Whether you prefer sightseeing, adventure, tourist attractions or just getting out on the water Auckland certainly has it all. Within an hour’s drive you can be surfing at the beach, bush walking among the serene native forest, squealing as you fly through the air on a theme park ride or sailing the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour.
In fact there are so many attractions, sights, things to do and places to visit that you will probably find it hard to squeeze it all in – that’s why we have put together this handy guide to all the best things to do in Auckland.
Top 5 Auckland Attractions
Looking for the best tourist attractions in Auckland? Then you have come to the right place. Take a look below for out top 5 Auckland attractions you simply can’t miss.
1. Waiheke Island
No visit to Auckland is complete without making the short journey across the Hauraki Gulf to the beautiful Waiheke Island. Popular for its boutique wineries, beautiful beaches and multimillion dollar baches, Waiheke also provides numerous walking, biking and water-based adventure activities.
Regular ferries depart from the Auckland Waterfront roughly every half hour and the ride across to Waiheke Island takes approximately 40 minutes. It will cost you around $42 for an adult return ticket and $21 for children.
2. The Sky Tower
A visit to Auckland’s Sky Tower is a must-do Auckland attraction. Probably the easiest attraction to find – you can’t miss this 328 metre high structure sticking out from the Auckland skyline. Access to three observation decks means you will get undeniably the best views in Auckland.
From within the Sky Tower you can enjoy a meal at the famous Orbit Restaurant (it slowly rotates while you eat, meaning you get to see the entire set of 360 degree views), there is also the Sky Walk (where you walk around an external platform) and the Sky Jump (yes – you get to jump off the Sky Tower – attached to a wire of course!).
3. Rainbow’s End
Auckland’s very own theme park, Rainbow’s End provides fun filled rides and entertainment for all ages. With around 20 rides and various food and entertainment areas you will easily fill a whole day here. Don’t miss the new Rainbow Playlab for some tech based fun and try your hand at virtual sword fighting, e-Sports and much more.
For those who prefer the real deal – the Stratosfear is the big one, the Log Flume is great for families and the Pirate Ship is a blast! We recommend getting the all-day Rainbow’s End Superpass at $60 for adults and $50 for children. Note that Rainbow’s End charges an entry fee for ‘spectators’.
4. Sea Life Kelly Tarltons Aquarium
A visit to Kelly Tarltons Aquarium to see the vast selection of sea life is a great opportunity to see these creatures up close in their natural environment. You will see sharks, penguins, fish, turtles, stingrays, seahorses and many more. Learn about these amazing creatures in informative presentations and see a variety of marine life being fed at different times throughout the day.
Entry costs $32 per adult and $22 when purchasing online (door sales will be slightly higher). There are also Behind The Scenes Tours and close up Penguin and Shark Encounters available at an extra cost.
5. The Auckland War Memorial Museum
Set among the expansive grounds of the Auckland Domain you will find the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The museum houses a variety of exhibitions; including a large selection of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts, as well as social and military history, decorative arts and pictorial collections.
If you are going to pick just one Museum to visit while on holiday in New Zealand then this is the one! The Museum also acts as a war memorial and houses one of New Zealand’s top three heritage libraries. The Auckland War Memorial museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday and entry is free for locals. There is a small charge for international visitors.
5 Best Places To Visit In Auckland
Nestled on a relatively narrow piece of land in between two beautiful Harbours, Auckland is the perfect place for sightseeing. Within easy driving distance you will find a large amount of things to see and do. Want to narrow it down a bit? Here are our best places to visit when sightseeing in Auckland.
1. Mt Eden
The tallest volcano in Auckland, Mt Eden is part of an Auckland wide volcanic field. Evidence of this volcanic field is clearly visible when taking a look around at the natural landscape of the Auckland area with many volcanic cones protruding from the surrounding landscape.
Don’t worry, Mt Eden is a dormant volcano and was formed around 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. On Mt Eden you will find the remnants of Maori storage pits and old housing sites from its former occupation by local Māori and from the top some of the best views out over the city and Auckland Harbour.
Even though situated just across the harbour from Auckland, Devonport feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This quaint little township is known for its lovely beaches, naval military history and boutique galleries and shopping. Explore the little streets on foot or hire an e-scooter to make you way around the sights.
