Almost 50 volcanoes make up the volcanic field of Auckland, making for a dynamic landscape of extinct lava escape routes for visitors to explore. One of the most popular and adventurous forms is done by kayak to the island of Rangitoto, which will see you taking on the seas of the Hauraki Gulf for around 90-minutes before arriving at pohutukawa forests and steep lava cliffs. Take the journey at sunset for the most breathtaking views.
Walk across the country in 5 hours
So skinny is the landmass of New Zealand that you can casually stroll across it in just one day. Starting at the Waitemata Harbour, the walk takes you through Albert Park and the the 200-acre Auckland Domain, then along the summit of Maunga-whau (Mount Eden) for breathtaking views of the city, before finishing up with the ancient lava flows of Onehunga and Manukau Harbour. Commonly referred to as the ‘coast to coast’ walk, it is one of the most popular things to do in Auckland, and the most up-close way to discover the greater area of the city.
Go on a day trip to an isle of wine
When a picturesque island gets dubbed ‘the isle of wine,’ you know it’s a place worth visiting. Situated less than 20-kilometres off New Zealand’s mainland, the vineyard covered Waiheke is easily accessible from Auckland, taking less than 2-hours with a drive and ferry ride. Expect boutique art galleries, indulgent food and charming gift shops all set to lush rolling hills and sweeping ocean vistas. And of course, a few cellar door stops and wine tasting will be high on the to-do list.
Visit the world’s largest penguin colony exhibit
Though Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, SEA LIFE, offers visitors the chance to swim with grey nurse sharks and admire an entire kingdom of seahorses, it’s the flapping, flightless bird of the penguin that makes this one of the most popular Auckland attractions. The largest exhibition of penguins found anywhere in the world, visitors can admire these fury critters as they swoop through ice-cold waters, engaged in a successful breeding program that will ensure they can be encountered by generations to come.
Visit the world’s only island dark Sky Sanctuary
The untouched wild spaces of New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island (Aotea) have always called travellers looking for somewhere unique and rugged to explore. But in 2017 the island’s appeal went up a notch when it became the only island in the world listed as a dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association, an international institute that recognises places that conserve and protect their night sky from the pollution of light. Visitors can expect an illumination of shooting stars and planets, and a crisp vision of a spectacularly bright moon.
Things to do in Auckland
Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival
Held over Auckland Anniversary Weekend, the Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival celebrates the history, heritage and contemporary culture of New Zealand’s Māori people. Visitors will be a marketplace of food, musical performances, workshops, healing sessions and more. Not surprisingly this free festival has become a big reason to visit Auckland.
Tennis fanatics need to time their trip to Auckland with The ASB Classic, an international men’s tennis tournament held in the city every year in the month of January. Founded in 1956 it is the country’s most important tennis event, and one of the most exciting features of summer in Auckland.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival
St Jerome's Laneway is an international music event that first took place in Melbourne, Australia in 2005. The Auckland edition has been running since 2010, celebrating some of the best in international indie music for one day each summer.
Auckland Lantern Festival
Attendees of the Auckland Lantern Festival can expect almost 100 street stalls selling delicious Asian food, music and dance performances, and martial arts demonstrations in a celebration of Chinese New Year. The climax of the 4-day event sees hundreds of handmade Chinese lanterns illuminate the sky.
Taste of Auckland
For 10-years, Taste of Auckland has been bringing the city’s best restaurants together for 4-days of culinary goodness. The incredible tastes are dished up on the Queens Wharf together with pop-up bars and wine producers, in what has grown to be one of Auckland’s favourite festivals.
Top 5 Festivals in Auckland
Drawing in elite international tennis stars, famed indie music gigs and chefs from around the globe, Auckland’s festival calendar offers the perfect synopsis of this vibrant city. Filled with culture and set to ignite the city’s spirit of community, timing your trip with one of these events will not lead you astray.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
The history of Auckland Museum dates back to 1852 when it displayed specimens of wool to some 700 visitors per year. These days it tells of the region’s natural history and military history and also stands a memorial to New Zealanders involved in war. It can be found in a neoclassical building by a bountiful park in the centre of Auckland.
Museum of Transport and Technology
Space flight exhibitions, vintage trolleybuses, air force planes and old fire engines are just some of the exciting pieces found in Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology. The museum sprawls across two buildings; one located on Motions Rd and the other on Great North Road, both attracting many visitors eager to admire the best of the country’s transport and technology.
Auckland Art Gallery
Housed in a modern masterpiece on Kitchener Street, Auckland Art Gallery is New Zealand’s biggest art institute and a hub of progressive and culturally significant works. Open since 1888, visitors today can expect to see a rotation of exciting exhibition, important Māori art, and historic collections.
Te Toi Uku - Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum
Ceramics enthusiasts will find no shortage of enjoyment at Te Toi Uku, Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum. The space, found in the Auckland suburb of New Lynn, features collections by famed New Zealand ceramics brand Crown Lynn, a much adored pottery brand that has been manufactured in the country since 1854.
Torpedo Bay Navy Museum
Open since 2010, the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum is found in the harborside suburb of Devonport, and displays the Royal New Zealand Navy’s involvement in war and peacekeeping. Spanning the Korean War, Malayan Emergency, and the current War in Afghanistan, to name just a few, it offers a fascinating insight into the international politics of the country.
Top 5 Museums and Galleries in Auckland
Vintage trolleybuses, important Māori artworks and antique ceramics are just some of the items that might appear during a galavant around the galleries of Auckland. Housed in neoclassical buildings and modern masterpieces alike, these spaces should feature high on your ‘what to do in Auckland’ list.
Dive into genuine Māori culture through the unique food experience of hangi. Used for centuries, the hangi sees meat and vegetables being wrapped in leaves and placed onto hot stones in a pit dug into the ground, proving the great connection between the Māori people and mother earth.
Best eaten at Hangi shop, 583 Great South Rd, Otahuhu, 1062
Decades of debate have drawn no conclusion on the ownership of pavlova. But irrespective of whether it's a Kiwi or Aussie invention, you need to try it here in Auckland. Cibo, a restaurant found in an old chocolate factory, serves an unimaginably good pav covered in raspberries, best paired with something sparkly from their extensive wine menu.
Best eaten at Cibo, 91 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell, 1052
The vanilla ice-cream with swirls and chunks of honeycomb toffee known as hokey pokey is a Kiwi invention that makes sweet dreams come true. It’s best sampled at Auckland’s artisan ice-creamery of Giapo, where vegan and gluten free varieties are available. And best of all they make the tallest ice-cream in the Southern Hemisphere.
Best eaten at Giapo, 12 Gore St, 1010
When rolled oats, brown sugar, golden syrup and coconut come together with a few household staples, the traditional ANZAC cookie can be baked to perfection. Originally sent from Australian and New Zealand women to soldiers during World War I, these historic chewy biscuits can be found in any supermarket.
Best eaten at any supermarket in Auckland
The burger culture of New Zealand is real and strong, with one tiny burger stand-alone burger shop in Queenstown even gaining a cult-following and 11,000 TripAdvisor reviews. For a ‘bloody great’ burger in Auckland try Velvet Burger, a hub of gourmet burgers, beers and good times.
Best eaten at Velvet Burger, 18 Fort St, Auckland, 1010
Food in Auckland
Tantalise your sweet tooth and dive into culture with the satisfying food offering of New Zealand’s culinary capital. Lashings of pav, honeycomb and ice-cream and juicy burgers are just some of the items you can expect from Auckland’s food trail, the perfect way to start (or end) a night amidst the buzzing Auckland nightlife.