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General over view:
Auckland was my first destination when I arrived in New Zealand, traveling into the city and seeing the Sky Tower for the first time was really cool, I remember thinking I made it! I am really here!! The City is big but easy to get around using the tram system they have in place. It is a very clean and friendly city, if you don't have long I would recommend a couple of days here.
The Sky Tower is the main thing to see and do and is a great place to get great views, I also recommend taking a ferry trip to one of the near by islands. A great hint and tip for you is to take the Stray Bus free city tour, this was great to see what Auckland has to offer you, and you can book onto the tour through your hostel. They pick you up from the hostel and first take you to the Sky Tower, here they will ask if anyone wants to do the Sky Tower jump, the first person to put their hand up gets to do it for free so make sure you are quick of the mark. They then drive you up and down the city streets pointing out great places to eat and go in the evening. The next stop was Auckland Harbor Bridge; this was the best part of the tour as you get to walk on the bridge for free!!! It was a bit scary as it was very windy the day we went but well worth it! We then stopped for lunch at an old pub which was really nice, after lunch we drove up the windy path to Mount Eden which is dormant volcano, this makes for great views and brilliant photos.
Getting Around: Auckland has a great tram system in place making it very easy to get around; they have a free city circle line that will take you to all the main sights in the city which great as a tourist. Because of the tram line it means that the city isn't very congested, something we should defiantly think about putting in place in the UK.
Airport to the city: When arriving in Auckland it is very easy to get into the City using the shuttle bus service.
Things to see and do:
Sky Tower: The Sky Tower is a must do for anyone visiting Auckland; standing at 380 meters high make sure you time it for sunset, that way you get to see the city both at day and night, feeling brave take a step onto the glass floor! I know it is perfectly safe but still I was very nervous about it! I am such a coward when it comes to heights! If you are feeling very brave then you can pay to do a Sky Walk around the outside of the tower, this costs $115, and you get strapped into a harness and walk around the outside. Entry to the top of the tour costs $25 or $18 if you are a backpacker with a discount card like VIP or YHA.
Sky Jump: For the brave among you the Sky Jump is a great adrenaline fuelled activity to do on arrival in New Zealand, you jump 192meteres (630ft) from the tower looking onto the streets below, this takes approx 17 secs as you a falling at a rate of 75mph.. The cost for this is $175.
Harbor Bridge: The Harbor Bridge climb is great; also if you are feeling brave you can bungee from the bridge itself, 40m over the water at a cost $99 one of the cheapest bungees in New Zealand. I did not part take in this but my good friend did, it took her two attempts but she did it in the end! The climb costs $100 and anyone from the age of 7 years can do it, harness and hard hat are provided.
Auckland Museum: The Museum is a great way to get to know about New Zealand's history, with sections on Maori Culture and also the War it covers all sorts of things. It is free to enter but they recommend a $5 donation. It covers 3 floors and the building itself is stunning. You can take about 3-4 hours looking around and it is defiantly worth doing if you have time.
Ferry Trip: If you have a spare morning/afternoon and fancy getting out of the city then why not take a ferry ride to one of the near by islands. Auckland is surrounded by islands that have been caused by volcanoes over the years, it is a great way to get views of the city from the water and also great to see something a bit more tranquil. I took a trip to Rangitoto Island which is a volcanic island, this was a short ferry ride, once you get to the island you have about 3 hours to explore before getting the ferry back to the city, this is a great trip for anyone who loves walking as there is not much else to do on the island. It was a great way to see views of the city and to explore the island.
Night life: Auckland is very busy at night and has a great many places for evening entertainment; a lot of the bars have great live music. Whilst in Auckland we frequented a great pub called Danny Dolan's, the live music was fantastic and the atmosphere was full of fun. Another great thing to do would be Minus 5, where everything is made from ice, but costs $30 to get in a bit out of a backpackers price range sadly.
Places to stay: This all depends on your budget. I was backpacking and found that Auckland has a great many hostels available for backpackers all ranging in price.
A tip for anyone backpacking, look around town before using the internet at any of the hostels as we found a place that charged just $1 an hour.