Auckland is split into regional areas, all of which contain a large number of suburbs.
- Auckland City – Central
- North Shore City – North
- Waitakere City – West
- Manukau City – South and East
- Papakura District – South East
Auckland City is split into six different wards:
- Avondale-Roskill – West of the city – commuting difficult
- Eden-Albert – Close to central, to west of the city – commuting easy to difficult
- Western Bays – Very central – commute easy
- Hobson – Very central, to south east – commuting easy to difficult
- Eastern Bays – East of the city – commuting difficult
- Tamaki-Maungakiekie – South of the city – commuting extremely difficult
- Waiheke Island – Central city – commute by boat – not its own ward, but included for completeness
Avondale, Blockhouse Bay, Lynfield, New Windsor, Hillsborough, Three Kings, Waikowhai, Mount Roskill, Sandringham, Wesley, Waterview.
For those wishing to live close to the city without the huge expense, these more westerly suburbs are a great alternative. They are close enough to feel central, whilst being far enough away to have their own regional feel. Commuting from all of these suburbs will be difficult if driving. Some may be close enough to the city to walk or cycle to work depending upon your work location and there is also the easy option of catching the train.
Avondale College, New Windsor School, Lynfield College, Mount Albert Grammar, Mount Roskill Grammar, Marcellin College, Marist College, St. Peter’s College, Blockhouse Bay Primary, Chaucer Primary, St. Dominics Primary and Marshall Laing Primary School, Blockhouse Bay Intermediate School, Green Bay High School
Foodtown/Countdown – St Lukes, Three Kings –Blockhouse Bay, Lynfield
New World – Mt Roskill
Wide range of all ethnicities covered, including pizza, Indian, Chinese and Thai.
Hollywood Cinema, Avondale
Avondale Racecourse, Western Indoor Sport, Avondale College Stadium, Avondale Bowling Club, Lynfield Recreation Centre, Mt Albert Recreation Centre, Cameron Pool, Avondale Golf Club, Maungakiekie Golf Club, Akarana Golf Club, Paradice Ice Skating
Balmoral, Morningside, Mount Albert, Mount Eden, Owairaka, Kingsland.
Commuting by car will be fairly easy from most of these suburbs, however, public transport will be easier, and walking or cycling are also options. Eclectic suburbs in the heart of everything but still with their own unique feel. Great restaurants and bars, with suburbs such as Mount Eden and Kingsland attracting a younger crowd of professionals. Expect to pay more for houses in this area due to it being in the ‘grammar zone’.
St Peter’s College, Dilworth School, Diocesan School For Girls, St Cuthbert’s College, Epsom Normal School, Marcellin College, Auckland Normal Intermediate, Auckland Grammar School, Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, Balmoral School, Maungawhau, Balmoral Seventh-day Adventist School, Mount Albert Grammar School, Marist College
Countdown – Mt Eden
Excellent range of restaurants and bars, especially in Mount Eden village and Kingsland. Everything from top class Indian to classic European through to amazing fresh gelato bars.
Capitol Cinema Balmoral, Sky City St Lukes (Kingsland)
Eden Park, YMCA Mt Albert, Eden-Roskill Cricket Club, College Rifles Sports Club, Mt Albert Croquet Club, Mt Eden Hockey Club, Archery Adventures Mt Eden, Mt Green Archery Club Mt Albert.
Western Bays suburbs
Grey Lynn, Newton, Western Springs, Point Chevalier, Westmere, Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Freemans Bay, Saint Marys Bay.
St. Mary’s Bay and Herne Bay are two of Auckland’s most upscale suburbs, while Pt Chevalier is more up-and-coming. All are attractive thanks to their beachside location as well as their proximity to Auckland City’s shops and amenities. Herne Bay and St. Mary’s Bay residents are close to the buzz of Ponsonby and are not far from downtown, but enjoy a much more peaceful and suburban environment.
Public transport is available but not frequently used. Residents are close to the city and in Pt. Chev, access to the motorway is nearby. Commuting by car will be fairly easy from most of these suburbs, however, public transport will be easier, and walking or cycling are also options.
Numerous parks and beaches provide plenty of open space. These areas tend to attract successful, professional Kiwis and wealthier expats. Many of the houses are grand old restored villas, with the occasional modern mansion. Space is at a premium, however, so most houses are very close together, streets are narrow and parking is very difficult if you do not have your own off-street parking. Grey Lynn, on the Western side, caters to an artier, more creative crowd with many ad agency and TV employees. Residents are close to the city while their neighbourhoods boast many amenities.
Western Springs College, St. Mary’s College, Auckland Girls Grammar School
New World – Victoria Park, Woolworth’s – Grey Lynn
A wide selection of upscale eateries and cafes along Jervois Road. Close to Ponsonby Road as well. A small selection of cafes in Pt. Chev.
