Top Summer Spots in Auckland

25 October 2012

The temperature is certainly rising across the southern hemisphere - as we head into Summer. Located on the North Island of New Zealand and known as the 'City of Sails', Auckland is a perfect summer destination, offering incredible natural beauty and a range of exciting summer adventures.

Here are our top five Auckland Summer spots.

 Beautiful Auckland

Waitemata Harbour
Auckland's Sky Tower stands 328 meters above the centre of the city and boasts great views of Waitemata Harbour from three viewing platforms. The more adventurous can take a Skywalk around the outside ledge of the observation deck or dare to Sky Jump; a straight, fast fall for 192 meters. Thrill seekers should also consider sailing an America's Cup yacht, jet boating or bungee jumping from the Auckland Harbour Bridge. For a more sedate experience, book a Harbour Bridge Climb or a harbour cruise.

Mission Bay
The lively beach-side suburb of Mission Bay, located just 15 minutes from downtown Auckland, is the perfect place to stop for a few hours of summer bliss. One of Auckland's best beaches, here you can enjoy the glorious sunshine or try kayaking. Opt for fish and chips and ice cream on the beach, or coffee and cake in one of the cafes. Join the walkers and runners, or roller blade along Tamaki Drive and picnic at the Michael Savage Memorial. Visit Underwater World and Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter.

St Heliers Bay
Auckland's St Heliers Bay, located just 10 minutes from Mission Bay, has retained its seaside village ambience and community charm. Swim safely in a beautiful, sheltered bay, which is surrounded by high-end real estate. Stroll along the boardwalk and let the kids enjoy the playground. Relax and enjoy a coffee at a local café, and a spot of shopping in St Heliers Bay's boutiques. Take a longer walk up Cliff Road to Achilles Point, which offers stunning views over the city and Ladies Bay.

Mount Eden
Mount Eden, known in Maori as Maungawhau, is Auckland's highest natural point and as such, offers 360-degree views from its 196-meter peak. Mount Eden's 50-meter deep crater was left by the volcano's most recent eruption, more than 28 000 years ago. Take a Heritage Walk to fully appreciate this site's history or hike, self-guided, to the top. Those with green thumbs should visit the award-winning Eden Garden and the musically inclined can catch a live performance by a local or visiting artist at the Powerstation on Mt Eden Road.

One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill, a 182-meter volcanic peak, was the inspiration for U2's song of the same name and boasts stunning views of both of Auckland's harbours, having once been a lookout for the British. Located within Cornwall Park, which features New Zealand's oldest house, it's the ideal inner city summer sanctum. Take advantage of wood and gas barbeque facilities; enjoy a picnic in fine weather amongst landscaped gardens. Visit the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium in the One Tree Hill Domain and in Cornwall Park - get a glimpse of the history of Auckland when you visit Acacia Cottage, built in 1841.

Xanthe Coward

Xanthe's favourite travel destinations are the Greek Islands, Indonesia, Fiji and Vanuatu. With a background in performing arts, fine food, wine and good times, Xanthe enjoys travel that brings her close to the locals and their leisure activities. Being a theatre reviewer means that Xanthe will always do dinner and a show before checking out the late night city scene and still be up early to find the markets and a decent pot of chai.