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Auckland - A Guide to the City

Horse racing is a popular sport among New Zealand vacationers
Horse racing is a popular sport among New Zealand vacationers
Photo by Joseph Johnson/Getty Images

Once called "the Land of the Gods," New Zealand is also sometimes referred to as the "country of clouds." New Zealand has been a consistent winner of travel and tourism awards for many years, and those visiting this intriguing country for the first time should place Auckland on their "must-see" list. Located in the heart of New Zealand, Auckland is regarded by many tourists as the ultimate getaway. Additionally, it provides an introduction to the country for first time visitors. Well loved for its scenic views and extraordinary landscapes, it is one of the world's greenest areas, but still provides guests and residents with all the amenities of a cosmopolitan city.

Interesting Sights

The Auckland Botanical Gardens, complete with exotic plants and lush shrubs, make up the center of an engaging and informative botanical tour. Visitors are transported on a small train to the park. From there they can disembark and wander freely throughout the gardens, including the Lady Norwood Rose Garden which features over 2000 varieties of roses. The Botanical Gardens are situated in close proximity to the Bolton Street Memorial Park where one can observe graves of influential citizens who lived in New Zealand.

Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill

Cornwall Park in Auckland is an ideal escape from metropolitan life. It is most well known for the area of the park called "One Tree Hill." The respected leader of the Nga Marama–Chief Kiwi Tamaki–dwelt in this location during the middle 1700s with over 5,000 followers who were drawn by the region’s fertile soil and rich coast. At the foot of the One Tree hill is a visitor's center called Huia Lodge, which is home to many intriguing displays highlighting the history of the park. Those who enjoy nature and history will not want to miss this attraction when visiting this interesting and beautiful part of New Zealand.

Stardome Planetarium

The Stardome Planetarium is a celestial multimedia extravaganza where many special events and lectures are scheduled on a regular basis. Astronomy presentations can be viewed on the ceiling for locals and tourists on a daily basis. Telescope viewing sessions are also held outdoors–contingent on the weather and atmospheric visibility. There is even an intriguing "adopt a star" program, which is a unique concept found in very few areas of the world.

The Best Shopping Mile of the City

The city's downtown district features an excellent place in which one can shop, dine, or simply stroll through the Victorian style streets and paths. This historic shopping mile is not merely a tourist attraction but a tradition, and many visitors enjoy exploring the boutiques and shops along this thriving mile of businesses and eateries. One can purchase original fashions, indulge in a cup of gourmet coffee, or take a break in one of the many lively pubs that he or she will pass along the way.

Traveling to New Zealand

The airlines to New Zealand are numerous and many of them offer direct flights into the city. Flights can be obtained via Australia and most airlines offer connecting flight services, as well. It is essential for one to book his or her flight early in order to avoid being shut out. New Zealand is a highly popular summer destination for both domestic and overseas travelers, but one must keep in mind that the seasons in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand are opposite to those of the northern hemisphere, meaning December and January are the warmest months. However, the overall temperatures only vary by approximately ten degrees from season to season, which means there is essentially no inappropriate time to visit this beautiful and mesmerizing country.