Flights from the US arrive early morning. Many clients have us hire a driver/guide to give them a tour of Auckland – seeing One Tree Hill, enjoying breakfast or coffee on a lovely beach, visiting a “reserve” (botanical park), and driving through a typical residential neighborhood of old Victorian homes. Or, you can leave your luggage at the hotel and set out on your own.
We recommend activities with a Kiwi flavor. One favorite is the Auckland Museum, which has an outstanding collection of Maori cultural material and items from islands of the South Pacific. New Zealand’s history is based on the sea, from the arrival of the Maori to 19th century when it was a major stop for whaling boats. We love the Maritime Museum, right on the waterfront. Want to sail in a real America’s Cup boat? You can board one in the harbor and go out for a sail. On windy days, this is a thrilling adventure!
Near Auckland there are black sand beaches and a wildlife sanctuary where you can see the rare, flightless takahe and the tuatara lizard. Take a ferry to an old seaside village and browse quaint shops, or a ferry to a dormant volcano. There are two great wine growing areas just a daytrip away – including the famous Waiheke Island.