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Situated on New Zealand's North Island, Auckland is the largest city in the country, and is home to more than 30% of the total population. The area was inhabited from around 1350 by the Maori people, but little recorded history survives before January 1832, when Joseph Brooks Weller bought the area that is now Auckland. The settlement was in a strategic position, as it had harbours on both its east and west shores, and so it quickly grew in size and importance.

'Auckland' was named in 1840, after the then Viceroy of India, the Earl of Auckland. The following year, the town was declared the capital of New Zealand. However, Wellington was seen as a better choice for the capital, due largely to its location (almost at the mid-point of the country) and as a result it was elevated to this position in 1865.

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Milford Sound
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4.7 stars(9 reviews)
21 days from
£5,595 pp £5,295 pp
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  • DestinationNew Zealand
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportFlight, Rail, Coach
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Our customers love our Auckland tours
Grand Tour of New Zealand
19 Dec 2019
Mr T Lewandowski
4 stars
“A few of the days were too long. Also a number of the lunch stops rushed us back to the bus.
Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Sightseeing in Auckland

As befitting for such an important and large city, Auckland has a number of fascinating sights. These include the iconic Auckland War Memorial Museum building. It naturally features collections relating to military history, but also has displays on natural history and the general history of New Zealand. The museum houses many Maori artefacts and treasures, including some entire buildings - such as a large carved meeting house from 1878.

Another main attraction is the Viaduct Basin, which is a regenerated area of the shallow harbour basin. Formerly a run-down area of disused workshops, the Viaduct Basin now has some fantastic architecture, along with some great public areas, shops and restaurants. The waterfront is now decorated with a colourful array of working boats and yachts.

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