Activities to enjoy in Auckland
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is an urban oasis. It’s where sparkling waters and lush landscapes meet city sophistication.
World-class shopping and phenomenal dining are never too far from harbours, islands, native bush and black-sand beaches. Go sky diving or whale watching, hike an ancient volcanic cone, sip local award-winning wine, or star gaze from the International Dark Sky Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island.
A multicultural region bursting with life, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland offers a host of rich cultural, creative, business and sporting events, festivals and theatre productions.
Don’t miss the chance to experience New Zealand’s unique Māori culture and come to know our manaakitanga – hospitality, generosity and openness of spirit – as you connect with our people, land and the stories that have shaped our place.
Organic Saturday market between Auckland and Whangarei with live music, plus locally sourced vegetables, fruits & baked goods.
One of Auckland’s three wine growing regions, Matakana is home to a number of superb boutique vineyards set amidst rolling green countryside, only an hour’s drive north of downtown Auckland.
If you’re visiting on a Saturday morning, don’t miss the Matakana Farmers’ Markets. Pick up organic chocolate, homemade spreads, artisan cheeses, Italian meats and other gourmet goods. For another special foodie experience, go on New Zealand’s only commercial oyster farm tour where you will learn how to shuck oysters on the Mahurangi Harbour.
Matakana is also known for its thriving art scene. Revel in the Sculptureum where finely curated sculptures are set amidst tropical gardens, or walk the outdoor sculpture trail at Brick Bay Winery. Both offer fantastic lunch options.
Tāwharanui Regional Park, Goat Island and Leigh are just a stone’s throw away from Matakana village and offer spectacular coastal scenery and native bush walks.
From coastal walking tracks and historic sites to vibrant cultural centres and foodie experiences, there’s plenty to see and do in Auckland’s south.
Manukau is the heart of South Auckland, a vibrant cosmopolitan centre and home to the largest Polynesian community in the world. For a taste of the pacific, visit Ōtara Flea Market, New Zealand’s largest street market, bursting with life and flavour. Get amongst nature, by taking a stroll through the stunning Auckland Botanic Gardens and marvel at the sculptures scattered throughout.
Discover some of Auckland’s significant historical sites in and around Mangere. Follow the trail up Māngere Mountain to explore the remains of former Māori settlements and take in the fantastic views from the summit. Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu O Uenuku is a worthy stop, which was designed to enhance and reflect the diverse culture of the vibrant Māngere community.
The historical Manukau Heads Lighthouse juts out from the tip of the Awhitu peninsula and is one of only a few in New Zealand that are open to the public.
If you want to relax, book a stay at Castaways Resort at the beautiful Karioitahi Beach, or try the on-site glam camping with sea views and outdoor bathtubs. Castaways Resort offers a range of activities such as blow-karting and archery, as well as spa treatments.
Just down the road is Āwhitu Peninsula, which offers vast panoramas and sweeping coastlines. A must-visit is the historical Manukau Heads Lighthouse, jutting out from the tip of the peninsula. The lighthouse is one of only a few in New Zealand that are open to the public, and the views are spectacular. While you’re on the peninsula, explore tranquil bays and rolling pasture, and stop at the boutique clifftop vineyard Āwhitu Wines for a tasting. On your way back, grab a drink or bite to eat at the Kentish Hotel, New Zealand’s longest running licenced hotel.
For more on what to see and do in the South Auckland, visit Aucklandnz.com
East Auckland has plenty of things to offer foodies, adventurers, beach-lovers and history buffs. There are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
East Auckland has one of Auckland’s most spectacular driving routes - Pohutakawa Coast - named after the beautiful red-flowering trees that border its shoreline over summer.
Stop by Howick township on your way to the Pohutukawa Coast and grab coffee and breakfast. History buffs should add Howick Historical Village to the itinerary – this living museum features more than 30 original colonial buildings on site, including a school, church, and general store.
Duder Regional Park is a 400 acre park situated on the coast to the east of Auckland city.
Explore the green pastures of Duder Regional Park by foot or mountain bike. The views over the Hauraki Gulf are spectacular. If walking is your thing, you can also take the 5km coastal walkway which passes picturesque beaches and reserves along the coast between Beachlands and Maraetai. There’s plenty of gorgeous spots for a swim or a picnic.
If you love food and wine, you’ll want to head to Clevedon. Sip on boutique wines over Sunday lunch at one of the area’s small wineries. Enjoy a group tasting or dine al fresco overlooking the vines. Pick up fresh produce and delicious homemade foods at Clevedon Farmers’ Market or visit the Clevedon Village Market for arts, crafts and jewellery. Both markets are on every Sunday.
If you’ve got the whole day, visit the nearby Hunua Ranges Regional Park, which is the largest area of native forest in Auckland. Whether you want to get active or take it easy, It’s a great day trip destination for nature lovers. With so many different walking tracks of different duration and grades, there’s something for everyone, including children. Stop at the beautiful Hunua Falls for a picnic and make sure you have your camera ready. If you’d rather hit the trails on a bike, there’s three tracks to choose from, including an easy valley loop.
West Auckland is home to rugged coastlines, wind-swept black sand beaches, waterfalls, native trees, and some of Auckland’s best vineyards and eateries.
Your first stop should be Piha, one of Auckland’s most popular surf beaches. Here you can go for a surf lesson, stretch your legs on the beautiful, long black-sand beach, or refuel at the local café. Muriwai Beach is also stunning and home to the famous clifftop gannet colony, where around 1200 pairs of gannets nest from August to March each year. The viewing platforms give you sweeping views far over the Tasman Sea. Stroll along the boardwalk that hugs the coastline and breathe in the crisp sea air. The roads out to Auckland’s west coast are windy, so if you’re not comfortable driving, there are tour operators who run day trips from the city centre.
