Auckland is a place filled with incredibly diverse attractions. Whether you’re an avid thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or an art aficionado, New Zealand’s largest city is always ready to please. Here’s a quick taster with 20 must-visits everyone should add to their itineraries.
The Sky Tower
The tallest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sky Tower attracts the adventurous bungy jumpers, fine diners, and anyone who is seeking a panoramic view of Auckland city. As well as being an iconic landmark, the tower also hosts various radio, broadcasting, and telecommunications transmissions.
Mt Eden (Maungawhau)
Auckland’s highest natural point, Mt Eden is a dormant volcanic cone that rises 196 metres (643 feet) above sea level. An astonishing bowl-like crater with a depth of 50 metres (160 feet) is as much a part of the summit’s appeal as the incredible vistas on show.
One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)
One Tree Hill is a 182-metre (597-foot) volcano which holds special significance for both Maori and European New Zealanders. There is a 30-metre (100-foot) tall stone obelisk on top of the summit, which was erected for Auckland’s centenary commemorations in 1940.
A 40-minute ferry trip from downtown takes visitors into the ever so popular Waiheke Island. The island is located on the Hauraki Gulf and spans across 19 kilometres (12 miles) in length. Waiheke is particularly renowned for its vineyards, as well as its wondrous natural landscapes.
The Waitakere Ranges
Covering more than 16,000 hectares (39,537 acres) of native forestry and coastlines, the Waitakere Ranges is popular among hikers and nature lovers. The parkland reserve comprises 250 kilometres (155.3 miles) of walking tracks, as well as a number of waterfalls, beaches, rocky outcrops and cliffs.
The Hunua Ranges are located a little under an hour’s drive south from downtown Auckland. Magnificent waterfalls and streams are part of the Hunua Ranges’ appeal. The park is also home to the largest native forest in the Auckland region.
The stunning Kitekite Falls is nestled inside the Waitakere Ranges, around Piha. The scenic three-tiered waterfall has a 40-metre (130-foot) drop and is easily reached by a series of descending steps along the Kitekite Track. This is an attraction best enjoyed in those hot summer days, as the waterfalls are famous for splashing all over.
Shakespear Regional Park
Located in Whangaparoa, 50 kilometres (31.1 miles) north of central Auckland, Shakespear Regional Park is New Zealand’s most visited open sanctuary. With a strong focus on conservation and farming, the park provides a pest-free habitat for endangered wildlife — to an extent that even dogs aren’t permitted in it.
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island is New Zealand’s only national marine park, as well as being the largest island on the Hauraki Gulf. It is home to the Aotea Track, a popular three day hiking trail in the Auckland region, and is surrounding by idyllic coastlines and breathtaking landscapes.
Rangitoto Island is New Zealand’s youngest volcano, having come into existence some 600 years ago. Its summit is a bit of a local icon; in fact, Rangitoto can be seen wherever there is a view of the Hauraki Gulf. The island is quite popular among hikers and is also a much-adored spot for boaties.
A seaside village that’s easily accessed through a 12 minute ferry trip, Devonport attracts history buffs, maritime enthusiasts, and keen beach goers. Devonport is located on Auckland’s North Shore, and is a popular destination for a day trip.
Mission Bay is located on Tamaki Drive, quite close to Auckland’s central business district. Aucklanders are particularly drawn to this beach because of its accessible location. Mission Bay is surrounded by cool cafés and restaurants as well as a park right on the beach’s doorstep.
Auckland Botanic Gardens
Located in Manurewa, South Auckland, the Auckland Botanic Gardens boast 64 hectares (158.15 acres) of gorgeous blooms, foliage and native forestry. Entry is free, and there are plenty of interesting sights and attractions for the entire family.
The Domain is the oldest park in Auckland, residing within the crater of the Pukekawa volcano. It features a trove of beautiful modern art sculptures, as well as the duck ponds, winter gardens, the band rotunda and the Auckland War Memorial museum.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the most important landmarks in the country. It was the very first of its kind in New Zealand, serving as a memorial site for the war casualties as well as holding one of the largest heritage libraries and Maori and Pacific artifact collections.
The Auckland Art Gallery
The Auckland Art Gallery opened its doors in 1888. Since then, it has undergone an architectural transformation, and the modern building now houses major historic collections and artworks from New Zealand, the Pacific and beyond.
The Museum of Transport and Technology (aka MOTAT) will greatly please all curious minds. Aviation displays, innovative machinery-based exhibitions, and fascinating historic relics come together to educate all visitors about the evolution of technology and life in New Zealand at large.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
Equal parts museum, aquarium and marine theme park, Kelly Tarlton’s has been marvelling sea life enthusiasts since 1985. Adventurous visitors can even get up close to the local critters too — this includes snorkelling with the sharks as well as penguin encounters.
Michael Joseph Savage Memorial
The Michael Joseph Savage Memorial is situated inside Bastion Point/Takaparawhau in Orakei. The monument is a tribute to New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister, best known for founding the country’s social welfare system. Key features include the gardens, a pond, and Michael Joseph Savage’s grave and memorial.
Formerly known as the Viaduct Basin, the Viaduct Harbour was a commercial marina until it was transformed into a dynamic entertainment and residential area. Bars, cafés, restaurants and an events centre are among the Viaduct’s key attractions.