Outdoor fun in Auckland  

One thing that New Zealand has in spades is outdoor activities. There is simply no end to the things you can do in the great outdoors across the majestic country. In Auckland alone, there is a menu as long as your arm of fun ways to get in touch with nature. For the uninitiated, here are just a few of the possibilities.
Abseiling
Does roping up and down some of the world's most beautiful cliffs and mountains sound like a nice day out to you? Then why not do some abseiling in Auckland? The surrounding area plays host to limestone cliffs and waterfalls as high as 120 feet. If you'd prefer to stay in the city centre, you can do the Rocket Ropes: two towers on Tom Pearce Drive where you can climb, abseil and rappel.
Bungy Jumping
Auckland is a great place to overcome your fear of heights.
 
In the 1980's, a couple of young kiwis, AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch, set up New Zealand's first commercial bungy operation, with a jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown. Since then, New Zealand has become the home of bungy, with numerous other operators starting up.
 
All over the country you can leap from bridges, climbs, rail viaducts, specially made platforms perched on the edge of cliffs, and stadium roofs.
 
The Nevis bungy is the highest and involves an incredible 134-metre plunge. You can also take a leap off the Auckland Harbour Bridge against the backdrop of the beautiful Waitemata Harbour.
 
In the Central North Island, just upstream from the Huka Falls, lies the Taupo Bungy - 47m (154 feet) above the Waikato River. You can choose to be dunked in the Waikato River below at the end of your jump.
 
Every day of the week locals and tourists alike enjoy the experience of a bungy among stunning landscapes. Bungy jumping remains one of New Zealand's most popular and renowned leisure activities.

 

Quotes about New Zealand  
It's no surprise the gorgeous landscape, rich history, jaw-dropping wildlife and vibrant culture of New Zealand have inspired some pretty famous and brilliant people to say some pretty interesting things over the centuries. Here are some of our favourite quotes about New Zealand.
I had a good time shooting in New Zealand. I almost bought a home there while I was there, because I loved it so much. Josh Hartnett
I've spent half my life on planes. I have a lot of love for New Zealand, though. That is where the really arty, whimsical side of the family resided - in Hobbitland. Alice Englebert
I love working in New Zealand. It's just the most beautiful country I've ever been to. Grant Bowler
By and large, women in New Zealand are fortunate compared with some other countries, including many in our own region. But there is still progress to be made. Jenny Shipley
I'm from Canada, and New Zealand feels like you took all the best bits of Canada and squished them onto a tiny island like Hawaii. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the South Island. Evangeline Lilly
New Zealand is not a small country but a large village. Peter Jackson
It's fair to say that, for much of my lifetime, New Zealand certainly was a property-owning democracy and working people, ordinary people, had assets. Helen Clark
On many occasions New Zealand has spoken about the need to ensure that women's concerns are fully integrated into all aspects of the United Nations' activities and structures, not marginalised in one part of the Secretariat. Jenny Shipley
New Zealand is a pretty no-nonsense place to work, like Australia. I mean it doesn't falter to anyone. Dustin Clare
The Humpback Trail on New Zealand's South Island is really beautiful. It is a 70 km walk over about four days and is fairly arduous. You go through prehistoric forest and up to the top of Humpback Mountain, where there are amazing views down to the Tasman Sea. Toby Stephens
There's a real purity in New Zealand that doesn't exist in the states. It's actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore. It's a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world. There is a sense of isolation and also being protected. Elijah Wood
Shop ‘til you drop in Auckland  

Being New Zealand's busiest city, it's unsurprising that Auckland plays host to some of its most best shopping areas. From high quality boutiques to vintage stores, from big name labels to traditional Maori designs, you will find it all on the streets of Auckland.
With so much on offer, however, it is worth knowing a bit about the various shopping districts before you head out. Here is the low down on the main places to shop in the city.
The Britomart Precinct
The first place that will pop into most Auckland natives' heads when you say shopping is Britomart. By the gorgeous and historic waterfront, you can find lots of great, high fashion outlets. Of all the shopping precincts it's almost certainly the best one for choice, with both the quirky, the trendy, the cheap and the haute couture available. The biggest shopping gallery is the Atrium on Takutai, which plays host to Ted Baker and MAC Pro. What's even better, once you're finished shopping you can relax in one of the many bars and restaurants nearby.
Ponsonby
While Britomart might be more popular, there is nowhere hipper to do your shopping in Auckland than Ponsonby. This is where you'll find the more out there outlets and the quirky stores, stuffed with clothing from some of the country's coolest designers. If you're looking to furnish your flat and looking for something funky, you'll find some supercool kitchenware and furniture. Or, if you prefer, just sit down at one of the cafes, grab a coffee and watch the local colour as it marches up and down the street.
Newmarket
So if Britomart is the busiest and Ponsonby is the coolest, then what kind of shopping district is Newmarket? It's the swankiest, that's what. Here is where the most glamorous stores in Auckland call home and where the most fashionable and, let's face it, richest shoppers go to pick up designer wares. As well as stores from designers such as Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester, it also boasts 24 shoe stores.
Remuera
Remuera is a great place to go for stylish stores. Located in a suburb of Auckland known for its sophisticated residents, it's a great place to shop if you like to relax as you shop. The stores are always busy but never jammed and you can stroll from shop to shop down the elegant streets at your leisure.

