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I've been living the life of a tourist here in Auckland for about two years now. Here's my pick of the five things you must-do while you're in this city.
1. Get to a rugby game: Kiwis are mad about rugby union. If you're in town during the NZ winter, get yourself a ticket and head out to Eden Park for a game of the code. The city's biggest stadium hosts international matches and the Super 15 tournament. It's a friendly, fun atmosphere where you can witness Kiwis at their most passionate.
2. Take a leap off something: Bungee jumping was invented by a couple of crazy Kiwi guys. The South Island is better known for the adrenalin charged activities, but Auckland has options if you've got the guts. The SkyJump from the Sky Tower is about 192m from the ground, with a drop, likened to base jumping, that will take about 11 seconds. Or take a leap of faith from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
3. Go wine tasting on Waiheke Island: Take a one-our ferry ride from downtown Auckland and head out for a day on Waiheke Island. There are heaps of different wine tasting tours, varying in price range, depending on what you want to do. Alternatively, hop on a bus from the ferry terminal and head out on your own. There are so many stunning wineries, with delicious food, you can't go wrong.
4. Have a meal at the Viaduct: Auckland is known as the City of Sails. One look at it's harbour and it makes total sence. Make the most of stunning scenes by enjoying a glass of New Zealand grown wine at one of the bars down at the Viaduct. And treat yourself to some delicious, locally caught seafood.
5. Get out of the city center: Some of the best things to eat, drink, see and do are outside the main hub of the city. Head to Ponsonby for dinner at one of the sexy extablishments down the main road, check out a sunset at Mission Bay or get active with a hike in the Waitakere Ranges or a kayak to Rangitoto.
Auckland is an active place so expect to spend your time hiking, sailing or maybe even jumping off a tall tower. Forbes Travel Guide editors have picked out these activities as the five best things to do in Auckland.
1. Go up Sky Tower. The tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower dominates the Auckland skyline and offers stunning 360-degree views of the city below. The observation deck has areas with clear floors that let you look directly down, and telescopes to zoom in on spots all over Auckland.
2. Enjoy Viaduct Harbour. Auckland is nicknamed the “City of Sails,” and its harbor is always full of boats. Visit the excellent Voyager Maritime Museum, take a harbor cruise on a vintage vessel, or just watch the sailboats while dining at an outdoor cafe.
3. Watch rugby at Eden Park. Rugby is easily the most popular sport in New Zealand, and historic Eden Park is the best place to watch the World Cup champion All Blacks national team. Depending on the time of year, the park hosts matches in international play, the Super 15 tournament and the nationwide Air New Zealand Cup.
4. Hike up Mt. Eden. The highest natural point in the Auckland area is this green, dormant volcano just south of town. It's a pleasant hike to the top, and the mountain has an unusual cone shape. From the top, you get a great view of the city and the harbor beyond it.
5. Sky jump. Adventurous travelers shouldn't miss this unique activity — jumping 192 meters from the top of Sky Tower while attached to a cable. You’ll find controlled base-jumping offers an exhilarating rush similar to skydiving.