30 Best Things To Do in Aukland, New Zealand

by Arundhati Bhand Updated on 13 Oct 2018

Framed with harbors, dotted with volcanic peaks interspaced with gardens, lined with promenades and beaches, and featuring fantastic attractions, Auckland, the popular city in New Zealand’s North Island, beckons visitors for a memorable holiday. Filled to the brim with natural attractions like Tiritiri Matangi Island, Mount Eden, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Waitakere Ranges as well as man-made attractions like Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbor, and Auckland Zoo, this city is a perfect vacation spot for people of diverse tastes and interests.

Those looking for a quiet and a relaxed time can stroll along the Cornwall Park or relax in the Wintergardens while the adventurous souls can go for a sky jump from the Sky Tower and a hike through the forest on the Rangitoto Island. History enthusiasts may take a tour of the fascinating Auckland Museum while those craving for a lively time may head to the many pubs and restaurants at Mission Bay and Ponsonby. Whatever place and activity you choose in Auckland, one thing is guaranteed – you will be treated to a wonderful time! Because, as you traverse through the many layers of Auckland, what unfolds is truly magical!

Let's explore the best things to do in Auckland:

1. Go for an exhilarating sky-jump from the Sky Tower

Hovering over the horizon of Auckland at a height of 328 meters, Sky Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Thanks to its unique design, the Sky Tower has become an iconic landmark of Auckland's skyline. The Sky Tower is accessible to the tourists at five different levels. Three observation decks at 50th, 51st and the 60th floor treat visitors to stunning panoramas of the Auckland city while the 52nd level houses New Zealand’s only revolving restaurant. A primary point of interest at the Sky Tower is the opportunity to Sky Walk and Sky Jump from the height of 192-meters! The Sky tower is one of the best things to do in Auckland.

2. Experience the best of New Zealand’s wildlife at Tiritiri Matangi Island

One of New Zealand’s most important conservation projects, Tiritiri Matangi Island is a haven for wildlife lovers and birdwatchers. One of the best places to visit near Auckland, Tiritiri Matangi Island is also home to a 150-year-old lighthouse, numerous trail walks meandering through lush coastal forest, virgin beaches and a visitor center. There is no dearth of things to do on this fascinating island -  from birdwatching to hiking and from exploring to picnicking on the beaches.

3. Take a walk down New Zealand’s history at Auckland Museum

A memorial dedicated to those who have sacrificed their lives for New Zealand, the Auckland Museum, also known as the Auckland War Memorial Museum, is a popular option on the list of Auckland points of interest. Also one of Auckland’s most iconic buildings, Auckland Museum features a neo-classicist style of architecture. Along with displaying collections pertaining to the military history of the country, this museum also houses exhibits that talk about the natural history, culture, art scene, and other treasures of Auckland.

4. Discover the lovely wilderness at Waiheke Island

Brimming with magnificent olive groves, gorgeous vineyards, and pristine beaches, Waiheke Island is indeed one of the most beautiful things to do in Auckland. The second-largest island in the gulf, the Waiheke Island houses a huge plethora of scenic beaches for the visitors to choose from. Just a 40-minute ferry ride away from the city, this island is one of the best places to visit outside Auckland. In addition to lazing around the charming white-sand beaches while soaking up the sunshine, there are plenty of other activities to do on this island. For adventure enthusiasts, horse riding, archery and laser clay pigeon shooting, zooming across the tree tops on a flying fox zip line, and swimming are some of the great recreational options that the Waiheke Island has to offer.

5. Explore the world's largest Pohutukawa forest at Rangitoto Island

Called as the youngest volcano in New Zealand, Rangitoto Island emerged from the sea just 600 years ago. Though the island emerged only recently, the process of formation commenced due to a series of eruptions beginning at least 6000 years ago. Perfect for a day trip from Auckland, Rangitoto Island is a popular destination for boating, exploring on foot and hiking. A climb of the popular summit track that passes through the world's largest Pohutukawa forest bequeaths visitors with spectacular panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf.

6. Spend some tranquil time at the Cornwall Park

Featuring charming gardens, splendid rural landscapes with grazing cattle, barbecue facilities and everything that spells “countryside,” Cornwall Park is the perfect place to wander and socialize. Traditionally a quintessential farmland, there are at least 600 sheep, 60 cows, and two-full time farmers at the Cornwall Park. The most spectacular aspect of Cornwall Park which lures visitors here is the remarkable view – lie down on the grassy slopes between lovely flower beds and admire the pretty sights of the surroundings.  

