Central Auckland is the central business district and central suburbs of Auckland, located on the Auckland isthmus between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours. With its range of accommodation, attractions, restaurants, bars and transport links, it’s the part of Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, where most visitors base themselves and spend the most time.


The Auckland isthmus was settled by Māori around 1350. The central business district (CBD) on the shore of the Waitemata Harbour is where the first European settlement of Auckland began in 1840. It was the capital of New Zealand from 1841 to 1865, when Wellington became the capital, and the Old Government House still stands, now part of the University of Auckland. Central Auckland is the part of wider Auckland that was known as "Auckland City" and governed by the Auckland City Council until 2010, when the region-wide Auckland Council replaced it.

Get in

The Britomart Transport Centre on the corner of Queen St and Customs St near the waterfront in the CBD is the final arrival/departure point for the Auckland Transport (AT) train network that links Central Auckland with South Auckland and West Auckland. It is the main information centre for public transport, where you will find free bus, train and ferry schedules. Timetables can also be downloaded from the AT website.

The ferry terminal is across Quay St from Britomart and has connections to a number of points on the North Shore. There are also a few ferry services to West Auckland and South Auckland.


The modern extension of Auckland Art Gallery, completed in 2011
Māori carving in Auckland War Memorial Museum
Historic aircraft at MOTAT

Historic homes

All these homes have at least some gardens that the public can wander through.



There are a number of sometimes-crowded family beaches with a good range of shops lining the shore along Tamaki Drive in the upmarket suburbs of Mission Bay and St Heliers. Swimming is safe.   Mission Bay Beach is Auckland's equivalent of Los Angeles' Venice Beach or Santa Monica, and is extremely popular on a hot summer's day. To its east,   Kohimarama and St Heliers beaches are usually less crowded.   Ladies Bay, to the east of St Heliers, has historically been a nudist-friendly beach, but is frequented by regular beachgoers too, and is accessible by a 5 min walk down from the cliff-top road.



Britomart is the up-and-coming fashion centre of Auckland, home to local designers and international brands.

The High Street/Vulcan Lane/O'Connell Street area is another popular fashion centre. Look out for womenswear in Ruby, Moochi, Ricochet, Karen Walker and Agatha Paris French Fashion Jewelley as well as many other international brands. For menswear, visit Little Brother, Crane Brothers, and World Man. For New Zealand and international brands in both mens and womenswear, see Workshop, Brave, Browns and Fabric, along with Ashley Ardrey for shoes.

Made on Customs St West (parallel to Quay St, near to the Britomart transport centre). Recently, some of New Zealand's notable designers moved their flagship stores into this new Britomart precinct, including Zambesi, World and Kate Sylvester.

On Ponsonby Rd, find womenswear in Zambesi, Karen Walker, World, Cybele, Sera Lily, Miss Crabb, Hepburn, Jaimie stocking local and international brands (Vivienne Westwood), IsaKelle, and various other stores, including Sybella for shoes.

K' Rd (short for Karangahape Rd) has cultural stores such as Third Eye (Indian), Buana Satu (Polynesian), vintage stores like Fast and Loose and Vixen (St Kevin's Arcade), designer stores like Girl and Vicky Sudarath (both St Kevin's Arcade) and Adrian Hailwood. Across the road from St Kevin's, find Illicit (closing after Jan 2016) and Miss Illicit.

Newmarket has outposts of the many stores listed above, as well as a few others. Nuffield St is home to Lucy Boshier (a local designer), Trelise Cooper Kids (upscale kids clothing from the New Zealand designer), and Superette (predominantly Australian designers). Look to Teed St for Drop Dead Gorgeous – offering brands such as Stella McCartney, Chloe and 3.1 Phillip Lim and Muse offering international labels such as Diane von Furstenburg, James Perse, and Rebecca Taylor. stenbeck&morse stocks directional New Zealand and Australian labels such as Jimmy D, Cybele, Deborah Sweeney and Josh Goot.

Freyberg Place, an Auckland shopping plaza


New Zealand Maritime Museum

Britomart Precinct on the waterfront in the city centre is home to an array of popular and diverse bars and eateries: Agents + Merchants, Cafe Hanoi, Tyler St Garage, Ebisu, Britomart Country Club, Mexico to name a few. Viaduct Harbour provides upmarket dining, starting at $30 for mains. Some of the establishments there have a reputation for sub-par food and service for the high price. For kosher food, the Auckland Jewish Community Centre, which includes the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, has a kosher shop located on Greys Ave in the CBD (next to the Duxton Hotel) and is open every day except Mondays, Saturdays and Jewish festivals. It stocks a large range of kosher products.

There are some good cheap food courts offering a variety of usually Asian foods. For downtown food halls, try next to the Queens' Arcade at the bottom of Queen St (slightly hidden entrance), or the Metro award-winning one at the bottom of Albert St. The Ponsonby International food court has the cheapest eats in this somewhat pricey neighbourhood with the Mexican stall a standout among the Asian stalls.






There's a high concentration of bars in the Viaduct area near the waterfront.





Auckland Hilton & Princes Wharf with Sky Tower in background

Stay safe

Auckland is generally a fairly safe place. Be careful in these areas:

Karangahape Road (K Rd): A large number of pubs and clubs are located here, and care should be taken late at night.

Queen Street: During the day, this is a respectable shopping area, and after dark, there are usually still a large number of pedestrians and traffic until the early hours of the morning so the area it is relatively safe. On Friday and Saturday nights, there are typically many heavily intoxicated people wandering up and down the street. Some may seem intimidating, but they are usually more interested in getting to their next drinking destination than anything else. An increasing number of homeless people sleep around this area, but they are unlikely to bother you except a plea for loose change.

Fort Street: Once the centre of Auckland's red light district. Fort Street is now considered backpackers street with 3 major backpackers' hostels calling it home. During the day you can drink at one of Fort Streets many cafes and dance the night away in one of Fort Streets many bars.

High Street/Vulcan Lane: During the day, this is an elegant and upmarket shopping area. At night, it gets quieter, but on weekends, there will be a large young crowd at the various bars and clubs along the street, and is usually quite safe. Police regularly patrol this street on weekends for disorderly drunk youths.

Viaduct Harbour: Many bars are located here, and care should be taken late at night as intoxication levels rise.


There are many internet cafes in the CBD with prices ranging from $1 per half an hour to $5 per hour. Free internet is available from the public library (limited 100MB per IP address per day). There is also free Wi-Fi in the Skycity food courts. There are 40 HotSpots that offer Wi-Fi connectivity, most notably Esquires cafe (inside Skycity Queen St, Middle Queen St, Lower Queen St, Nelson St), Starbucks (Victoria St, K' Rd, Lower Queen St) and other cafes around Auckland.

Other notable cafes include HTC Internet Cafe at 63 Wakefield St.

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