland for good, we made a quick detour to Mount Eden.
While it is often recommended to enjoy the sunrise from up there, we didn’t want to get up so early that day knowing that we had a full day of driving and sightseeing ahead of us. Regardless of the daytime Mount Eden is definitely worth a visit. From the top you have a 360 degree overview of the city and you can also see a crater, one of the results of New Zealand’s volcanic topography.
General Impressions of Auckland
We really enjoyed our time in Auckland at the beginning of our trip through New Zealand. While we did expect it to be somewhat bigger, the city was very lovely and tranquil. Definitely a great start to our journey!