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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 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. 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 which 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 upon which Auckland sits has around 48 extinct volcanoes, though while the volcanoes themselves are long past their lava spurting days, there’s still magma activity deep below the surface of the city.
One Tree Hill was probably the field’s largest volcano and from its peak, 182 metres above sea level, there are 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 Maori 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 M?ori meeting house.
Not To Miss
- There are plenty of Maori artefacts on display at the Auckland Art Gallery, though it also houses important works by well-known European artists like Picasso, Gauguin and Matisse.
- If you're looking for a fun family day out then how about visiting the zoo or the aquarium before enjoying a picnic in the lovely botanic gardens?
- Culture-lovers will enjoy a trip to Auckland Museum housing a wide range of artefacts and exhibits. Also worth a visit are the New Zealand Maritime Museum and the Museum of Transport and Technology.
- Head up Sky Tower, the southern hemisphere's tallest building at over 300 metres high, and marvel at the breathtaking views of the city.
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.
The Best Places to Stay in Auckland
For a chic city break
- The Stamford Plaza Auckland is a smart hotel right in the centre of Auckland with more than 280 neat, comfortable rooms and suites. Plus, there are two bars, a fitness centre with a pool and jacuzzi, and four restaurants.
- The Hilton Auckland occupies a wonderful position right on Auckland’s waterfront, offering 165 modern rooms and some spectacular views through full-length windows and sleek balconies. They’ve got a heated outdoor lap pool, a gym and a restaurant.
- The Hotel DeBrett has 25 colourful, retro-edged rooms, decorated with an eclectic eye for modern pieces. You’re close to Auckland’s galleries and restaurants and there’s also a gym. A family friendly spot, with babysitting services offered to boot.
- Rydges Auckland is the ideal spot for a chic city break. Located in the city's CBD, it features light, stylish rooms with muted tones and wonderful views across the harbour. Enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop bar after a day out sightseeing.
- Skycity Grand Hotel Auckland offers 5* luxury in the centre of town. WIth smart and airy rooms boasting lovely views, there are also no less than three restaurants to choose from and a spoiling spa to help you truly unwind.
- If you and your family enjoy exploring at your own pace, try one of Latitude 37’s luxurious one, two, three or four bedroom self-catering apartments. They’re in the heart of Auckland, near Wynyard Quarter, and offer great water views. What's more, it boasts full kitchens and there’s a full laundry service.
For great value
- The Esplanade Hotel is a boutique hotel converted from an Edwardian building right on the Devonport waterfront. Loads of nice original features have been retained, like large open fireplaces, but there are also all the mod. cons. you need. Plus, there are great views of the city, yet you’re not in amongst it.
- The Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour offers slick, waterfront views from its 157 rooms which starting at around £150 per night. Their prices do head upwards though, and this feels like a luxury hotel, with its own marina, marble bathrooms and a heated indoor pool, gym and spa.
For a boutique break
- If you prefer your hotels small and boutique, then the Great Ponsonby Art Hotel is definitely one of the best places to stay in Auckland. This 11 room B&B has unique, quirky decor and plenty of local art on the walls. They do a generous fresh breakfast, and you’re surrounded by trendy bars and cafes, around 15mins from the CBD.
For An Apartment Or Villa
If you think you'd prefer a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.
- You're best off visiting Auckland during their summer, with the average daily temperature rising to 20°C in January and February.
- However, given that this is peak season, if you fancy a quieter and potentially cheaper alternative then consider coming in October, April or May.
- International visitors can fly into Auckland Airport which is well served by public transport links into the city centre.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
- Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Auckland.
- Alternatively, widen the net and check out all our North Island recommendations.
- Or, feel free to contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Auckland
The Esplanade Hotel 17 rooms from CA$176Auckland (Devonport)
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.Sights nearby - 10 mins ferry ride to city centreViews - Devonport harbour and city viewsLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Great Ponsonby Art Hotel 11 rooms from CA$204Auckland (Ponsonby)
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.Great walks - To local beachesHideaway - Tranquil and intimate.
Hotel DeBrett 25 rooms from CA$220Auckland
Wonderful bright and colourful rooms with a retro edge and eclectic mix of modern furniture and local art. Situated in Auckland's central hub close to galleries, restaurants and great shopping. Nearby gym and massage facilities. Laid back and family friendly, with babysitting services available.Restaurant - Recommended.Sights nearby - Short walk to Viaduct Harbour and Sky TowerDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Quirky - An experience!Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Cordis Auckland 411 rooms from CA$228Auckland
Large and classy, modern hotel with five-star service levels. Family-friendly, and with a unique dining concept. Offering a gym, rooftop pool and luxury spa as well as a classic cocktail bar and modern bistro. Complimentary shuttle to Auckland waterfront. A chic urban stay.Local exploring - Close to Auckland's boutiques, galleries and museums. The ideal base for exploring Auckland.Sights nearby - Auckland Domain Park and the Auckland Art Gallery are both easily accessibleSpa - Chuan Spa offers a wide range of spoiling treatmentsSwimming Pool - 12m outdoor heated saltwater pool - open year round
Rydges Auckland 267 rooms from CA$233Auckland (Kingston Street)
Urban chic hotel in Auckland's CBD two minutes from the SkyCity Casino. With light spacious rooms in muted tones and views across the city or harbour. Restaurant, gym and fun rooftop space with cocktail bar.Sights nearby - Museum of Transport and TechnologyLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour 157 rooms from CA$265Auckland
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.Great walks - Walking and jogging routes from hotelSwimming Pool - 20m indoor heated lap poolSights nearby - Maritime MuseumLocal markets - Good for local colour.
SKYCITY Grand Hotel Auckland 312 rooms from CA$328Auckland
Five star luxury hotel in Auckland's CBD with decor inspired by the hills and colours of Auckland. Spacious and airy rooms with views over the harbour, as well as a fitness centre, spa and three restaurants. Babysitting services available. Perfect for a weekend city stay.SpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Hilton Auckland 165 rooms from CA$483Auckland (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.Views - Harbour and city viewsSights nearby - Art galleries, museumsSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Latitude 37 from CA$833Auckland
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.Local markets - Minutes to Wynyard Quarter and seafood marketsViews - Great views from hotel
Stamford Plaza Auckland 286 rooms from CA$946Auckland
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.Swimming Pool - IndoorLocal markets - Good for local colour.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.