Excellent news today that Lonely Planet has ranked Auckland as one of the best cities to visit.

Auckland has been rated one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit by travel bible Lonely Planet.

The city, which attracts 1.8 million foreign visitors a year, sits alongside iconic places including Paris, Zurich, Shanghai and Vancouver in the ninth annual Best in Travel guide, published today. The book highlights the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year.

Auckland was praised for its newly revitalised waterfront districts such as the Wynyard Quarter, and shopping and dining precincts such as the City Works Depot and Britomart.

Also singled out are black-sand beaches on the west coast, the Waitakere Ranges, Rangitoto Island, Waiheke Island, the 77km Hillary Trail, the SkyWalk atop Auckland’s Sky Tower and the refurbished Auckland Art Gallery.

“Auckland is often overlooked by travellers eager to head for the stellar alpine and lake landscapes further south, but food, arts and exploring the coastal hinterland are all excellent reasons to extend your stay in New Zealand’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city,” the book says.

Auckland’s many festivals and events, vibrant Maori and Pacific culture and impressive line-up of major sporting events also got a mention.

The only criticisms of the city of 1.4 million people are the traffic and the “inconsistent (but always entertaining) form of the Warriors”.

Photo: Chris McLennan www.cmphoto.co.nz

Auckland has some stunning natural beauty with a mix of harbours, islands, mountains, forests, beaches and rural areas which all combine to make the city extremely unique and it’s not surprising to see some of recognised. However it is the praise for the likes of the Wynyard Quarter and Britomart precincts that are the most interesting as they have been showing that Auckland does now have the ability to make some great urban spaces if we put our mind to it. Further as the lonely planet recognition shows, these spaces don’t just benefit locals but can also help tourism and that’s not just good for Auckland but for the whole country as it makes NZ as a whole a more interesting and viable destination.

What’s also notable about the urban areas mentioned is that they aren’t car free but that cars don’t have the same level impact as they do elsewhere. The focus has been improving the pedestrian realm rather than simply moving as many cars through the area as possible. As we have also seen with the shared spaces, this can have considerable positive impacts for nearby businesses. It really makes me wonder that if we are starting to get recognition for a few relatively small areas, just imagine what people will think if we can do other similar and great developments all over the CBD and city fringe. For example around the rest of Wynyard Quarter, around the Aotea, Karangahape Rd and Newton stations CRL stations and in fringe suburbs like Ponsonby, Newmarket and Parnell.

The quality of Wynyard is something picked up on by Brent Toderian who is currently visiting the city and who is speaking tomorrow night (although I think the event is full)

Number one on the list is unsurprisingly Paris which is a tourist mecca however it’s also worth noting one of the things being done to improve the city.

With a push to reduce the cars clogging one of Europe’s most congested cities, Paris has been reborn. Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoe has created more pedestrian-friendly areas, particularly along the riverbanks.

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  1. I thought people came to Auckland to enjoy the abundant and cheap car parking.
    If we want to move up the list we need to stop wasting money on rail and start investing in a car ferry to Rangitoto, build a new road (no footpath) to the top and create a lovely new car park at the top.

      1. I thought the next one would be a bridge/tunnel to Waiheke so those wanting to visit the vineyards don’t have to suffer the indignity of using PT to get there and can instead drive all of the way.

        1. Linking into the great Eastern Highway with an elevated motorway running down Queen Street too.

  2. Whats with all the blatant anti car talk. I thought the post was about creating urban spaces like wynyard which a crap load of people drive to.

    1. It’s a joke Richard.

      And yes a lot of people drive to Wynyard now however that is likely to change in the future as more development happens and builds out the carparks. Wynyard has a resource consent condition to have 70% of people arrive by means other than a car so what you see now is not what it will be in a few years.

    2. Quite right too. One should NEVER make anti-car comments even if it’s only in jest. Think of those with a delicate disposition.
      I hope you are recovering well?

  3. Let’s do more to highlight what we have.

    I work in Grafton, and regularly see tourists struggling to find their way to Mt Eden. I was thinking about this, and realised a Water – Mount – Museum walk (an oval), with upgraded pedestrian amenity and full signposting, would be a wonderful thing for locals and tourists alike.

    I think the boards would be supportive – which ones would cover these areas?

      1. And of course we don’t need signs at the Link stop on Parnell Road, directing tourists to the Domain and museum. After all, that’s what we have bus drivers for.

        1. You know you can’t walk from Parnell Rd to the museum without walking on the road? No footpaths! Plenty of road but not footpath. Right next to the blind institute too.

  4. I think that sign is the start of the Coast to Coast walkway(Viaduct to Onehunga), in Viaduct Harbour by the maritime museum.
    This goes via the Domain, Maungawhau and Maungakiekie. See http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/parksfacilities/walkingtracks/Pages/coasttocoast.aspx#map
    Unfortunately many of the signposts along the way have dissapeared. Eg once you get to Maungakiekie there seem to be none at all.
    Of course some upgraded paths owuldnt go amiss either. This goes through the dreadful Royal Oak Roundabout, and there is not ped crossing (not even refuge) along Manukau Road. Seems to be 1km between crossing points here (ie no refuges!)

  5. The city would definitely be more enjoyable for tourists if it was more walkable and lively at night with night markets, food stalls and the like. It’s what I tend to enjoy when overseas.

  6. Well this certainly flushes Lonely Planet’s credibility down the gurgler. I mean, come on… Wynyard Quarter? Sure it’s great for locals to go and check out what’s happening and take the kids with them, but there is absolutely nothing for tourists to do there. Wow, they can walk along a gantry. And go to a cafe. And maybe play on a playground. And… not a lot else.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, Auckland is an extremely mediocre tourist destination. Which explains why it’s so often overlooked.

    1. Yes agree in point that there needs to be more in wynnard than offices and restaurants. Great views, some good design, etc add to the appeal of the area. Quirky things like the free library also give it some memorability.

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