There’s a reason why I call Auckland home and it’s definitely not it’s lousy rugby team. I could never support the aptly-named Blues; not even if they started winning for a change.
No, the main reason why I choose to live here and not anywhere else in New Zealand is because, I think, Auckland is the perfect sized city: it’s large enough that there are always heaps of things to see and do, but it’s not so large and busy that your quality of life is diminished in any way. Okay, so traffic remains an issue, but that hasn’t stopped the Economist Intelligence Unit from ranking Auckland in its top 10 most liveable cities in the world for five years in a row.
And then there’s the fact that Auckland is based around two harbours. Long-time readers of this travel blog will know how I feel about living near the water; it’s the best thing ever. Just this weekend alone I’ve been swimming at beaches on both the western and eastern coasts of New Zealand.
So what I’m trying to demonstrate – before I start putting the boot into some of the crappier so-called “tourist attractions” in Auckland – is that I love it here. Mostly. And you really should totally visit Auckland if you’re planning a holiday to New Zealand.
Now, here are four tourist traps and one all-too-common mistake that you should definitely avoid…
Visit Waiwera Thermal Resort
Unless they’ve significantly revamped it since I visited it two years ago, I’d avoid this sad old water park that brought me so much joy in my youth but now needs to seriously be brought up to standard. Waiwera: why bother? Auckland has plenty of nice beaches – visit them instead. You’ll be far less likely to contract athlete’s foot or break your neck falling from a dodgy waterslide.
Visit Rainbow’s End
Disneyland this South Auckland theme park is definitely not. This crappy old theme park is not a place where international visitors to this country should be wasting their time. Trust me. There are so many better ways to spend your time. For instance, check out these top 5 Auckland day trips.
Visit Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
You’ve seen one aquarium; you’ve seem ‘em all – right? Although I am a fan of Kelly Tarlton’s, unless it’s absolutely pissing down with rain, you shouldn’t waste your time here. Instead, catch the ferry to Devonport and climb Mount Victoria for the best views over Auckland, or check out the vista from the top of Mount Eden, or even go up the SkyTower. They’re all better options than spending a couple of hours underground at an aquarium that isn’t exactly the best aquarium ever made.
Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Auckland Museum is a good museum; it’s not a great one, and certainly not world-class. So forget about visiting this perfectly nice and lovely museum in the Auckland domain, and spend your time better elsewhere – like exploring the city waterfront, sipping coffee in one of the city’s many awesome cafes, or jumping on the next ferry to Waiheke…
Leave Auckland without visiting Waiheke
If you’re visiting Auckland during the warmer months of the year and the weather is decent, then you owe it to yourself to jump on the ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island. The view of Auckland city from the Hauraki Gulf is worth the trip alone, but factor in the world-class wineries (these are my favourite wineries on Waiheke), the quaint laid-back vibe of island life, and you’ll soon be thanking me for not letting you waste your time at just another crappy tourist trap and for pointing you in the right direction.
You are welcome.