7. Trek to the top of Mount Eden

Counted among the top 10 things to do in Auckland, Mount Eden one of the 48 volcanic cones in the country and the highest natural point in Auckland. The symmetrical crater which is 50 meters deep is known as Te Ipu Kai a Mataaho and is considered highly holy. A tour of this traditional fortified Māori village gives visitors a glimpse into the Māori culture and life. In addition, visitors are also treated to fabulous city and harbor views upon climbing the Mount Eden. There are also numerous cultural attractions in the Mount Eden Village – local galleries that are flooded with masterpieces by creative artists are worth a visit!

8. Have an enjoyable meal at Mission Bay

A charming seaside suburb of Auckland city, Mission Bay is filled to the brim with numerous popular eateries and cafes. One of the best places to eat in Auckland, Mission Bay features a lively Promenade which is always thriving with foodies. With numerous al fresco dining options, tourists can have their food while enjoying the views of the beach, Rangitoto Island and bustling harbor. The presence of various bars and pubs along the Mission Bay make it one of the most popular things to do in Auckland at night.

9. Stroll along the Viaduct Harbor

Housing decadent restaurants, lively bars and happening night life, Viaduct Harbor entices tourists with its dynamic vibe. A stroll around the Viaduct Harbor treats visitors to the lovely view of luxury yachts, racing yachts and the sparkling water. A waterfront destination with over 30 bars and restaurants to choose from, Viaduct Harbor is the perfect place to relax and chill in Auckland.

10. Lose yourself in the colorful world of art at the Auckland Art Gallery

A prominent public gallery in Auckland, Auckland Art Gallery features the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand. In addition to its fascinating permanent exhibits, the gallery also hosts plethora of traveling international exhibitions. At the time when it was constructed in 1884, the gallery was mostly dominated by European old master paintings. Over the last century, the collection has expanded to include a wider variety of periods, media and styles, and houses over 15,000 artworks. One of the primary points of interest in Auckland, a visit to this magnificent gallery has to be on every traveler’s itinerary.

11. Admire the views from One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill, also known as Maungakiekie, is a volcanic peak in Auckland which is considered to be an important memorial place for both Māori as well as other New Zealanders. Touted to be the greatest fortress in the country, One Tree Hill derives its name from a rather eccentric story. Earlier, there used to be a native Totara tree sitting right at the top of the hill, then it was replaced with a pine tree before it was sawed away in 1994 by a Maori activist.

12. Relax in the Wintergardens at Auckland Domain, Auckland

Auckland Domain is the oldest park in Auckland. Set aside in 1880 as a 200-acre public reserve, Auckland Domain today houses the beautiful Wintergardens, which consist of two large glasshouses each exhibiting wonderful exotic and native plants. The impressive Auckland Museum too is houses in the same periphery. With so many prominent attractions and things to do nestled within its folds, it's not at all surprising that Auckland Domain is one of the best things to do in Auckland.

13. Enjoy the rugged side of Auckland at Waitakere Ranges

A rugged hilly area, Waitakere Ranges covers more than 16,000 hectares of native forest and coastline in Auckland. Unlike the popular touristy beaches in Auckland, the beached nestled in the Waitakere Ranges are windswept, black-sand beaches. Rich in native flora and fauna and home to numerous scenic and magical waterfalls like the Karekare Falls, Waitakere Ranges lets you explore the wild and unexplored, yet an equally beautiful side of Auckland.

15. Observe the huge collection of wildlife at Auckland Zoo

Home to the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand, Auckland Zoo is home to a sizeable number of native as well as exotic animals. Over 875 individuals representing 138 species are organized into exhibition areas that are grouped by region of origin, taxonomy, or biome. So, from Pridelands and African Savannah, Hippo River, Te Wao Nui, Elephant Clearing and The Rainforest to Orangutan Trail, Aussie Walkabout, Sealion and Penguin Shores and Tiger Territory, there are fascinating areas which consist of healthy and happy creatures. A visit to this zoo is one of the fun things to do in Auckland.

