As a coastal city, it is no surprise that Auckland has incorporated the sea into its lifestyle. However anyone arriving on cheap flights to Auckland may be taken aback by the extent to which all things nautical have become part of everyday life here. The “city of sails” has the most boats per capita in the world and so it is no surprise that Waitemata Harbour serves as a focal point for the city. Auckland in Maori, the local dialect, means sea of sparkling waters, which is as apt a description of the local setting as any.
The city hosted the America’s Cup in 2000 and benefits from the renovation it underwent to prepare for the event. As a result, a day spent on the water can now be followed by a night touring the many clubs, bars and restaurants that have opened in the past few years.
Outside the city, the stunning natural scenery surrounding the area becomes apparent. More than 100 beaches are located within an hour’s drive of Auckland’s Stanley Bay.
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Auckland’s coastal location moderates the local climate and as a result the region escapes the temperature extremes experienced elsewhere. However, rainfall is recorded all year though it is most concentrated in winter. Remember that Auckland is in the southern hemisphere and the seasons are reversed. Summer starts in December and winter begins in June. Summer temperatures here are comfortable – the mid-20 degree Celsius range – but it is humid. Winter temperatures, meanwhile, drop to the low single digits (Celsius) but rarely fall below freezing.
Local peak season starts in December and continues through March. Visitors arriving on cheap flights to Auckland tend to coincide with the warmer temperatures. The number of tourists in the city peak during the summer school holidays (mid-December through January).
Easter and Labour Day (late October) weekends also tend to be busy.
November and April constitute considerably quieter periods making hotel deals and fare discounts easier to find while the weather is still good.
Auckland is a modern city that can be explored on foot, by bicycle or scooter, bus, car or a combination of all of them. The centre is certainly accessible to anyone wanting to explore the city on foot.
The Link is the local bus service and can be used to augment your sightseeing strategy, particularly when your legs begin to feel weary. There are also free transportation options for the major attractions. The north shore suburbs and Hauraki Gulf Islands are all serviced by ferries.
If you’re planning excursions further afield, a rental car makes sense. All major rental car companies are represented both in the city and at the airport. Remember that the locals here drive on the left.