As your entry point to New Zealand's North Island, the capital Auckland is served by Auckland Airport less than 30 minutes' drive away.
The city itself is large and sprawling with all sorts on offer to keep you occupied but it's outside the city limits where the real excitement lays. New Zealand is certainly a country for those who like to explore so to really get the best from your time here, it's worthwhile hiring a car. Travel around and venture to the South Island too where the likes of Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin await.
What is There to See and Do in Auckland?
Auckland is a bustling city with a wide variety of attractions from adrenaline inducing activities to cultural and natural sites. Spend some time exploring the best that the city centre has up its sleeve; discover the delights among Auckland's streets and appreciate the art galleries and museums. There are several to choose from but some of the most popular include the interactive Museum of Transport and Technology (ideally located right near to the zoo, too!), the National Maritime Museum and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
Stop for a bite to eat at an independent café or restaurant and take in the heady heights of the Sky Tower. If you are feeling brave, you can even tackle the Sky Jump which is essentially a base jump by wire. You'll freefall for 16 seconds at a speed of around 75 km/h. Alternatively, drink in the never-ending views across the city and beyond from the Sky Deck which sits at a height of 722ft.
The gorgeous Waiheke Island is just a short ferry ride from the city and is the ideal destination for a day trip. Boasting art trails, a fine selection of restaurants and great beaches in an attractive setting, you can't go wrong.
Day Trips From Auckland
With your own hire car, you can relish the proximity of the vineyards to the city by enjoying a tour of some of the local wineries. Matakana winery is just 50 minutes away while you can sample the produce at Babich Wines just a 25 minute journey by car.
Be sure to plan a trip to Rangitoto Island; drive to the port and then travel over on the ferry. When you arrive, enjoy the swimming, bird watching and walking opportunities but remember to take a packed lunch as there are no facilities except toilets.
For further exploration, venture further afield to the likes of Rotorua which is dubbed the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. Named after Lake Rotorua, there are plenty of activities to get stuck into here and numerous natural wonders such as geysers, boiling mud pits and more. Just watch out for the sulphurous aroma!