Trans-Tasman Cities are Calling
Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington offer unmissable urban adventures every bit as thrilling as New Zealand’s show-stopping scenery.
Gloriously uncrowded, New Zealand’s spectacular scenery takes centre stage. Snow-capped alps, fiords and rainforests are all to be explored. But make time to delve beyond New Zealand’s scene-stealing landscapes and you’ll find the nation’s most vibrant cities don’t disappoint. From adrenaline capital Queenstown to Wellington – NZ’s cultural capital of cool – and eye-catching Auckland’s idyllic harbour base, experience indulgent city stays as well as launchpads to nearby adventure.
What’s Awesome about Auckland?
Push the boat out in the ‘City of Sails’ to discover how the nation’s financial centre multitasks effortlessly as a major cultural, arts and food destination. Beaches are never far from view within the city’s dual harbour location, as well as nearby wineries that sweep down to black or golden-sand shores.
In Auckland, art, animals, an aquarium and the Auckland War Memorial Museum are all world-class attractions. A short ferry hop from the city to historic Devonport delivers you to boutiques, eateries and beaches. This is a city to be enjoyed from every vantage point so if you have a head for heights, Sky Tower is a tourist favourite. Take a glass-fronted elevator ride to a 220-metre-high viewing platform. You can also leap from the side by bungy with SkyJump if you dare.
What’s a Winner in Wellington?
These days, nicknames for New Zealand’s capital like ‘Windy Welly’ have been ditched in favour of titles such as ‘the coolest little capital in the world’, courtesy of travel guide gurus Lonely Planet, and this compact harbour city is a stunner. On bluebird days, make the most of views across the capital from Mount Victoria or take a stroll through the city’s botanic gardens, one of the nation’s oldest. At night, kids (and adults) will love the glow worms that light up the Main Garden’s paths.
Wellington’s iconic cable car takes you from the gardens’ entrance to Lambton Quay, where you can board a cruise past distinctive civic buildings such as the nation’s parliament, The Beehive. Alternatively, jump off in the city and head for the national museum and art gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa, and its exceptional showcase of Maori culture. If you’ve worked up a thirst, Wellington prides itself on its craft beer and ticks off a range of culturally themed venues and microbrewery specialties.
What’s the Real Deal in Queenstown?
Queenstown needs no introduction as New Zealand’s thrill-seeking capital and you’ll find adrenaline-pumping activities on land, in the air and on water. Jet-boating was invented in New Zealand and the 85kmh ride along the Shotover River – through some seriously narrow gorges – is one of the country’s best. White-water rafting, scenic helicopter flights and 4WD safaris are also on offer.
For a break from Queenstown’s high adrenaline buzz, head for the lower deck of the TSS Earnslaw steamer, on an easy trip across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm for dinner. The top deck has lovely views but if you go downstairs, the changing colours as the light bounces off the water are pretty special.
If you’re after haute cuisine of another kind, take the Skyline Gondola up the side of Ben Lomond mountain to the Stratosfare Restaurant, perched on top of Bob’s Peak. Here you can can dine on unique native cuisine surrounded by panoramic views. Nowhere else in Queenstown can you watch the sun set over the town, the lake and The Remarkables range.
There are over 40 cities in New Zealand, enjoying some of the world’s best city living plus breathtaking country on their doorsteps. From harbourside lifestyle to world-class art and food scenes, and Maori culture, city stays offer the ideal urban adventures on our 15 Day New Zealand Getaway.