Although widely referred to as the “city of sails” which tends to conjure up images of hot summer weekends surrounded by boats and various water based activities, the winter season in Auckland has just as much to offer with a vast array of sports events, attractions, activities, concerts, festivals and shows designed to delight and entertain visitors of all ages.
Auckland’s relatively mild temperatures, even in the midst of winter, are what make Auckland the perfect winter destination for a weekend getaway, self-drive holiday or family vacation. In just thirty minutes you can be sailing to one of the many remote Islands dotted around the coastline, trekking through a rain forest, sampling wines at a vineyard or exploring one of Auckland’s beautiful beaches.
What Makes Auckland Such A Great Winter Destination?
The Vibrant Atmosphere. Auckland has an extensive range of shops, malls, complexes, bars, cafes, nightclubs, venues and restaurants all within easy travelling distance of the city centre. Enjoy the switched-on cosmopolitan city environment that makes Auckland a world class destination year round.
Great Food And Wine. With access to award winning wines, world famous chefs and some of the best restaurants New Zealand has to offer, sampling New Zealand’s fabulous cuisine is a definite Auckland city highlight. New Zealand cuisine has a focus on fresh locally sourced produce, flavour fusions derived from its melting pot of cultures and being surrounded by water – the freshest seafood.
Mild Temperatures. Despite images of the snow-capped mountains and windswept valleys made famous by the Lord of the Rings films that spring to mind when thinking about New Zealand, it isn’t actually that cold in Auckland in winter. In comparison to the rest of New Zealand Auckland is definitely at the warmer end of the country, with average temperatures sitting about 14 degrees Celsius during the coldest months of June, July and August. Do pack a rain jacket though as the winter months can be quite wet!
Multiple Savings. Who doesn’t like to get great holiday deals? Travelling throughout New Zealand in winter can offer some pretty significant savings on rental cars, accommodation, airfares and even some attractions. Look out for special add-on deals from rental car companies or even relocation specials, discounted flights, early-bird restaurant offers and cheaper accommodation rates outside of the alpine/ski centered areas.
Fewer Crowds. Imagine walking along one of New Zealand’s stunning coastal beaches with the sand between your toes and the wind blowing through your hair and to top it all off you have the place all to yourself! There is something to be said for managing to escape the summer crowds and accompanying wait times when visiting New Zealand in the winter, while at many attractions and places of interest you may find yourself alone or in the company of only a few, often adding to the brilliance of the experience.
Best Auckland Winter Attractions
Butterfly Creek is an exciting and colourful attraction perfect for cheering you up during the cold winter months. The Tropical Butterfly House is home to more than 700 exotic butterflies plus birds, fish and reptiles. Everything is under cover so you can visit no matter what the weather.
Butterfly Creek is open Monday through Friday 9.30 to 5 pm and is just 2 minutes drive from Auckland Airport or 30 minutes from Auckland central. Entry costs for adults is $28, children are $16.
Just 20 minutes north of Auckland, Snowplanet is New Zealand’s only indoor snow resort, offering exhilarating snow sports all year round, regardless of the weather. Snowplanet’s giant snowhall features 50 centimeters of real powder snow, three lifts, a terrain park for snowboarders and a separate learner area, for a fun family day out.
Snowplanet is open Monday through Thursday 10 am to 10 pm, with extended hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Located at 91 Small Road, Silverdale, the snowdome is a 30 minute drive north from the Auckland city.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Soak up New Zealand’s history and culture at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Located in one of New Zealand’s most iconic heritage buildings the Auckland Museum is a popular destination for tourists and locals. The Museum is home to extensive Maori and Pacific collections, ancient natural history resources and important social and military history collections. There are also daily Maori cultural performances and constantly changing exhibitions, so there is always something new to see.
The Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm with free entry for Aucklanders. International visitors will be charged a small fee (around $25 for adults and $10 for children). The Museum is a short ten minute drive from Auckland city and about 30 minutes from the Airport. Paid parking is available onsite.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
A rainy day favourite for families, Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium is a wonderland of over 30 live animal exhibits set in realistic habitat displays. Experience Southern Ocean marine life including deep-sea sharks, giant stingrays in the underwater viewing tunnels and head on the ice to see the playful penguins up close.
