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Auckland City Skyline from Westhaven Marina
Auckland City Skyline from Westhaven Marina | © russellstreet / Flickr
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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Auckland, New Zealand

Picture of Thalita Alves
Updated: 5 July 2018
Auckland is a place filled with incredibly diverse attractions. Whether you’re an avid thrillseeker, nature lover, or an art aficionado, New Zealand’s largest city is sure to keep you captivated. Here are 20 must-visits that prove this point perfectly.

The Sky Tower

Building
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Sky Tower, Auckland, New Zealand | © PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay
Along with being an iconic feature of Auckland’s skyline, the Sky Tower is the tallest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Fine diners, adventurous bungy jumpers and travellers wanting to catch some of the best panoramas of the city are among those attracted to this stunning architectural landmark.
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Mon - Sun:
9:00 am - 10:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Touristy, Architectural Landmark, Photo Opportunity

Mt Eden (Maungawhau)

Natural Feature
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Mount Eden Summit, Auckland | © macronix / Flickr
Auckland’s highest natural point, Mt Eden (also known by the Māori name Maungawhau) 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), it is as much a part of the summit’s appeal as the spectacular 360-degree city panoramas on show.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Free

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Touristy, Photo Opportunity

One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)

Natural Feature
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Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, Auckland, New Zealand | © Bernard Spragg / Flickr
One Tree Hill is a 182-metre (597-foot) volcano which serves as an important memorial place for Māori and other New Zealanders. Maungakiekie, or the ‘mountain of the kiekie vine’, was home to the largest indigenous pā (defensive settlement site) pre-European colonisation. A 30-metre (100-foot) tall stone obelisk was also erected on top of the summit to mark Auckland’s centenary commemorations in 1940.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Free

Atmosphere:

Touristy, Outdoors, Scenic

Waiheke Island

Natural Feature
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North coast of Waiheke Island, New Zealand | © russellstreet / Flickr
Take a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland to reach the ever so popular Waiheke Island. The island is situated on the Hauraki Gulf and has a length of 19 kilometres (12 miles). Visitors are drawn to this local gem because of its famous vineyards, picturesque beaches and wondrous natural landscapes.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Kayaks

Atmosphere:

White Sand, Outdoors, Touristy, Indoors, Scenic

Piha Beach

Natural Feature
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Lion Rock, Piha Beach | © russellstreet / Flickr
Located just west of Auckland, the black-sand Piha Beach is famous for its strong surf conditions and breathtakingly rugged scenery. Landscape photographers are particularly drawn to the beach’s Lion Rock and its surrounding Maori carvings. Film buffs will also know the picturesque beach for its cameo in movies like the 1993 feature drama The Piano.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Free

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Scenic

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Natural Feature
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Native bellbird seen on Tiritiri Matangi Island | © Richard Ashurst / Flickr
If you love nature and wildlife, a visit to Tiritiri Matangi Island is a must. The island, which can be reached from Auckland city via ferry, is a wildlife sanctuary for threatened and endangered native birds and reptile species. After a brief introductory walk from a local ranger on arrival, visitors are welcome to partake in guided walks or simply explore the surrounding tracks and beaches on their own.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Scenic

Shakespear Regional Park

Park
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Shakespear Regional Park | © russellstreet / Flickr
Located at the tip of the Whangaparoa Peninsula, 50 kilometres (31.1 miles) north of central Auckland, Shakespear Regional Park is the most visited and accessible open sanctuary in the region. With a strong focus on conservation and farming, the park provides a pest-free habitat for endangered wildlife — to an extent that dogs and other pets aren’t permitted in it.
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Mon - Sun:
6:00 am - 9:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Free

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Great Barrier Island

Natural Feature
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Great Barrier Island | © David Baron / Flickr
Also known as Aotea, Great Barrier Island is the sixth largest island in New Zealand. Along with featuring the only multi-day wilderness walk in Auckland region (the Aotea Track), the Great Barrier Island is also home to an array of beautiful beaches and is the only island in the world to hold Dark Sky Sanctuary status.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Rangitoto Island

Natural Feature
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Having come into existence approximately 600 years ago, Rangitoto Island is Auckland’s youngest volcano. Wherever there is a view of the Hauraki Gulf, you’ll be able to sight Rangitoto summit — you could say it’s a bit of a local icon because of its prominence. The island is a popular hiking destination as well as being a much-adored spot for kayakers and boaties.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Kayaks

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Touristy

Devonport

Natural Feature
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Devonport, Auckland | © xiquinhosilva / Flickr
The seaside suburb of Devonport is wont to attract history buffs, beach lovers, maritime enthusiasts and budding foodies keen to try out some of its buzzing cafes and eateries. A 12-minute ferry ride from the city is all it takes to reach this North Shore gem; this ease of access makes Devonport a favourite day trip destination for both locals and visitors.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Local, Touristy

