Auckland sometimes gets a bad rap from the rest of the country, but New Zealand's most maligned city has been given a rave review by CNN.

Aussie CNN host James Williams visited our shores last month to experience 24 Hours in Auckland - showing that sometimes it's worth looking at a familiar setting through fresh eyes.

Auckland New Zealand - this month on #cnnin24hours #cnntravel #newzealand πŸ‰πŸ‡πŸŽΌπŸ₯ƒπŸŒ‹πŸ‘Œ

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Describing views that are "painted with the world's most hybrid hues", Williams says New Zealand's landscapes "inspire a sense of serenity and summon a sense of adventure."

Here are the Auckland attractions that he enjoyed during his visit:


Waiheke Island

It's Auckland's crown jewel, so there's no surprise that Williams makes his first sojourn to the little island in the Hauraki Gulf - by chopper, of course. Accompanied by Orphan's Kitchen chef Tom Hichen, he learns the ins and outs of oyster farming at Te Matuku Bay and manages to eat one fresh, if somewhat hesitantly.

After that, he's off for a tour of Waiheke's Maori history, with local filmmaker Paora Joseph, before ending the day in true Waiheke style - with a glass of wine on a beanbag at Cable Bay.

Harbour Bridge Bungee

Rather than taking on the terrifying drop from the Sky Tower, Williams opted for a bungee jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

After waxing lyrical about how "the Kiwis have really mastered the mix of spectacular scenery and heart stopping action," Williams can be seen in the thick of it - screaming as he falls and is splashed with water at the bottom.


It's no secret that New Zealanders love rugby and Williams is treated to a preseason match and backstage tour of the Blues training facility, with World Cup-winner Jerome Kaino as a knowledgeable guide.

A trip to the gym sees Williams trying out the official Kaino workout. However, he falls a little short of the 50 burpees that bookend the routine and receives a helping hand on a few presses.

White Island

Alright, it's not actually in the same city, but Williams pays a visit to White Island, "south of Auckland", to get up close and personal with New Zealand's only active volcano.

New Zealand's most active volcano on this month's episode of #cnnin24hours #cnntravel #newzealand

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Describing the volcano's "other-wordly landscape that most can only dream of experiencing," he's hit by the smell of sulpher immediately.

Following that, it's back to Auckland's west coast for a spot of clay bird shooting at Castaway Resort.


Williams also explores the musical heritage of Aotearoa, with special help from one of our most-loved musos, Neil Finn, at his own Roundhead Studios in Auckland.

When asked for ideas for a soundtrack to a New Zealand roadtrip, Finn suggests Flying Nun bands like the Chills and the Clean, for their "distinctly New Zealand sound", particularly when travelling around the South Island.

And when the topic of whether Crowded House are an Australian or a New Zealand band, Finn is diplomatic with his answer: "Isn't it nice to be part of both families?"

β€’Watch the full series here