Can you really claim you holidayed in New Zealand without visiting Auckland? We are talking about one of the most vibrant cities the southern hemisphere has to offer. Situated on the north part of North Island, you’ll quickly learn that the region of Auckland is blessed with beach, park and & island attractions to keep you occupied throughout your travels. Here’s a look at 17 of the best things to do in Auckland!
Enjoy 360˚ City Views from the Sky Tower!
It’s one of the main attractions in Auckland city. The tallest structure in the country. Climb up a 328-meter tall skyscraper to experience stunning views of the cityscape from a unique vantage point. Dine at the slowly rotating restaurant or go for the bungee jumping option from a height of 192 meters or maybe both – perhaps not in that order. The Sky Tower is worth including in your list of things to do in Auckland just for the incredible views alone.
Explore the Lego Exhibition at the Auckland Museum
From daily cultural shows to diverse exhibit displays – museum lover or not, you’re in for a real treat. Situated close to downtown Auckland, this eclectic museum is one of the best Auckland attractions. It’s full of different collections of well-organised displays, interactive sessions – even a war memorial. Under each category, which includes intriguing topics like Lego and dinosaur exhibitions, volcano and earthquake rooms, crucial Maori and pacific collections. There’s much to explore.
Spend a day at the beautiful Rangitoto Island
Explore the volcanic island of Rangitoto and its natural marvels. Take a ferry to Rangitoto (travel time – 30 minutes) in the Hauraki Gulf. Learn much about the island on the ferry ride, and prepare to trek the incredible nature trails on the island of Rangitoto. Go bird watching, fishing, and even summit the mountain to enjoy the scenic views. Maybe even go for a swim. A definite add-on to your list of things to do in Auckland.
Click here to check out our guide on “Things to do in Raglan”
Climb the volcanic Mount Eden
Let’s journey to the highest volcanic peak in the Auckland mainland. Take a 10-minute drive from central Auckland to Mt Eden to observe the breathtaking views of downtown Auckland and the Auckland Harbour. The trek itself is beautiful. It will take approx. 30-40 minutes to climb up and down the slightly steep trail. There’s a spacious car park. Worth adding to your list of things to do in Auckland.
Enjoy bird-watching in the Cornwall Park
Just 10-minutes from Auckland Central and 5-minutes from Mount Eden, you will find this lovely and spacious urban park waiting to be explored. From delightful bike trails to walk paths, explore the varying landscape and the famous One Tree Hill. From avenues of large trees to open space grassy hills, you can enjoy climbing soft hills and far-stretching views of the lush spaces – maybe even a bit of bird watching. Picnic tables and BBQ spots are available too.
Explore the amazing Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium
This famous Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium is found next to Okahu Bay Wharf, about 20-minutes from the city. It is famously known for being the only aquarium in New Zealand that homes sub-Antarctic penguins. Dive straight into a Shark Tank to go snorkelling alongside 14 massive sharks if you dare! If you prefer feathered species over fins, get close and personal with the adorable Gentoo Penguins. It’s all about the southern ocean-dwelling sea life here!
Hoist sails and go on a cruise at the New Zealand Maritime Museum
Explore Auckland’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum. Nestled in the Auckland Harbour – just ten minutes from the City Centre. Learn about the ancient Pacific Ocean navigators and their great voyage stories. Take an Auckland harbour cruise in one of the heritage vessels. Help the crew hoist the sails and enjoy the Auckland skyline. The Museum has some well-presented exhibits, ship-artefacts, super cool interactive sessions and much more. Worth visiting!
Explore the rich bird life at Tiritiri Matangi Island
Explore this unspoilt island of pure natural beauty. Get on a ferry and take a 20-minute ride from Auckland across the Hauraki Gulf to visit this small yet wondrous island. Bird lovers and wildlife lovers are going to find this island an absolute treat. From rare feathered species like blue penguins, North Island Robins, Rurus and other native wildlife like tuataras. Spend a good 3-4 hours exploring and enjoying the coastal views around the island.
