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Things to do in Auckland

Things to do in  Auckland

Welcome to Auckland

Fringed by rolling farmland, dense rain forests, peaceful bays, surf beaches, and volcanic peaks, Auckland is a natural beauty. Must-see attractions such as the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Auckland Museum bring the City of Sails’ culture and history to the fore, while creative menus in hip areas like Ponsonby and Karangahape Road (""K Road"" to the locals) lure diners with seasonal produce and craft cocktails. Waiheke Island, popular for its wine and only a quick ferry ride from Auckland CBD, is one of the top things to do—for Aucklanders, visiting kiwis, and international travelers alike.

Top 10 attractions in Auckland

#1
Auckland Harbour Bridge

Auckland Harbour Bridge

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The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a landmark site on the city’s skyline. The 8-lane engineering marvel connects downtown Auckland with North Shore suburbs. Visitors can experience the bridge and the stunning views of the Waitemata Harbour from several vantage points: while driving over it, climbing it, or jumping off it.More
#2
Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

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Just a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island has great beaches, some of New Zealand’s best boutique wineries, a number of art galleries, scenic walking trails, and acres of olive groves, making it the ideal getaway. The island’s calm waters—perfect for watersports like snorkeling, sea kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding—and the relaxed bohemian atmosphere in Oneroa Village draw a steady stream of visitors year-round.More
#3
Hauraki Gulf Islands

Hauraki Gulf Islands

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Located off the coast of Auckland, Hauraki Gulf’s 16 beautiful islands are ideal for outdoor activities like walking, horse riding, swimming, and dolphin- and whale-watching. From the vineyards of Waiheke to the hiking trails of Rangitoto, the birdwatching of Tiritiri Matangi to the secluded hot springs of Great Barrier, each of the islands offers something special.More
#4
Waitemata Harbour

Waitemata Harbour

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Waitemata Harbour is the real name for what is often just called Auckland Harbour. It means “sparkling waters” in the Maori language, which is a very fitting name. Numerous islands dot the harbor, and a day spent on the water, with city views in the background, is a memorable way to tour Auckland.More
#5
Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum

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The Auckland War Memorial Museum, one of New Zealand’s finest, displays thousands of items—including Maori and Pacific Island collections—reflecting the country’s history, culture, and nature. A dedicated children’s area allows kids to touch animals, fossils, and bugs. Visiting Auckland Museum is a must when spending time in New Zealand’s largest city.More
#6
Tiritiri Matangi Island

Tiritiri Matangi Island

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The open wildlife sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi Island is devoted to the protection and conservation of reintroduced threatened and endangered reptiles like the tuatara, and birds such as the flightless takahe. The island is tightly controlled to keep out predators that hunt fragile bird species like the nocturnal little spotted kiwi.More
#7
Auckland Sky Tower

Auckland Sky Tower

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A dizzying 1,076 feet (328 meters) high, the Auckland Sky Tower is not only New Zealand’s highest building but also the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The tower offers unbeatable views of Auckland’s skyline, with its distinctive spire visible from all corners of the city.More
#8
Viaduct Harbour

Viaduct Harbour

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Whether you’re embarking on a short day cruise from the marina or enjoying the vibrant nightlife, Viaduct Harbour is an energetic entertainment hub right on the Auckland waterfront. The harbor is best known for its food: there are more than 20 cafés, restaurants, and bars, almost all of them easily found on the harbor’s pedestrian mall.More
#9
Auckland Domain

Auckland Domain

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Enjoy the peace and tranquility of forests, gullies, and green spaces in Auckland Domain, a 185-acre (75-hectare) escape from the frantic Queen Street crowds. Get lost on a nature walk, admire the tropical plants at the Wintergarden, and marvel at the history on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.More
#10
North Head Historic Reserve (Maungauika)

North Head Historic Reserve (Maungauika)

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To early Maori this strategic viewpoint was known as Maungauika, and looking out over Auckland’s Harbor and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, the summit of this ancient volcanic cone was perfect for fending off an attack. In the 1800s, under European rule, the hill was fortified with cannons and guns to deter a Russian invasion, and was again fortified during both World Wars to protect the precious harbor. Though the attacks themselves thankfully never came, the tunnels, guns—and view—still remain. As the fortification of the hill slowly grew, it ultimately became the preeminent coastal defense system in all of New Zealand. The guns here were cutting edge for the time they were built and installed, and included a pair of “disappearing guns” that would actually recoil back into the ground once they had fired a shot. The guns are visible at the South Battery, which along with tunnels dug by prisoners using light from flickering lanterns, are eerie reminders of the lengths it takes to defend a nation’s coast. There’s a self-guided walking path that points out many of the sights, and from the hill’s summit looking out over Devonport, visitors are also treated with a view of Waiheke Island, the Coromandel, and Auckland’s downtown skyline.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland

Top activities in Auckland

23-Day Epic New Zealand Tour

23-Day Epic New Zealand Tour

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From
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A local’s pocket guide to Auckland

Emma Knock

Emma is an Auckland-based writer. You’ll find her working her way through the Metro Top 50 eateries, road-tripping around the North Island, or at Piha with her wife and dog.

The first thing you should do in Auckland is …...

get your bearings with a stroll around Britomart, the waterfront, and Wynyard Quarter.

A perfect Saturday in Auckland …...

starts with a walk up Maungawhau / Mt. Eden (followed by cheesecake from Frasers and bookshopping at Time Out), involves a trip to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, and ends with dinner and drinks on K’ Road.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is … ...

wine tasting on Waiheke—plan to hit Mudrick and Cable Bay, and book for lunch at Casita Miro (pro tip: order the croquettes).

To discover the "real" Auckland …...

go to K’ Road, the city’s former red-light district and Ponsonby’s grittier cousin, where you’ll find vintage stores, art galleries, ridiculously good restaurants, LGBTQ bars, live music, and every kind of Aucklander.

For the best view of the city …...

most people would say to head up Mt. Victoria in Devonport, but try the Westhaven Marina boardwalk for a different perspective.

One thing people get wrong …...

is spending only one night in Auckland before flying to the South Island. You could easily fill a week—or at least a weekend—seeing the sights and checking out the city’s food scene.

Frequently Asked Questions