 

The best of Auckland galleries  

New Zealand's biggest city is a terrific place to see famous, innovative and exciting art from the past and present. Whether you want to see sculpture, traditional carving or modern pieces, you will find what you are after in Auckland's galleries. This guide will tell you everything about our favourite ones.
Auckland Museum
Housed in one of the country's most beautiful historical buildings, the Auckland Museum is a great place to find out more about the rich history of New Zealand. With traditional art from the Pacific people and carvings, canoes and other Maori artefacts, you can truly feel the history of the country open up to you inside its atmospheric walls. If you wanted to find out how New Zealand became the multicultural land it is today, this is a very good starting point.
The Connells Bay Sculpture Park
The Connells Bay Sculpture Park is a great place to see works from some of the country's most famous sculptors, including Graham Bennett, Virginia King and Phil Price. The collection is growing all the time but, last we checked, it housed 25 pieces in every material you could name. Wear comfy shoes if you are heading there for the day. A two hour guided tour will lead you through thick bush and farmland.
The Upstairs Art Gallery
One of the city's best loved exhibition spaces, the Upstairs Gallery is a great place to find challenging work from up and coming artists and exhibitions of community art. It's free to enter and open every day, making it a cheap and interesting way to while away an hour or two.
The West Coast Gallery
Located on Seaview Road, Piha, this is one of the most exciting hubs for Auckland art. Here you can find work of all kinds of disciplines, from photography to ceramics to jewellery to books. It is well worth checking the local listings to see what's on at the West Coast Gallery – there's a great calendar of superb exhibitions and events held regularly.
Peter Raos Gallery
Peter Raos is one of Auckland's best loved artists. A glass artist, he is famous for creating elegant creations inspired by nature and plant life. Here at his gallery, you can enjoy some of his best work and speak to the man himself.

 

