Why Visit Auckland?
Auckland, also known as the “City of Sails,” is a vibrant and exciting destination that’s perfect for all types of travelers. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, Auckland has something to offer. Located on the North Island of New Zealand, this city is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the Waitematā Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf on one coast and the Manukau Harbour on the other. The city center is bustling with an exciting mix of cultures, great food, and plenty of shopping options. Visitors can explore the many art galleries and museums, or take a walk through the beautiful parks and gardens. There’s also an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy, from hiking and biking to sailing and paddle-boarding. With so much to see and do, Auckland is the perfect place to start your New Zealand adventure!
The purpose of this post is to help visitors to Auckland find the perfect place to stay that meets their needs and maximizes their fun. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel in the city center, a budget-friendly hostel in a trendy neighborhood, or a cozy vacation rental with stunning views, we’ve got you covered. We’ve researched and compiled a list of the top places to stay in Auckland, taking into consideration factors such as location, amenities, and price. Our goal is to make your planning process as easy and stress-free as possible, so you can focus on enjoying all that this amazing city has to offer. So, whether you’re a solo traveler, a family, or a group of friends, our guide will help you find the perfect place to call home during your visit to Auckland.
Where should I stay in Auckland?
That’s the question we get asked the most. I’ll attempt to answer it once and for all. It really depends on you. Your budget, who you’re travelling with, and what you want to do. Is it your first trip to Auckland? Or are you a regular visitor? Business or pleasure? We’ll break down the best locations for you to decide what’s right for you.
Where to stay in Auckland Central.
If you’re a tourist and you’re visiting Auckland for the first time you’ll probably want to be in one of these areas, Britomart, Viaduct Harbour or the CBD.
Viaduct Harbour is where Aucklanders go to drink and dine. The former commercial wharfs were once home to Auckland’s fishing fleet but are now a mixture of restaurants, bars, hotels and apartments. It’s a lively spot with plenty to see and do. The moorings are now filled with tour boats and super yachts. The hotels and serviced apartments here tend to be at the top end of the market. There isn’t really any such thing as cheap Viaduct Harbour accommodation. But for those that can afford it, this is the place to be.
Britomart is a newly fashionable suburb at the bottom of Auckland’s Queen Street. Connecting the CBD to the Viaduct. It used to be a pretty rough part of town full of strip clubs and sailors bars servicing the port but in recent years it has been rather gentrified.
Britomart Station is Auckland’s main transport hub with all trains into the city ending up at Britomart. It’s also home to the main ferry terminal for those looking to explore the Hauraki Gulf. Britomart now contains several of Auckland’s top Hotels with more under construction. The area has a number of great restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It’s fast become Auckland’s most exclusive shopping district with major luxury brands such as Tiffany’s Jewellers, Gucci and Prada as well as top NZ boutiques. Britomart’s Spark Arena is a popular concert and sports venue with a capacity of 12,000 people.
However be warned Britomart still has a seedy side with a few strip clubs and massage parlours giving the area just a hint of danger (at 3am on a Saturday night) and excitement.
While Britomart and the Viaduct Harbour are technically part of Auckland’s CBD; for the purpose of deciding where you want to stay we’ll treat them as separate areas.
The remaining CBD is still a fairly large area. The most desirable location is the area around the Sky Tower and Aotea Square.
SkyCity have turned the area around the Sky Tower into one of Auckland’s top entertainment districts. The Sky Tower, SkyCity Casino, SkyCity Hotel, The Grand Hotel, SkyCity Theatre and the Federal Street dining precinct have created a hub around which other hotels and restaurants have sprung up. With the New Zealand Convention Centre and the 5 Star Horizon Hotel soon to be added to the SkyCity complex things will only get better. Other good hotels nearby include Rydges and Heritage Auckland.
Aotea Square is smack bang in the middle of Auckland’s Queen Street. Aotea Centre, The Civic Theatre, and the Town Hall are all adjacent to the Square. This makes it a good central location, and all of Auckland CBD is in walking distance. Popular Hotels in this area include The Grand Millennium, Four Points by Sheraton, Airedale Boutique Suites and Crowne Plaza.
