They’re all thrilling ocean-side cities — just like Auckland, in fact. But where New Zealand’s largest urban centre picks up points is that it’s far more manageable than any of the above.
Things are looking up: The 328-metre Sky Tower, above the fashionable Ponsonby district
You can walk everywhere; it’s safe; the food is reliably good; the Maori culture thrives; and hundreds of little islands await in what amounts to a spectacular archipelago.
WHEN TO GO: Famously, in the City of the Sails, you can experience all four seasons in one day, but best to go in New Zealand’s summer (Dec-March) when sea breezes make the temperatures comfortable.
The Live Well Festival in October also comes highly recommended. Weave your way around the array of exhibitions, graze through the healthy food stalls, and listen and learn from the country’s top lifestyle, wellness and nutrition speakers (livewellfestival.co.nz).
TAKE IT EASY: More than 1.6 million people live here, but it seldom feels like it. By the standards of many cities of the same size, the pace is remarkably relaxed.
At weekends, along the pier in the Wynyard Quarter, people do stuff: tango dance classes, paddling, reading in pop-up libraries, practise gymnastics…