Auckland Waiheke Island Great Barrier Island - New Zealand

Auckland is our largest city, the greater area containing almost a third of the population of the whole country. It is also the most culturally diverse, partly due to the milder climate, The region has 48 extinct volcanoes scattered about, the most recent to erupt was probably during the formation of Rangitoto Island about 750 years ago, the volcanoes of Mt Eden and One Tree Hill were once the sites of Maori Pa.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge and Devonport Ferry Service connect the downtown area with the northern area of greater Auckland and beyond. Devonport (connected to the city by a 10 minute ferry journey ), is an attractive seaside village, known for its historic homes, crafts, antiques and dining, set on a peninsula with views across the Harbour with the city as a backdrop. Passenger boat services operate scenic cruises and transfers to the offshore islands; some are populated such as Waiheke and Great Barrier whilst others are reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, these leave from the Ferry Building, Quay Street at the downtown waterfront.

The Waitemata Harbour provides a haven for the city's Port and marina areas including The Viaduct Basin with its lively area of waterfront cafes. It is not surprising that Auckland is known as the ‘City of Sails’. You can even enjoy your own sailing experience on board high performance yachts including former Americas Cup Yachts, help the crew or just relax.

Take a guided day trip to the nearby the Waitakere Ranges, a favorite recreation area for residents of Auckland and its visitors, with lots of walking trails and surf beaches, that include Muriwai Beach where you will find one of the world's two mainland gannet colonies.

West of Auckland the Henderson Valley/Kumeu area is known for its wines, these include the Babich and Matua wineries amongst others. Sightseeing and wine tasting tours are a great way to make the most of your time amongst the vines.

Waiheke Island. Has a population of 7000, many of which commute to the city by ferry that takes 35 minutes. The semi-isolation is popular with Artists and craftspeople and there are several vineyards on the Island. The island is 9900 ha and is a mixture of farmland, native bush and lovely beaches. Take a tour of the island, enjoy the laid back lifestyle and excellent accommodation to be found on Waiheke Island.

Great Barrier Island Is just a 30 minute flight from the city but a world away from the hustle and bustle. Ecological diversity has thrived in this predator free environment where you will find many species of rare and endangered New Zealand birds. Walking tracks through mature and regenerating bush, kayaking, diving, fishing and mountain biking are just some of the recreational activities on offer. Enjoy a fabulous stay in this special location or, at the very least, visit for the day from your Auckland base.