20 Things To Do In Auckland New Zealand

Things To Do In Auckland New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is a vibrant metropolis brimming with activities for every type of traveler. Whether you are an adventure enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Auckland has something to offer. From towering landmarks and beautiful beaches to rich cultural sites and lush parks, the city’s diverse attractions promise an unforgettable experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the top things to do in Auckland, New Zealand, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this stunning destination.

Things To Do In Auckland New Zealand

  1. Explore the Sky Tower

The Sky Tower is an iconic landmark in Auckland. Standing at 328 meters, it is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the city and beyond.

The Sky Tower offers an experience like no other. Take a high-speed elevator to the observation deck and soak in the 360-degree views. You can see as far as 80 kilometers on a clear day. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try the SkyWalk, where you can walk around the tower’s pergola 192 meters above the ground. For the ultimate thrill, take the SkyJump and leap off the tower, plunging at speeds of up to 85 km/h.

After the excitement, dine in style at the SkyCity restaurants. The revolving Orbit 360° Dining offers a unique experience with a constantly changing view as you enjoy your meal. The Sky Café is perfect for a more casual bite with the same stunning views. The Sky Tower is not just a viewing platform; it’s an adventure and culinary experience rolled into one.

  1. Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. It provides deep insights into New Zealand’s history, culture, and natural heritage.

Located in the Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, the Auckland War Memorial Museum stands as a tribute to the nation’s history. The museum’s impressive neoclassical architecture is a sight in itself, but it’s what’s inside that truly captivates. The museum houses an extensive collection of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts, offering a glimpse into the rich indigenous culture.

One of the museum’s highlights is the Maori cultural performance, featuring traditional songs, dances, and the famous Haka. The natural history galleries showcase New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna, including a giant Moa skeleton and a fascinating display of volcanic activity. The war memorial galleries pay homage to those who served in the armed forces, providing a poignant and educational experience.

The museum also features a variety of temporary exhibitions, ensuring there’s always something new to see. After exploring the exhibits, take a stroll in the Auckland Domain, enjoy the Wintergardens, or simply relax on the expansive lawns.

  1. Discover Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is a paradise of vineyards, olive groves, and beaches, located just a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland.

Waiheke Island is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Known for its stunning beaches, world-class wineries, and vibrant arts scene, it offers a little something for everyone. Start your day with a visit to one of the many award-winning vineyards. Enjoy wine tastings with spectacular views of the vineyards and the ocean. Some of the top wineries include Mudbrick Vineyard, Cable Bay Vineyards, and Te Whau Vineyard.

For those who love the outdoors, the island offers numerous walking and cycling trails. The Church Bay Circuit is a popular choice, offering breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding islands. If you prefer the water, try kayaking or paddleboarding in the crystal-clear waters of Oneroa Bay.

Art enthusiasts will enjoy the many galleries and studios scattered across the island. The Waiheke Community Art Gallery is a must-visit, showcasing local and international artists. End your day with a relaxing stroll on one of the many beautiful beaches, such as Onetangi Beach, where you can unwind and watch the sunset.

  1. Experience Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo is home to over 135 species and is known for its conservation efforts. It offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Auckland Zoo is not just a place to see animals; it’s a center for conservation and education. Located near Western Springs Park, the zoo spans over 16 hectares and is divided into various sections representing different ecosystems. From the African Savannah to the New Zealand precinct, each area is meticulously designed to replicate the animals’ natural habitats.

Start your visit with the Te Wao Nui precinct, which showcases New Zealand’s unique wildlife. Here you’ll find the kiwi, tuatara, and kea, among others. The African Savannah is home to giraffes, zebras, and lions, offering a taste of Africa’s wildlife. The South East Asia Jungle Track is another highlight, featuring tigers, orangutans, and elephants.

The zoo offers daily animal encounters and keeper talks, providing insights into the animals’ lives and conservation efforts. There are also special behind-the-scenes tours available for a more in-depth experience. For families, the zoo’s KidZone and playgrounds are perfect spots for children to play and learn.

  1. Wander Through Auckland Botanic Gardens

The Auckland Botanic Gardens are a peaceful retreat, offering a wide variety of native and exotic plants spread across 64 hectares.

The Auckland Botanic Gardens are a haven of tranquility and beauty, located in Manurewa, just 20 minutes from the city center. Covering 64 hectares, the gardens feature over 10,000 plants from around the world, making it a paradise for plant lovers and nature enthusiasts.

Begin your visit at the visitor center, where you can pick up a map and learn about the garden’s highlights. Wander through themed areas such as the Rose Garden, the Native Plant Garden, and the Edible Garden. Each section is beautifully curated, offering a unique glimpse into different plant species and gardening styles.

