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Auckland – New Zealand’s largest city with a population of over 1.3 million people – is home to one third of New Zealanders. The city’s mix of urban sophistication and coastal setting has inspired a lifestyle that regularly ranks in the world’s top 10.


View Auckland region maps   

Maps and local travel information for Auckland.

City of Sails

Perched on a narrow isthmus between Waitemata and Manukau harbours, Auckland - the 'City of Sails' - offers diverse easily accessible activities and adventures.

Within half-an-hour of downtown Auckland, visitors can relax on an island in the Hauraki Gulf, trek through native rainforest, sample wines at a local vineyard or walk along a wild, black sand surf beach.

Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world, and has New Zealand’s most multicultural population.


Auckland - City of Sails
Auckland - City of Sails


Auckland's Māori name is Tamaki-Makau-Rau or ‘the maiden with a hundred suitors’ - so-named because the region was coveted by many tribes. More than 18 Māori tribes have had claims on Auckland at some time.

The Ngati Whatua iwi (tribe) who made Auckland their home in the mid-17th century, also referred to it as Te Herenga Waka or 'the place where many canoes are tethered'.

Captain James Cook missed the Waitemata harbour when first charting the New Zealand coastline in 1769. It was British missionary Samuel Marsden, in 1820, who became the first known European to explore the Hauraki Gulf. Missionaries and other European settlers followed soon after.

After New Zealand became part of the British Empire in 1839, Auckland was chosen as capital of the new British colony and was New Zealand’s capital for 25 years.

NZ Regions: Auckland
Auckland - ancient volcanic slopes

Māori Culture

Varied Māori cultural tours offer a first-hand experience of Māori culture. Tamaki Hikoi has an Auckland walking tour guided by local Ngati Whatua people who share their knowledge of the land, Māori history, iconic Auckland landmarks and places of historical significance.

Auckland War Memorial Museum houses the largest and most valuable collection of Māori taonga (treasures) in New Zealand. The museum’s Māori culture performances - among New Zealand's leading cultural experiences - are the face of the Ngati Whatua o Orakei, the home tribe of Auckland.

Navigate Tours offer intimate experiences on Auckland’s west coast, often involving traditional food and hospitality. Potiki Adventures specialise in urban, contemporary tours demonstrating how Māori culture is relevant in today’s world.

NZ Regions: Auckland
Auckland - boats at sunset

Food and Wine

Auckland has more than 80 vineyards producing chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon wines. Vineyards are focused in five main areas - Waiheke Island, west Auckland, northwest Auckland, north Auckland (around Matakana) and the Clevedon Valley.

Waiheke Island is known for quality Bordeaux-style red wines. Stonyridge winery produces ‘Larose’ - one of the world’s top 20 cabernet blends and New Zealand’s most expensive wine. There are wine-tasting tours on the island, and many vineyards have restaurants.

North of Auckland city, Matakana is known for fine wine, fresh produce and a weekly farmers' market - one of the region’s many - where visitors mingle with locals to try fresh, homegrown and artisan products.

Auckland’s restaurants and cafes reflect the close access to quality sea and land produce, and multicultural influences. Many restaurants offer ‘Pacific rim’ cuisine, fusing Pacific and Asian flavours.

Auckland – Villa Maria vineyard
Auckland – Villa Maria vineyard

Adventure / Outdoors

From canyoning and abseiling, to jumping off bridges or the Sky Tower, Auckland has many adventure activities.

Auckland’s rugged west coast is the perfect place to try canyoning. Deep in the heart of the Waitakere rainforest, visitors can abseil down waterfalls, jump off cliffs into deep pools and slide down smooth natural hydro slides.

Auckland is home to the Sky Tower which at 328m is the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere. The Sky Tower's three observation levels offer 360-degree views of Auckland, and the chance to ‘skywalk’ around the outside or ‘skyjump’ 192m in the air.

The iconic harbour bridge, opened in 1959, provides other adventures. Visitors can climb over, under and jump from the spectacular bridge that dominates Auckland’s inner harbour.

The world-first harbour bridge bungy jump - operated by bungy originals AJ Hackett Bungy - is a safe, fun and interactive way to experience Auckland from another perspective.

Auckland - beach life
Auckland - beach life


  • Manukau city in South Auckland has the world’s largest Polynesian population, celebrated annually at the month-long Pasifika Festival.
  • Auckland is the only city in the world that is built on an active volcano field.
  • Auckland, also known as the ‘City of Sails’, has more boats per head of population than any other city in the world.
  • Auckland is one of the few places outside the tropics where rainforests exist. The Waitakere ranges, with more than 16,000 hectares of native temperate rainforest, have 250km of walking and tramping tracks.