Check out the iSITE visitor centre located at the wharf for information on Devonport activities, attractions and tours, as well as walks, local parks and maps.
3. The Auckland Domain
Auckland’s oldest park and one of its largest, The Domain boasts expansive manicured grounds with plenty of space to relax and explore. Take a picnic on a sunny afternoon and wander the grounds to discover the permanent art sculptures located around its grounds or check out the Rotunda for some on the spot entertainment.
You may also wish to make your way through the small ‘Wintergardens’ complex, this historic site comprises of two Victorian style glass houses full of exotic plants and flowers as well as an interesting adjoining courtyard which makes for a great picnic spot. The Auckland Domain is also home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, see above for more information on this great museum.
4. Mission Bay
While there are many beautiful beaches throughout the Auckland area, Mission Bay is one of the most popular. Mission Bay offers plenty of beach side cafes, restaurants and the odd ice cream parlour – perfect for those hot summer days and nights.
Spend some time walking along the white sandy beach, swim, fish or just soak up some sun – however you spend your time at Mission Bay you will not want to leave this little piece of paradise. Mission Bay is just 15 minutes’ drive from Auckland Central.
5. Hunua Ranges
Looking to experience some of New Zealand’s beautiful rainforest? The Hunua Ranges are just 40 minutes’ drive from the Airport and are the largest continuous area of native forest in the Auckland area. Don’t miss seeking out the Hunua Falls while you are there – it’s a popular spot for a picnic and great photo ops in the purpose built giant photo frame.
The Hunua Ranges are also home to impressive Kauri tree specimens, native bird life including Kokako, Kiwi, Kaka, Tui and Kereru as well as many other species. You will find the Hunua Ranges are an excellent destination for mountain biking and walking/hiking with many tracks and trails on offer, see the website for a map of the Hunua Ranges.
What’s On In Auckland?
In town for you holiday or vacation and want to know what’s on in Auckland while you are here? Here is a breakdown of the best places to find the latest events, shows, live bands and much more!
1. The Art Gallery
Auckland is home to numerous top quality art galleries, the most notable being the beautiful Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. A continually changing line-up of events are scheduled at the Art Gallery as well as all the usual exhibitions – there are over 800 artworks housed within those heritage-built walls.
The Art Gallery is located on the corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets and is open daily from 10am to 5 pm. For more information on events at the Auckland Art Gallery see here.
2. The Auckland Night Markets
One of the best things to do in Auckland at night, the Auckland Night Markets offer an entertaining night out complete with tempting cuisine from dozens of different cultures, live music, fashion, shopping and much more!
Held at different locations across Auckland on different nights, the Markets are held under cover so it’s always an all-weather event. Check the website for tonight’s Auckland Night Markets location and don’t worry EFTPOS is available on site. Enjoy a night out at the Auckland Night Markets for some family friendly fun and great food!
3. Viaduct Harbour
Spending some time down at the Auckland waterfront is a must–do when visiting Auckland no matter what time of the year. The Viaduct is a lively entertainment precinct located on the waterfront that is popular with tourists and locals for its bars, restaurants, and cafes.
Many restaurants in the Viaduct precinct are famous for their fine dining – be sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment as they are often booked out – particularly over holiday festive seasons. The area is always lively at night with live entertainment and events a regular occurrence.
4. Wynyard Quarter
The ultimate in waterfront venues the Wynyard Quarter offers up a variety of events, things to do and places to hang out and enjoy the day. You will find interactive displays, cafes, a playground, open air theatre and various entertainment and communal areas.
Seek out the Karanga Kiosk for access to key information about what’s on for the day or just wander about and you will likely stumble upon the latest happenings. You might find yourself joining a game of basketball, learning to cook the local seafood, taking part in a yoga session, catching an outdoor movie at Silo Park or just watching the world go by from a waterfront park bench with a homemade real-fruit icecream.
5. More Events In Auckland…
Looking for something more specific? Auckland has a wide variety of events scheduled throughout the year. Find everything from music concerts, live performances, theatre, shows and gatherings with a specific focus such as boating or fishing.
See here for more information on current events in Auckland and what’s on in Auckland today.
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