The Potter Children’s Garden is a delightful area for families, designed to engage and educate young visitors about the natural world. Interactive exhibits and play areas make learning fun and engaging. Don’t miss the Gondwana Arboretum, which showcases ancient plants and tells the story of plant evolution.

The gardens also host a variety of events throughout the year, including plant sales, workshops, and guided tours. With its serene environment and diverse plant collections, the Auckland Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature.

  1. Enjoy a Day at Piha Beach

Piha Beach is one of Auckland’s most famous beaches, known for its black sand, dramatic cliffs, and excellent surf.

Piha Beach, located on Auckland’s west coast, is a stunning spot renowned for its natural beauty and surf culture. The beach is characterized by its unique black sand, which is a result of volcanic activity. The striking Lion Rock, a prominent natural formation, stands guard over the beach and is a popular spot for hiking and photography.

Surfers flock to Piha for its powerful waves, making it a hot spot for both local and international surf enthusiasts. If you’re new to surfing, there are surf schools available where you can learn the basics. For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, the beach is perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, or simply enjoying the sound of the waves.

Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the nearby tracks, such as the Kitekite Falls Walk, which leads to a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. The Tasman Lookout Track offers breathtaking views of the coastline and is a great spot for watching the sunset.

Piha is also known for its strong rips, so it’s important to swim between the flags and follow lifeguards’ instructions. With its rugged beauty and variety of activities, Piha Beach is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

  1. Take a Stroll in Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park is a vast urban oasis offering a mix of pastoral landscapes, historic sites, and recreational activities.

Cornwall Park, located in the heart of Auckland, is a tranquil retreat that combines natural beauty with historical significance. Covering 425 acres, the park features expansive lawns, tree-lined avenues, and picturesque gardens. It is also home to One Tree Hill, a volcanic cone with panoramic views of the city and harbor.

Start your visit with a leisurely stroll through the park’s well-maintained paths. The Huia Lodge Visitor Centre provides maps and information about the park’s history and attractions. Visit the park’s farm area, where you can see sheep and cattle grazing, offering a glimpse into New Zealand’s agricultural heritage.

One of the park’s highlights is the historic Acacia Cottage, Auckland’s oldest surviving building, which dates back to 1841. The cottage provides a fascinating insight into early settler life. The park also features a variety of recreational facilities, including tennis courts, picnic areas, and playgrounds for children.

Cornwall Park is a popular spot for jogging, cycling, and dog walking, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The park’s café is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a meal or a coffee while taking in the serene surroundings.

  1. Sail on the Waitemata Harbour

Waitemata Harbour is the heart of Auckland, offering a range of water-based activities and stunning views of the city skyline.

Waitemata Harbour, often referred to as Auckland’s “sparkling waters,” is a hub of maritime activity and a focal point of the city. The name Waitemata translates to “sparkling waters” in Maori, perfectly describing the clear, vibrant waters of the harbor. One of the best ways to experience the harbor is by taking a sailing tour.

Several operators offer sailing experiences, from short harbor cruises to full-day trips. These tours provide a unique perspective of Auckland’s skyline and its iconic landmarks, such as the Harbour Bridge and the Sky Tower. For those looking for a more hands-on experience, some sailing tours allow you to participate in crewing the yacht.

Kayaking and paddleboarding are also popular activities on the harbor. These provide a more intimate way to explore the many coves and inlets around the area. For a bit of adventure, try jet boating, which offers an exhilarating ride with thrilling maneuvers and high speeds.

Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to cast a line, with the harbor teeming with a variety of fish species. Whether you prefer a relaxing sail, an adrenaline-pumping boat ride, or a peaceful paddle, Waitemata Harbour offers something for everyone.

  1. Experience the Auckland Art Gallery

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is New Zealand’s largest art institution, housing an extensive collection of national and international art.

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, located in the heart of the city, is a cultural treasure trove that should not be missed. The gallery’s stunning architecture, blending historical and contemporary design, is a sight to behold. Inside, the gallery boasts an impressive collection of over 15,000 artworks, ranging from traditional Maori and Pacific art to contemporary pieces.

The gallery’s permanent collection includes works by renowned New Zealand artists such as Colin McCahon and Gottfried Lindauer, as well as international masters like Picasso and Cezanne. The Maori Portraits by Lindauer are particularly noteworthy, offering a profound insight into Maori culture and history.

In addition to its permanent collection, the gallery hosts numerous temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring both local and international artists. These exhibitions ensure that there is always something new and exciting to see.

