Auckland, New Zealand


South Island
North Island


This stretch of our journey took us to Auckland, the capital and largest city in New Zealand, and then a 3-hour drive north up the east coast highway to Paihia and the Bay of Islands.

Auckland, known as the city of sails, is a city of 1.3 million people located on a narrow isthmus surrounded almost entirely by water.


The Central Business District is the geographical and economic heart with many commercial buildings in a small area. The Sky Tower is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Auckland has 48 volcanoes, 22 regional parks, 50 islands and numerous gardens, fountains and statues.

The Auckland Domain is the city's largest and oldest park containing the Auckland Museum, sports fields, interesting sculptures, formal gardens and wild corners.

The Auckland Museum protects a significant collection of Māori taonga (treasures), the ancestral representations of all the major tribes of Aotearoa.

At Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, there is an Aquarium, a penquin house and this reproduction of explorer Robert Scott's Antarctic base.

The Auckland Museum presents a moving memorial to the history of the Anzacs in wartime and has the largest collection of Polynesian artifacts in the world.

A picturesque ferry ride across the Waitematā Harbour takes you to the harbourside village of Devonport with its beaches, boutique shops, art galleries, historic naval installations and view across to central Auckland. 

West of Auckland, over the Waitakere Mountain Range, lies the “Wild West Coast”  an area of  picturesque peninsulas, sheltered harbours and rugged bush.

Piha and Kerikeri Beaches have black sand and pounding surf. They are where the movies, The Whale Rider and The Piano were filmed.

   A Tiki in Piha townsite

The interior of the marae at Waitangi

The carved tail of a canoe at Waitangi

The influence of Māori art can be viewed in many parks and public areas. Government offices and stores are often decorated in the style of marae. Carvings, tiki and Maori elements in artwork are prevalent, including even in McDonalds restaurants.

The Bay of Islands is a popular resort area in Northland.  Cruises take visitors to view the 148 islands and to swim with the dolphins. As in many parts of NZ, ancient volcanic remnants make up the landscape.

Russell is the oldest European settlement in New Zealand. It  was known as the "hell hole of the Pacific" due to frequent visits by raucous whalers. Many early settlers and Māoris are buried in the church yard.

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are an important heritage site on which sits the original British Governor's house and the Māori marae (meeting house).

Waitangi is the location of the signing of the treaty between the British and the Māoris in 1840.  Every year during Waitangi days, Māori rights, as outlined in the Treaty, are brought to the forefront of New Zealander thinking.

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This site was last updated 01/13/21