Hostelworld Guide for Auckland


Enjoying a spectacular location between Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, and surrounded by and built on fifty extinct volcanoes, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and the gateway to the country's North Island. It boasts a neat and compact city centre which doesn't require too much leg-stretching when checking out its sights, restaurants and bars. It is also home to some of the country's most cosmopolitan neighbourhoods. In light of all this, it never forgets its history as it is rich in culture and home to the world's largest Polynesian population.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By plane: Auckland Airport is 21km from the city centre. Bus shuttles are the easiest way to get to the city.

Airbus Express is the cheapest service, charging $16 one-way. Super Shuttle offers a door-to-door service for around $25 one-way. Both are located outside international arrivals.

By train: Travel to Auckland by train and you will arrive at Auckland Station at the Britomart Transport Centre, 8-10 Queen Street.

By bus: Coaches terminate at Sky City Coach Terminal at 102 Hobson Street in the city centre.

Getting Around

On foot: Auckland boasts a compact city centre and you don't need an abundance of energy to walk around it in a day. Many of its main attractions are within walking distance of each other also.

By bus: You can get around the city using two bus services - the free 'City Circuit' service (see 'Budget Tips' below) and 'The Link' which connects the centre to the inner suburbs. Single journeys on the latter service cost $1.70 and these buses run every 15 minutes from 6am-11.30pm.

By ferry: If you intend on visiting Devonport, Bayswater or other suburbs you will need to use the city's ferry service.

 Auckland facts

Name: Auckland is sometimes known as the 'City of Sails'. The city's Māori name is Tāmaki-makau-rau.

Population: Just over 1.3 million people call Auckland home.

Founded: The Auckland area was first settled by Māori people back around 1350, while the first Europeans arrived here in the late 1700s.

Area: Auckland, which is the biggest city in New Zealand, covers an area of over 1,000 square kilometres.

Auckland enjoys a warm, temperate climate with warm summers and cold, if somewhat wet winters. December to March are the warmest months, and temperatures have climbed above 30°C in the past. June and July are both the coldest and wettest months.


 Good to know...

Language: English
Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Electricity: 230,240V/50Hz
Telephone Codes: +64 (New Zealand), 09 (Auckland)
Emergency Codes: Police 111 / Ambulance 111 / Fire 111
Time Zone: GMT +12
Central Post Office: 23 Customs St
Main Tourist Office: Atrium, SKYCITY Auckland, Corner Victoria and Federal Streets

Consulate Generals

USA: +64 (0)9 303 2724
UK: +64 (0)9 303 2973
Canada: +64 (0)9 309 3690
Australia: +64 (0)9 921 8800
South Africa: +64 (0)9 977 5034
Ireland: +64 (0)9 977 2252
Germany: +64 (0)9 375 8718
Spain: +64 (0)9 299 6019
Italy: +64 (0)9 489 9632
China: +64 (0)9 525 1589
France: +64 (0)9 379 5850

Hostelworld Guide for Auckland

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Little Turkish Café, 217 Karangahape Rd (K Road) As the name would suggest, this is a good place to treat your tastebuds to some Middle Eastern cuisine, and kebabs and falafels jump out from the menu. But instead try their pizzas which are made fresh in front of you, then woodfired for an authentic taste. Open daily from 10.30am-1.30am / 3.30am / 7am (Sun-Wed/Thurs & Fri/Sat).

Swanson Sandwich Bar, 12 Swanson Street If you're in search of a sandwich some afternoon while in Auckland and want one made fresh in front of you, this is where to go. Here you'll find a wide range of ingredients and breads. If it's a decent coffee you're after, you'll find that here also as its barista is famed for them. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3.30am.

Peter's Café, 484 Queens St Good for sandwiches and quick coffees, Peter's establishment is best for breakfast when you can opt for a calorie-ridden fried option or the healthier one, entailing bagels and fruit juice. Open daily from 6.30am-4pm.

