Discover Auckland’s local culture when studying abroad
Between two harbors, Auckland is a beautiful city on New Zealand’s North Island with a rich culture you should explore while you’re studying at The University of Auckland. From the city’s skyscrapers and glistening waters to thermal springs, rainforests, and beaches all nearby, here’s how to get to know the city’s cultural heart when you visit as an SAF Scholar.
Auckland is home to some amazing Māori cultural experiences, giving you an insight into the culture and heritage of New Zealand. At Waitematā Harbour, you can go Waka sailing to learn about Māori sailing traditions and hear tales of epic journeys across the Pacific. Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum to see an incredible cultural performance, which includes the world-famous haka. If you take a ferry to Waiheke Island, regular guided walking tours give you an insight into the country’s Māori history.
Rugby is an integral part of New Zealand culture, and Auckland is the spiritual home of the country’s national rugby team, the All Blacks. Famous for being one of the most successful international sporting teams in the world, the All Blacks are also known for their black jersey and intimidating haka, performed before every match. Many players are local to Auckland, so and if you’re studying in Auckland, look out for an All Blacks match at the city’s Eden Park stadium.
Lord of the Rings
The film trilogy and The Hobbit film by New Zealand director Peter Jackson has had an enormous impact on tourism. Auckland is often the first stop for international travelers coming to New Zealand looking for Middle Earth. If you’re a fan of the films, then you can take a Lord of the Rings day trip tour from Auckland to the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata and Hairy Feet Waitomo. You can also visit the Weta Workshop Unleashed in Auckland city center, which is both a behind-the-scenes tour and a creative workshop by the film studio who created the Lord of the Rings set. Don’t skip the Wētā Cave souvenir shop for giant Lord of the Rings creatures you can take a selfie with.
At 328 meters, this is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and is an iconic landmark building in Auckland. Built in the 1990s as a telecommunications tower, Sky Tower also has two observation decks, a revolving restaurant and a bungee jumping platform. You can also do a skywalk around the outside perimeter. Visit for amazing 360° views and see it lit up at night in a variety of colors.