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Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in both Polynesia and New Zealand, with a population of 1.45 million people. It is in the northern half of the North Island, on a narrow isthmus of land that joins the Northland peninsula to the rest of the North Island.
Auckland International Airport (AKL) - New Zealand's largest airport was 12th best overall airport in the world and second globally for airports that handle 10 to 20 million passengers a year in the 2013 SKYTRAX World Airport Awards.
A free shuttle bus loops between the International and Domestic terminals every 20min. It's a 5min ride. Otherwise, a paved uncovered walking path is well signposted - follow the line painted on the pavement. The path is level and suitable to take luggage trolleys.
The InterCity Sky City Bus Terminal is the main hub for national carriers InterCity and GreatSights New Zealand. Regional Northland operator Northliner also departs from this location.
The Overlander train runs from central Wellington to Britomart Transport Centre at the north end of Queen St in central Auckland. The 681km (423 mi) journey takes about 12h. The trip runs much of the length of the North Island with stopping-off opportunity at Tongariro National Park. In a single day you will pass every kind of scenery.
Auckland is a major cruise ship port of call with over 100 cruise ships a year. Auckland's main cruise terminal, Shed 10, refurbished in 2013, is located on Queens Wharf next to the central business district (CBD) and the Britomart Station.
There are a variety of ways to get around including bus, train, ferry, taxi, shuttle and hiring your own car. You can use the Auckland Transport website to find ways to get round Auckland using public transport.
Auckland is a very car-dependent city and for most tourists used to extensive public transport systems, frustrations can mount. It may be more prudent to hire a car if you wish to do a lot of cross city travel, particularly if you plan on leaving to see the nearby natural beauty, though roads frequently become heavily congested and driving standards can be poor.
The Britomart Transport Centre on the corner of Queen Street and Customs Street is the main information centre for public transportation in Auckland. You will be able to find free bus, train or ferry schedules in this centre. Timetables are also downloadable from the AT website.
Explorer Bus offers a sightseeing tour which runs regularly around an inner city loop to main attractions, and which you can hop on and off as you please.
What to see
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets.
The most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand, housed in an award-winning landmark building on the edge of Albert Park in the heart of Auckland city.
The Gallery regularly hosts touring international exhibitions and offers a lively calendar of talks, performances, film screenings and children's activities to complement its exhibition programme.
Auckland War Memorial Museum, Museum Circuit, Parnell. Suggested donation $10. No admission fee requested of Auckland residents.
The museum contains excellent exhibitions of Māori and other Polynesian peoples' arts and crafts and daily Māori cultural performances as well as geography of the Auckland region.
The historically important winter gardens are nearby and well worth the short walk from the Museum to see impressive flower bed displays, tropical plants and statues.
Auckland Domain is Aucklands oldest park and also hosts weekend sports events.
New Zealand National Maritime Museum, Cnr Quay and Hobson St, Viaduct Harbour. Interesting exhibits chronicle New Zealand's maritime history.
Sky Tower, Cnr Victoria and Federal St. At 328 m, this is the tallest free-standing tower in the Southern Hemisphere, offering views of up to 80 km away and fine dining in the Orbit revolving restaurant.
Auckland is surrounded by nature and much of it is free to enjoy. For days when rain sets in there are plenty of indoor recreation options.
Visit the Waitakere Ranges. Scenic Drive begins in Titirangi, an artistic suburb with art galleries and cafes. Easy to difficult bush walk tracks are plentiful and many replete with impressive waterfalls and streams suitable for swimming are at Huia.
Catch a cricket or rugby match at New Zealand's largest sports stadium Eden Park. Bus or Train to nearby Kingsland station.
Climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Do the Sky Jump, a cable controlled base jump from a height of 192m on the Sky Tower. Or try the Sky Walk, a walk around a 1.2m wide walkway 92m above the ground with no hand rails.
Rainbow's End is a family-based theme park with many rides and attractions. Located 25km south of the CBD. Nearby Manukau City Centre has a shopping mall and large retail outlets.
Take a ferry from downtown to the volcanic island of Rangitoto that stands prominently near the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour. Climb to the summit for fantastic views of the harbour and Auckland city. Take a picnic or have a swim.