If I would have known how small Auckland is, I would not have booked my hostel for more than 2 days. Most of the attractions related to ‘Auckland’ are actually outside of Auckland itself. Auckland is wide spread, but there are not that many attractions for travelers within the city area.
One of the few attractions easily accessible by foot is Mount Eden (Maungawhau in Maori ), home of Auckland’s highest dormant volcano. Starting from CBD and taking a few twist and turns, we made it to the summit after an hour. The summit welcomed us with heavy winds and rains, which was actually refreshing after the trek up. There is a massive crater left behind from an eruption 15,000 years ago. Native people preserves this sacred area away from disturbance.
A highly recommended island off of Auckland to visit is Waiheke Island. It is roughly a 40 minute ferry ride to the island. While it seems to be a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, it was not crowded. Perhaps with New Zealand’s relatively small population, everywhere we go seems so peaceful. Waiheke is known for the vineyards and beaches that encompass the island. Spent most of the day exploring Oneroa Bay where we are greeted with beautiful sunshine and seaside views. The walk along Oneroa Bay reminded me of the Bondi – Coogee walk in Sydney. Waiheke is a big island; you cannot walk through the whole island by foot within a day. Typically, people hire a car, hop on a bus, or rent an electric bike if they want to see more of the island.
Devonport is a short 15 minute ferry ride from the Auckland CBD. It is small suburban town with two of Auckland’s 48 volcanic cones. This quiet village seems to be a popular choice for retirees. I noticed many old couples strolling the harbourside. Both Mount Victoria and North Head are good spots to view Auckland from the summit. Taking on the pace of the town, we only manage to visit North Head. North Head is a historic site with military significance as it was a major defense site for New Zealand. The fortification, cannons, and tunnels used still remained. The day was spent enjoying the greenery, ocean views, and clouds.
There are other islands and nearby suburbs that we did not visit due to budget and time constraints. These nearby areas definitely have their own charm, but as a tourist, these locations may seem more similar than not in experience.
We finally sorted out something for exploring North Island with. Most people would say South Island is more beautiful and that is where most of the focus should be. Since I have a few months to explore, I might as well take advantage of the time and enjoy my time in the North Island. Currently, we plan to explore via a rental car for 3 weeks. Let see how that turns out!