Auckland & more

Imagine an urban envAuckland Viaductironment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food and wine – you're beginning to get the picture of Auckland.

Auckland's blend of islands, Polynesian culture, glistening harbours and modern city environment creates an unbelievable lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world. Discover why Auckland is one of the best places in the world to live – and visit.

Auckland is consistently voted one of the world's best lifestyle cities in international surveys. The cosmopolitan city centre is complemented by great escapes no more than half an hour from downtown.

An extensive network of regional parks covers some 37,000 hectares. There are farm parks, parks with archaeological sites and historic homesteads, marine reserves and botanic gardens.

Waiheke IslandOne of the best ways to appreciate the City of Sails is from on the water. Regular ferries service the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, while charter boats are available in every incarnation, from classic yachts to speed launches. Windsurfing is popular in the bays around the harbour, and so is kayaking, with regular guided expeditions to the far reaches of the Waitemata.

The hiking trails in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges, to the west and south of the city centre respectively, take you deep into cool, peaceful rainforest. The Woodhill and Riverhead plantation forests attract mountainbikers and motocross riders.

Apart from sailing and boating, Aucklanders' favourite past times include rugby and rugby league in the winter and cricket in the summer. Kilikiti, Pacific Island cricket, is played in suburban parks over the warmer months. The ASB Bank Tennis Centre hosts international events for men and women every January.

The Hauraki Gulf is also home to pods of dolphins and whales, which can be viewed on regular boat trips on the Dolphin & Whale Safari. Sea life can also be seen from underwater, through transparent tunnels built in an underground aquarium at Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World.

Auckland has more than 30 golf courses, including public ones at Takapuna and Chamberlain Park in Western Springs. At Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, you can play on a cliff top course designed by Robert Trent Jones II, considered by many to be the world's finest designer of classic golf courses. Formosa, another of Auckland's legendary courses, has spectacular views of Rangitoto. Designed by Bob Charles, Formosa is the longest course in New Zealand – over 6,650 metres off the pro tees.

Auckland bungy