The gallery also offers a variety of programs and events, including artist talks, workshops, and guided tours, providing deeper insights into the artworks and artists. The gallery’s café and gift shop are perfect for a relaxing break and finding unique souvenirs.

  1. Walk the Coast-to-Coast Walkway

The Coast-to-Coast Walkway is a 16-kilometer trail that takes you from one side of Auckland to the other, passing through diverse landscapes and historic sites.

The Coast-to-Coast Walkway is a unique way to experience the varied landscapes of Auckland. Starting at the Viaduct Harbour on the Waitemata Harbour, the trail stretches 16 kilometers across the city to Manukau Harbour. This self-guided walk takes you through some of Auckland’s most iconic locations and provides a fascinating journey through its natural and urban environments.

The walk begins with the bustling waterfront area, where you can enjoy views of the harbor and its many yachts. As you move inland, you’ll pass through the Auckland Domain, home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and beautiful gardens. The trail then takes you up and over the ancient volcanic cone of Maungawhau (Mount Eden), offering stunning panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.

Continuing on, you’ll pass through Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill, another volcanic cone with historical significance. The walk then leads you through suburban neighborhoods, showcasing a different side of Auckland’s character, before ending at the shores of the Manukau Harbour.

The Coast-to-Coast Walkway is well-marked with signs and offers a mix of urban and natural scenery, making it an ideal way to explore Auckland on foot. Whether you complete the entire trail or just a section, it’s a rewarding experience that highlights the city’s diversity.

  1. Explore Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island, a volcanic island located just off the coast of Auckland, is a natural wonderland waiting to be explored.

Rangitoto Island is one of Auckland’s most iconic landmarks. Formed by a volcanic eruption around 600 years ago, the island is now a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Accessible by a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, the island offers a variety of activities to enjoy.

The most popular activity on Rangitoto is hiking to the summit. The well-maintained trail takes about an hour to reach the top and offers spectacular views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf. Along the way, you’ll walk through lava fields and dense forests, showcasing the island’s unique volcanic landscape and diverse flora.

For a more leisurely experience, take a guided tour on the Rangitoto Island Explorer train, which provides insightful commentary about the island’s history and geology. The island is also home to the world’s largest pohutukawa forest, which bursts into vibrant red flowers during the summer months.

Rangitoto’s coastline is perfect for kayaking and swimming. The island’s pristine waters are ideal for a refreshing dip after a hike. Exploring the lava caves is another highlight, offering a glimpse into the island’s volcanic past. Rangitoto Island is a natural playground with stunning scenery and outdoor adventures.

  1. Visit MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology)

MOTAT is Auckland’s leading museum of transport and technology, offering interactive exhibits and a journey through history.

MOTAT, the Museum of Transport and Technology, is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of innovation and technology. Located in Western Springs, MOTAT spans two sites connected by a vintage tram, providing a fun and educational experience for all ages.

The museum’s extensive collection includes historic aircraft, vintage cars, steam engines, and trams. One of the highlights is the Aviation Display Hall, where you can see iconic aircraft like the Lancaster Bomber and the Solent Flying Boat. The museum’s interactive exhibits allow visitors to engage with the technology and understand how it has evolved over time.

MOTAT is also home to a range of hands-on activities. The Science Street is particularly popular with children, featuring experiments and demonstrations that make learning fun. The Telecommunications Pavilion showcases the history of communication technology, from Morse code to the internet.

Regular events and exhibitions keep the museum fresh and exciting. MOTAT Nights, held monthly, offers a unique after-hours experience with themed activities and entertainment. With its blend of history, technology, and interactive fun, MOTAT is an engaging destination for the whole family.

  1. Enjoy Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium

Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium offers an underwater adventure with a variety of marine life and unique exhibits.

Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium is a fantastic attraction located on the waterfront in Auckland. Created by renowned marine archaeologist Kelly Tarlton, the aquarium is built in a series of underground tunnels, providing an immersive and unique experience.

The aquarium is home to a diverse range of marine creatures, including sharks, stingrays, and penguins. One of the highlights is the Shark Tunnel, where you can walk through a clear tunnel surrounded by sharks and other ocean predators. The Antarctic Ice Adventure is another must-see, featuring a colony of King and Gentoo penguins in a sub-Antarctic environment.

Kelly Tarlton’s also offers interactive experiences such as the Seahorse Kingdom, where you can learn about these fascinating creatures and their habitats. The Rockpool Discovery Zone allows visitors to touch and learn about various marine species, making it a hit with children.

The aquarium is dedicated to marine conservation and education. Through its various exhibits and programs, Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium aims to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our oceans. It’s an engaging and educational outing for visitors of all ages.

