Being the biggest city in NZ, Auckland is hosting over 1.5 million people all over the world, sorry that Chinese people are accumulating more and more, but you can also see a lot of Pacific islander, Indian, and of course Maori. On the main street like Queens St and K Road, it is packed with different kinds of interesting shops from a variety of cultures. You will never get bored of exploring in downtown!
The harbor and the main streets is just walking distance, so you can chill out and enjoy the sunset everyday there. Also there are numerous parks all over the city, 2 main ones are Mt. Eden park and One Tree Hill Park. They are both originated from volcanic eruptions, once you climb up to the summits (which are not that high) you can see the craters as well as beautiful panoramic views of the city!
Navigating in the city can never be easier, buses and trains are at your service. If you have a bike, you become one of the community as there are so many people cycling to work and go shopping.
You can’t see too many tall buildings that suffocate people, although many people rent a room near city at around 150NZD per week. You can live in a budget way just in the suburb area and always go to shop in Chinese stores (the prices are cheaper than main stream supermarkets, especially fruits).
Compare with Melbourne, you can’t see any indigenous people inside the city as Australian government expelled them out to the outskirts or even to the Outback; whereas in Auckland, you can meet a lot of Maori on the streets, they also involve in politics as well. That really impresses me how NZ government integrates all voices from the society and tries to create a fair country without any discrimination and inequality.
Adding to my wonderful experience biking around both South and North Islands, New Zealand has become my most favorite country that I have ever been. I am really considering living here for a while, start working and enjoy the OPEN and FREE atmosphere here. Maybe after I finish my Europe bike trip. Who knows….
Oh one thing to remind you, if you decide to visit NZ, remember to buy a return tickets, otherwise they won’t allow you to check in (as flying is the only way to get out of the country) as a part of the immigration policy that they don’t want people overstay here.
Good luck and come to visit this AMAZING country!