Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Auckland (New Zealand), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with an urban population of 1,470,100 as of June 2020. It’s a cosmopolitan city known for its multiculturalism and being home to the largest Polynesian population in the world.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Auckland as well as attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Thanks to the volcanic Maungawhau peak, Mount Eden is often considered to be one of Auckland’s most attractive neighborhoods.
Many of the residential homes located here are quite posh as the suburb is one of the best places to live in all of Auckland. The greenery of the Maungawhau peak is a very inviting place to go for walks or to simply enjoy the panorama from the top.
Apart from the scenic beauty, the suburb is also known for its lovely cafes and wine bars.
Auckland Sky Tower
Auckland Sky Tower is the largest freestanding structure in the entire Southern Hemisphere and, needless to say, it’s the best place to go if you want to get a great view over Auckland and the skyline.
The tower stands at 328 m and is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city. Not only is the structure home to a great viewing platform but also offers a casino complex, several restaurants, and nightclubs.
Rotoroa Island is a fantastic wildlife sanctuary and conservation center. Getting here is quite easy as there are ferries and other boat services connecting the island to the mainland.
It takes around one hour to get to the island and once you are there you will be rewarded with fantastic nature including beautiful beaches that are totally untouched and very serene.
If you are interested in the island’s history make sure not to miss the museum. For travelers enjoying nature, Rotoroa Island is one of the best places to visit near Auckland.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland’s War Memorial Museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is often considered the city’s most attractive historical building.
The elegant neoclassical structure was inaugurated in 1929 and has since then established a great collection dedicated to the fallen heroes of the wars New Zealand’s army was involved in.
Apart from the permanent collections dedicated to remembering the victims of the war, there are also interesting temporary exhibitions covering a range of topics including art and history.
Great Barrier Island
The Great Barrier Island is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful natural attractions. Coming here on a boat or ferry from Auckland takes up to five hours but you can also cut down your traveling time to around 30 minutes by using a plane.
The Great Barrier Island is known for its rugged landscapes and beautiful beaches and around 70% of the land is protected as a conservational area. Make sure to spend at least 2 or 3 days here as the island offers so many fun activities.
The Shuckleferry is a lovely boat that is used for interesting tours around Brownes Bay, New Zealand’s first European settlement. The oyster farms located here are considered some of the best in all of the Pacific.
The experienced guides are doing a great job educating guests about how oysters are caught and harvested and of course, everyone will also get the chance to taste these fresh delicacies.
One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)
The 183 m high One Tree Hill is one of the most important sites in all of Auckland as it serves as a memorial place for the Māori people as well as other native New Zealanders.
This hill was created by a volcanic eruption 60,000 years ago and even today its volcanic origins are quite apparent due to the way the hill is shaped.
The top of the hill features not just great panoramic views but also an interesting obelisk depicting a Māori warrior. The Maungakiekie Hill (as it is known in the language of the Māori) also serves as a great place for extended walks in lovely nature.
Waiheke Island is one of the biggest islands in the Hauraki Gulf and is only around 40 ferry-minutes away from Auckland. The island is known for its amazing vineyards and beaches which make the island a fantastic place to relax and unwind.
Due to the island’s popularity amongst visitors, there are many interesting services on offer here. You can join scenic flights around the island or go on guided hiking tours and explore the lovely island’s interior.
Around 40 km west of Auckland lays the beautiful Piha Beach. The beach is known for an impressive rock formation called Lion Rock, situated just a few meters away from the beach.
Piha Beach is a popular spot for surfers but also attracts many people who are simply in search of some relaxation. Make sure not to miss the impressive Tasman Lookout on the southern end of the beach.
The scenic spot is located on a cliff above the sea and offers incredible views over Piha Beach and the wilderness surrounding it.
Devonport is a lovely town located north of Auckland. You can either get here by car or jump on one of the frequent boat services that connect the northern and southern side of Shoal Bay.
Devonport is mostly known for its relaxed atmosphere and the many excellent seafood restaurants found here. Many people also come for the beaches and Mount Victoria, which offers fantastic views over the city.
There is also a lovely museum here which serves as a great place to spend a few hours if you are interested in history.
Auckland Botanic Gardens
Auckland Botanic Gardens offers a collection of 10,000 plants from all over the world. There are many themed sections found here including an African Plants Garden, a Rose Garden as well as the Gondwana Arboretum.
Apart from the impressive collection of plants, there are many interesting events taking place here throughout the year including photography competitions and a dinosaur festival. You can find this amazing green space on the south-eastern outskirts of Auckland.
Tiritiri Matangi Island
The Tiritiri Matangi Island is another paradise island easily reachable from Auckland. The ferry ride takes around 75 minutes and once you have made it here, you will be rewarded by amazing wildlife and a very rich bird population.
There are no restaurants or shops here and apart from a visitor center and some hiking trails, the island is completely untouched and natural.
Make sure to bring enough food and water for your stay at the island. The island is also home to New Zealand’s oldest operating lighthouse, make sure not to miss it.
The Auckland Domain is the city’s oldest public park and is today often used as a meeting point for its residents. Many families come here to make use of the great playgrounds or have a picnic on one of the lawns.
If you are interested in history, you can check out the Robert Burns Statue. One of the highlights of the park is the so-called Lovers Walk, a romantic wooden boardwalk that leads through a stretch of thick forest.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Auckland offers a great destination for art lovers, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. The gallery has a rich history dating to 1888 and is considered the country’s first permanent art gallery.
Auckland Art Gallery is located next to the lovely Albert Park. The gallery is mostly known for its fantastic temporary exhibitions but also hosts an impressive permanent collection showcasing around 15,000 artworks of European as well as Pacific artists.
The oldest works on display date to the Middle Ages while there are also plenty of contemporary and modern works found here.
Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is dedicated to showcasing historic civilian and military transport vehicles.
This museum was established in 1960 and features a very large collection of vehicles including many well-maintained aircraft, trains, and buses. Many of the exhibits can be entered which makes the museum experience fun for younger visitors too.
The Museum of Transport and Technology also serves an educational purpose as it offers numerous workshops for children eager to learn about science and technologies.
Want more recommendations on things to do in Auckland, New Zealand? Leave a comment below!