  1. Hike the Waitakere Ranges

The Waitakere Ranges offer stunning natural scenery, waterfalls, and hiking trails just a short drive from Auckland.

The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, located just 30 kilometers west of Auckland. The park spans over 16,000 hectares and features a rugged landscape of native rainforest, waterfalls, and dramatic coastlines.

The park offers a network of hiking trails suitable for all levels of fitness. The Kitekite Falls Track is a popular choice, leading to a beautiful multi-tiered waterfall and natural swimming holes. For a more challenging hike, the Fairy Falls Track provides a scenic route through dense forest and past cascading waterfalls.

One of the most iconic trails in the Waitakere Ranges is the Te Henga Walkway. This coastal track offers breathtaking views of the Tasman Sea and takes you through a variety of landscapes, including sand dunes, cliffs, and native bush. The walk can be done as a day hike or split into sections for a shorter experience.

The Arataki Visitor Centre is a great starting point for exploring the park. Here, you can learn about the area’s natural and cultural history, pick up maps, and get advice on the best trails to suit your interests and abilities. The Waitakere Ranges are a natural gem, offering an escape into pristine wilderness just a stone’s throw from the city.

  1. Visit the Auckland Domain Wintergardens

The Auckland Domain Wintergardens are a beautiful and historic attraction, featuring stunning plant displays and architectural beauty.

The Auckland Domain Wintergardens are a hidden gem located within the Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park. The Wintergardens consist of two large glasshouses – one for temperate plants and one for tropical species – along with an outdoor courtyard and a formal pond area.

The temperate house is filled with seasonal displays of flowers and plants, showcasing a variety of blooms throughout the year. The tropical house is a lush, humid environment that houses exotic plants from around the world, including orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. The contrast between the two houses offers a fascinating glimpse into different plant ecosystems.

The outdoor courtyard is equally charming, featuring a formal pond with water lilies and goldfish, surrounded by statues and manicured gardens. It’s a tranquil spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. The fernery, located below the tropical house, is another highlight, with a collection of New Zealand native ferns in a cool, shaded environment.

The Wintergardens are not just about plants; they also feature stunning architectural details, with the glasshouses themselves being a work of art. The area is a popular spot for photography, picnics, and leisurely strolls, providing a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.

  1. Take a Day Trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island

Tiritiri Matangi Island is an open sanctuary and one of New Zealand’s most important conservation projects, offering a unique wildlife experience.

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a conservation success story located in the Hauraki Gulf. This open sanctuary is dedicated to the protection and restoration of native wildlife and habitats. Accessible by a ferry ride from Auckland, the island offers a rare opportunity to see some of New Zealand’s most endangered species in their natural habitat.

Visitors to Tiritiri Matangi can enjoy guided walks led by knowledgeable volunteers, providing insights into the island’s history, conservation efforts, and wildlife. The island is home to a variety of rare birds, including the takahe, saddleback, and North Island robin. The forested areas and coastal habitats also support native reptiles, including the tuatara.

One of the highlights of visiting Tiritiri Matangi is the chance to see and hear the dawn chorus, a symphony of bird calls that is truly magical. The island’s well-maintained walking tracks allow you to explore at your own pace, with plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the tranquil environment.

The island also features a historic lighthouse, which offers panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf. The visitor center provides information about the island’s flora and fauna, and there are picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. Tiritiri Matangi is a haven for nature lovers and a testament to the power of conservation.

  1. Explore Devonport

Devonport is a charming seaside village located just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, offering historic sites, boutique shops, and beautiful beaches.

Devonport is one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, known for its well-preserved Victorian architecture, relaxed atmosphere, and stunning views of the city skyline. A quick ferry ride from the downtown area brings you to this delightful seaside village, making it an easy and enjoyable day trip.

Start your visit with a stroll along the main street, where you’ll find an array of boutique shops, cafes, and galleries. Devonport’s shopping scene is perfect for finding unique gifts, handmade crafts, and local art. The Devonport Chocolates shop is a must-visit for sweet treats.

History enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the village’s historic sites. The Navy Museum offers fascinating insights into New Zealand’s naval history, while the Torpedo Bay area features remnants of early military defenses. Climb up Mount Victoria or North Head, two volcanic cones that provide panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf. Both sites have walking tracks and tunnels to explore, adding a sense of adventure to your visit.

Devonport’s waterfront is perfect for a relaxing day by the sea. Cheltenham Beach is a favorite spot for swimming and picnicking, offering calm waters and stunning views of Rangitoto Island. Devonport also has a vibrant arts scene, with several galleries and the historic Victoria Theatre, the oldest cinema in the Southern Hemisphere.