Westhaven Marina, Cox’s Bay Reserve, Herne Bay Golf Club, Pier Sports Centre Herne Bay, Pompallier Tennis Club
Auckland CBD, Epsom, Greenlane, Newmarket, One Tree Hill, Parnell, Remuera, Mechanics Bay, Grafton, Newton.
These central city suburbs offer all the amenities of city living with many suburbs, for example Parnell, also having their own unique village atmospheres. Residents are close to everything – Britomart station, public transport, a wealth of shopping and dining options, live music, theatre, museums and more. Some suburbs in the city central area are perfect for families – particularly Remuera which for many New Zealanders represents the epitome of “making it”. Many families choose Remuera, Newmarket, Epsom and parts of Mt. Eden so their children will be ‘in-zone” for the highly coveted Auckland Boy’s Grammar and Epsom Girls’ Grammar Schools. Most of Auckland’s top private schools are also nearby. Remuera Road offers a long commercial strip. Accommodation ranges from high-rise and waterfront apartments, to townhouses, modern mansions and restored villas. The landscape boasts plenty of parks and greenery and a waterfront stretching from the Central City to The Eastern Suburbs. There is never a feeling of being “boxed in”. The central city suburbs are popular with young professional expats looking to enjoy the benefits of city life.
Commuting by car will be fairly easy from some of these suburbs and a nightmare from others. Walking or cycling is an option for some suburbs close to the CBD. Epsom, Greenlane, One Tree Hill are all going to be fairly difficult, the others are very easy and extremely central.
Expect to pay more for houses in this area due to it being in the ‘grammar zone’.
St Peter’s College, Dilworth School, Diocesan School For Girls, St Cuthbert’s College, Epsom Normal School, Marcellin College, and Auckland Normal Intermediate. The most notable public schools are Auckland Grammar School and Epsom Girls’ Grammar School.
Foodtown – Britomart, Foodtown – Newmarket, New World – Victoria Park, New World – Remuera, Countdown – Greenlane, Foodtown – Mt Eden
Every type imaginable, especially along the Waterfront, on Queen Street, on Parnell Road and Ponsonby Road
Sky City Downtown, Rialto Newmarket, Sky City Newmarket
Viaduct Harbour, Newmarket Leisure Centre, Olympic Pool Newmarket, Victoria Park, Auckland Domain, Auckland Tennis Club, Parnell Tennis Club, Eden Park, College Rifles Rugby Club, Remuera, Remuera Golf Course, Remuera Rackets Club, Eden Epsom Tennis Club
Eastern Bays suburbs
Mission Bay, Kohimarama, Saint Heliers, Orakei, Glendowie, Meadowbank, Saint Johns.
Lifestylers who want to remain close to the city flock to the “Eastern Suburbs” of Orakei, Kohimarama, Mission Bay, St Heliers and Glendowie. Residents here are close a scenic, 15-minute waterfront drive away from the city (or up to 60 minutes at ‘rush hour’) and the train runs through Orakei and Meadowbank. At the same time, these neighbourhoods offer restaurants, movie theatres and miles and miles of white sandy beachfront. Parks are everywhere, both along the water and tucked into the neighbourhoods that dot the beachside hills. These areas are popular with expats from the UK, Canada and the USA. Accommodation ranges from modest state houses to clifftop mansions and even a few apartment buildings along the water.
Commuting to the CBD by car from any of these suburbs will be horrendous. Public transport, cycling or walking will be quicker.
Glendowie College, Sacred Heart College, Selwyn College
New World – Eastridge and Mission Bay, Pak ‘N Save – Glen Innes (close to St. Heliers and Glendowie), Foodtown – Meadowbank
A handful of restaurants in Kohimarama and St. Heliers. A few ethnic places in Glendowie. A large strip of ocean-view restaurants in Mission Bay including Thai, Indian, Japanese and Italian, along with several cafes.
Berkeley Cinemas, Mission Bay
Tamaki Drive Waterfront, St Heliers Bowling Club, Glendowie Bowling Club, Glendowie Tennis Club, Tamaki Yacht Club, Kohimarama Yacht Club
Glen Innes, Point England, Tamaki, Panmure, Mount Wellington, Ellerslie. Otahuhu, Westfield, Southdown, Penrose, Oranga, Te Papapa, Onehunga, Royal Oak.
A mixture of state housing through to large estate type houses scatter this region, along with unexpected treasures such as the 25 hectare bird sanctuary in Point England. Each suburb varies vastly from the next in their demographic, and areas such as Otahuhu are generally very low down on the list of desirable areas to live and others, such as Westfield and Southdown are mostly industrial. This region of Auckland is also home to ‘Sylvia Park’, New Zealand’s largest mall, which includes all the major stores, plus a cinema, gym, restaurants and bars. Commuting to the CBD? Bring a book!
