Harbor reflections in Auckland, New Zealand

Piha Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. (ThinkStock)

What to do in Auckland

There are few things Kiwis take more seriously than rugby, so when the national team, the All Blacks, won the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the country erupted in a paroxysm of days-long partying. As the tournament organizer, the entire country's hopes, it seems, were pinned on gaining not only redemption on the field after 24 years of tournament disappointment—but also, a stellar reputation as host. The rugby fans have since departed with their bruises and hangovers, but Auckland, venue for the final, still stands ready to welcome visitors with its distinctive blend of sophistication and no-nonsense charm. Queens Wharf is Auckland’s touristy focal point, though head out to fringe suburbs like Kingsland or Ponsonby for a taste of this tiny nation’s full Pacific Rim diversity. Think sushi bars, soul joints, and, yep, bawdy sports bars.

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Traveler Reviews of Auckland

Fat Paddler rates Auckland
Most Kiwis will tell you Auckland is the least impressive thing to see in New Zealand (let's face it, they may be right!), but it is a major air gateway and is still a vibrant city to visit. It's harbour is beautiful and a great place for sailing and dolphin viewing, whilst the Viaduct district is a brilliant place to eat and party into the night. The highlight of my trip there however was the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which houses not only a impressive collection of Kiwi war time memorabilia, but a truely amazing collection of Maori cultural artifacts as well. The huge Maori Waka (war canoe) is truly a sight to behold. New Zealanders in general are a friendly people and I love visiting their country. Great local food, excellent wines, and amazing natural wilderness areas make it a favourite regular destination for my family.
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