New Zealand

Welcome to Auckland

City description  

Situated in New Zealand’s North Island, Auckland is a stretch of land surrounded by water and bathed in light. From the Tasman Sea to the Hauraki Gulf, the port city is always in sync with the big blue sea, a symbol of its openness to the rest of the world. Perched on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the city was originally a volcanic field. Lush green hills still remain from the area’s tumultuous geological past, now beautiful parks that breathe fresh air through the city’s urban centre. It is well worth looking down at Auckland from the top of One Tree Hill to really appreciate its scope. A sacred site for Maoris, “Maungakiekie” is 180 metres tall and also holds a special place in the hearts of the children of western pioneers, as it is home to the tomb of Sir John Logan Campbell, Auckland’s first resident.

To get to grips with these parallel, intertwined histories that now form a single shared identity, you need to go to another park, this one in the historic heart of Auckland. To Parnell, in the lush green setting of the Auckland Domain, where you can marvel at the Neo-Classical architecture of the Auckland Museum. As at One Tree Hill, the view over the city showcases the diversity of the city in all its glory. In the background are the glass and steel skyscrapers of the most populated city centre in New Zealand. The tallest of them towers up into a sky that is always blue: Sky Tower, the highest in the Southern Hemisphere, seems to defy gravity and modernity.

But before that, Parnell, the oldest residential neighbourhood in Auckland, is ready to reveal the secrets of the city’s beginnings. Gothic buildings and wooden verandas, chapels, houses made of volcanic stone, Victorian churches, art galleries and elegant cafes spread out along the architectural promenade, imbued with two centuries of history dating back to the city’s earliest days. They are inextricably linked to the ocean spray and the call of new lands. In the port, the New Zealand Maritime Museum tells the story of the representatives of Old Europe who first set foot on dry land here. The nearby St Patrick's Cathedral offers a delightful contrast to the contemporary lines of Auckland’s city centre.
This clever mix of modern touches, memories of the past, authenticity and Maori chants sums up the Kiwi lifestyle. So you don’t have to choose which aspect of Auckland to explore, you can wander through Sylvia Park, a huge shopping centre, or browse the tempting stalls of the city’s iconic markets, the Auckland Night Market or Otara Market to soak up the eclectic atmospheres.
The huge number of great restaurants, combining traditional European food, fusion dishes and Maori influences, are bound to win over the most demanding foodies. Plus there is a packed calendar of sporting and cultural events, including the Auckland Lantern Festival, the Auckland Arts Festival, the New Zealand International Film Festival and the Auckland Marathon, epitomising the city’s vibrancy.
Auckland actually extends beyond its port, from where you should just be able to make out Rangitoto on the horizon, a nature reserve that looks like an idyllic Garden of Eden. The nearby islands offer an exquisite getaway. The most popular with in-the-know Kiwis is Waiheke Island, a haven of peace with beaches, vineyards, luxury restaurants and the contemporary sculptures of Connells Bay Sculpture Park. Heaven on earth.

Top things to do in Auckland

Enjoy our selection of finest attractions

  • All
  • Highlight
  • Art & design
  • Shopping

  • Sofitel restaurants
  • Café
  • Restaurants


In a smart and cozy setting, the chef at Kazuya delivers at his eponymous restaurant perfectly crafted plates fusing European cuisine with Japanese influences.


Sky Lounge

The SPQR is a must-visit trendy nightlife address in Auckland’s Ponsonby district. It’s buzzing terrace bar is a popular Kiwi meet up place from early in the evenings.


The Blue Breeze Inn

The Blue Breeze Inn is one of the iconic tables in Auckland’s trendy Ponsonby district. It serves Chinese cuisine full of creativity, crafted from fresh, quality products.



Depot is one of the most fashionable restaurants in Auckland. Its oyster bar, gourmet snacks and casual, "industrial-chic" atmosphere only add to its success.



The Sky Lounge is nestled 182 meters high, in the heart of the Sky Tower. This champagne and cocktail bar offers splendid views of the city’s skyline.


The French Café

In an elegant setting, the refined French menu of The French Café features oysters, prawns and foie gras of the highest quality. A very chic address.



Nestled in Ponsonby, SidArt is the smash-hit restaurant of Sid Sahrawat, one of the most prominent chefs in New Zealand. The restaurant’s multi-award-winning cuisine combines technical expertise with personality.


Orphan’s Kitchen

Designed in the style of an elegant beach house, Orphan’s Kitchen offers a welcoming hideaway with curved wood-panelled ceilings and long timber tables. Serving single-origin coffees by day and superb food by night, Orphan Kitchen’s brunch menu is a thing of local legend, while weekend DJ sets and a spacious terrace create a vibrant neighbourhood scene.  


