ROL Cruise recommends...
1. Ascending the soaring Sky Tower
One of the best ways to appreciate Auckland's amazing vistas is from the 328m tall Sky Tower. The tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere, it offers 360-degree views of the city from three observation decks, plus a glass floor for a heart-stopping look straight down. You'll also find three eateries within the top portion, including New Zealand's only revolving restaurant. Keep an eye out for fearless thrill seekers taking part in a 192m SkyJump down the tower's exterior.
2. Taking to the water
Auckland has become known as the 'City of Sails' due to the vast number of boats in the region. One look at the spectacular, undulating shoreline of the Hauraki Gulf and it's easy to see why sailing has become a popular pastime for locals. Take a trip on the sparkling waters as you search for whales, dolphins and penguins, or simply admire the luxury yachts, glitzy catamaran and nippy speedboats in the city's two major harbours; Manukau and Waitemata.
3. Unearthing New Zealand's roots
Polynesian explorers settled on the fertile Auckland isthmus around 700 years ago. The Maori's proud heritage remains intrinsic to the country's culture and the Auckland Museum is a great place to learn more, and watch a display of the formidable haka. For an even older history lesson, look to the majectic volcanic landscape. Nearby Rangitoto Island was formed less than 1,000 years ago, while the scenic volcanic cones of Maungawhau (Mount Eden), Takarunga (Mount Victoria) or Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) that are thought to be almost 30,000 years old.
4. Sampling the fruit of the land
Take a trip to Waiheke Island, where an ideal micro-climate enables the bountiful growth of delicious produce. Tour a vineyard and try an acclaimed artisan wine, sample olive oil straight from the grove or bask in the sunshine on one of its many secluded beaches.
5. Delaying your departure
If staying a little longer is an option, there are plenty more activities slightly further afield. For glorious scenery head to the idyllic Coromandel Peninsula, the spectacular Bay of Islands or the pine-clad Waitakere Mountains. Or, for something a little different, seek out the glowworms and stalactites of Waitomo Caves, the geothermal mud pools of Rotorua or marvel at Middle Earth on a Lord of the Rings tour.