The highlights of NZ Fringe Festival  

One of the most fun-filled cultural events on New Zealand's calendar is the Fringe Festival that will be taking place between  10 February – 4 March 2017, all across Wellington. An open access festival of art, music, comedy, cabaret and everything in between, it serves as a reminder as to why Wellington is considered the ‘Capital of Cool' by locals and visitors alike.
The Fringe Festival itself has now been running for over two decades, and has emerged as one of the most envied and enjoyed fringe festivals anywhere in the world. What makes this event different to the numerous other such events that take place around the planet, is that the New Zealand Fringe has never lost touch with its roots. It is still a great place to find out-there art, up and coming talent and truly cutting edge performances. This makes it one of the most important factors in keeping Wellington the hive of innovation and creativity that it is today.
Amongst the famous acts and performers that have emerged from the Fringe are the Flight of the Conchords, the Lonesome Buckwhips and Strike Percussion. If you want to see this year's big performers, then make sure you are in Wellington by February 10th.
Listing all the highlights is simply not possible in such a short space. There are simply too many to name. Fringe is about grass-roots arts and culture and about emerging, developing talent, and for 25 years the New Zealand Fringe Festival has been providing a stage for cutting-edge creative endeavors, delivering on our legacy of being a catalyst for new and original homegrown arts and entertainment.
Fringe is recognised as a unique launch pad for the arts in New Zealand, and from Flight of the Conchords to Fuse Circus, Jo Randerson to Eli Kent, and Strike Percussion to Footnote Dance, the Fringe has played a significant role in helping emerging artists to achieve bigger and brighter things, both within New Zealand and on the international stage.
Artist registrations for Fringe 2017 have closed, but check the NZ Fringe facebook page back regularly as more information about Fringe Festival 2017 is COMING SOON.
The best night clubs in Auckland  
New Zealand's most populous city sure loves to party and that's why there are no end to the options for the clubber in Auckland. Here are a few of our favourites and why we love them.
Globe Bar
A backpacker hot spot, this is the bar most wide eyed travellers are sent to when they first arrive in Auckland and ask about a fun place to get drunk. As one would expect, it's raucous, wild and very, very good down-and-dirty fun, with theme nights, pool competitions and shows. Not only that, the tunes come courtesy of some of the best DJs in the city.
Lenin Bar
Do you like vodka? Then welcome to paradise: The Lenin Bar on Princes Wharf. Here you can drink from a dizzyingly varied menu of vodkas (and other drinks, if you're so inclined) and dance until dawn on the always-packed floor, all under the watchful eyes of Vladimir Lenin, whose portrait beams down from above the bar.
Code Bar
If you like to go deep underground on your nights out, then the Code Bar will be your Mecca in Auckland. Famous throughout the southern hemisphere for its pounding sound system, this is where the most committed clubbers go to get down.
Goldfinch
For the more urbane drinker, sipping cocktails in the Goldfinch will likely be more to their taste. From the comfy couches and plush armchairs to the extensive menu of multi-coloured cocktails, this is a bar very much focussed on the customer that likes the finer things in life. As the hours get late, however, it turns into a pretty hot and heavy night spot, with many of the city's best DJs laying down beats for the lively dance floor.
The Carpark
There are times you want to party hard and there are times you just want to have a chat, a beer and a few laughs with your mates. The Carpark is very much for the latter of those occasions: an ultra casual, unpretentious environment, it prides itself on making the customers feel as if they are sitting together in a friend's front lounge.
Cowboys Bar
Barmen dressed as cowboys, barmaids dressed like Dolly Parton, retro hits pounding out of the speakers and Amercana plastered all over the walls with the worst/ best bad taste money can buy. The Cowboy Bar is one of the most fun theme bars you will find anywhere in the world and a great choice for a fun-filled, no-frills night on the tiles.
The wineries of Auckland  
Surrounding the sun soaked, laid back metropolis that is Auckland, are four of the world's most famous wine producing regions. Matakana, Kumeu, Celvedon Hills and Waiheke Island are the source of much of the world's most celebrated wine. For lovers of the grape, or for those with a curious spirit, a trip to these regions is a must. Here's a few tips on the best tours around the vineyards of Auckland.
Waiheke Island Wine Tours
This tour company operates 365 days a year, transferring its guests by ferry from Auckland to three of the sparkling vineyards of Waiheke Island. As well as finding out about the wine making process and, of course, sampling a few vintages, it is also a great way to learn about the local history, with tales of both the Maori and European cultural past on the island.
The Matakana Coastal Getaway Tour
North of Auckland is the gorgeous Matakana wine region, one of the most scenic of all New Zealand's wine producing areas. This tour offers you a trip that takes you through the resort towns of Orewa and Waiwere Mineral Springs before stopping off at Puhoi to taste some of its famous blue cheese. Then, it's on to Ransom Wines for a few samples, before launching at the lovely Plume Vineyard Restaurant. Next, it's Warkworth town for some of the locally made ice cream and chocolate, before heading off for another tasting session in either Omaha Bay wines or Mahurangi River Wines. What a day out for the wine connoisseur!
Ananda Tours
This tour takes you by minibus to at least three of the most famous vineyards on Waiheke Island. Like all the best wine tours, it is about much more than just wine, with a guide filling you in on everything you need to know about the rolling scenery as you drive through. On the way, you will visit olive oil producers, some of New Zealand's most famous art galleries and the extraordinary, unspoilt beaches. Of course, there's plenty of wine and food too!
Great Taste Tours
Great Taste Tours are one of the best options for seeing the vineyards of Kumeu. On this tour, you will take in the Soljans vineyard, the Matua Valley vineyard and the West Brook Winery, all of which are famous across New Zealand. Along the way, you will also see gannet nesting sites and the view from the cliff above the Tasman sea, plus enjoy a gorgeous Mediterranean lunch in an award winning restaurant.