The City Fringe Suburb of Ponsonby is an excellent option for tourists. There are only a few hotels but there are a lot of great restaurants, cool bars, smashing burger joints, and boutique shopping. It’s one of Auckland’s main dining districts. It’s a pleasant but fairly long walk to the CBD (downhill) but most will opt for a an uber or a bus back up the hill to Ponsonby.
Popular hotels in Ponsonby include Hotel Fitzroy, Quest Ponsonby, and The Ponsonby Art Hotel, the nearby Convent hotel in Grey Lynn is also a great option for most people considering Ponsonby as a location for their stay in Auckland.
The suburb of Parnell is located between Auckland CBD and Newmarket. It’s a walkable distance to town, but there are also frequent buses and trains. Parnell has a number of great restaurants and several bars. It’s an upmarket suburb with some very expensive houses. The hotels on the other hand are actually very affordable. Popular options here include Quest Parnell, Rose Park Hotel, and the Parnell Hotel and Conference Centre.
Newmarket is Auckland’s top shopping district, there’s a couple of bars and a growing dining scene. It’s home to some great boutiques as well as all the main chain stores. The suburb has Auckland’s finest Westfield mall as well as extensive mainstreet shopping. There are plenty of cheap eats, as well as two theatre complexes, and other activities such as bowling and pool halls. There is excellent public transport to the CBD and other parts of Auckland. It is an excellent location for tourists wanting something that is safe, a little cheaper than the CBD and still has places to eat and things to do.
Auckland’s North Shore
Takapuna is a beach suburb with it’s own CBD, great shopping, Bars, and restaurants. Takapuna Beach is one of Auckland’s most popular swimming beaches with exceptional views of Rangitoto Island. It is great if you want more of a beach vibe to your holiday, but public transport to the CBD is fairly poor, with buses being the only option.
The seaside suburb of Devonport is home to some of Auckland’s most expensive homes, the Navel Base, two volcanic cones which offer great views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf and some lovely little galleries, shops, and cafes. There are frequent ferries to the CBD and it is a wonderful place to stay for tourists looking for something a little quieter. However the ferry rides will start to add up if you’r staying more than a couple of days.
The Esplanade Hotel is the main hotel in Devonport.
Albany is more suited to business travellers and domestic travellers with a reason to be in the area. It’s a long bus ride to the CB, but the area does have a large Mall and a stadium. This isn’t a place for tourists visiting for the first time.
Hotels in Albany include Quest Albany and Ramada Albany.
South Auckland isn’t the place to stay for international visitors unless perhaps you are visiting relatives there. Domestic travellers visiting Auckland to take the kids to Rainbows End will find The Sebel Manukau, or Ramada Manukau to be the best options, although there are also several good options near the airport these tend to be a little overpriced due to their proximity to the Airport.
Auckland’s west is great with some excellent beaches and wineries, but it’s not the place for a holiday. It’s more of a location for business travellers or a those visiting relatives in the area. There is one hidden gem in West Auckland – Waitakere Resort and Spa, which is set in the Waitakere Ranges in native bush with views of Auckland City. It’s a popular getaway for locals but still not ideal for tourists as there is no public transport and it is a long way from most activities.
Some hidden gems around Auckland.
There’s a few hidden gems around the Auckland region waiting to be discovered.
Castaways is located near Waiuku on the rough West Coast. It’s a romantic getaway hotel in a secluded location along way from the CBD.
Delamore Lodge on Waiheke Island is an ultra luxury boutique lodge for celebrities and expensive romantic getaways. It’s played host to plenty of visiting rock stars who helicopter back and forth to the CBD.
Rydges Formosa Golf Resort is located in Beachlands in far east Auckland. it is a long way from the CBD but has some lovely accommodation on a golf course with excellent views. It is a long drive from the CBD.