Auckland. This city is awesome

The Wynyard Quarter. Photo: Brett Phibbs

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".
The Top 10 Cities were independently nominated by more than 500 authors and staff of Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.

The entry is written by Brett Atkinson, who is based in Auckland but has visited more than 70 countries and had stories published on more than 45.
He has written several Lonely Planet country guides, including for Sri Lanka, Thailand and Tasmania.
Auckland marketing expert Graham McGregor said such an award from a brand such as Lonely Planet would do wonders for tourism.
"Any time somebody who's not you says you're good, that's much better than you saying you're good. You have someone ... endorsing you, saying you're the tenth best city in the world to travel to; that's a great feather in the cap and the council should definitely use that in their marketing."
The book labels restaurants Ortolana, Cafe Hanoi and Mexico Food & Liquor as trendsetters, while Al Brown's Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar is a "true Auckland experience".

The owner of Vietnamese restaurant Cafe Hanoi, Tony McGeorge, said: "Lonely Planet is an extremely high-profile publication and I would think they have significant impact on the way in which people choose a place to go.
"It's a nice thing to hear. I think Auckland is becoming a far more tourist-orientated city and people are seeing Auckland as a destination in its own right as opposed to a gateway to the wider New Zealand areas."
The Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, said the accolade for the city was well deserved.
"The work we are doing to make Auckland a fabulous place to live and visit is paying off and putting Auckland on the map."
Brett O'Riley, chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed), said the recognition added weight to the city's marketing efforts to attract domestic and international visitors.
Ateed aims to double the contribution from the visitor economy to $6 billion by 2021.
To coincide with the Lonely Planet accolade, Ateed posted a YouTube clip featuring comments from proud Aucklanders, including Simon Gault, Carol Hirschfeld, Kerre McIvor, Sir John Kirwan and Jeremy Corbett.
Lonely Planet's Asia Pacific sales and marketing director, Chris Zeiher, said Auckland's inclusion in the list was a testament to the sustained reinvention of the harbourside city.
It follows several other destination accolades in the past year, including Lonely Planet's current New Zealand guide labelling the Hauraki Gulf and its islands and the city the top two New Zealand experiences

Why we love this city

Sir John Kirwan
Coach of Auckland-based Blues

"You've got this contrast - you can be drinking coffee in the city and 25 minutes later, you're in the forest, you're at the beach.
"You've got to come down to this beautiful city and find out for yourself why Auckland is one of the greatest cities in the world."

Carol Hirschfeld

"I love Auckland because it's compact, yet cosmopolitan. There are beautiful parks, great places to eat. I can't imagine living anywhere else. Lonely Planet, best in travel - exactly what Auckland deserves."

Jeremy Corbett
7 Days host

"You've got a bit of volcano action so there's a little bit of danger. For me, I'd say it's the number of ATMs. When you come to Auckland, as I'm sure you will, look me up, we'll have a tea and a scone.
"Catch yourself lunch, a little bit of snapper, yummy."

Simon Gault
MasterChef judge and restaurateur

"Hallelujah for Auckland ... I mean, Auckland is surrounded by water ... the vineyards, islands. While you're here, be damned sure you get out on a boat.
"This city is awesome."

Kerre McIvor
Radio host

"Well look at it, it's got absolutely everything. We're a beautiful, multicultural city that's welcoming of everybody.
"Come and visit Auckland and see one of the world's top-10 cities."

Autor: Alanah Eriksen

Wellington to Auckland

Autor: Alexander Efimov·