REVIEW: Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland City Skyline

Attraction Review, Auckland Overview (Auckland, New Zealand)
36°50’26’S; 174°44’24’E


Auckland is one of those places where anything is possible from relaxing over a glass of wine, to having a huge adrenaline rush while skydiving. Anything is possible!
Auckland is the north island of New Zealand. It is the largest urban area within the country and in 2016, Auckland was named in the top three most livable cities, according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.

During the last century, Auckland has grown immensely, with motorways replacing trams an trains. With the implementation of these multi-landed motorways the growth of the city has exploded. It’s not just New Zealand residents contributing to the growth. The tourism industry has also grown with Auckland Airport handling over one million passengers each month.

Auckland has an average temperature of just 19°C based on the monthly averages, over 12 months.  The hottest temperature Auckland has recorded was 34°C in 2009. – What perfect weather!

Hire Car

On my last visit to Auckland, I hired a car from Europcar Car Rentals. I picked the car up from the airport as it was across the road from the hotel. Driving in Auckland is simple, especially if you are from Australia. If you decide to hire a car, I thoroughly recommend making a few notes of the attractions that you would like to visit and set them as waypoints in your GPS. Not all cars have a GPS built-in so make sure you ask the car rental company if one can be included with your car, usually its as simple as adding the option to your booking.

Beaches

Auckland has a huge coastline that covers over 3,700 kilometers. There are some amazing beaches to be seen. If you are around the Auckland CBD area, and are looking at going for a short drive. I would suggest that you check out Mission Bay.

Mission Bay

Mission Bay Beach

Mission Bay is a short 20 minute drive from Auckland CBD. Restaurants and Cafés line the promenade with many restaurants looking out towards to ocean, perfect for those sunset and sunrise views. Mission Bay Beach is perfect to walk along and get some New Zealand sand between your toes. The beach has a huge range of shells which wash up on the sand, if you look carefully you might find some unusual ones.

If you’re lucky enough you might happen to see a cruise ship coming into port via the Hauraki Gulf, it’s the perfect lookout. If a picnic lunch is more your thing, between the beach and the promenade there are lush grassy areas where you can just sit back and relax with a picnic.

Cruise Ship

There is also a water fountain and a playground nearby to keep the kids occupied…. and yes there is an ice-cream parlour along the promenade if you feel like a treat and Starbucks if you feel like a coffee!

Starbucks Bear

If you are heading to the Auckland Sea Life Aquarium, Mission Bay is a short drive down the road (continue along Tamaki Drive). On the way,  make sure you pull over and stop to enjoy the view across the road from the aquarium, it is one of the most picturesque spots to take a photo of the Auckland Skyline. You could easily spend a few hours around the MIssion Bay area, if you include the aquarium. Some visitors describe Mission Bay as being a “sparking seaside gem” and I couldn’t agree with them more.

Phia Beach

Phia Beach


Phia Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches that I have ever seen and would have to be my favourite beach in Auckland. Getting to Phia Beach is just under 50 minute drive if you are coming from the city.

It is situated on the Western Coast of the North Island (Auckland). There is so much hype around this beach that it is one of Auckland’s most popular beaches. One of the most impressive features of Phia Beach is the black sand. The sand is coloured black, due to the high level of iron content and its volcanic origin.

Phia Beach

Make sure you take a photo of the famous “Lion Rock”, you may have to use your imagination to see the resting lion. Lion Rock is visible to everyone on the beach and is an eroded 16 million year old volcano neck. – How amazing!

Lion Rock

A word of warning if you are going to go for a quick swim at Phia Beach. Rips are a regular occurrence and are unpredictable. During summer Surf LifeSavers are on duty, but they continue to warn tourists not to enter the water if you aren’t a confident swimmer.

Phia Beach

If you are driving to Phia Beach, take note of the rainforest like mountain landscape on the side of the road. You will be amazed at all the Pampas Grass (Austroderia richardii) growing on the side of the road. The Maori’s refer to the Pampas Grass “toetoe” and it is a native plant to New Zealand.

Roadside

KiteKite Waterfall

A short 4 minute drive from the picturesque Phia Beach. As you arrive at the KiteKite Falls, there is a small car park at the end of Glenesk Road, right where the walking track begins. From the start of the walking track it takes 30 minutes to reach the falls. I would suggest that you wear appropriate footwear as the walking tack is very uneven and can be slippery at times. Just watch out for rocks and tree roots on the path.

Entrance

The KiteKite Waterfall is a three-tiered waterfall that has a total height of 80 meters! The walking track is suitable for most ages. You don’t have to be athletic, as long as you are good on your feet and don’t mind walking long distances you will be fine. Just don’t let the long walk put you off! Once you arrive at the falls the view is just extraordinary, just like nothing you would have seen before.

If you are feeling energetic and feel like ending your adventure with a swim, visitors are allowed to go for a quick dip provided you remembered your bathers. You can choose to swim in two locations. Either at the base of the falls, just be careful of the friendly Long-Finned Eel that lives there. If you feel like making the 40 meter climb, continue to follow the walking track up the falls. There is a “plunge pool” where you can dive straight into the water as it so deep. The views from the top of the falls are said to be amazing!

KiteKite Falls

Lookouts

Auckland is one of the few cities in the world built on a basaltic volcanic field that is still active. Over 90 volcanic eruptions have occurred from 50 different volcanoes in the last 90,000 years. Volcanoes have shaped the New Zealand landscape with cones, craters, lagoons, islands and depressions are all caused the effects of volcanic events.

Don’t worry you won’t have to worry about any eruptions has all the volcanoes in Auckland considered extinct. Many of these volcanoes have become the perfect spots to view the Auckland cityscape and have become major tourist attractions.

Amazing Views

Mount Eden Lookout

Mt. Eden Lookout provides breathtaking 360 degree views of Auckland, including the busy CBD. The Auckland Sky Tower can be seen from the top. When you get to the top there is a huge grassy crater which was once an active volcano, its last eruption was more than 28,000 years ago. The lookout is at a height of 196 meter above sea level. Be prepared to walk up the service road to get to the top, it take around 10 minutes.

Auckland City

Auckland is an amazing place to visit for any occasion, or even just for a short getaway. Auckland offers so much to see and do. If you were looking at taking a holiday to Auckland. I would allow 7-10 days so you can see and experience it all. Just remember to leave 2 days to walk around the city and make sure you walk down Queen Street Mall for some shopping. Be sure to see Burger King, Denny’s, Starbucks and Carl’s Jr. along with many other American based chain stores as you walk around the city.

If you are looking for accommodation, make sure you choose the best option for your needs and one that puts you in a good location. On this stay I choose to stay at the Novotel Auckland Airport. Click here to read my review.

I can’t wait to start planning another journey to New Zealand, just by writing this review there is so many things I want to go back and explore again.


Disclaimer: All the reviews are simply a summary of my experience and opinions from my own point of view. Unless stated, all of the flights and experiences are paid for by myself as a self-funded frequent flyer. No articles or reviews are influenced in any way by a third party or company.

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