Life in Auckland

Auckland is the gateway to New Zealand’s spectacular natural beauty and lifestyle. The city sits between two harbours and is surrounded by sub-tropical islands, sparkling waters and lush native forests. Find out what there is to see and do around Auckland for those who are new to the city.

About Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and is home to around 1.5 million people with a diverse range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It’s a safe, clean, vibrant and friendly city that offers an excellent quality of life.

Auckland was ranked the 3rd best city in Mercer’s 2012, Quality of Living Survey - Worldwide City Rankings. With its modern international airport and daily flights to and from Asia, Europe and the USA, and frequent flights from South America, Auckland is easily accessible from anywhere in the world.

Located at the top of the North Island, Auckland has mild winters and warm summers. At its centre is the bustling central business district, the heart of New Zealand’s largest economy. Just minutes from the city centre are beautiful inner-city beaches, large green parks, world-class entertainment venues, and exciting waterfront public spaces. The stunning islands of the Waitemata Harbour can easily be visited by ferry from downtown Auckland. Less than 45 minutes away you’ll find surf beaches, native bush teaming with birdlife, natural hot springs, and vineyards and orchards.

Fun facts

  • Despite being New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is not the capital. It was the capital for about 25 years in the mid 1800s, but in 1865, Wellington became our capital city.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest (along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay), was born in Auckland. His face is on the New Zealand five-dollar note.
  • Auckland has two harbours. To the west is the Manukau Harbour on the Tasman sea, and to the east is the Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean.
  • Auckland is the world’s largest Polynesian city.
  • At 328 metres high, the Sky Tower in Auckland’s central business district is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Known as "the City of Sails", Auckland has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.
  • Tāmaki Makaurau is the Māori name for Auckland.

To find out more about Auckland, including facts about size, geography, population and climate, please visit the University About Auckland page.


Relocation to Auckland

Visit our International Student web section for detailed information on everything you need to settle into life in Auckland – including: how to set up a bank account; cost of living; and how to get around Auckland.

Living in Auckland and New Zealand



The Accommodation Solutions team can also help you find private accommodation, including homestays and rental properties. Whether you are moving to Auckland by yourself or with a partner or family, there are a range of options to suit your needs.

The University of Auckland provides quality student accommodation, conveniently located close to our Auckland campuses. There are halls of residence and semi- or self-catered apartments. Living in University accommodation offers a great lifestyle, with excellent study and living facilities and is a great way to make friends with people from around the world.

Learn more about the different accommodation options


Clubs and organisations

There is no excuse to get bored or not to meet people while you’re studying at The University of Auckland. AUSA (Auckland University Students’ Association) funds and supports more than 100 clubs on campus. They range from sports and debating clubs to religious, political and cultural clubs. Ethnic clubs include the Islamic Society, Korean, Russian and Sri Lankan Clubs, the Hong Kong Students Society, Kiwi Asian Club and the International Cuisine Club, but there are many more.

For more information, please visit the AUSA website.

There is also a list of business related clubs and societies on the Business School website.


Food and entertainment

Auckland is a vibrant and culturally rich city. The University of Auckland City Campus has more than 15 cafés including ethnic food outlets and a wide variety of entertainment such as the Maidment Theatre, Gus Fisher Gallery, George Fraser Gallery, Window, and Projectspace B431.

Within just a few kilometres of our city campus, you’ll find cinemas and theatres, the Auckland City Public Library, the Auckland Art Gallery, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum with its Pacific People Galleries featuring Māori and Pacific cultural displays.

Queen Street and the adjoining streets are packed with shops and restaurants, while the Viaduct, Britomart precinct and Wynyard Quarter are all excellent places to stroll, eat, drink and enjoy the city’s harbour. More shopping and dining opportunities can be found in the fashionable city-fringe districts of Newmarket, Parnell and Ponsonby.

Tamaki Drive runs along Auckland’s waterfront to the Eastern suburbs and is a favourite place for beach-goers, joggers and cyclists. You’ll find more great beaches on Auckland’s North Shore. Take a ferry from Downtown to Devonport or any of the stunning islands in the Waitemata Harbour, including Rangitoto (volcano), Waiheke (with its excellent beaches and vineyards) or Kawau. Auckland’s beautiful central-city parks include Albert Park, Victoria Park, Auckland Domain, Cornwall Park and the Parnell Rose Gardens.


Annual Auckland events

As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland has hosted a number of high-profile international events, including the Commonwealth Games, the America’s Cup yachting regatta, the Volvo Ocean Race, the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the ITU World Cup Triathlon in 2012. Every year, a range of sporting, arts and cultural events take place in Auckland. Here are just some of them:

  • ASB Bank Classic and Heineken Open Tennis.
  • Auckland Anniversary Weekend Regatta.
  • Auckland Folk Festival.
  • Auckland International Film Festival.
  • Auckland Marathon.
  • Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.
  • Celebration of Performing Arts Week.
  • Chinese New Year Lantern Festival.
  • Devonport Food & Wine Festival.
  • Diwali Indian festival of lights.
  • Fashion Week.
  • Music in Parks free open-air concerts.
  • National Dragon Boat Festival.
  • New Zealand International Comedy Festival.

Maps and location

For information on where to find us, how to get to the Owen G Glenn Building and parking options, please visit our Maps and location section.


Useful links

We have provided a range of links to websites that you can explore to find out more about what you can do while in Auckland:

Visit our Useful links page