Are you looking for the best things to do in Auckland? Look no further!
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, serves as the gateway to this stunning country, as Auckland Airport is the only international airport in NZ.
In Auckland, you can enjoy a wide range of activities, including thrilling adventures like skywalks and bungee jumps, a serene hike up an inactive volcano, and exploring the vibrant atmosphere of downtown Auckland, as well as embarking on unforgettable day trips to Hobbiton or nearby islands. Auckland offers it all.
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Best Things to Do in Auckland
1. Experience The Sky Tower
The Auckland Sky Tower is an iconic landmark in the city’s skyline. With a height of 328 meters, it’s not just the tallest building in Auckland, it’s the second tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. According to TripAdvisor, the Sky Tower is also the number one attraction in Auckland.
This architectural marvel is more than just a tower, it’s a hub of excitement and entertainment. It houses an observation deck, a revolving restaurant and bar, a gift shop and a thrilling SkySlide, SkyWalk and SkyJump experience.
The observation deck on the top of the Sky Tower is located at 220 meters. It provides a bird’s eye view of the city’s landmarks, while the revolving restaurant, Orbit 360°, offers a unique dining experience with a rotating view.
For adrenaline junkies, the SkyJump, SkyWalk and SkySlide present heart-stopping experiences far above the city. The minimum age for those adventurous activities is 10 years old. There are also minimum weight restrictions depending on the wind conditions, so make sure to check those before heading to the Sky Tower with your kids.
2. Do a Day Trip to Hobbiton
Hobbiton isn’t directly in Auckland, but strolling through the Shire is such a unique experience in the North Island of New Zealand that it shouldn’t be missed. It’s an absolute must-visit for fans of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies.
As you wander around the idyllic Shire, you’ll get to explore the original Hobbit Holes and Bag End, where Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures began. Then, you can enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn, where hobbits would go for drinks in the movies.
Visiting Hobbiton is a remarkable opportunity to step into a piece of cinematic history and immerse yourself in J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle-Earth, brought to life on screen by Peter Jackson.
Getting to Hobbiton from Auckland is easy. You can either drive there on your own or opt for a guided tour. There are excellent day tours from Auckland to Hobbiton. The advantage of taking a tour is that you can combine your visit with exploring the famous glowworm caves, or a relaxing stop in some hot springs, without having the hassle of driving yourself.
3. Hike Up Mount Eden
Another must-do activity while in Auckland is hiking up Mount Eden. Mount Eden, called Maungawhau in the Māori language, is an inactive volcano near Auckland city center. The crater is called Te Upu Kai a Mataaho (‘the bowl of Mataaho’) and is of spiritual and cultural significance to the Māori people.
It’s a short walk from the base of Mount Eden to the top, around 20 minutes. At the top there’s a boardwalk surrounding the crater and a viewing platform. The summit is the highest natural point in Auckland, and from the viewing point you get the best views of the city.
4. Stroll Down Ponsonby Road
Ponsonby Road is a vibrant street famed for its eclectic mix of boutiques, art galleries, and local eateries. It’s the perfect place for some shopping away from the city center.
The great thing about Ponsonby Road is that there are more small, local shops compared to the city center. You can find a range of high-end fashion stores, vintage shops, and local designers showcasing their work.
After shopping, you can enjoy a meal or coffee at one of the many cafes, bistros, or gourmet restaurants that line the street.
5. Visit The Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Auckland War Memorial Museum, also called Auckland Museum, is another must-visit. It’s one of the most important museums in New Zealand. But it’s not just a war museum, it’s also a museum of New Zealand’s history and a shrine to those who sacrificed their lives in the World Wars.
The museum offers a deep dive into New Zealand’s history, both natural and cultural. It houses an impressive collection of Maori and Pacific Islander artifacts, including a full-size meeting house.
The museum’s top floor is dedicated to remembering New Zealand’s involvement in major global conflicts.