Get your dose of peace & relaxation at Domain Wintergardens
Explore this lush green park space that is located smack bang in the middle of the city near Auckland’s CBD. It is one of the best botanic gardens you can visit. Have a peaceful walk around the park and enjoy nature at its finest. Visit the fernery and the greenhouses and the stunning Winter Garden. This garden also has a war memorial which you can drop by. A perfect place to get some good tree therapy and even have a lovely picnic.
Get Artsy at the famous Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
If you enjoy compelling visual art, this is the gallery to visit. Located in the middle of the city, right next to the lovely Albert Park. This art gallery is four floors of pure creativity. Nearly 7-centuries of art are housed in this incredible art gallery. Each one is different from the other. A combination of innovation, sounds, and colour explosion before you. From traditional to contemporary pieces, local and international. An absolute must add to your list of things to do in Auckland – especially on a rainy day.
Enjoy a lazy summer holiday at the Mission Bay Beach
Located approx. 20-minutes from central Auckland, Mission Bay Beach is one of the calmest and scenic Auckland waterfronts you will witness while in Auckland. A lazy beach stroll is a must, as it offers the perfect setting for that. Clean sandy shores and grassy spaces, perfect for a picnic. The area has many restaurants and cafes in case you get hungry. If you want to shake off the exhaustion of exploring, here’s a perfect place to come relax.
Indulge in the finest food & wine at the Matakana Village
If you are a foodie – the Matakana Village Farmers Market is a must. A paradise of a large variety of home-grown delicacies and spectacular wine tours. Located just one hour from Auckland City, this trip is going to put your taste buds in heaven. Visit on the weekend. That’s the time the famous farmers market will be open. The stalls are packed with fresh and organic produce and cheese. Even book yourself a lovely vineyard tour, and indulge in some award-winning wine tasting.
Swim with the incredible sea life at the Goat Island
This island is an hour and 20-minutes from Auckland city (with transfers from mainland to the island included) in the north shores within the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve, the Goat Island is famously known for being New Zealand’s first marine reserve. Grab the snorkel gear and go swimming with marine life, go sea kayaking or use a clearyak which provide a glass bottom for you to observe the water world. It’s going to be quite an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy spectacular views from the Manukau Heads Lighthouse
Here you have the lighthouse and the signal platform to see. There’s plenty of parking space – but be ready to experience a little climb too. Located nearly one and half hours away from Auckland, more on the west coast area. The coastal sceneries that await you from the moment you start your climb to the time you make it to the top are absolutely breathtaking. If you have the time, Awhitu Regional Park is about 30 minutes from the lighthouse.
Enjoy a day at the Auckland Zoo
Located just 10-minutes from the city centre, this is a great place to come with kids. Witness many exotic and native wildlife in their well-maintained spacious enclosures. Set within 17 hectares of lush park space – it’s perfect for you to get up and close with some adorable giraffes, rhinoceros. Witness the majestic tigers, lions and other beautiful apex predators, and more!
Enjoy a lovely picnic at Albert Park
You will find this lovely little park smack bang in the middle of Auckland’s CBD. This scenic landscape comes with plenty of botanical beauty and charming sculptures and fountains, and all things that make a park an absolute verdant enchantment. A perfect place in the city to immerse in scenic surroundings, have a picnic and just chill – almost like you’re away from the bustling city.
Wine, Dine and Explore the beauty of Waiheke Island
If dipping in a beautiful beach and having a chilled island vacay is on your list of things to do in Auckland, then the stunning Waiheke Island awaits. Board a ferry to start your day trip at Waiheke Island. The travel to the island might take about 2-hours from mainland Auckland. However, the Waiheke Island offers lovely vineyard tours – which includes wine tasting tours too. Some incredible nature treks and beach stays and a memorable island stay all together.
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