The Best Things To Do In Auckland
Auckland is a short flight from Australia and offers activities and adventures in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The landscape and setting of this New Zealand city means that there is no shortage of options, whether you want to hike in one of the well-known rain forests during the morning hours and then head into the city for a night at the club’s, Auckland is the ideal spot for all travelers to the region. The blend of outdoor recreation and exceptional city life makes Auckland one of the most unique and popular cities in the southern hemisphere.
The location of Auckland is one of the best things about this bustling city. The urban and cosmopolitan lifestyle is surrounded by stunning natural landscape which means there’s no end to the options of things to do you’re visiting. Because the land is so fertile and it’s a coastal city, the restaurants throughout Auckland surf some of the best food in the world and it’s becoming highly sought after by top-notch chefs. Want to get a taste of what Auckland has to offer? There are numerous food tours that give you a little sampling of all of the ingredients that Auckland has to offer – check out The Big Foodies for an exceptional tour experience.
Before you head out into the natural landscapes of Auckland, spend some time exploring the city. One of the most popular points of interest for those who like a little bit of an adrenaline rush is the Sky Jump, which is located in the famous Sky Tower and allows visitors to jump over the edge at 192 metres up from the ground! If you want to still see the gorgeous sights, but you’re not into outrageous activities, you can still head up to the Sky Tower and check out a panoramic view of the entire area.
Auckland is also known for its exceptional collection of museums and art galleries – head over to the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail to see some of New Zealand’s most popular contemporary art pieces immersed in the natural and scenic landscape.
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN AUCKLAND…
In the heart of Auckland, the Waitemata Harbour is famous for hosting the America’s Cup challenge in the early 2000’s. The docks are surrounded by bars and restaurants, where you can sit and watch the boats and yachts glide into and out of the docks. Commonly known as Auckland Harbour, you can go for a cruise, explore on a kayak, or be thrilled on a jet boat!
Auckland Harbour Bridge
A key transport artery for Auckland, the Auckland Harbour Bridge will get your blood running! Climb the bridge to a height equal to 15 stories, or take the plunge and bungy jump 45 metres towards the crystal waters of Waitemata Harbour. Of course, if that’s not for you, you can choose to stay with the pedestrians, and walk the one-kilometre length of the bridge!
You don’t visit the Waitomo Caves… you experience them! Tour on foot or by boat, marvelling at this majestic example of the underground world, with stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites rising from the cave floor. New Zealanders bring adventure to everything, and these caves are no different – float through the caves on a rubber tube or abseil or zip-line through the darkness. For cafes and more picturesque walks head above ground!
Hauraki Gulf Islands
If it’s time to slow your trip down, why not spend a day exploring the thirteen islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Explore the sights on foot or go for a horse ride, and then relax over a meal and have a few drinks. Make sure you visit Waiheke Island, just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, and check out the vineyards and view the local art. Exploring Auckland doesn’t have to be hectic!
ALERT – EXTREME ADVENTURE AHEAD! This is no bungy jump; from a height of 192 metres you will plummet at a speed of 85 kilometres an hour off the Auckland Sky Tower. The trip will take all of 11 seconds and it will live in your memory for a lifetime, as you come to a smooth stop back on earth. Be assured that the jump is safe and you get a SkyJump certificate to prove you did it!
Tiritiri Matangi Island
For people who enjoy nature, Tiritiri Matangi Island is a fantastic daytrip. The island is passionate about protecting the native animals, and great care is taken to ensure predators such as cats and mice are not introduced. The island is pristine, and you will marvel at seeing and hearing the 80 species of birds, checking on the penguins, and wandering the walking tracks to take in the sights, such as New Zealands’s oldest working lighthouse.
Auckland Museum and Institute
The Auckland Museum and Institute (War Memorial Museum) provides something for the whole family. It displays the history of the Maori, and Pacific Islands – and has the largest collection of artefacts in the world. The museum then respectfully takes visitors through the wars and conflicts that the country has been in. Finally, you can enjoy the Stevenson Centre, where children can experience birds and bugs; it’s the perfect way to unwind for a while.
Auckland Art Gallery
Take a break from the city and spend a leisurely half day exploring New Zealand’s history through its art. The Auckland Art Gallery specialises in the works of Maori, Pacific and New Zealand artists, and has the largest collection in New Zealand, with over 14,000 works. The gallery regularly has visiting exhibitions and lectures, so come in for a visit and discover a part of history you may never have otherwise known about.
Auckland Sky Tower
A spectacular way to get your bearings in Auckland, you can see for over 80 kilometres from the Auckland Sky Tower! This tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and has three viewing levels – make it an extra special day and climb into the antenna mast or even take a tour around the exterior. Enjoy a meal and drink in the revolving restaurant as you complete this “tour” of Auckland.
The modern, Auckland Zoo, has an emphasis on natural enclosures and showcases New Zealand’s native animals, Australia’s animals, and a wide selection of the creatures from around the world. There are “Keeper Talks” regularly throughout the day and for a special event, join a Safari Night after the sun goes down and discover a whole new world – its includes a BBQ!
Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium
Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium is a leading-edge aquarium and is fun for the whole family; there is just so much to see and do. Seeing an enormous range of the world’s aquatic animals is just the start. Maybe you want to swim with the sharks? Visit the displays and join in the interactive “zones”, which are great fun and educational. Transport yourself to Antarctica and see the only colony of sub-Antarctic penguins in New Zealand. This is a great day out for everyone!
A visit to Waiheke Island really needs to include the Stonyridge Vineyard. Arguably one of New Zealand’s best wineries, producing some outstanding wines using organic production methods. Enjoy a wine and a meal or snack, and soak in the view. For a special trip to absorb yourself in the culinary delights, join a guided food and wine tour!
Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb
Get your heart racing as you take in the city from the top of the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge. The Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb takes you right to the top of the bridge where you can see the city and beyond. If the climb is not enough, you can even bungy jump off the bridge, and dip your head in the crystal water below!
When you visit the Auckland Sky Tower, why stay inside when there’s a challenge outside! Join the SkyWalk, get strapped into a harness and enjoy a “stroll” around the narrow walkway that circles the tower. Your intrepid guides will point out the sights and it’s a great way to get bragging rights on all those visitors who opt to stay inside!
Just a couple of hours’ drive from Auckland lies the picturesque town of Matamata. Home to the world-famous Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set, you can find yourself walking through the very heart of the Shire, as you explore more than 40 Hobbit Holes, including the home of the one-and-only, Bilbo Baggins! Once you have finished your adventure back to middle-earth, there is still so much to see! With plenty of amazing hikes through the region, you can experience the spectacular landscapes and beautiful scenery of the countryside, including the famous Wairere Falls!
Located in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is not only one of the most popular, but it’s also the second largest island! Visitors to the island can access it from Auckland – it’s only 21 kilometres away by ferry. Once you’re on gorgeous Waiheke Island, it’s time for some exploring!
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