You can even book a ticket for a special Māori Cultural Performance inside the museum. It’s the best way to experience the traditional music, dance, and weaponry of the Māori. After seeing the thrilling haka dance, you get to meet the performers for a deeper cultural experience.
6. Relax At Albert Park
Albert Park is a delightful slice of tranquility in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Auckland. This Victorian-era park is known for its beautifully manicured gardens, impressive trees, and beautiful Victorian fountain.
As you stroll along the park’s paths, you’ll encounter a diverse range of plants, a radiant flower clock, and several historic statues.
Whether you want to go for a walk or you’re looking for a great place for a picnic in nature, Albert Park is your best bet.
The park is very popular amongst locals for its serene environment, especially amongst students of the nearby University of Auckland.
7. Explore Downtown Auckland
Downtown Auckland is often referred to as the “heart of the city”. It’s a vibrant and bustling area that perfectly captures the essence of Auckland’s urban lifestyle.
This area is filled with a wide array of attractions and activities that cater to different tastes and preferences. From the beautiful waterfront to the high-end shopping district of Queen Street, there’s something for everyone.
Art enthusiasts can visit the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, home to one of the most extensive collections of national and international art in New Zealand.
For history enthusiasts, the historic Ferry Building showcases the city’s rich architectural heritage. Even if you’re not a big architecture fan, the building makes for a great photo spot.
Whether you’re exploring the quaint alleys, going on a shopping spree, or simply admiring the modern and historic architecture, Downtown Auckland offers a unique blend of experiences.
8. Stroll Along The Waterfront
The Auckland Waterfront offers a great mix of stunning harbor views, delicious dining, and a vibrant arts and culture scene. This scenic area is a fantastic place to take a leisurely stroll, soak in the scenic views of the Waitematā Harbour, and watch the boats glide by.
The Viaduct Harbour, located within the waterfront, is brimming with upscale restaurants and bustling bars, making it a popular spot for both daytime and evening entertainment. Right next to the Viaduct Harbour you can find the New Zealand Maritime Museum, the perfect place to learn about the country’s seafaring history.
The Wynyard Quarter used to be very industrial, but it got transformed to a modern urban landscape marked by innovative architecture and public spaces. The highlight of Wynyard Quarter is the Silo Park, known for its converted cement silo that now serves as an event venue. In the summer months you can catch a movie at the open-air cinema in the Silo Park, a great way to spend an evening in Auckland.
With its outdoor markets, live performances, and a host of festivals throughout the year, the Auckland Waterfront is a lively area that truly reflects the city’s maritime heritage and dynamic atmosphere.
9. Visit The Auckland Harbour Bridge
The iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge isn’t just a significant landmark, but also an integral part of the city’s identity. Towering majestically over the Waitematā Harbour, the bridge connects central Auckland with the North Shore, offering stunning panoramic views of the city and the gulf.
It’s also home to the Auckland Bridge Climb, an exhilarating experience that allows you to ascend the bridge’s arch for a thrilling, bird’s-eye view of the city.
For adrenaline junkies, the Auckland Bridge Bungy offers an unforgettable bungee jump from the bridge.
Whether you’re admiring it from afar, driving across it, or taking part in one of these unique experiences, the Auckland Harbour Bridge should be on every Auckland itinerary.
10. Do A Waiheke Island Day Trip
Just a short ferry ride from Downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island provides a refreshing escape from the city. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, olive groves, and vineyards.
Waiheke Island is also referred to as the “Island of Wine” due to its numerous award-winning wineries that offer wine tastings and spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf.
Visitors can explore the island by foot, bike, or on a guided tour, discovering the charming local art scene, exquisite cuisine, and scenic walking trails.
The best way to end a trip to Waiheke Island is to enjoy an amazing sunset over the water. It’s easy to understand why a Waiheke Island Day Trip is considered one of the most unforgettable things to do in Auckland.
Guest Author: Tina Riegelnegg from Veganderlust.