The area now known as Auckland had Maori inhabitants when the British began a colony in 1840. Most of the original settlers lived in wood houses and the society consisted of mechanics, farmers, shop owners, servants, and a few aristocrats.
By 1846, the New Zealand Constitution Act was devised by the British Parliament to maintain control over the area. In 1852, New Zealand crafted their Constitution, and two years later the Auckland City Council was established. Major infrastructural changes took place during the 1860s, as gas streetlights and a water supply were created. By this time, the national capital had been shifted to Wellington.
Railways and then automobiles characterized the 20th century in Auckland. During the Second World War, Auckland fortified to prepare for a theoretical Japanese invasion, which never occurred.
Post-war Auckland experienced a metropolitan growth stemming from better road construction, housing management, and the establishment of the Harbour Bridge that crossed the Waitemata Harbour and allowed for more development.
A relatively stable city, Auckland experienced its first major setback in 1998 when a power crisis took over five weeks to correct in the Central Business District.
By the beginning of the 21st century, Auckland’s population within the metropolitan area had grown to 1,138,300. Despite its large and ever-growing population, Auckland maintains a rather suburban, relaxed feel.
Only seven civic theatres exist in the world and one of them is in Auckland. The theatre opened in 1929, and 90 years later it remains a top tourist destination for its dome ceiling of stars, and its appearance in several films like the King Kong remake. The best part is that regular local and international acts still perform in the historic landmark.
New Zealand’s first museum was originally designed as a war memorial, established in a modest two-room farm cottage in 1852. The museum has since moved to a more grandiose location, and it is the best place to visit and understand New Zealand history. The museum has ancient Maori artefacts, history on the natural area, daily Maori performances, and a wide scope of changing local and international exhibitions. The museum is open daily at 10 a.m.
This three-hour walking tour shows visitors some of Auckland’s natural beauty as well as old Maori cultural sites. The first stop is the Maungawhau or Mount Eden. Now a dormant volcano, Maungawhau was a fortified village hundreds of years ago. Guides are from the local native village and give in depth historical accounts of New Zealand’s unique cultural heritage. The tour passes through Auckland, stops in the city centre, and then heads out to the sea and Auckland’s beautiful Waitemata Harbour.
This narrow-gauge railway takes visitors into the heavily forested centre of Waitakere Ranges. The train passes through tunnels lit at night by millions of glow-worms, and continues up to the Upper Nihotapu Dam where the city feels thousands of miles away. The dam has incredible views of the beautiful Lake Nihotapu. The train ride has historical significance as the driver narrates about the Rain Forest Express from its use in constructing the dams until today.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Auckland is a destination at the bottom of the world for the thrill seekers and adventurous, and one such activity that provides exhilarating excitement is the Sky Jump.The Sky Tower is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, and many visitors take advantage of this by jumping from it. Jumpers fall at a rate of 85 km/hour with a falling time of 11 seconds. Jumpers fall straight down to the landing platform.
This spectacular black sand beach was relatively unknown until the film The Piano garnered international attention. Located on Auckland’s west coast, Karekare is less than an hour from the city. Part of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, the beach is good for surfing, walking, and enjoy the fresh smells of the coast. Also, Karekare waterfall is just a short walk from the main beach area.
Located alongside the coast, a local route takes visitors to historical townships, bohemian villages, local art galleries, and wine country all in one day. The bohemian Puhoi village has historical architecture. Warkworth has excellent riverside cafes and transportation to Kawau Island. Omaha has incredible recreational reserves and isolated bays and Matakana has numerous wineries and local artesian crafts.
Goat Island is known for its abundant marine-life. For those wishing to become immersed in the outdoors, this is the place to go. Curious visitors can see New Zealand’s marine life up close. Visitors can rent equipment including kayaks and underwater scooters, and courses in diving are offered by professional dive instructors. Charter tours also allow visitors to explore distinct gulf islands.
Less than an hour outside of Auckland, this is a natural wonderland of streams, waterfalls, and viewpoints. This park has the largest forest in the area and is home to many native animal species. Walk Hunua Rangers Park is perfect for hiking and mountain biking.
For a modern, top-of-the-line lodging, visitors need look no further than the Chifley Suites hotel. Just walking distance from the Queen Street, this hotel has a sophisticated feel that allows for a quiet environment in the middle of the big city. It is close to the Auckland transportation centre, which makes travel to other destinations easy. Room amenities include flat screen TVs, and modern furnishings and appliances.
