Auckland is a main port of entry for flights from the United States to New Zealand before exploring the rest of the country. But New Zealand’s largest, most cosmopolitan city has enough to keep you busy for a few days, too.
WHERE TO GO
Auckland is framed by two harbors and some 50 dormant volcanoes. Take in that sweeping landscape from the 51st floor of the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere (28 New Zealand dollars, or NZD, adults — about $20, 11 NZD ages 6-14 — about $8, FREE under 5; Victoria and Federal streets, skycityauckland.co.nz). There are 360-degree views and a glass-paneled floor with views straight down. Also soak up views from the top of Mt. Eden, a dormant volcano, in a tour that covers Maori history and legends (50 NZD — about $36; tamakihikoi.co.nz).
Learn more about Auckland at the New Zealand Maritime Museum (20 NZD adults — about $14, 17 NZD students and seniors — about $12, $10 ages 5-14 — about $7, FREE 4 and under; Viaduct Harbor, Quay and Hobson streets, maritimemuseum.co.nz), which looks at the country’s maritime history, and the Auckland Museum (25 NZD adults — about $18, 10 NZD ages 6-14 — about $7, FREE ages 5 and under; The Auckland Domain, aucklandmuseum.com), which has the world’s largest collection of Maori and Polynesian artifacts.
For shopping, head to the Britomart, Auckland’s most stylish neighborhood. This formerly derelict port is packed with independent boutiques from local designers such as Karen Walker and Juliette Hogan.
WHERE TO EAT
Dig in to a bowl of pho bo or crispy poussin in a honey-spiced glaze at Vietnamese spot Café Hanoi (Excelsior Building, Galway and Commerce streets, cafehanoi.co.nz). For something on the lighter side, True Food and Yoga (19 Tamaki Drive, Okahu Bay, truefoodandyoga.co.nz) is a sleek yoga studio with an onsite restaurant serving buckwheat risotto and soft-shell crab. Enjoy fresh oysters at Oyster & Chop (Market Square, Viaduct Harbour, oysterandchop.co.nz). Satisfy a sweet tooth with the Asian-inspired treats such as matcha brûlée at La Couronne (5C Lorne St., lacouronne.co.nz).
WHERE TO STAY
The city’s only boutique hotel is the centrally-located, 25-room Hotel DeBrett (2 High St., hoteldebrett.com), home to several bars and the restaurant DeBretts Kitchen, focusing on contemporary New Zealand cuisine. For a full-service hotel, complete with a pool and spa, try the Langham (83 Symonds St., langhamhotels.com).