Kelly Tarlton’s is open daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm, travel from the city takes approximately 15 minutes by car and free parking is available onsite. Adults cost around $40 and children $27, buy your tickets online the day before and get worthwhile discounts.
Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
MOTAT is New Zealand’s largest transport and technology museum, its ever-changing array of heritage exhibits inspire, encourage and teach visitors from all over the world. Spread across 40 acres and two locations, the Museum showcases the pioneering achievements that have helped shape the New Zealand transport industry we see today.
General admission to MOTAT will cost adults around $20 and children $10, student and family discounts are available. MOTAT is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week. Travel from the Auckland Airport will take approximately 30 minutes and just 10 minutes from the Auckland CBD.
Things To Do In Auckland In Winter
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and is a great place to start your North Island adventures. Here’s our pick of the top six things to do while in Auckland this winter.
1. Pamper Yourself In The Parakai Springs Thermal Hot Springs
Parakai Springs are just 40 minutes’ drive north of Auckland and the perfect place to relax and unwind in the naturally heated hot mineral pools. There are a number of indoor and outdoor pools with varying temperatures and plenty to amuse the children, making this a great family attraction. If want to be truly pampered, check out the onsite beauty spa, offering massage and beauty therapies, plus infrared sauna rooms.
2. Get The Adrenaline Pumping At Rainbows End
Get out and have some fun with a visit to Auckland’s premier adventure park. Rainbows End boasts over 20 rides including thrill seeker favourites like the Stratosfear, Invader, Fearfall, Power Surger and the Corkscrew Coaster. The park is open every day except Christmas Day, some rides may be affected by high winds or heavy rainfall.
3. Enjoy Horse Trekking On Waiheke
Horse trekking on Waiheke Island is the perfect way to enjoy a bit of fresh air while seeing some of peaceful Island country side and stunning ocean views. Only a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke Island’s Waiheke Horse Tours provides beach and forest trail horse rides along with the chance to meet and greet some lovable farm animals. Rides are suitable for those aged 10 years and up.
4. Get Out And About Hiking Or Mountain Biking
Whether hiking, walking, cycling or mountain biking, Auckland’s diverse range of tracks, trails, beaches and bushland will provide the perfect outdoor experience for all ages and abilities. Most walking tracks are free, bikes and gear are readily available for hire, along with the opportunity to take a guided bike tour. Don’t just pass by the stunning Auckland landscape – immerse yourself in it!
5. Take A Guided Tour
Unsure where to go or how to take it all in? Why not join a tour group and let the locals show you around. Discover the highlights, take a harbour cruise, enjoy a wine tasting, get a feel for the local Maori culture or visit some of the best restaurants and galleries. There are tours and guides available for all interests, time frames and budgets.
6. Shop Till You Drop
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and most diverse city with an extensive array of shopping opportunities. Shoppers will be spoilt for choice with everything from famous local and international designer labels and well known chain-stores to boutique specialty shopping and local farmers markets on offer. Check out one of the many vibrant shopping precincts like the High Street and Chancery, Britomart or the trendy Ponsonby Road area for the best high end shopping.
Useful Auckland Winter Events and Activities Links
For more information on Auckland’s best winter attractions, things to do while in Auckland or ticketing info see these useful links.
Eventfinda. Comprehensive New Zealand event booking site displaying nationwide events searchable by location and event type.
AucklandNZ.com. Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development website for the promotion of the Auckland region.
OurAuckland. Auckland City Council website with a extensive listing of local events.
NZ.com. New Zealand website offering local news, regional information, events and activities.
Ticketek. New Zealand’s leading ticketing agent for the sports and entertainment industries.
View Auckland. Location specific news, reviews, venue listings and essential events.
Auckland Rental Cars
Now that you’ve got your favourite Auckland events and attractions sorted, the number one priority is to secure reliable transport for getting you around Auckland this winter. Snap Rentals has a great variety of affordable and reliable Auckland car rentals to get you to your destination and back.
Whether you’re after a compact 2-door, a spacious family vehicle or a powerful 4WD, Snap has the right vehicle for you at the right price. View our full range of hire cars or contact us for more information.