Auckland offers a fresh environment, and no hotel has a fresher perspective on the city than the Rydges Harbourview hotel. The hotel is located in the near the city centre, and is just small walk away from Viaduct Harbour which is Auckland’s best spot for nightlife and dining. This hotel has a total of 267 rooms, each containing an LCD TV, and Wi-Fi.
Visitors looking for more comfortable spaces with luxury details will find it in the Auckland City Oaks hotel. Looking out towards the Auckland city skyscrapers and the beautiful harbour below, this hotel is well positioned for business and tourist travellers. The best part about Auckland City Oaks is that is has an apartment style lodging with full kitchens.
For guests just passing through for a short stay, the Ventura Inn & Suites hotel has the perfect comfort and convenience. Just minutes away from the Auckland Airport, this hotel has fancy furnishings and great service which goes with their pretty guestrooms. The hotel also has a restaurant and swimming pool.
Travelling and transportation in Auckland is quite manageable, even for tourists who are unfamiliar with the systems. Automobiles make up a big part of New Zealand’s transportation, so for this reason there are several plans for parking. But buses, trains, bicycles, and ferries are also commonly used transport options.
For those without an auto, the Auckland Airport has reliable public transportation to and from the city centre. Buses, shuttles, and taxi services are all common ways of arriving to the visitor’s destinations, but car hire in Auckland is another option.
The Airbus Express takes guests from the airport to the downtown waterfront in less than 15 minutes.
Auckland is trying to minimize car usage so the bus system has been upgraded in recent years.
The Maxx public bus system costs around NZ$1.70 per ride around the centre of the city, and becomes more expensive the further one needs to travel.
Auckland’s Maxx public transportation is also in charge of the train system. The city has five distinct rails, which extend North, South, East and West of the city.
Tickets can be purchased at the stations and cost NZ$1.50 per ride within the city centre. The price increases around NZ$1 the further away visitors travel.
Bicycle use is increasing in Auckland as the city maps have grown, with bike routes in all directions. The city has installed bike lockers so rider can protect their bike and gear in the city.
For a taste of some of the best culinary flavours that New Zealand has to offer, visitors should head over to The Bay Restaurant & Bar (3 Hebron Road, Waiake) on the North Shore of Auckland. This is a local favourite because the food is of high quality and is very down to earth, much like the Auckland vibe in general. The menu includes typical seafood platters like bacon-wrapped scallops and tempura mussels along with salmon and shrimp. A vegetarian menu is also available and smaller plates are great for the little ones.
For fine dining, visitors should go to Saison (417 Maukau Road, Epsom). This fancy restaurant offers modern European flavours, an extensive selection of wine, and a delicious menu. Visitors should try the gourmet degustation menu, which has smoked salmon, pork belly, or chicken terrine for main dishes. The date crème brûlée makes mouths water.
Visitors looking for a good wine and steak can visit the Wild West at Stampede Bar & Grill (238 Great South Road, Papakura). The menu has many typical barbeque tastes such as hamburgers and corn fritters to go along with grilled oysters, steamed mussels, and other proper New Zealand tastes. Add a local Trinity Hill Syrah or Oyster Bay Merlot, and your meal is complete.
For vegetarians, most restaurants have distinct menus. Additionally, Asian spots like Grand Harbour (18-28 Custom Street West) offer a great variety of vegetarian plates. This Hong Kong style place is a modern take on traditional Chinese food. Vegetarians should try the Chef’s special baby abalone or blue cod.
There are no required vaccinations to go to Auckland, but updates of standard boosters are recommended. Auckland’s tap water is potable.
In the case of an emergency, dial 111 and services can be provided 24 hours per day.
Good public health clinics include Elizabeth Memorial Hospital (04) 389 6485, Mary Potter Hospice (04) 389 5017, and Wakefield Hospital (04) 381 8100.
Hospital infrastructure and services are excellent, yet prices can be very expensive.
Crime has been on the rise especially in the areas of car thefts and assault. Tourists should be aware and take all valuables out of the car when parked.
If going to tourist places like the beach, tourists should not take anything too valuable and it is a good idea to make photocopies of the travel documents.
Keep a phone in the case on an emergency with all of the necessary phone numbers. In the case of an assault remain calm and don’t resist.
Drivers in New Zealand should be aware that driving is done on the left hand side.
Bathing in beaches outside of the precaution area is prohibited, and swimmers should bath at their own risk when swimming in areas with strong sea currents.
The country itself has the possibility of frequent earthquakes.
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