With its blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Devonport offers a charming escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

  1. Visit the Stardome Observatory & Planetarium

The Stardome Observatory & Planetarium offers a fascinating journey through space, with interactive exhibits and captivating shows.

The Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, located in One Tree Hill Domain, is a must-visit for anyone interested in astronomy and space exploration. The observatory offers a range of educational and entertaining experiences that appeal to visitors of all ages.

Start your visit with a tour of the interactive exhibits in the foyer, which cover various topics related to space, astronomy, and the history of the universe. These hands-on displays are both informative and engaging, making learning fun for children and adults alike.

The highlight of the Stardome experience is the planetarium show. With a state-of-the-art projection system, the planetarium brings the night sky to life, offering breathtaking visuals and immersive storytelling. Shows cover a wide range of topics, from the solar system and constellations to black holes and space exploration. There are also special shows for children, designed to inspire young minds and spark curiosity about the cosmos.

Weather permitting, you can also enjoy a telescope viewing session. The Stardome’s telescopes provide stunning views of celestial objects, including the moon, planets, and distant stars. Knowledgeable guides are on hand to explain what you’re seeing and answer any questions.

The Stardome Observatory & Planetarium is a fascinating destination that offers a deeper understanding of the universe and our place within it. It’s an inspiring and educational outing for families, school groups, and anyone with an interest in the stars.

  1. Enjoy the Beaches of the North Shore

The North Shore of Auckland is home to some of the city’s best beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Auckland’s North Shore is a beach lover’s paradise, boasting a string of beautiful beaches that cater to all kinds of activities. Each beach has its own unique charm and offers a perfect escape from the city.

Takapuna Beach is one of the most popular spots, known for its golden sands, clear waters, and stunning views of Rangitoto Island. The beach is ideal for swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The nearby shops, cafes, and restaurants make it easy to spend an entire day enjoying the area.

For a more tranquil experience, head to Cheltenham Beach in Devonport. This sheltered beach offers calm waters and a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for families with young children. The views of Rangitoto Island and the historic naval base add to the charm of this picturesque spot.

Milford Beach is another gem on the North Shore, known for its rock pools and excellent swimming conditions. The Milford Reserve adjacent to the beach provides plenty of grassy areas for picnics and games, making it a great spot for a family outing.

Murrays Bay and Browns Bay are popular for their vibrant community feel and range of water sports. These beaches offer excellent facilities, including playgrounds, BBQ areas, and sailing clubs. Windsurfing and sailing are popular activities here, thanks to the favorable conditions.

The North Shore beaches are perfect for a day of relaxation, adventure, and fun by the sea. Whether you’re looking to swim, surf, or simply soak up the sun, the North Shore has a beach that’s just right for you.

  1. Discover the Otara Markets

The Otara Markets are one of Auckland’s largest and most vibrant markets, offering a mix of fresh produce, ethnic food, and local crafts.

The Otara Markets, held every Saturday morning, are a bustling hub of activity and a true reflection of Auckland’s multicultural community. Located in the suburb of Otara, the markets attract locals and visitors alike with their vibrant atmosphere and diverse range of goods.

Start your visit by exploring the fresh produce stalls, where you’ll find an array of fruits, vegetables, and other local products. The market is known for its Pacific Island influence, and you’ll find plenty of exotic fruits and traditional foods that are not available in regular supermarkets.

The food stalls are a highlight, offering a wide variety of delicious ethnic foods. From traditional Maori hangi to Samoan panikeke (pancakes) and Tongan lu sipi (lamb wrapped in taro leaves), the market is a food lover’s paradise. The smells and flavors of the different cuisines create a sensory feast that’s hard to resist.

In addition to food, the Otara Markets feature a range of arts and crafts stalls. Here, you can find handmade jewelry, clothing, and traditional Pacific Island crafts. The market is a great place to pick up unique souvenirs and gifts while supporting local artisans.

Live music and cultural performances add to the lively atmosphere, making the Otara Markets a fun and engaging experience for the whole family. Whether you’re shopping, eating, or simply soaking up the vibrant culture, the Otara Markets offer a memorable and authentic Auckland experience.


Auckland, New Zealand, is a city that offers a unique blend of urban excitement and natural beauty. From the towering Sky Tower to the tranquil Waiheke Island, each attraction provides a distinctive experience that highlights the city’s rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you are exploring the vibrant markets, hiking through lush rainforests, or enjoying the coastal beauty, Auckland has something for everyone. With so many things to do in Auckland, New Zealand, your visit is sure to be filled with memorable adventures and delightful discoveries. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders of Auckland!

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