It’s high time we re-defined this world class city … it’s vibrant, it’s happening and it’s definitely a city of style!
Auckland may not be the capital city of New Zealand, but it is certainly the country's most alive and vibrant metropolis, a fact that may well be attributable to the America's Cup festivities of 2000 and 2003. But whatever the reason, it's a happening place.
The city has three harbours, making it a haven for the country's many sailors, plus two mountain ranges, 48 volcanic cones and more than 50 islands sprinkled off-shore.
Prior to the 2000 defence of the cup, more than $110 million went to redeveloping a former industrial basin in a neglected part of the city, turning it into a real showpiece area.
The purpose-built Viaduct is now the largest super-yacht marina in the southern hemisphere and is the hub of Auckland dining.
Soul Bar & Bistro is where people go for nightlife. Judith Tabron, Soul's owner, has been described as the city's most inspirational restaurateur.
Luminaire's theme is based on Sweden's ice hotel. The minimalist vodka bar has grey walls, three white leather daybeds, a line of bar stools … and that's about it.
NZL40 offers the opportunity of sailing an America's Cup yacht. Built for the 1995 challenge in San Diego, NZL40 was not completed in time and was used as a trial boat for the 1999-2000 cup in Auckland. It is now a charter yacht.
There is now NZL41 and you can experience the thrill of participating in a race or just taking the two-hour experience onboard. You board in the Viaduct Harbour, are given a safety briefing and then head out of the village, past the syndicates and super yachts. Sails are hoisted and passengers become crew, encouraged to take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or just enjoy watching the action.
Twenty minutes from the city is One Tree Hill and from the top of the 182m extinct volcano there are wonderful views of the city and harbour.
If you fancy some retail therapy, this is where you can find some quality and unusual purchases.
Trelise Cooper designs are feminine, sensuous and romantic. Her textures and layers are turned into whimsical garments and are becoming known in the international market.
Karen Walker is New Zealand's most successful contemporary fashion designer. She sells to more foreign accounts than any other fashion house in NZ and the City Art Gallery has three Karen Walker pieces in its collection.
Kate Sylvester is building a worldwide market in contemporary women's clothing. Her designs are clean and directional, with the use of bold and unusual colour combinations.
If you fancy a treat of some very unusual jewellery, Fingers is the place to go. Other shopping suggestions are Mooch, Untouched World and the suburbs of Ponsonby and Parnell have lots of boutiques.
One place to stay where you can get the most from this city is the Hilton Auckland. It is in a redeveloped wharf shed which resembles a cruise liner. It is right on the waterfront, just 100 metres from the CBD, ferry terminal and near the America's Cup Marina. It is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, boutiques and retail outlets.
The west coast of New Zealand's north island
Hilton Auckland rooms start at around $245 a night.
Sail New Zealand has two-hour tours for around $110 per person.
Qantas flies daily to Auckland with prices starting at $450 from Brisbane, $451 from Sydney and Melbourne, $738 from Adelaide, $845 from Perth and $1144 from Darwin per person. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.
147 Quay Street
Auckland New Zealand
Ph: 649 978 2000
F: 649 978 email@example.com
Sail New Zealand
Box 106-267 Auckland
Ph: 649 359 5987
F: 649 358 firstname.lastname@example.org
15 O'Connell Street, Auckland
Ph: 649 309 6299www.karenwalker.com
47 High Street, Auckland
Ph: 649 307 3282www.katesylvester.com
536 Parnell Road,
Ph: 649 366 1962www.trelisecooper.com
Fingers Contemporary Jewellery
2 Kitchener Street Auckland
Ph: 649 373 3974www.fingers.co.nz
Soul Bar & Bistro
204 Customs Street East
Ph: 649 356 7249www.soulsearch.co.nz
6 Beresford Street
Ph: 649 308 9090www.vodkabar.co.nzA City Guide for City People
By Shane Boocock
Publisher: New Holland (NZ)
Available at all good bookshops
Qantas: 13 13 13