Auckland is New Zealand's biggest city and with the site of a major international airport, it's often a visitor's first view of this diverse country. Being one of the least densely populated cities in the world – at twice the size of London but with only 1.5million inhabitants – it's a pleasure to stroll around. From impressive art galleries to multicultural markets, and the island-studded Hauraki Gulf, Auckland is an excellent introduction to the fascinating heritage and natural beauty throughout New Zealand. Taken from the Auckland and around Rough Guides Snapshot, here are eight of the city's highlights:

1. Auckland Art Gallery: with an impressive NZ$90 million refit, Auckland’s Art Gallery now ranks as the best showcase for Kiwi art in the country.

2. Auckland Museum: the exemplary Maori and Pacific Island collection is the highlight of this popular museum.

Rainbow over Auckland

3. Devonport: stroll the streets of this refined waterside suburb where North Head provides wonderful harbour views.

4. Otara Market Island: print fabrics, veg stalls and a lot of life make this New Zealand’s finest multicultural market.

5. Karekare and Piha: swim, surf or simply laze on the black-and-gold sands of these wild, bush-backed beaches less than an hour from the city.

6. Rangitoto Island: make a day-trip to this gnarled lava landscape draped in pohutukawa forest with great views back to the city.

Takapuna Beach, Rangitoto Island, Auckland New Zealand

7. Great Barrier Island: step back in time to this compact, laidback land of golden beaches, mountain bushwalks, indented harbours and hot springs.

8. Tiritiri Matangi: enjoy close encounters with some of New Zealand’s rarest birds amid regenerating bush on one of the Hauraki Gulf’s prettiest islands.

You can buy the Auckland and around Rough Guides Snapshot for your device, costing just £1.99. If you want to explore more of New Zealand, buy the Rough Guide to New Zealand. Book hostels for your trip, and don't forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

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