Auckland is the largest and most multicultural city in New Zealand, with a colourful Polynesian population and a spectacular harbour. It has sprawled outwards into an endlessly growing ring of suburbs, enveloping other communities into itself, and might surprise European visitors with its open spaces, large blocks of land and Californian style reliance on cars for transport. The inner city today is mostly packed with commercial buildings, but there are some lovely hotels down by the waterside and you’ll find some of the best places to stay in Auckland in the trendy inner-city suburbs with their Victorian and Edwardian era terraces.
Because of Auckland’s layout it’s useful to have access to a car, though most of the sightseeing highlights have reasonable public transport access. And the ferry offers great access to historic Devonport, as well as some great beaches, the wineries and olive groves of Waiheke Island about 45minutes away, and Rangitoto, a large volcanic island you can see to the east of the city.
Volcanoes are very much a part of Auckland’s landscape, and there are several cones on the isthmus of the city’s land. The volcanic field Auckland sits upon has around 48 extinct volcanos, though while the volcanoes themselves are long past their lava spurting days there’s still magna activity deep below the surface of the city.
One Tree Hill was probably the volcanic field’s largest volcano, and from its peak, 182 metres above sea level, you can get some wonderful 360 degree views of the city. One Tree Hill also has a planetarium and an information centre with exhibitions about the volcanic field. The other cones worth a visit are Mt. Eden, Mt. Wellington, Mt. Rosalie and Mt. Albert.
As well as Auckland’s substantial Polynesian population, the city also has a significant Māori population. If this aspect of New Zealand’s culture interests you then you’ll love the Auckland Museum, which has a 25metre long war canoe and a carved Māori meeting house.
There are plenty of Māori artefacts on display at the Auckland Art Gallery, though it also houses important works by well known European artists like Picasso, Gauguin and Matisse.
Plus Auckland has a zoo and an aquarium, a maritime museum, a naval museum, botanical gardens and of course the lovely waterfront and its interesting heritage.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Auckland are wide ranging from a boutique waterfront in Devonport to charming B&Bs to larger properties, which although part of a chain, still offer the qualities we look for.
Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Auckland, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Or you can widen the net and check out all our North Island recommendations.
Boutique hotel on Devonport waterfront. Edwardian building with original features such as open fireplaces and ensuite rooms in soft tones with great views to Auckland city centre. Perfect for a city break away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD.
Auckland (83 Symonds Street)
Rooms are large and decadently decorated with rich colours and with marble bathrooms. A gym, outdoor heated salt swimming pool and spa, every luxury. Within walking distance to Auckland waterfront and CBD. An urban chic hotel.
Small and colourful boutique B&B run by friendly locals. Rooms with unique and quirky wooden furnishings and local art on walls. Large and fresh breakfast made from local produce. Close to trendy cafes and bars, and 15 minutes from CBD.
Luxury hotel on Auckland's waterfront with private marina for mooring boats. Rooms in textured natural tones including marble bathrooms, wall to ceiling windows and balconies. With an indoor heated pool, gym and spa. Perfect for a slick city stay.
Wonderful bright and colourful rooms with a retro edge and eclectic mix of modern furniture and local art. A hub in the centre of Auckland close to galleries, restaurants and great shopping. With a gym and massage facilities. Family friendly, with babysitting services available.
Auckland (147 QUAY STREET)
Sleek modern rooms on the Auckland waterfront with fabulous views. White walls, gorgeous full length windows and balconies. With an outdoor heated lap pool, gym and restaurant. Family friendly features include babysitting service, kids menus and family suites.
Auckland (St Mary's Bay)
Quirky boutique hotel moments from Auckland CBD. Tasteful suites with original art, fireplaces and ensuite marble bathrooms. Local organic produce used in onsite restaurant. Lively, charming and fun.
Luxury 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedroom self catering apartments in the heart of Auckland. Rooms ensuite with sleek and functional finishes. Full kitchen and laundry facilities, separate living and dining area. Suitable for short and long stays, and ideal for families and groups.
Smart hotel in the centre of Auckland offering a range of modern, neat and comfortable rooms and suites. With a fitness centre, indoor pool and jacuzzi. Four restaurants and two bars. Ideal for exploring city's attractions and eateries.