Auckland has rated alongside San Francisco, Toronto, and London as one of the top gay-friendly cities in the world, with an unmissable pride festival.

Dubbed "a safe and welcoming place for LGBT tourists to explore", Auckland has won a place in travel company Lonely Planet's new Guide to Pride.

The new guide book features information on the top 20 gay-friendly cities around the world, including the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) scene and the annual gay pride celebrations, as well as the usual sightseeing, accommodation and food offerings.

Auckland's Pride Festival sees a "spectacular parade" of more than 50 floats, as well as galas, workshops and parties, culminating in the Big Gay Out, the guide says, branding it a "not-to-be-missed day of music and celebrating".


"New Zealand is well known for being progressive and LGBT rights are no exception," the guide says.

"As early as 2004 the Civil Union Act was passed, and in 2013, in a momentous vote, Parliament awarded same-sex couples the right to marry. Footage of the announcement went viral on YouTube when the public gallery broke into a spontaneous, moving rendition of the traditional Maori love song, 'Pokarekare Ana'."

However, it warns that "homophobia still exists in pockets outside big cities," but says New Zealand is generally safe and welcoming for the LGBT community.

It touts "over 70 gay-owned B&Bs nationwide and some of the planet's most stunning scenery to enjoy".

The guide also recommends restaurants and bars in popular Karangahape Rd and Ponsonby Rd areas, in the heart of Auckland's gay scene, as well as advising tourists not to miss out on a trip to Waiheke Island or a walk up Mt Eden.

"Some cities think they're tough by living in the shadow of a volcano, but Auckland's built on 50 of them (with a reservoir of magma 100km below) and they're not all extinct!" it states.

Cities featured in Guide to Pride (alphabetical order):

• Amsterdam, Netherlands
• Atlanta, USA
• Auckland, New Zealand
• Berlin, Germany
• Buenos Aires, Argentina
• Cape Town, South Africa
• Dublin, Ireland
•London, UK
• Madrid, Spain
• Melbourne, Australia
• New York City, USA
• Paris, France
• Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
• Reykjavík, Iceland
• San Francisco, USA
• Sao Paulo, Brazil
• Sydney, Australia
• Taipei, Taiwan.
• Toronto, Canada
• Vancouver, Canada


(Source: Lonely Planet)