As of late March 2011, the following are Auckland’s top ten must do activities.
*Number Ten: East Coast Bays and Long Bay. Featuring over 75 miles of coastline, this area of Auckland’s North Shore is a dream for water lovers. Long Bay Regional Park even offers surfing opportunities, and most of the beaches feature boat launches. During summers, this is the perfect area for weekend barbeques, a favorite Kiwi Activity. In a month, I have already had several barbeques and fish ‘n chips dinners here and would highly recommend the experience. Why not take advantage of the beach and enjoy a peaceful dinner with a beautiful view?
*Number Nine: Viaduct Harbour. Viaduct Harbour is home to the city’s three largest wharfs—Hobson, Princes, and Queens. For those interested in boating, the historic ferry terminal and the New Zealand National Maritime Museum is located here. The area is also currently the site for the 2011 Rugby World Cup Superstore.
*Number Eight: Mt. Eden. The site of a once active volcano, Mt. Eden provides stunning views of Auckland’s Central Business District and Waitema Harbour.
*Number Seven: Dress Smart Outlet Mall. All shoppers will love Dress Smart. The mall, located south of the downtown area in Onehunga, features over 80 stores including American shops such as Adidas, Abercrombie, and North Face as well as many New Zealand favorites. The best part? Prices are up to 70% off regular prices. Be prepared to spend a better part of an afternoon shopping, as learned from my recent outing here with my roommate.
*Number Six: The Auckland Skytower. Auckland’s most prominent building is site of the city’s fanciest casino, hotel and the only revolving restaurant in town. Visitors are able to take a quick elevator ride to the observation deck, 722 feet off the ground, to take in stunning view of up to 50 miles in all directions. For those that are more daring, bungee jumping and a Skywalk around the outside ledge of the observation deck are available.
*Number Five: Newmarket. Newmarket is the State Street of Auckland, with the city’s trendiest shops and restaurants located predominately along Broadway. Nuffield Street, in the heart of Newmarket, is the site of New Zealand’s most famous designers.
*Number Four: Harbour cruise. A Harbour cruise is the best way to quickly become acquainted with the city. Leaving from Viaduct Harbour, these cruises, ranging from 90 minutes to all day excursions, give a tour of the Waitema Harbour and provide gorgeous views of the city. Most cruises also go to various islands located near the harbor—such as Rangitoto, New Zealand’s newest volcanic island—where visitors are free to hop off the ferry and explore. Be prepared with a camera at all moments, as marine wildlife can pop up at any moment. My roommate and I were fortunate to see a pod of orca whales when we went on our cruise. Another word of wisdom learned from experience: wear a TON of sunscreen!!!
*Number Three: Mission Bay. Just east of the city lies Mission Bay. The beach is known to be of the best in the area and provides windsurfing, surfing and kayaking activities. The site of Auckland’s best rated ice cream, Movenpick is a most stop destination for those enjoying Auckland’s hot summer days at the beach. Warning: the line is incredibly long. Waiting time can take up to ten to fifteen minutes.
*Number Two: One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park. The inspiration for U2’s song of the same name, One Tree Hill once served as a lookout point of the harbour for the British. It is located within the beautiful Cornwall Park. Cornwall Park is also the location of the oldest house in all of New Zealand and still features wildlife such as cattle and sheep. For a relaxing location inside of the city, this is the ideal location.
*Number One: Queen Street. The winner of the most recent list of the top ten things to do in Auckland, Queen Street lies in the heart of Auckland. With tons of shopping centers and restaurants, as well as theaters, art galleries, and historical points of interest, it is quite possible to spend all day amongst the hustle and bustle of the center of town.