This is the heart of Auckland, with a relaxed coastal living vibe by day and a night-time energy shared by the inner-city suburbs that surrounds it.
Central Auckland is a hub of urban delights set against beautiful coastal scenery. It’s not hard to see why this is regarded as one of the most livable cities in the world.
Discover world-class shopping, dining and entertainment in the city centre. Splurge on designer fashion, indulge in Pacific-Rim cuisine overlooking the harbour and discover buzzing waterfront precincts.
The sea is right on the city’s doorstep with countless water activities and island adventures at your fingertips. Lonely Planet rated the Hauraki Gulf and islands as one of the best experiences in New Zealand, so make sure you get out on the water.
Find culture in every corner and exciting events including musicals, festivals, concerts and international sports. Central fringe suburbs offer a variety of dining and entertainment – great shopping and coffee by day, dinner, drinks or dancing by night.
There are a couple of experiences you won’t want to miss in central Auckland. Take a trip up the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, where you can experience spectacular 360-degree views of the city from the observation deck. The adventurous can also try SkyJump – New Zealand’s highest base jump – or the incredible SkyWalk, where you’ll walk around the outside of the Sky Tower on a platform high above the city for some extreme sightseeing .
If you've a picnic in mind you can climb Mt Eden, the city's highest volcanic cone with panoramic views from the summit. Auckland is known as the City of Sails – so whether you go on a harbour cruise, a dolphin safari or an America’s Cup Yacht, you need to get out on the water. To unwind, catch a ferry over to Waiheke Island and enjoy the many vineyards, olive groves and beautiful sandy beaches. Auckland City is also spoilt for choice when it comes to coastline – catch a bus to Mission Bay or a ferry to Devonport and you’ll be licking ice-cream by the seaside in no time.
Auckland’s vibrant art scene has a lot to offer visitors. Start with the Auckland Art Gallery, and follow it up with a few of the city's many small galleries. Auckland Museum hosts exquisite displays of Māori and Pacific artefacts, as well as live Māori cultural performances. In the evening, catch a show or concert at the Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre or Town Hall, or head to The Classic Comedy Club for something light-hearted.
Queen Street is the inner city's main street, with everything from clothing to electronics, books and souvenirs. Nearby Britomart is full of designer fashion as well as international brands, all set within graceful heritage buildings. From here you can walk to High Street and Chancery, home to designer labels and cutting-edge local boutiques. Ponsonby, known as one of Auckland’s trendiest suburbs, is packed with funky fashion stores including local and international fashion designers, boutiques, quirky gift shops and designer homewares.
Newmarket (just a 7 minute train or 10 minute taxi from the CBD) is a shopper’s paradise with the glitz and glamour of top designer stores overflowing with international and local labels, as well as high street stores and great eateries. Look out for Kiwi designers Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Annah Stretton. And if you’re around on a Saturday, be sure to check out the French Market in the charming inner-city suburb of Parnell.
Downtown Auckland has an impressive array of cafes, restaurants and bars. Enjoy fine dining on the waterfront, relaxed eats around Queen Street, celebrity chefs’ creations on Federal Street, and ethnic cuisine on Elliot Street. The City Works Depot is a foodie hotspot - head here for delicious lunches with a Kiwi twist and New Zealand craft beers. For nightlife head to the Viaduct Harbour, Britomart or Wynyard Quarter; all are within walking distance of Queen Street. Karangahape Road (‘K Road’ to the locals) is known for its alternative bars, while trendy Ponsonby (about 10 minutes’ drive from downtown) is good for live music.