Te Henga (Bethells Beach) is a coastal community to the west of Waitakere in the Auckland Region of the North Island.
Some of many other must visit coastal spots include Bethells Beach, which offers fantastic walking tracks, Karekare Beach and Whatipu Beach. There are also several waterfalls in Auckland’s west, which are definitely worth visiting. Karekare Falls and Kitekite Falls are the most popular. There are plenty of great walking tracks too, though some tracks are closed due to Kauri dieback disease, which has affected some of the native Kauri trees.
Another West Auckland gem is Kumeu, which is well known for its world-class wines, eateries and rolling green hills. If you want an easy, relaxing afternoon, Hobsonville Point is a great place to stop for lunch, craft beer, and a light harbour-view walk.
For more on what to see and do in West Auckland, visit aucklandnz.com You can read more about Kauri Dieback HERE.
Stretching from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula, the Hauraki Gulf is home to stunning coastlines, marine reserves and more than 50 unique islands. The Hauraki Gulf is the ultimate marine playground and thanks to an array of ferries, water taxis, sea planes and guided tours, most of them are accessible - even if you don’t have a boat.
Great Barrier Island is the largest and most seaward island of the Hauraki Gulf islands, and a visit won’t disappoint. Getting there is all part of the adventure and the transport options are by sea or air.
The Aotea Track is on Great Barrier Island, which lies 100 kilometres north-east of central Auckland.
Great Barrier’s an island made for nature lovers. Not only does it have an abundance of great walking tracks with spectacular landscapes and breathtaking views, but the beaches are plenty and include a mix of sandy shores and secluded coves.
Take a cozy dip in the natural hot springs. Kaitoke Hot Springs are the only undeveloped natural hot pools in the Auckland region and an easy 80-minute walk will take you there. Walk through glades of native nikau palms, over bridges and boardwalks with wetland and mountain views on your way.
When the day fades, look up. The dazzling night sky is arguably the best in the world – it’s the first island on the planet to receive the Dark Sky Sanctuary status, making it a dream for astro-enthusiasts.
Waiheke Island is also a must-visit and a popular one too. World class wines, pristine beaches, olive groves, walking tracks and art galleries, it’s easy to see why Waiheke is considered the jewel in the Hauraki Gulf’s crown.
With regular ferry sailings, Waiheke is the perfect place to escape for the day, or the weekend, with plenty of beautiful accommodation options to suite a wide range of budgets.
Join a wine tour for tastings at some of the island’s 30 boutique wineries, swim at golden-sand beaches, soak up the scenery on the walking trails, or indulge in fine food at an award-winning vineyard restaurant.
If you’re after a little more adventure, there’s plenty of activities on offer; including, ziplining over native bush, horse riding, archery, laser clay-bird shooting, pottery lessons, or you can join a gin and tonic experience or try your hand at making your own unique perfume at The Botanical Distillery.
Some other islands worth discovering include Rangitoto Island - the largest and youngest of Auckland’s volcanic cones and an iconic landmark. Explore lava caves and the world’s largest Pohutukawa Forest. If you have more time and energy, instead of taking the ferry, opt to travel by kayak. Auckland Sea Kayaks guided tour is a perfect alternative for those who enjoy a little more adventure.
Rotoroa Island is a must for history lovers, Tiritiri Matangi for bird enthusiasts, and Kawau Island is popular for those looking to relax away from any roads.
For more on what to see and do in the Hauraki Gulf, visit aucklandnz.com
Central Auckland is a hub of urban delights set against beautiful coastal scenery. It’s not hard to see why this is regarded as one of the most livable cities in the world.
Discover world-class shopping, dining and entertainment in the city centre. Splurge on designer fashion, indulge in Pacific-Rim cuisine overlooking the harbour and discover buzzing waterfront precincts.
Viaduct Harbour, formerly known as Viaduct Basin, is a former commercial harbour on the Auckland waterfront that has been turned into a development of mostly upscale apartments, offices and restaurants.
You’ll find culture in every corner and exciting events including musicals, festivals, concerts and international sports. Central fringe suburbs offer a variety of dining and entertainment – great shopping and coffee by day, dinner, drinks or dancing by night.
Combine culture and sightseeing with a trip up Maungawhau (also known as Mount Eden) the city’s highest volcanic cone. Learn about the history of Maungawhau at the visitor centre and enjoy contemporary Māori cuisine at the on-site café. For those wanting the highest view, take a trip up the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, where you can experience spectacular 360-degree views of the city from the observation deck. Adventurers can also try SkyJump – New Zealand’s highest base jump – or the incredible SkyWalk, where you’ll walk around the outside of the Sky Tower on a platform high above the city for some extreme sightseeing
Spot sea life on the Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari, try your hand at sailing a former America’s Cup Yacht, or catch a ferry to the seaside village of Devonport for ice cream, beach walks and history Auckland’s vibrant art scene has a lot to offer visitors. Start with the Auckland Art Gallery, and follow it up with a few of the city's many small galleries. Auckland Museum hosts exquisite displays of Māori and Pacific artefacts, as well as live Māori cultural performances.
The city centre is also a foodie haven. Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the world and is home to more than 200 different ethnic groups, creating an exciting dining scene that is a melting pot of flavours and cuisines. The subtropical isthmus city sees fine dining sit harmoniously alongside contemporary fusion menus, craft beer breweries, Pasifika and Māori kai cuisine, and street food that rivals some of the most exciting menus in the world.
For more on what to see and do in Auckland City Centre, visit Heart of The City or aucklandnz.com