Auckland – Tāmaki Makaurau
Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city and its most ethnically diverse. Nearly two million people live in Auckland, creating a vibrant multi-cultural centre ringed by beaches, bush and sparkling harbours.
Auckland’s bustling city centre (CBD) sits on the edge of the Waitematā Harbour, where the wineries of Waiheke Island are just a ferry ride away and Rangitoto Island's iconic volcanic cone rises from the waters.
The Sky Tower pierces the city skyline and offers spectacular 360-degree views.
Explore the inner city and its buzzing waterfront for shopping, restaurants and bars, and theatre shows. Stroll the golden beaches that line Tamaki Drive just minutes from downtown, or head northwest to the wineries, bush and black sand surf beaches of the west coast.
As New Zealand’s main international gateway, Auckland also plays host to a wide range of major sporting, musical and cultural events throughout the year.
Hamilton – Kirikiriroa
The city of Hamilton sits on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river. It’s in the heart of the rolling green countryside of the Waikato farming region. The central city is compact and easy to walk for exploring shops and cafés.
There’s something for everyone in Hamilton, with the beautiful Hamilton Gardens to explore, local history, Māori art and artefacts to discover at Hamilton Museum, and plenty of family fun at Hamilton Zoo, which is home to New Zealand’s largest free flight aviary.
Hamilton is also a great base for day trips, with the wonders of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set(opens in new window) and awe-inspiring glow worm caves and adventure activities of Waitomo, less than one hour away. The black sands and chilled vibes of surf town Raglan are close by too.
The annual Balloons over Waikato Festival(opens in new window) and National Agricultural Fieldays(opens in new window) (held in winter) in Hamilton draw huge crowds each year.
Wellington – Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and you’ll find some of our most important cultural and historical attractions in amongst the cool urban style of this city on the water’s edge.
As the home of government, Wellington is home to the distinctive Beehive and New Zealand’s Parliament buildings. New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa Tongarewa is here too, as is the National Library of New Zealand, where Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treat of Waitangi) is on display.
Wellington is known as New Zealand’s coffee and craft beer capital and is a foodie’s delight with a vibrant restaurant, bar and cocktail scene.
It’s easy to explore the central city on foot, from the stylish fashion and homeware shops around Lambton Quay to the quirky stores and cafés of Cuba Street, Hannah’s Laneway and surrounds. Ride the Wellington Cable Car for fantastic views of the city and harbour.
The magical world of Weta Workshop is where you’ll see how the special effects for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies were created. For real local wildlife, visit beautiful eco-sanctuary Zealandia or Kapiti Island nature reserve.