Things to see on the North Island  
Te Ika-a-Maui, colloquially known as the North Island of New Zealand, is the world's 14th largest island, with twelve main urban areas and 77% of the country's population. As you could imagine, there's plenty to see and do for the visitor to the North Island. Here is our list of what is out there for the curious traveller.
Auckland
The biggest and most populous city of New Zealand, you simply have to visit Auckland if you are in the country. There is simply no end to what you can do inside this sun-soaked, easy going metropolis, from paragliding and hang gliding to snorkelling and diving, from winery tours to haute courture shops – Auckland has it all and much, much more.
Wellington
Wellington is the cultural capital of the country, home to the film industry that birthed Peter Jackson and the Te Papa museum, which offer interactive stories on the country's fascinating history. Enjoy the nightlife? Then this is the place for you: Wellington boasts more bars and restaurants per capita than New York City.
Pacific Coast Highway
This 1000km stretch of road cuts through an extraordinary landscape of beauty, history and culture. From Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula, to the gorgeous beaches to the Bay of Plenty, the Tauranga and the Whakatane, Hawke's Bay and the East Cape – there is simply no end of sites to see on one of the world's greatest road trips.
West Coast Surf
New Zealand is a great spot for surfers and many of its best surf spots are on the west coast of the North Island. Those chasing the big waves should head to Raglan, which boasts one of the longest left hand breaks in the world, or Taranaki's surf highway.
Waitomo Caves
An essential day-out for anybody who visits New Zealand, the Waitomo Caves are home to thousands and thousands of glow-worms who light up the inside in a manner that is hypnotic, beautiful and surreal.
Taupo
Do you have an adventurous spirit? Then Taupo is the place for you. Here you can skydive, bungy, jetboat and white water raft, or merely relax on largest lake in New Zealand. It's paradise for the extreme sports enthusiast and the nature lover alike.
Twin Coast Discovery Highway
Travelling north from Auckland, this huge highway takes you through memorable white sand beaches, lovely little coastal towns and some of the best wildlife in the country.
Things to see on the South Island  
While the North Island houses most of the population, the South Island of New Zealand packs the most punch when it comes to landscape. If you've come to New Zealand to see some impressive natural phenomenon, then this is the place to be. Here is our list of the top sights to see.
Take a Great Walk
New Zealand is famous for its Great Walks, majestic strolls through the rolling, unique landscape. Six of these eight walks take place in the South Island – the Milford Track, Routeburn Track, Abel Tasman Coastal Track, Heaphy Track, Kepler Track and Rakiura Track. So, make sure to pack your walking boots when you head south.
Look out for the Kiwi at Stewart Island
Stewart Island is a very, very special place to visit in New Zealand. Here, are the Raikura National Park, you will find a paradise of unspoilt beauty, with clean, clear water, gorgeous wildlife, beautiful landscapes and, of course, lots and lots of Kiwis.
Cruises on the Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound is an immaculate wilderness of reaching peaks, dense woodland and rare, beautiful wildlife. Take a cruise or a kayak and see dolphins, penguins and fur seals at play in this unblemished paradise.
Queenstown
If you're into adventure sports and outdoor activities, then Queenstown is the place for you. Here you can ski, hike, bike, bungy, sky dive, raft, canoe, balloon, jetboat and much, much more that will get your adrenalin pumping. Or, perhaps, you prefer a relaxing round of golf, followed by a cycle around the local vineyards and cruise through the lush landscape? All of this, and more, is on offer.
Otago Peninsula
Often referred to as the wildlife capital of New Zealand, the Otago Peninsula is home to the Royal Albatros, the Yellow Eyed Penguin and the Hoiho, amongst many other rare and endangered species. That makes it a must see for animal lovers.
The TranzAlpine train
The TranzAlpine traina The TranzAlpine train starts off in Christchurch before darting through some of the most jaw dropping scenery you will see from any train in the world: beautiful farmland, the rolling Canterbury Plains, the deep and majestic Southern Alps and plush woodlands.
Wellington: A film buff’s paradise  
As the home of the booming Kiwi film and televisions industries, it is no surprise to learn that there is plenty to see and do in Wellington for the big time film fan. As well as being the shooting location for many of the biggest cinema hits of the last twenty years, it also offers a host of great cinemas. Here are our top locations for the film buff in the capital.
Take a film tour
If you are new to the city and looking to learn about its cinematic history, then a tour is a good place to start. Guided tours from companies such as Flat Earth, Wellington Rover Tours and Wellington Movie Tours will show you some incredible sites from historical Kiwi movies, as well as giving you the background to the most important moments in the local film scene's development.
The Weta Cave
The famous digital effects company that was founded by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and James Selkirk more than twenty years ago has been responsible for many of the most memorable and fantastic monsters and moments from the recent cinema history. If you love film, particularly fantasy film, then a visit to their ‘Cave' is essential.
Not only do you get to check out props and models from films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, you also get a real insight into how the company works and how it became such a rip roaring success. That makes it a great tour both for the casual film fan and the ambitious film maker looking for tips on how to make it big.
The Roxy Cinema
One of the capital's most famous cinemas, if not the most famous, The Roxy is one of the best places in the country to take in a flick. Recently revamped after a group of local film makers, including the Weta team, banded together to save the historic picture house from ruin, it is a glorious art deco building that oozes local history and colour. It's also a great place to hang out after your movie has finished, with the famous CoCo bar and restaurant and its sumptuous menu of cocktails and comfort food.
  
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