St Peter’s College, Carey College, St Patrick’s School, Bailey Road School, Stanhope Road School, Sylvia Park School, Selwyn College Baradene College of the Sacred Heart, One Tree Hill College, Oranga Primary School, Royal Oak Intermediate, Onehunga High School
Countdown – Airport, Onehunga, Sylvia Park
Lots of cheap and cheerful Indian, Chinese and Thai style restaurants. Not generally where you go for a special night out. Sylvia Park has some nice upmarket bars and restaurants.
Hoyts Sylvia Park
Ellerslie Racecourse, Mt Smart Stadium, Manukau Cruising Club, Otahuhu Badminton Club, Otara Athletics Club, Te Papapa & Onehunga Rugby Football Club,
Once home to hippies and retirees, this small island 30 minutes from Auckland City by ferry is now home to a few thousand lucky winemakers, olive growers, artists, writers and other work at home-ers and city commuters. Many people choose to live here year round, while others come for weekends and holidays. The lifestyle is laid-back, beach-casual with a focus on good food, good wine and good art. Residents here may be far from the hustle and bustle of the city, but they have enough options of the vibrant, small-town variety to keep them busy. There’s even a single-screen cinema on the island. Homes range from old-style beach “baches” to interesting architectural homes to large estates. Waiheke is popular with American and Canadian expats looking for a real “New Zealand lifestyle” experience. Commuting to the CBD from Waiheke is a breeze using the regular ferry service.
Waiheke High School. Many students commute to private schools near the city.
Cafes, pizza places, plus internationally acclaimed winery restaurants including Te Whau and Mudbrick
Waiheke Community Cinema
Waiheke Golf Club, Waiheke Cricket Club, Oneroa Bowling Club, Waiheke Boating Club
The Eastern Auckland suburbs of Howick, Bucklands Beach, Mellons Bay, Cockle Bay and Half Moon Bay are enormously popular with expats seeking safe, suburban neighbourhoods and a beach-close lifestyle. The area offers quaint-village-style shopping and dining as well as one of Auckland’s most ambitious and upscale malls, Botany Downs. Further east, the areas of Whitford and Clevedon offer an upscale rural lifestyle, while the small beachfront communities of Maraitai and Beachlands offer a real sense of being out of the city.
The Eastern Auckland lifestyle is largely centred on the water – Half Moon Bay marina is a haven for boaties, and connects residents with downtown Auckland via a 30-45 minute ferry ride. Further east, the Pine Harbour Marina serves Beachlands and the surrounding communities. Commute time to Auckland City can take over an hour during peak times, so the ferry ride is an option for some. East Auckland’s expat population includes a lot of South African and Chinese immigrants. Houses are primarily single-family, 30-40 year old homes, with the typical Auckland mega-mansions dotting the ocean front clifftops. There are also many developments of brand new homes in the Botany Downs area.
St. Kentigern’s College, Macleans College, Howick College
Foodtown Howick, Botany Downs, Pakuranga Countdown Howick, New World Botany Downs
Wide range of chain-style mall restaurants at and around Botany Downs, cafes and other eateries in Howick Village.
Berkeley Cinemas, Botany Downs
Lloyd Elsemore Park, Pakuranga Rugby Club, Half Moon Bay Marina, Pakuranga Golf Club, Howick Golf Club, Formosa Golf Resort, Howick Tennis Club
North Shore City
Like many of the best places to live in Auckland, North Shore City is dominated by the beach – from city-close suburbs of Birkenhead and Devonport, which are a short ferry ride from Central Auckland, to beachside neighbourhoods and towns like Takapuna, Milford, Campbells Bay, Castor Bay, Mairangi bay and more, stretching north along golden sands and rocky coves to Northland. The beachside suburbs are safe and family friendly, while the Whangaparoa Peninsula is popular with golfers and boat owners.
Matakana and Warkworth are increasing in popularity with lifestylers thanks to the opening of a new toll road connecting them to the southern parts of the region. There is also a large, dedicated bus lane stretching down from Albany. All of these are designed to cut down on commute times over the Harbour Bridge to the city, which can take around 15-20 minutes from suburbs such as Birkenhead or Devonport, to over an hour during rush hour for the more northerly suburbs.
North Shore houses run the gamut from glamorous, ocean view apartments and clifftop mansions to more modest, single family homes and state housing. The area is popular with expats, especially South Africans and English.
