About North Island - Auckland & Surrounds
Auckland is New Zealand’s most populous city and is a multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture. Most of Auckland’s charm lies in its natural beauty, with pristine beaches, verdant volcanic peaks, and twin harbours facing the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. Auckland comes into its own during the summertime, when many music and arts festivals (including Wondergarden, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival and Splore) take place. Each January, Auckland also holds the ASB Classic tennis tournament. Most visitors view Auckland simply as a stopping off point before heading to further flung destinations in New Zealand. We think it’s worth staying a little longer here however, as there is a lot to see and do.
An easy 40 minute ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke Island works well as a day trip, but it is even better to experience the island over the course of a few days. Waiheke has an abundance of natural wonders to explore: for the more adventurous, there is mountain biking, sea kayaking, fishing, surfing, sailing and more. The island is also known for its local artists and artisans, and their work can be explored in the numerous galleries and markets on the island. For oenophiles, Waiheke Island has over 30 wineries and cellar doors and produces some excellent red wines. Many of the wineries have fantastic restaurants onsite too, and whole afternoons can easily be spent indulging in the most beautiful food and wine in utterly beautiful surroundings.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Auckland and Waiheke Island is during the summer months of December - March, which bring long, sunny days.