 Not quite Chinatown

Queen Street, between Turner St and City Road Even though Auckland doesn't have its own Chinatown, if you've got the urge for some Asian food visit this part of Queen Street across from Myer Park. Shochiku (#460) is a Japanese restaurant great for teppanyaki, Joong Wha Ru (#462) is a Chinese eatery with all you would expect on the menu, while Minsokchon (#470) does great Korean dishes.

Devonport Deli Café, 16 Victoria Road, Devonport This café is a great place give your feet a rest for five minutes and stop in for a quick coffee when over in this quaint suburb. If you're feeling slightly peckish they have a good selection of cakes and lots of fillings for a sandwich too. Open daily from 6.45am-5.30pm.

Globe Bar, Cnr Darby and Queen Streets Auckland's number one backpacker bar has something going on seven nights a week. Mondays are 'big eat and karaoke night' where you can stuff your face before embarrassing yourself, while on Wednesdays it's $5 drinks all night. But don't worry if you miss that one - there are drinks promos all week. Open daily from 6pm-3am.

The Classic, 321 Queen Street New Zealand's only full-time comedy club boasts a loyal following and presents the perfect option when looking for something alternative. Monday night is 'raw' night when new faces get up on to the open mic. Wednesday night is '10 comedians for $10', while from Thursday to Saturday professional comics grace the stage. Open Mon-Sat from 7pm-late; admission varies.

 Gay / Lesbian Auckland

Thanks to Auckland being New Zealand's biggest and busiest city, its gay scene is very active, with most of the action around O'Connell St and High St in the city centre. Family Bar (270 K Road) is well-known for its drag shows and Club 7 (243 K Road,) just down the road is another of the city's most popular gay clubs. New Zealand's longest running gay bar though, is Urge (490 K Road).

Degree, 204 Quay St This is one of many bars in Auckland's chic harbour area, but it sticks out from the rest due to its relaxed atmosphere during the week and livelier one at the weekends. There's live music on occasion, and DJs the rest of the time. They also have a tempting 'early bird' meal offer if you discover you're suddenly peckish when there. Open daily from 11am-late.

The Longroom, 114 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby Located in the popular Ponsonby part of the city, the Long Room likes to mix things up a little, with different DJs spinning the discs each night. A large venue, it also boasts an outdoor courtyard which is the perfect place to unwind on a summer's evening. Open Wed-Sun from 11am-close.

Fat Camel, 38 Fort St The other major backpacker bar in Auckland, there's somebody getting up to some sort of mischief here every night of the week. Monday night is race night, Thursday night is quiz night, while on Saturdays travellers from around the world battle it out in the pool tournament. There are drinks promotions on every night of the week also. Open daily from 5pm-3am.

 Don't Miss

 Mark Your Calendar

Auckland Museum, Domain Drive, Auckland Domain Built on the extinct volcano crater 'Pukekawa', Auckland Museum is an extremely enthralling museum that gives an amazing insight into New Zealand life. The collections focus on everything from Maori life, to volcanoes, to New Zealand in the wars. Open daily from 10am-5pm; suggested donation $10.

 The highest in the hemisphere

Sky Tower, SKYCITY Auckland, Cnr Victoria & Federal Streets Soaring 328 meters into the sky, Auckland's iconic Sky Tower is the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere. From the viewing deck, which is 220 meters above the city, you can see other landmarks such as the Harbour Bridge and Rangitoto Island. You can also base jump off it via 'Sky Jump' if you wish. Open daily from 8.30am-10.30pm (to 11.30pm Fri & Sat); admission $28.

Rangitoto Island Due to its distinctive cone-shape, Rangitoto Volcano on the island of the same name is Auckland's most famous crater and was formed just 600 years ago. Once on the island you can explore the pohutakwa forest and lava remnants. Return ferry tickets from Auckland $25.

Auckland Art Gallery, Cnr Wellesley & Kitchener Streets New Zealand's premier art gallery is home to the country's most extensive collection of national and international art. Much of the collections are by home-grown artists while works by European painters are also on show. Open daily from 10am-5pm; admission $7.

