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Auckland. Have you heard of it? Our best tip for a visit to the Big Smoke is to make like an Aucklander. The best way to see Auckland's cool secrets. Wandering around the Viaduct and going up the Sky Tower are all very well, but you'll get better memories travelling out of the CBD and into the surrounding suburbs. Mount Eden, for example, is free to climb and it's the same height as the Sky Tower. If only there was a casino inside it.

Mt Eden the suburb is brilliant, with plenty of interesting shops, but then most of the city fringe is like that: Ponsonby, Parnell, Newmarket. Each has its own flavour, and can definitely justify a morning of shopping followed by some lunch. Or, if you're feeling more adventurous, take a trip over that beautiful harbour bridge to Takapuna - it's like Ponsonby but with a decent beach, and fewer actors.

Speaking of beaches, it's worth including a day trip to Auckland's west coast while you're here. Rugged surf, black sand, awesome views.

There's plenty on the drive north of Auckland too. About an hour north is Matakana wine country, with a decent Saturday market and enough retail outlets to keep the poshest JAFAWAG happy. And if you love wine you must head over to Waiheke Island while you're here. Explore one of the best boutique wine regions in the country.

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