Rangitoto College, Westlake Boys Boys’ High School, Westlake Girls Girls’ High School
Foodtown – Glenfield, Mairangi Bay, Takapuna, Whangaparoa
New World – Albany, Birkenhead, Brown’s Bay, Devonport, Milford, Orewa, Takapuna, Warkworth
Countdown – Birkenhead, Brown Bay, Glenfield, Milford, Orewa
Pak ‘n Save – Wairau Park, Albany
Every town along the ‘Shore’ boasts a wide variety of cafes and upscale eateries. The Engine Room, frequently ranked as Auckland’s best restaurant, is in Northcote Point. The selection gets thinner as you travel up through Warkworth and Matakana.
Berkeley Cinemas Takapuna, Berkeley Cinemas Hibiscus Coast, Bridgeway Cinemas Northcote, Hoyts Wairu Park, Hoyts Forrest Hill, Sky City Albany, IconicCinemas Devonport
North Shore Events Centre, Activzone Glenfield, Beach Haven Sport Centre, Osborne Pool Birkenhead, North Shore Leisure East Coast Bays, North Shore Golf Club, Takapuna Golf Course, Golf Harbour Country Club, Mairangi Bay Tennis Club, Milford Tennis Club, Beach Haven Tennis Club
Nature lovers flock to West Auckland for a chance to actually live in a rainforest or along the spectacular West Coast beaches. The closest suburbs of West Harbour and surrounds are close to Auckland and offer a less-expensive city alternative. However, the more desirable Western suburbs are a bit further afield. The village of Titirangi has a wide range of shops, restaurants, banks and other amenities, but for those who choose to go all the way to the ocean, the lifestyle can be a bit isolated, without a restaurant for miles and no shops except for a general store. There is little public transportation and commutes into the city are long, taking up to an hour or more from the beachside communities. Still, if you love black sand beaches that stretch for miles, crashing waves and lush greenery, the area can’t be beaten. Prices in Titirangi and other Western suburbs are also much lower than comparable suburbs in Central Auckland and even the North and East. Houses include funky cabins in the Waitakeres to beachside “baches” and luxury homes. The area is popular with expats who don’t mind the long commute and love the scenery and bargain prices.
Green Bay High School
Countdown – Henderson and Westgate, Woolworths – Helensville and Te Atatu, Foodtown – Te Atatu
South, New World – Green Bay
A few cafes and restaurants in Titirangi. Very little at the beaches. Lots of great vineyards in the Kumeu area with fantastic a la carte food.
Sky City West City, Sky City Westgate
Titirangi Golf Course, Muriwai Surf School, Piha Surf Club, West Harbour Tennis Club
Manukau City & South Auckland
The desirable areas of South Auckland are quite a way out of Auckland City and most areas of South Auckland are generally right at the bottom of the list of desirable places to live, however, there are a some pockets of beauty, such as Cockle Bay on the east shores, and some expensive and very large building developments in the Howick region.
The best places to head to in South Auckland & Manukau City include the semi-rural areas around Papakura, Pukekohe and Karaka, areas around Howick, and the beachside towns around Waiuku. The South Auckland locations down towards Pukukohe and Waiuku are popular with people who want a quieter, country lifestyle with a slower pace – they are especially popular with people who own horses.
Manukau City is home to a large percentage of Maori, Pacific Island and Asian communities and is generally considered to be split by the motorway, with the poorer communities living to the west of the motorway and the more affluent living to the east.
The Southern Line of the train runs through Pukekohe, so public transport is an option. By car, downtown Auckland is over an hour away at non-rush hour times, therefore commuting to the central city by car will be horrendous and is not recommended.
There are very few shops and restaurants – although each area has a major supermarket, so there is no need to travel far to stock up on staples.
These areas are not particularly popular with expats with the exception of Karaka, which is attracting some seriously wealthy foreigners who live on large “lifestyle blocks.” Waiuku is a town of more modest beach homes; Papakura is a middle-class town in the country, while Pukekohe and Karaka boast many large estates including lots of land.
Private – The prestigious King’s College, and exclusive boys’ school, is in Otahuhu;
Public – Pukekohe High School, Papakura High School, Rosehill College
New World – Waiuku, New World – Papakura, Woolworths – Papakura, New World – Clendon Park
Waiuku has an Indian Restaurant, a pizza place and a fine dining restaurant as well as a few cafes. Pukekohe has Japanese, Thai and continental restaurants. Papakura has a few restaurants and cafes. There are some very nice, and extremely expensive restaurants along the eastern coves.
Sky City Cinemas Manukau
Papakura Public Golf Course, Pukekohe Golf Club, Karaka Golf Lodge, Waiuku Golf & Squash Club, Pukekohe Lawn Tennis Club, Runciman Equestrian Park, Pukekohe Motor Racing Track, Half Moon Bay Marina, Howick Sailing Club, Howick Bowling & Croquet Club, Howick Softball Club, Howick Sporting Rifle Club, Howick Amateur Athletic and Harrier Club, Waiuku Underwater Club