Espresso Workshop

Serving award-winning single origin coffees at their two Auckland Locations, Espresso Workshop is famed for its silky smooth coffees and brewing expertise. Head to Espresso Workshop Britomart cafe with funky interiors in steel, wood and concrete, where locals enjoy the perfect pour-over coffee courtesy of New Zealand’s most celebrated baristas. 



Putting the fun back into coffee connoisseurship, Remedy cafe is home to arcade games, well-stocked book shelves, an impressive board game collection and a retro aesthetic. Warmly welcoming and full of personality, Remedy serves coffee made from Toasted Espresso’s 117 bean, a favourite of the boutique coffee roasting scene. So sit back, relax and play a game of backgammon while slowly savouring your coffee.


Lava Dining

The amber glow of the back-lit marble walls set a dramatic stage for one of Auckland’s leading gastronomy dining experiences at Lava Dining, inspired by Auckland’s volcanic origins. Set within the Sofitel Auckland, the restaurant is also known for its spectacular waterfront views of the surrounding Waitemata Basin. Chef Sebastian Hindrichs delivers an innovative menu which blends contemporary New Zealand cuisine with French techniques, showcasing meticulously sourced local ingredients. Savour refined dishes such as Raukumara wild venison with parsnip purée, or smoked potato gnocchi with pumpkin, mushrooms and black truffle. Discover this superb dining destination in Auckland, without a hint of pretension.

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Practical information

  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

Auckland • New Zealand

Hotel Grand Windsor Auckland - MGallery by Sofitel

The elegant five star Grand Windsor Hotel Auckland, MGallery by Sofitel transpor...


Auckland • New Zealand

SO/ Auckland

So Sofitel Auckland is situated in the downtown Britomart district at the heart ...


Auckland • New Zealand

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is located in the heart of Auckland, a unique m...


When to go

Due to it oceanic climate with warm summers and mild winters, Auckland ​is a great city to visit all year around, even if the weather can be very changeable.
Auckland can also be rainy mainly during the winter, and don’t be surprised to see some tropical cyclones during the summer. Since it is located in the southern hemisphere, the coldest months are between June and August with an average temperature of 10°C, and the hottest and driest months are December to March with temperatures superior to 20°C..
The best time to visit Auckland is from December to March, when the temperatures are warm with a​n average​ minimum temperature of 20° Celsius.

Auckland annual calendar

  • Jan

    Auckland Anniversary Weekend, late January/early February

  • Fev

    Auckland Lantern Festival, showcasing Chinese Culture, mid-February

  • Mar

    Auckland Arts Festival, 2 weeks events and performances in the city, early March

  • Apr

    NZ International Comedy Festival, 3 weeks performances, 22 April to 15 May

  • May

    Auckland Writers Festival, 10 – 15 May 2016

  • Jun

    Attend a rugby, cricket or basketball game

  • Jul

    Auckland International Film Festival, July - August

  • Aug

    Auckland Restaurant Month, all August

  • Sep

    New Zealand Fashion Week, late August/early September

  • Oct

    Auckland Marathon and Semi Marathon, 30 October 2016

  • Nov

    Taste of Auckland, Food Festival, early November

  • Dec

    Heineken Open Auckland, tennis open, late December/early January

Travel transportation


Transportation is easy to organise in Auckland and includes ​a wide range of ​methods of transportation, such as: local cabs, private car services, rental car, bus, train and ferry which are coordinated by Auckland Transport​.
Buses serve most of the city including NiteRider services at night. We recommend the Link bus which proposed three routes covering the major tourist attractions from 7am to 11pm. Single-ride fare in the inner city are NZ$1 for adults. The city train network is composed of 4 lines which cover most of Auckland and its suburbs. The four lines are: Southern, Eastern, Onehunga and Western lines. Ferries are very popular with locals and tourists and connect to the north shore area and to the Hauraki Gulf Islands.
Purchase a Discovery Pass (NZ$16) for a day’s worth of transport on most trains, buses and North Shore feries.
​Keep in mind that when driving in Auckland​, you must drive on the ​left ​side of the road.


In Auckland, taxis can ​be ​hail​ed on the street, f​ound​ at taxi ranks or boo​​k​ed in advance through one of the numerous Auckland taxi companies.​
​The initial charge is ​NZ$ 2,​50 and add NZ$ 2,​60 for each kilometer. Some additional charges may apply.​ Credit cards are usually accepted, with a​n additional charge fee.

getting to & from the airport

Auckland Airport handles more than 15 million passengers per year, which represents over 70 per cent of visitors who enter or leave New Zealand.
Auckland Airport is located 20 kilometers from the city center. By taxi, expect ​a ​30-40 minutes​ journey​ and a fare of NZ$70 to NZ90 (depending upon traffic and the time of day).
Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airport​​.​
Airbus Express runs every 10–15 minutes from 7am to 11pm. You can buy the ticket (NZ$20) from the driver or online. The trip usually takes less than one hour.

Getting around

Other destinations

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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