15. Live in the world of fantasy at the Hobbiton Movie Set

Offering visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return to the lands of Middle-earth and the Shire, a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set gives the tourists a chance to see the working sheep farm that director Peter Jackson turned into the village of Hobbiton for his Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Not only can you get a look at Bag End, where Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures began, but also the hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the mill and the Party Tree!

16. Fall in love with the streets and houses of Devonport

One of the popular destinations for day trips from Auckland City by car, Devonport has much to see and explore. A quaint bayside Victorian village, it flaunts a more simplistic personality of Auckland. From museums to art centers, this town is packed with sites that tell the tales of its history and crave to entertain guests with art and music which is native to this land. While the Devonport beaches make for perfect picnic spots, you can also set out on a gastronomic journey along its many cafes, bakeries and restaurants. One of the most scenic places in New Zealand, don’t miss out on a trip to Mt. Victoria, Devonport Museum, and Mt. Cambria on your day trip here.

17. Go caving in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to enjoy the starry sky

Home to a specific specie of glow worms that are found only in New Zealand, Waitomo Glowworm Caves are one of the many sites which were created close to 30 million years back by volcanic activity. Marine organisms like fish, shells, and corals can be found fossilized in the limestone of this cave. The glowworms are big and small, and usually, reside on the ceiling and the walls of the caves. The blue glowing insects make it look like a starry night sky in the dark. It is one of the best things to do in Auckland in winter as the darkness during the day enhances the experience!

18. Sail into the past at the New Zealand Maritime Museum

Opened in 1993, New Zealand Maritime Museum is a center that gives the entire timeline of New Zealand’s maritime, starting from the first Polynesian explorers to America’s Cup. Categorised into three sections, the museum includes the main exhibits, collections and documentations and even art collections. From actual vessels, to whaling and sealing, to even records, this museum has it all. Stories from the voyages of a time long ago, this makes for a very interesting place to visit in Auckland with children.

19. Walk under the ocean at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

Opened in 1985, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium has often been called as one of the most beautiful places in Auckland. Eight zones, 30 exhibits and 80 species, make it one of the best aqua life centers in the city. Home to more than 1500 marine animals, it was one of the first centers to use conveyor belts to guide the visitors through the tunnel aquariums that they had constructed. Antarctic Ice Adventure, Stingray Bay, Fish Gallery and Seahorse Kingdom, and Pacific Shark Zone and Shipwreck Explorer are some of the most exciting exhibits here.

20. Surf away at the Piha Beach

One of the best places in Auckland to ride the waves of the Tasman Sea, Piha Beach also boasts of a varied aqua-terrain, with ample lagoons and stream in its neighbourhood. While it makes for a great one-day trip with family, it is also one of the most scenic drives in Auckland. Do make sure you visit some picturesque places which are near the beach, which include, Lion Rock and Kitekite Falls. Surfing events are held at this beach, so, if you are interested, try and be a part of one of them.

21. Journey through the Museum of Transport and Technology

Dating back to the year 1964, Museum of Transport and Technology is a science museum displaying items of commute collected privately and by the city. Military and civilian aircrafts, trams and railways, and buses are the main collections. With its interactive, educative exhibits, it is not only one of the most fun places, but also the largest museum of its kind in the country! Located in Western Springs, it is a popular place to visit near Auckland City.

22. Plan a date at the Waitemata Harbour

With such a long coastline, there are many romantic things to do in Auckland. One of them is the Waitemata Harbour. With sparkling views of the twinkling city at night, the waterfront restaurants in this area are perfect for a romantic dinner. You can even set out on a quiet stroll along the harbour, watching the ships and boats float by. This harbour is also known as the Auckland Harbour and has a number of adventurous activities that you can enjoy here during the day. Some of them are swimming with dolphins, boating and excursions.

23. Walk through the North Head Historic Reserve for a little bit of history

One place that never fails to give the best night views in Auckland, is the North Head Historic Reserve. Not only when it’s dark, but also during the day, certain vantage points in this park overlook the bay and give the most spectacular scenes. The reserve is known to be one of the most significant coastal defense site of the country. Take a walk around the place and delve into the history, or just picnic at one of the scenic spots and enjoy the views!