New Zealand National Maritime Museum, Cnr Quay and Hobson Streets This fascinating museum has 14 main exhibitions which include a presentation on the first Polynesian migration to New Zealand. Open daily from 9am-6pm; admission $16.

January - Big Day Out Every January Oceania's biggest touring music festival kicks off its tour in Auckland's Mt. Smart Stadium. Acts who have played in the past include Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Beastie Boys and Muse.

January/February - Auckland Anniversary Regatta Auckland's Waitemata Harbour comes alive every year for what is now one of the biggest one-day regattas in the world. Each year over 1,000 boats take to the waters for the race.

February - Waitangi Day New Zealand's national day, which falls on February 6th, celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi which is the country's founding document. Live performances, parades and more mark the event.

March - Pasifika Festival If you're in Auckland at the beginning of March get down to the Western Springs Park to witness a celebration of art, life and culture of Pacific Island communities in the city.

March/April - Auckland Wine and Food Festival Founded in 2004, this 2-day festival allows visitors to taste lots of wine and food. They're also treated to entertainment all day long.

April to May - NZ International Comedy Festival New Zealand's premier comedy festival attracts comedians from all over the world. The programme gets bigger annually with more venues appearing each year.

July - Auckland International Film Festival Auckland Civic Theatre hosts the first of a series of film festivals throughout New Zealand every July. Over 85,000 cinema-goers now watch movies throughout the festival.

September - New Zealand Fashion Week Auckland's Viaduct area is the setting for New Zealand's annual fashion week which showcases the world's latest fashions. Some events are open to the public making it worth the visit.

October/November - Auckland Marathon This annual long-distance race attracts the world's top athletes and passes many of the city's sights. Those not running can enjoy the concert staged in the city's Victoria Park.

December - Christmas in the Park Staged in Auckland's Domain over the festive period, more than 200,000 people visit the park for free entertainment, Christmas markets and much more.

Hostelworld Guide for Auckland

 Neighbourhood Watch

 Retail Therapy

Ponsonby Not visited enough by people passing through Auckland, Ponsonby has one of the largest number of bars and restaurants outside of the city centre, most of which are along Ponsonby Road. In summer there is always a nice atmosphere when the streets are lined with tables from the cafés. To get to Ponsonby take Auckland's green 'Link' bus.

Downtown Auckland Also known as the CBD (Central Business District), downtown Auckland is dominated and dissected by its main artery which is Queen Street. In and around this busy street are attractions such as Auckland Tower and Princes Wharf. It is where you will find the best selection of clothes stores and Viaduct Harbour, an increasingly popular destination after dark.

 Across the harbour

Devonport This quaint, maritime village found on Auckland's North Shore is worth the short ferry ride from the city centre for many reasons. It has beaches to laze on, it is full of cafés and restaurants, and it boasts the best views of Auckland's skyline of anywhere in the city. It is also steeped in history and was one of the city's earliest settled areas. To get to Devonport take a Fullers Ferry from the ferry building.

Parnell Similar to Ponsonby, Parnell is awash with lively street cafés, trendy wine bars and restaurants. Located on Hobson Bay, it attracts the city's arty folk too because if you wander its streets and you'll find many art galleries. Other attractions include Auckland Domain and the Rose Gardens. To get to Parnell take Auckland's green 'Link' bus.

Mission Bay Located on the southern shore of the Waitemata Harbour, Mission Bay has a population of just over 5,000 people. It is best known for its promenade and views of Rangitoto Island. To get to Mission Bay take bus #746 from the Britomart Transport Centre.

Westfield Shopping Centre, 11-19 Customs Street West, Dowtown Auckland With over 85 stores, Westfield's downtown Auckland mall has one of the city's best selection of goods under the one roof. Here you will find stores selling clothes, jewellery, shoes and cosmetics. There's also a nice big food court. Open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-4pm.

