One of the most frequently visited places in New Zealand is Auckland. It is the country’s biggest city and has a lot to offer anyone travelling through or staying for a while. Here are our top recommendations for things to do in Auckland:
- Visit the Sky Tower – A definitive landmark against the Auckland skyline – this is a must-not-miss activity when in the city. It is surrounded by casinos and restaurants in an area called the Sky City. You can also do some unique activities such as the Sky Walk or the Sky Jump.
- Enjoy the sunset view at Viaduct – They call Auckland the City of Sails and the best place to see the stunning display of boats is on the harbour. Viaduct is also known for its collection of posh cafes and restaurants.
- Go shopping– Find world-class establishments and the best brands along Queen Street in Auckland CBD. Stock up on the latest fashion items at the stylish shopping districts of Britomart or High Street. TrycCity fringe shopping spots like Ponsonby and Newmarket. A little further away, big chain stores are all in one spot: Sylvia Park Mall. If outlet shopping is more your thing, Onehunga is the place to be.
- Spend a day in a park – There are many wonderful parks in Auckland. In the city, you’ll find Myers Park, Albert Park and Victoria Park. Just a few minutes’ drive away, you can find Auckland Domain which has a lovely winter garden. Take in the amazing view of the city from One Tree Hill in Cornwall Park.
- Visit the beach – There are many to choose from when you’re in Auckland. Close to the city, you’ll find Mission Bay, St Heliers and Takapuna as the top picks for beaches. In the west coast, beautiful black sand beach such as Piha, Te Henga and Karekare are a must-see. Just 20 minutes north of Auckland is Orewa’s 3km stretch of golden sand.
- Visit Kelly Tarlton’s Sealife Aquarium – There are many reasons to visit – it houses the world’s largest Antarctic penguin colony as well as the world’s only display of spiny sea dragons – the biggest species of stingray on the globe. Get up close with sharks and penguins with their Animal Adventure packages.
- Climb a volcano – Auckland was built on top of a volcano field with 48 volcanic cones giving the city its unique topography. Mount Eden is the city’s highest natural point with a 50-metre deep crater. It offers a breathtaking 360 view of Auckland. Mt Victoria in Devonport is another great spot for climbing a volcano.
- Be inspired – Whether you’re a history buff or an art lover, Auckland has many places that cater to these interests. We recommend visiting Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki which has over 15,000 classic and contemporary pieces on display. The Auckland Museum is perfect for a rainy day visit to learn about Maori history and much more. Interested in maritime history, there’s New Zealand Maritime Museum. Those who love trains and planes, need to check out MOTAT.
- Discover Weekend Markets – Different markets for arts and crafts, artisan food and much more pop up around Auckland at different times of the year (with some running year-round). Devonport has its Arts & Crafts market. Matakana is worth the 40-minute drive for the artisan food. Then there’s La Cigale – the French market in Parnell. In summer, the night market and food stalls set up in Silo Park where a free movie is also projected onto a silo.
- Plan a Day Trip – A few minutes’ drive out of the city can let you feel like you’re in a totally different world. A 40-minute drive to Puhoi Valley rewards you with a fantastic selection of cheese and wine. A trip to Goat Island gives you easy access to New Zealand’s top snorkeling and destination spots. 40 minutes on the road to Muriwai Beach lets you get a glimpse of a huge gannet colony resting on the rocky clifftops. 30 minutes on the ferry gets you to the wine island of Waiheke.
While most of these must-do activities can be reached by bus or by walking if you are staying in Auckland city, some do require you to drive out. Get an affordable Auckland rental car from Snap Rentals for your day trips.