If you’ve ever been caught in a pub puzzle and wondering which city is the largest in New Zealand, look no further! In this piece, we take a hard look at New Zealand’s five largest cities and discover some excellent things to do in our largest cities.
While the beaches, lakes, mountains, and volcanoes get the most attention, New Zealand also has some very intriguing cities just waiting to be found. From the buzz and bustle of Auckland, surrounded by volcanoes, to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland with bubbling mud pools and towering geysers. The cities of New Zealand are diverse in terms of size and things to see and do.
New Zealand may not boast the largest cities in the world, but what they lack in scale they make up for in beauty and fantastic things to do! Check out this list of New Zealand’s five largest cities and the top three things to do in each of them!
AUCKLAND – The largest cities in New Zealand
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest metropolis, with little under 1.6 million people. It’s one of the top cities for shopping, eating, and entertainment. Auckland’s nightlife and restaurant scene is a significant appeal, with Michelin-starred restaurants and world-class fish & chips. Most love Auckland’s riverbank position, golden sand beaches, and marine life. Our top three Auckland activities:
- Auckland’s Sky Tower is a must-see. Find a lunch deal at the Orbit 360 restaurant to obtain entry to the observatory and meals in the rotating restaurant.
- Waiheke Island – Take a 40-minute ferry voyage to discover this gorgeous island. Waiheke’s vineyards and beaches make it a summer hotspot. Waiheke, our newest car rental location, launched in June 2022. We provide bike rentals and e-bikes in Waiheke, a terrific way to travel about.
- Mt Eden – so many volcanoes, so little time. Mt Eden gives wonderful views of the city and Rangitoto. Amazing.
WELLINGTON CITY IN NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand’s capital city is second on the list of major cities and is often called one of the ‘coolest’ in the world. Fonz-like!). Wellington is a windy but picturesque riverfront city. Wellington has New Zealand’s greatest museums and the World of WearableArt Show. Our top three Wellington activities are:
- Te Papa Museum is a must-see in Wellington. The museum documents New Zealand’s rich cultural past. Many of the exhibitions are free, making it a terrific spot for the whole family.
- Visiting Wellington’s Botanic Gardens is part of the enjoyment. Explore the magnificent gardens after riding the Kelburn Cable Car, which offers city views.
- With lush farmland to the north and the beach nearby, Wellington is a foodie’s delight.
Christchurch is New Zealand’s third-largest city. Christchurch is a city rich of parks and gardens, making it a great destination to visit in the fall and winter. Spring brings magnificent city colors. Christchurch is South Island’s largest city and an excellent destination to explore. Our top three Christchurch activities:
- Antigua Boatsheds – Christchurch has a decidedly English atmosphere, and you might easily imagine yourself in Oxford or Cambridge. Take a summer trek along the River Avon to see English culture. Lovely.
- The 2011 earthquake in Christchurch was devastating. Re: Start container city has emerged from the ruins as a flourishing business zone and great location to hang out.
- Ever envisioned a storm in Antarctica? At -18 C, it takes courage to rush into the shower. If not, watch the blue penguins or ride the Hagglund dog.
Hamilton, nicknamed ‘the Tron,’ is New Zealand’s fourth-largest city. Hamilton is the Waikato region’s main city. It’s a good stop between Raglan, Waitomo, and Taupo or Rotorua. People from all across the city flock to see the yearly hot air balloon festival. Our top three Hamilton activities:
- Hamilton Gardens is the city’s top attraction. Visit one of New Zealand’s nicest gardens when you’re in the area.
- The Waitomo Caves aren’t in Hamilton, although they’re a short trip away. It’s a fantastic experience to descend down to observe millions of glowworms at work.
- Hamilton Zoo – New Zealand doesn’t have many zoos, so if you enjoy animals, Hamilton is a great spot to visit.
Hawke’s Bay includes Napier and Hastings on the North Island’s east coast. It’s one of New Zealand’s major tourist attractions, attracting thousands annually. This place is busy. Most visitors stay in Napier, but Hastings and Havelock North are also popular. Hawke Bay is one of New Zealand’s premium viticulture zones and has several vineyards. 1931’s 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Napier and Hastings killed 256. The region celebrates its Art Deco heritage every year. Our top three Napier and Hastings activities are:
- Te Mata Peak is one of New Zealand’s most photographed landmarks. Te Mata Peak has hiking and bike paths, but you can drive to the summit to see the views. area’s beauty.
- It’s a crime not to explore one of Hawke Bay’s world-class vineyards. Even if you don’t like wine, the vineyard’s eateries and gift shops are worth a visit.
- Art Deco is a significant aspect of this region, and it’s fun to view the amazing structures created after the disaster. Take an organized tour or get a map from i-Site to self-guide.