Mission Bay

Natural Feature
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Pōhutukawa trees at Mission Bay | © Akos Kokai / Flickr
Mission Bay is located quite close to Auckland’s central business district on Tamaki Drive. Aucklanders are particularly drawn to the local beach because it is so close to the city. Mission Bay is also loved for its cafes and restaurants, plus the picturesque park that lies right on the beach’s doorstep.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Accessible (Wheelchair)

Services & Activities:

Kayaks, Picnic Tables

Atmosphere:

White Sand, Touristy

Auckland Botanic Gardens

Botanical Garden
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Sunset, Auckland Botanic Gardens | © russellstreet / Flickr
The Auckland Botanic Gardens is located in the South Auckland suburb of Manurewa, approximately 24 kilometres (14.91 miles) from the city. It comprises 64 hectares (158.15 acres) of gorgeous blooms, foliage and native forestry that’s sure to enthrall visitors. Admission is free and the garden organises a number of events like workshops and school holiday programmes for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
More Info
Mon - Sun:
8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Accessible (Wheelchair)

Services & Activities:

Free

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Scenic

Auckland Domain

Park
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Lovers Lane walking trail, Auckland Domain | © Murat WithHat / Flickr
As well as being Auckland’s oldest park, the Auckland Domain is the largest in the city. The park comprises the entire explosion crater and most of the crater rim of the Puketawa volcano. It is also home to several sports fields, tranquil walking tracks and notable tourist attractions like the Domain Wintergardens and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Accessible (Wheelchair), Dog Friendly

Services & Activities:

Free

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Local, Touristy

Auckland War Memorial Museum

History Museum
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Auckland museum | © parkd63 / Pixabay
The Auckland War Memorial Museum was the very first of its kind in New Zealand; it currently serves as a memorial site for war casualties and holds some of the country’s most significant archival records and heritage treasures. The museum is particularly notable for its extensive collection of Māori and Pacific artifacts, and its annual ANZAC Day dawn service commemorations.
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Mon - Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind)

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Historical Landmark

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Art Gallery
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With a collection that features more than 15,000 works, the Auckland Art Gallery is New Zealand’s largest art institution. The gallery originally opened in 1887 and has since undergone a massive architectural transformation. Its modern building is presently home to artworks and collections from New Zealand, the Pacific and abroad, as well as hosting an array of international exhibitions throughout the year.
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Mon - Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Accessible (Wheelchair)

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Local

MOTAT

Transportation Museum, Curiosity Museum
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The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is the ultimate go-to for curious minds. Innovative machinery-based exhibitions, remarkable aviation displays, a model railway and a collection of fascinating historic relics come together to educate museum visitors about the evolution of transport and technology in New Zealand and its effect on life at large.
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Mon - Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind)

Services & Activities:

Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Local, Touristy

Auckland Zoo

Zoo
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Auckland Zoo sign | © Robert Linsdell / Flickr
Auckland Zoo has come a long way since opening its doors in 1922. Along with housing the largest collection of wildlife in New Zealand, the zoo has expanded its scope of operations to include a number of conservation and environmental research activities. Visiting animal lovers can get involved in a number of encounters like behind-the-scenes experiences, safari nights, and zookeeper talks among other events and activities.
More Info
Mon - Sun:
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium

Aquarium
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Tunnel at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium | © Ingolfson / Wikimedia Commons
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium has been marvelling marine wildlife enthusiasts since 1985. The aquarium was the brainchild of diver and marine archaeologist Kelly Tarlton, who not only built this remarkable aquatic attraction out of unused sewage tanks, but is also known for constructing the first buoyancy compensator suit in New Zealand. A shuttle from the city centre can take visitors to the aquarium, where they can catch sight of a number of species and even walk across a shark tunnel.
More Info
Mon - Sun:
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Accessible (Wheelchair)

Services & Activities:

Entrance Fee, Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Touristy

The Civic

Theatre
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Civic Theatre, Auckland | © russellstreet / Flickr
Equal parts architectural landmark, performing arts hub and live music venue, The Civic is bound to impress its spectators. Built in 1929, this was originally the first ‘talkies’ cinema to emerge in New Zealand; nowadays it is a premier theatre venue with more than 2,300 seats and a starry auditorium designed to recreate the Southern Hemisphere skies. The Civic is mostly opened for performances, though special guided tours are offered on occasion.
More Info
Mon - Fri:
7:30 am - 6:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Accessible (Wheelchair), Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Architectural Landmark

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial

Memorial
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Michael Joseph Savage Memorial | © russellstreet / Flickr
The Michael Joseph Savage Memorial commemorates New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister, who was widely respected by both Māori and European New Zealanders for playing an integral role in the development of the country’s social welfare system. The memorial is situated on Bastion Point and features an obelisk and mausoleum surrounded by beautifully landscaped garden grounds.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Outdoors