24. Parnell Rose Gardens: A vibrant and fragrant delight!

Named after the beloved mayor, Dove-Myer Robinson, who served for the longest period of time, Dove-Myer Robinson Park, is more commonly known as Parnell Rose Gardens. Famous for the large collection of the different types of roses that it has, the park also hosts events and ceremonies. The annual festival of roses which is hosted by this garden is a major tourist attraction in Auckland. Art exhibitions are held during this time, along with craft stalls and musicians entertaining all the visitors. And being amidst the fragrance of the roses, it is a great experience!

25. Catch a show at The Civic

More than 85 years old, The Civic is a heritage theatre located in Auckland. With a capacity of 2378 people, it is not only one of the oldest and largest, but also one of the most reputed and well-maintained theatre of the city. Bringing together performing arts of all kinds, from dance to theatre and music, people make it a point to visit it at least once during their trip to the city. Displaying Moorish Revival architectural style, it is said that the design was inspired by Indian foyer designs with columns and seating. An important sight and an unusual thing to do in Auckland, don’t forget to add it to your plan!

26. Unwind at the Takapuna Beach

Eating, shopping and relaxing can best be done in Auckland at the Takapuna Beach. Boasting its spotless shoreline and cobalt waters, this beach is perfect to unwind and relax. Cafes, bakeries and restaurants make it a foodie’s paradise, while the small trinket shops offer the best and the most unique items. While these are great things to do while here, nothing can beat the pleasure of sitting on the sand watching the cool blue waves lapping by. 

27. Queen Street, shopping street! - Go for Shopping in Auckland

A proud presenter of a number of landmark buildings, theatres, galleries and government centers, Queen Street is one of the most sought-after places in Auckland. Especially known for its shopping avenues, you will find the big brands, as well as small souvenir shops lined up here. If you check out the smaller lanes, you will be surprised to find something unique and incredible! Street performers treat the bystanders to music and tricks, adding to the vibe of Auckland that this street defines!

28. Dive in and view the beauty of Goat Island

Famed to be the country’s first marine reserve, Goat Island is perfect for a day trip from Auckland. Since all that lives there is protected, you will get to see the most diverse, vibrant and brilliant aqua life here. Snorkeling here is a must, but along with marine activities, the center too is interesting. A knowledge center of sorts it is best to take a roundabout before diving, so that you can not only identify species, but also know their story.

29. Indulge in the luxuries of Ponsonby

High on the list of fun things to do in Auckland for adults, Ponsonby is one of the most happening streets in Auckland. Bars, restaurants, shops and more, nightlife here is an exciting experience. Often known for the wide range of dining options that it offers, you will be surprised with the innovation and creativity that they bring into food. You will also find posh galleries and jewellry stores in this area. Home to clubs and lounges, an evening here will be well spent.

30. Laze around at Albert Park

A visual treat, Albert Park is one of the most beautifully landscaped parks in the city. With quite a formal design, it has an interesting history, as well as some significant sites that tell wonderful stories. Built right next to the city’s oldest volcanic site, you will find that this area has played an important role in the second World War. many small monuments like the Victoria statue, the fountain and the caretaker’s cottage are a must visit while here. Today, the cottage serves as a Clock Museum.

Author: Arundhati Bhand
An animal lover at heart, marketer by education and artist by passion, Arundhati aims to seek out to all that satisfies her diverse interests. She believes that it is only through experiences that one learns, and a traveller of sorts, she strives to ...

Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Auckland, New Zealand

Must see places in Auckland ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Auckland and points of interest to visit.

  1. #1 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 2934 itineraries
    Tiritiri Matangi Island

    Tags: Island, Wildlife Sanctuary , View Point, Nature

    Address: Army Bay, Whangaparaoa, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and is home to one of New Zealand's most important conservation projects. Located around 30 kilometres from central Auckland, the Island is 60% fore...Read more

  2. #2 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 886 itineraries
    Auckland Museum

    Tags: Memorial, War Memorial, Cafe

    Address: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    The Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the most important museums in New Zealand and showcases rare artefacts that depict the story of Auckland along with its Natural and Military history. The bui...Read more

  3. #3 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 936 itineraries
    Cornwall Park

    Tags: Outdoors, Park, Tourist Center, Picnic Spot

    Address: Puriri Dr, Epsom, Auckland 1051, New Zealand

    Timings: 07:00 am - 08:30 pm Details

    Leave the bustling urban noise and explore the lush-green pocket of Cornwall Park- a vastexpanse of gorgeously green grass with trees that shade the landscape and flower beds that adorn the beautiful ...Read more

