For those starting or finishing tours in Auckland, New Zealand, there's a lot to enjoy about this city that straddles two coasts and enjoys the sub-tropical climate.

Chances are you will fly into Auckland if you are travelling to New Zealand from overseas. Auckland has the busiest airport which reflects its status as New Zealand's largest city by population and area.

It's worth taking a couple of days to enjoy the attractions in and around Auckland before you start your tour.

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Ferry to Waiheke Island

The ferry terminal is downtown in Auckland and the ferries run regularly. It's an easy day trip to Waiheke Island that lies in the outer Waitemata Harbour. many people live and commute to Auckland from Waiheke. There are great beaches, artisnal food products, boutique shops, and a limited bus service to get around the island on.

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Go up the Sky Tower

This building became an icon of Auckland as soon as it was built. Now it's the taleest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, topping out at 328 metres. You're assurred of great views from the observation deck. Clearly, you are going to get 360 degree unimpeded views over Auckland and beyond.

Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World

The ability to effectively walk underneath the sea was pioneered at Kelly Tarlton's. The moving walkway and industrial strength glass viewing inside the fish tanks was pioneeered at this underwater world. Kelly Tarlton was a diver and wanted more people to experience what he did - without the wetsuits, aqualung and getting wet. The introduction of an Antarctic display and live penguins was also a world first.

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Auckland Museum

If you don't have time or aren't going to the Te Papa museum in Wellington, the Auckland Museum is probably your next best option to get a documented understanding of NZ history, flora and fauna and see an excellent collection of Maori cultural artefacts.

Go to the rugby at Eden Park

Eden Park was the ground at which the All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Rugby is the main sport in New Zealand and something that you can talk to any New Zealander about. The atmosphere for any game day gets you up close to the national passion and a lot of kiwis getting a bit rowdy for their team.

Free (or Almost free):
Walk up Mt Eden

Much of metropolitan Auckland is situated on a volcanic field with 53 volcanoes. These volcanoes are dormant now but the cone shaped hills that have eroded away over the centuries remain. These hills make great lookout points and have often been points of significant maori settlements. Mt eden is a good example. it's only a short walk from downtown Auckland.

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Get across the bridge to Devonport

Devonport has a village-like feel which makes it a great place to go for a mooch around and a coffee. It has some interesting specialty shops and the architecture is a reflection of an older Auckland. You get good views from the small hill here back onto the central business district and the harbour bridge as well as out into the harbour to Rangitoto Island.

Get to Piha and Kare Kare beach on the west coast

The sand on the west coast beaches near Auckland is black. This in itself makes this destination a little different. Throw in forests that sweep down the rugged hillsides to the beaches and you've got a dramatic landscape. Kare kare beach was the scene of much of the filming for the movie 'The Piano'. The ocean can be dangerous to swim in at both beaches so swim between between the flags.

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Climb up Rangitoto Island

Ferries leave regularly for Rangitoto Island which is only a short distance for downtown Auckland. It a dormant volcano with the iconic peak you see in so many photos of Auckland Harbour. It's a relatively easy walk up to the summit. You'll be rewarded with fantastic 360 degree views back to the city and of the surrounding islands.

Tours to get you there

Guided jet boat ride along Shotover River

Shotover Jet

The World’s Most Exciting Jet Boat Ride and the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons.

Bike rides along amazing landscapes

9 Day Southern Light Christchurch to Queenstown Tour

Explore the lesser known spots that other tour groups don't visit. Whether it's a secret glow-worm walk at night, a lush rainforest-fringed pool for a dip, a bike ride along deserted roads hugging the coast or a local cafe that serves quite possibly the best muffins in New Zealand.

Scenic Tour and Jet Boat

Journey into a land of outstanding natural beauty rich in gold mining history and experience an exclusive tour or Winky’s Museum and the Sainsbury Gold Claim plus the jet boat ride.