Starting your New Zealand adventure in Auckland? Make sure you find the best “The City of Sails” has to offer. Here’s a guide to some of the best things to do in Auckland so you can enjoy the city like a local.
If you’re staying in Central Auckland, you’ll find loads to keep you entertained including typical tourist attractions as well as spots that come highly recommended by the locals.
One of the most iconic things to do around Auckland city is to visit the Sky Tower and take in the spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf from the county’s tallest structure (328 metres). At the top, you’ll find the Sky Deck, Sky Café and The Sugar Club restaurant. Or, choose the adrenaline junkie’s version and either take the “SkyWalk” around the outside of tower’s pergola strapped into a full body harness and safety lines or do the “SkyJump” – base jump from the top by wire and fall 192 metres.
Related: For an adrenaline-packed trip to NZ check out our New Zealand Adventure Tours.
For a unique dining experience head to Elliot Stables. Set in a renaissance style warehouse building Elliot Stables is an epicurean village where the concept is sit down anywhere and eat from everywhere. Enjoy delicious food from the menus of a range of international restaurants along with local and imported beer and wine.
Auckland Waterfront offers a collection of vibrant precincts to explore and is also a great option if you’re looking for fun things to do in Auckland at night.
Perhaps Auckland’s most vibrant entertainment precinct boasting some of the city’s finest restaurants. Viaduct Harbour is packed with exciting dining options and is a great place to chill out and take in the ocean views or enjoy the lively nightlife. The space frequently plays host to world-class events including the past Louis Vuitton Regatta, Volvo Round the World Race Stopover and annually hosts New Zealand Fashion Week.
Head down the road from the Viaduct to Queens Wharf and find a spot to relax by the water’s edge. Rent a Waterfront Bike or check out public art installation ‘Lighthouse’ by prominent New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai.
Established as Auckland’s first commercial and trade centre in the 1880’s Britomart carries rich historical and cultural significance. After a long period of neglect the area was transformed in the early 2000’s into the vibrant mixed-use community it is today. You’ll find designer boutiques, eateries, bars, and health and beauty clinics amid heritage buildings, charming public spaces and modern architecture.
La Cigale Market Britomart
If you’re around on a Saturday don’t miss La Cigale Market Britomart 8:30 a.m., to 12:30 p.m., this French-inspired market is the central city version of one of Auckland’s most popular weekend markets (La Cigale Market, held on Saturday and Sunday mornings in the suburb of Parnell).
If you have a sweet tooth this place is a must. Located close to Britomart on Gore Street, Giapo is not your typical ice-cream parlour, this place offers a multi-sensory ice-cream experience intended to challenge the way you think about ice-cream.
Auckland Art Gallery
Auckland Art gallery is a cultural hub in the Arts and Learning precinct in Central Auckland. Enjoy New Zealand’s largest collection of historic, modern and contemporary art, and experience innovative and thought-provoking temporary exhibitions. The gallery regularly hosts travelling international exhibitions. Admission to most areas is free.
Set around the Pukekawa volcano with sports fields occupying the floor of the crater, Auckland Domain is Auckland’s oldest park. Here you will find one of Auckland’s main attractions the Auckland War Memorial Museum, two large glass houses, Wintergardens café, duck ponds, gardens and walkways amid expansive rolling green spaces. Located in the suburb of Grafton, Auckland Domain is a short taxi ride or about a 25-minute walk from the city centre.
Related: If you like art galleries and museums Wellington should be on your itinerary, check out our 8-day North Island Highlight Private Tour.
Escape the CBD to find more fun things to do in Auckland outside the central city.
Jump on a ferry from Queens Wharf and head out across the harbour to beautiful Waiheke Island. Known for its wineries and cruisy beach lifestyle here you’ll enjoy fantastic alfresco dining experiences, boutiques, beaches and vineyards. The ferry trip is only 40 minutes, and you’ll get a fantastic view looking back at the city and the harbour bridge.
Related: If you like the idea of exploring New Zealand’s wine regions check out our New Zealand Wine Tours.
The hip inner-city suburb of Ponsonby is renowned for shopping and dining. Ponsonby road offers about 1.5 kilometres of stylish boutiques and eateries. From second hand to pop-up to high fashion, you’ll find small galleries, quirky gift stores and a vibrant foodie scene with everything from gourmet burger joints and taco trucks to upmarket bistros and gastropubs.
Popular amongst kids & adults alike this famous aquarium created by New Zealand marine archaeologist and diver Kelly Tarlton features the world’s first curved aquarium tunnel which lets you walk through the middle of the shark aquarium and come face to face with the sharks. Encounter all kinds of marine life throughout several fantastic attractions including the Antarctic Encounter, Turtle Bay, Seahorse Kingdom and the Niwa Southern Oceans Discovery.
Related: Discover more sea life on our 16-day South Island Supreme Adventure Tour.
A little further around the coast from Kelly Tarlton’s is Mission Bay. Escape the hustle of the city and take a walk on the beach and soak up the stunning views of Rangitoto Island. Have lunch at one of the many great restaurants that line the main road.
Related: If you are a fan of spectacular coastal views see our 5-Day Winterless North Explorer Private Tour.
Now you’re in the know about some of the best things to do in Auckland, and that’s just the beginning of the adventure. At The Road Trip, we know all the best things to do in New Zealand from the most famous tourist attractions to the hidden spots usually only experienced by the locals.
Whether you prefer a self-drive tour or a private guided tour we can help you plan your ideal New Zealand adventure and make sure you find all the things you’ll love the most. Contact us to talk about your trip to New Zealand, call us at +64 2191 0433, email us at [email protected] or use our contact form.