Auckland | Where Maori meets European culture

Though not the capital of New Zealand, Auckland is the largest urban city in the Polynesian world and is the centre of commerce and industry

Take a trip, from Auckland through lush native forests, to the stunning Bay of Islands
Take a trip, from Auckland through lush native forests, to the stunning Bay of Islands

Though the capital city has been moved further south to Wellington, Auckland remains the most populous city in New Zealand, with 1.5 million people, making it a vibrant, bustling and multicultural city.

Why go?

The city's landscape is dominated by volcanic hills, the twin harbours, bays, beaches and islands. Its nickname 'the city of sails' is very apt. Auckland has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Auckland is dotted with volcanic hills, many of which were once the site of Maori pas, or fortified villages, and which currently afford great views of the city. It is a water lover's paradise, with some of the best beaches, swimming, diving, fishing, sailing, windsurfing and watersports in the country.

What to do?

Get high in Auckland, climbing aboard the Auckland Harbour Bridge with a guide that will show some of Auckland's most incredible sights showcased below you from the amazing architectural features to the myth and legend surrounding the New Zealand landmark. Don't miss this exhilarating experience suitable for all fitness levels. It's the ultimate high.

Stylishly converted paths make for an easier trip, with ladder-like walkways and kindly curving arches adding to the thrill of being 67 meters above the water.

There's no place in the world like the Bay of Islands a stunning region of 144 secluded islands, abundant in natural wonders and marine life. The Bay of Islands is rich in both Maori culture and early European history. Discover well-preserved Maori and European relics of the past, and learn more about the unique history that has shaped the country. Take a tour to the Bay of Islands through the spectacular native forests to the foreshores of the seaside town of Paihia and spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun and the sea.

Visit the Auckland Art Gallery. The building itself, built in 1887, featuring towers and high pitched roof is impressive. However more impressive still is the collection of art works it houses, which includes works by McCahon and Wollaston, and oil painting by Czech artist Gottfried Lindauer, along with some of New Zealand´s earliest works dating back to the time of Captain Cook.

Visit the Voyager Maritime Museum to learn about New Zealand's rich maritime history. Check-out the fascinating collections and exhibitions including Blue Water Black Magic a Tribute to Sir Peter Blake. And listen out for the blast of the cannon that sounds daily at midday.

Wander leisurely around the Viaduct to admire the many yachts that are berthed at the harbour. Or join one of the charter yachts that cruise the Waitemata Harbour, including the renowned America's Cup sailing yachts.

Auckland's whale & dolphin safari takes you out on the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park which is considered one the most biologically and geographically diverse marine parks in the world.

Over 22 species of dolphins and whales have been seen in the Gulf, marine mammals put in an appearance on 90% of trips out.

Where to stay?

Have a fabulous breakfast at Takarunga Luxury Lodge,, a beautifully restored villa in Devonport, on Auckland's North shore. Make use of the spacious breakfast room, the garden or make use of your own private balcony to enjoy the selection of fresh fruit, local fine cheeses, yoghurts and homemade muesli along with a gourmet hot menu with speciality teas and espresso coffee.

For a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, book a couple of nights at Waterfall Lodge, just 25 minutes out of busy Auckland where you can enjoy everything a luxury farmstay has to offer. Individual cottages overlook a picturesque waterfall and patrons can enjoy the experience of farm life, interacting with the animals, exploring the countryside and cooking and dining al fresco.

For luxury accommodation in the heart of the city, try the Duxton Hotel, ideally positioned among magnificent park surrounding close to the main Business District. The hotel is also within easy walking distance from Queen Street, Aotea Centre, Imax theatre, Myres Park and the Town Hall, offering the perfect location for corporate and leisure guests.

Where to eat?

The New Zealanders love fish and chips. Queens Ferry Hotel,, is the oldest pub in Auckland and its restaurant, bar & full-time function-space offer some great pub grub. The tasty menu includes a gourmet 100% New Zealand lamb mince burger, filled with feta cheese, pine nuts and rosemary, served with fries; or classics like the fettuccine carbonara with its succulent sautéed bacon and mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce.

The focus of Red Hummingbird is as a beautiful drinking establishment with live entertainment seven days a week, and a simple menu.

For a great drinking establishment with live entertainment seven days a week and a simple menu, try the Red Hummingbird, The bar is inspired by what the owner has seen, bought or been given over the years, and provides a journey through the recesses of his mind. Making its nest in the heart of the city, The Red Hummingbird promises an escape into the unknown.

Enjoy award-winning dining in an inspiring atrium setting under a canopy of beautiful native palms at Hectors Restaurant. They also offer vegan options and a fully plant-based menu in The Lobby Bar.  The food philosophy is based on the "Eco Gastronomy" concept, which has strong connections between how and where food is produced and consumed. Hectors Restaurant strives to source premium ingredients locally whilst seasonal, fresh and in prime condition. 
The menus offer a wide range of light, healthy options, as we believe that eating is for the mind, body and soul.

How to get there?

Emirates offers daily flights from Malta to Auckland with a stop in Dubai and Melbourne, Australia. Flights departing Malta on 1 March returning on 15 March were priced at €1374.75 including taxes at the time of going to print.