  4. #4 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 5119 itineraries
    Sky Tower

    Tags: Tower, Observation Deck, Skyscrapper

    Address: Corner Federal and Victoria Streets, Auckland, New Zealand

    Timings: 09:00 am - 11:30 pm Details

    The Sky Tower is 328 meters tall and stands as an icon of Auckland’s sky line. It’s an exciting hub of adrenaline activities, superb dining and breathtaking views. Sky Tower is one of...Read more

  5. #5 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 3474 itineraries
    Rangitoto Island

    Tags: Outdoors, Island, Adventure, Nature

    Address: Rangitoto Island, near Auckland, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Situated around 25 minutes from Auckland by ferry, Rangitoto is the largest and youngest island in the Auckland volcanic field. It erupted in the sea in a series of explosions around 600 years ago, an...Read more

  6. #6 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 435 itineraries
    Waitakere Ranges

    Tags: Outdoors, Waterfall, Adventure, Nature

    Address: Waitakere Ranges, Piha 0772, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Located 25 kilometre away from Auckland, the Waitakere Ranges touches an elevation of 1555 feet and offers a breath-takingview of the coastline of New Zealand. The range is nothing short of an adventu...Read more

  7. #7 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 3296 itineraries
    Mount Eden

    Tags: Outdoors, View Point, Nature, Volcano

    Address: Mount Eden Road, Auckland, New Zealand

    Timings: 07:30 am - 08:30 pm Details

    At 196 metres, Mount Eden, also known as Maungawhau, is the highest volcano in Auckland city. The summit to the top gives spectacular 360-degree views of Auckland and its harbours. Erupting about 15,0...Read more

  8. #8 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 4219 itineraries
    Waiheke Island

    Tags: Outdoors, Island

    Address: Waiheke, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Located around 17 kilometres from Auckland, the Waiheke Island is the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. Spread across approximately 19 kilometres (west to east), the island is ...Read more

  9. #9 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 3462 itineraries

    Tags: View Point, Neighborhoods

    Address: Devonport, Auckland Region, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The 4th ‘most visited destination’ in Auckland Region, Devonport is a beautiful sea side village with marvellous heritage buildings, spectacular scenery and stunning beaches. It is just a ...Read more

  10. #10 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 720 itineraries
    Viaduct Harbour

    Tags: Museum, View Point, Walking Area, Restaurant

    Address: Viaduct Basin, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The Viaduct Harbour is where the major commercial and entertainment places are located. The residential places at the harbour ooze luxury while the cruise tours are the obvious highlights. The local a...Read more

  11. #11 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 2753 itineraries
    Auckland Zoo

    Tags: Zoo

    Address: Motions Road, Auckland 1022, New Zealand

    Timings: 09:30 am - 05:30 pm Details

    Spread across 17 hectares (42 acres), Auckland Zoo is home to the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand. 138 different species and over 875 animals call the zoo their home. To...Read more

  12. #12 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 3127 itineraries
    Auckland Art Gallery

    Tags: Art Gallery, Sculpture

    Address: Corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, Auckland, New Zealand

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Situated within a beautiful French-style mansion, the Auckland Art Gallery was established in the year 1888. It has New Zealand’s most extensive collection of art- historic, modern and contempor...Read more

  13. #13 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 3297 itineraries
    One Tree Hill

    Tags: Outdoors, Hill, Picnic Spot, Nature

    Address: 670 Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    One Tree Hill is Auckland’s largest intact volcanic cone. Also known as Maungakiekie, a summit to the top gives you extensive and beautiful views of the city. The 183 metre volcano has three cat...Read more

  14. #14 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 2029 itineraries
    Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum

    Tags: Museum

    Address: Corner Quay and Hobson Streets, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    The Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum has the largest marine collection in New Zealand. Spread over 7 galleries, visitors find out everything about New Zealand’s maritime, right from how the f...Read more

  15. #15 of 424 Things To Do in Auckland
    - Used in 2940 itineraries
    Auckland Domain

    Tags: Museum, Park

    Address: Park Road, Grafton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Auckland Domain is Auckland’s oldest park. Spread across an area of 75 hectares (185 acres), the Wintergardens are its most visited feature. It also houses the infamous Auckland War Memorial Mus...Read more

Activities And Tours

Explore these activities and tours for awesome experiences in Auckland: