During our 2 months in New Zealand we ended up spending just over 3 weeks in Auckland, partly due to cyclone Evans impeding on our plans for Fiji and partly because we actually quite liked the place. Auckland itself is a very large district with many smaller areas and villages, however we spent most of our time in the CBD, the name for the city centre.
Despite it being a city and the largest in New Zealand at that, it still feels more like a large town. With only 1 and 1/2 million people the district of Auckland feels more like a London borough then the cosmopolitan centre of New Zealand. Yet it is for this very reason that we ended up spending so much time there.
I have never been a fan of large cities and even though in the UK I live less than hour’s train ride to London I rarely enter city. In fact the only city I have ever managed to enjoy is Barcelona, Spain. The main reason being that it, like Auckland, is coastal and so despite the traffic and people you still have a clean air feel to the place. Plus, with its many winding streets you feel more like you are in a town than a city.
Now Auckland may not have the historic charm and winding cobble streets of Barcelona, but it does have an abundance of spaces for people to relax in. Whether you want to sit by the harbour docks, lounge in the crowd-less parks or enjoy a picnic on a beach, there is a place for you.
There are also numerous islands you can visit on a day trip, such as Rangitoto the volcanic island, or you can just as simply take the ferry across the water to one of the many little villages such as Devonport or Birkenhead for a day of strolling on a beach or eating at one of the many little sidewalk cafes.
Auckland itself has numerous attractions from the Sky Tower where you can see the city and bungee jump, to the museum where you can experience a Mauri show first-hand. The heart of Auckland is not very big and because of this if you are situated in the CBD, the centre, you can easily walk everywhere.
It also seems that Auckland always has something going on, from events to concerts, for example at Christmas they had a big outdoor concert in the main park and it was free for all.
Personally, I think you could easily spend 2 weeks in Auckland casually exploring the area and nearby islands. However, if you’re looking to spend time in a truly cosmopolitan city crowded by hoards of people then Auckland isn’t for you. But if you want a miniature version of a city still packed with cuisines from all the world, cafes and shops, but without the crowds then go and explore Auckland!