Devonport Shopping in Devonport is far more enjoyable than in the city due to the relaxed atmosphere. Shops such as Lode Jewellery (35-36 King Edward Parade) and Flagstaff Gallery (30 Victoria Road) are full of small gift ideas. Even if you're not looking for anything they're worth browsing around when in the sleepy suburb.

DFS Galleria, Cnr Custom Street & Albert Street, Downtown Auckland Housed in an old customhouse building which dates back to 1889, DFS Galleria caters for the more affluent shopper, and Gucci, Christian Dior and Prada all have stores here. While your budget may not stretch to something from these stores, you may find something in the Adidas shop. Open daily from 10am-11pm.

Queen Street Auckland's main thoroughfare which chops the city centre in two is also the New Zealand capital's flagship shopping street. It is full of surf shops, arcades, bargain basement stores, camera stores and more.

 Take home a piece of New Zealand

Victoria Park Market, 210 Victoria Street West, Downtown Auckland Built in 1905 as a rubbish destructor, in 1984 this space was transformed into Auckland's best-known market. It has over 80 shops and stalls, the majority of which sell t-shirts, jackets and other clothes. On others you can buy arts and crafts and local souvenirs. Open daily from 9am-6pm.

 Budget Tips

 A Day in Auckland...

Chill out in Auckland's parks If you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland's CBD, take refuge in one of its city centre parks. The city's oldest and best-known park is the Domain, just north of the city centre, which boasts amazing views of the city and is home to the city's best museum. Closer to the centre is Albert Park, full of flower gardens and fountains and perfect for lazing in on a sunny afternoon.

 Get on the bus

Make use of the City Circuit bus Operating seven days a week every 10 minutes from 8am-6pm, Auckland's City Circuit bus is a free service that loops around the city. These environmentally friendly hybrid-electric buses pass by the ferry building, Queen Street, Albert Park and Sky Tower among other attractions.

Visit Auckland's cathedrals Two of Auckland's most fascinating buildings are its cathedrals. The first of these is St Patrick's Cathedral (43 Wyndham Street) which was established in 1842. The other, the Holy Trinity Cathedral (Parnell Road and St Stephen's Avenue, Parnell), is a member of the Anglican church and is an unusually modern cathedral.

Hop on 'The Link' Although not entirely free like the Circuit Bus, Auckland's 'The Link Bus' operates longer hours and travels to parts of the city the free service doesn't. Most notable of these are Parnell and Ponsonby, two of the coolest corners of the city. Buses come along every 10-15 minutes and the journey costs a measly $1.70 per ride.

Visit Auckland's galleries Dotted around Auckland are a number of galleries showcasing the work of local artists, most of which are free to enter. These include Art by the Sea (Cnr King Edward Parade and Church St, Devonport), which exhibits authentic art created by more than 80 NZ artists.

Begin the day in Auckland Museum (below) for an enthralling insight into New Zealand's history, Maori culture, the city's volcanoes and much more.


Enjoy the views of the city from Auckland Domain where the museum is located. While here take some time out to explore Auckland's oldest park.

Take a leisurely stroll back into the city, stopping for lunch in Peter's Café on Queen Street along the way. If nothing seems enticing, try the Asian restaurants next door.

Visit Sky Tower, the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere. Enjoy views of Rangitoto Island and the rest of Auckland before base jumping off the tower!

Take a stroll around Auckland's CBD. Its main street, Queen Street, is lined with shops. Do some window shopping on the way to Princes Wharf.

Take the ferry to Devonport, one of the city's most beautiful suburbs. On the way back enjoy views of Auckland's skyline.

Visit K-Road, just north of Downtown Auckland and famed for its cafes, bars and restaurants. Have a woodfired pizza in 'Little Turkish Café' at number 217.

While up on K-Road check out some of its bars. Descarga Cubana (#280) has a distinct latin feel to it while Bacio Bar (#309) is very popular.

Finish the night off in the Globe Bar, Auckland's number one backpacker haunt where there's something going on every night of the week.

Hostelworld Guide for Auckland