It's not the official capital of the country, but don't let the locals hear you say that. By far the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland is made up of a collection of little villages, each with their own stories to tell and unique experiences to offer. No matter what sort of trip you have planned, the City of Sails is happy to be your host.
The city is home to New Zealand's biggest mix of culture, where international food and tradition go hand in hand with the Kiwi way of life. You'll find foodie favourites, international and local art, and an incredible range of beaches where you can soak up the sun. There are all sort of things to keep the kids entertained too. Auckland's zoo is well worth a look and the city prides itself on being able to get you from snow to sand all in the same day thanks to Snow Planet's indoor slopes.
As the gateway to the Winterless North, Auckland's tropical in the summer and mild in the colder seasons. The weather can change in a heartbeat, so if it's not quite your cup of tea, give it 15 minutes. It's a sprawling city, so it helps if you can get your hands on a car, but there's loads of public transport to make getting around easy. It's worth remembering that Auckland is called the City of Sails for a reason; boating is big here, and there are plenty of places to get out on the water.
Best time to go
Auckland has a mild, maritime climate with warm, dry summers and wet winters. The Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf are Auckland's playground, and they're at their best from November until about May. Auckland temperatures are generally comfortable from the mid-teens to mid 20s from September to May. Frosts are rare.
How much will it cost
The strength of the Kiwi dollar means New Zealand has overall costs comparable to most developed countries. At the low end, budget $150 per day for a holiday travelling on bus passes, camping and staying in budget accommodation. If you're visiting for more than a few weeks, buying a cheap car or camper van can be a cost-effective way of seeing the country.
With no snakes or otherwise dangerous animals, your biggest risk might be sunburn caused by the strong summer UV. New Zealand has an excellent healthcare system and all visitors are covered for medical treatment resulting from accidents. Any costs from illness will need to covered by your travel insurance.
Citizens from over 50 countries, including Australia, the UK, USA and most European countries, do not need to apply for a visitor's visa, and can stay in New Zealand for up to three months. A range of business, work, study and other visas are also available.