I am 45mins north of Auckland. Definitely don't judge NZ by Auckland A NZ city will never compare to the unbelievable beauty that lies just beyond it. You might want to take a bus tour to the tip of the North Island, it is a big day trip and you can depart from the city centre. If you are renting a vehicle I highly recommend getting a GPS, NZ road signage will give you a nervous breakdown hehe. If you head up my way just let me know, there is a big nature reserve at the end of the peninsula I am on so I could take you on a hike through the Bush and up to some hills overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, auckland in the far distance (2hr walk maybe).. pretty neat. Just PM me.

Sean