If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, you’ve come to the right place!
Auckland is a major city on New Zealand’s North Island. It’s actually the largest city in all of New Zealand and a main transport hub for other parts of the country! Auckland boasts a vast harbor, a multitude of quiet islands, and a colorful cityscape, offering a mix of wildlife, water, and urban activities.
Ever since I remember, I’ve been wanting to get to New Zealand. Since I haven’t made it there just yet, I’ve asked New Zealand expert Suzie of The Wandering Linguist to share her favorite things to do in Auckland to induce our wanderlust!
Auckland Pre-Travel Guide
1) How to Get Around:
The public transport system is not complete at the moment, and they are currently in the process of building a subway system. That said, if you are going to be exploring the centre city, there are trains and buses which are pretty easy to use. If you are planning to get around on public transport, you can plan your journey from A to B at using the New Zealand Journey Planner. Another cool way to see some epic Aukland sights is by ferry. However, quite a few places you may want to see will require a car (including places on this list) – if you’re coming from North America, remember that New Zealanders drive on the other side of the road!
2) Important Things to Pack:
Packing for a trip to Aukland and New Zealand in general really depends on what time of year you will be visiting. If you are visiting in Summer (December to February), you will need togs (New Zealand slang for swimsuit), shorts, and lots of sunblock! If you will visit in Winter (August-October), bring some coats and make sure you are prepared for a bit of a chill (especially if you will be heading south into the rest of the country).
3) Where to Stay in Aukland
Luxury: The Langham hotel
Middle: Scenic Hotel
Budget: Queen Street Backpackers
4) When to Go
For the things to do in Auckland that I’ve mentioned, it is 100% better to visit during the New Zealand Summer, as you’ll get to enjoy the amazing beaches, outdoor walks, and other great summer activities. If you’re lucky, you will also get to experience the kiwi way of barbecues, backyard cricket and homemade swimming pools! Don’t forget that our Summer is during December – February months.
5) New Zealand Fun Phrases
Yes, the main spoken language of New Zealand is English, and I would say that it is mostly pretty intelligible but there are some words that we use uniquely in New Zealand.
- ‘JAFA’ is a term you won’t hear too much in Auckland but it is a word the rest of the country use to describe Aucklanders. It’s an acronym for ‘Just Another F**king Aucklander’. This stems from the fact that Auckland is the country’s largest city and around ¼ of the New Zealand population resides in Auckland.
- A ‘kiwi’ is a word we use to refer to ourselves as New Zealanders, and is also the name of our native bird.
- ‘togs’ is our word for swimsuit or bathing suit
- ‘jandals’ is our word for flip flops
- Some Maori words are also used on a daily basis alongside the English. To get you started, ‘kia ora’ means hello, ‘whanau’ (pronounced fano) means family, and ‘kai’ means food!
15+ Things to do in Auckland, New Zealand
Things to do in North Auckland
1. Explore Shakespeare Park
Shakespeare park is a bit of a drive out of central Auckland but it is certainly worth it for the amazing scenery, beautiful walks, and nearby beaches. There is just so much to do.
2. Hike the Waitakere Ranges
The Waitakere Ranges are basically a huge natural reserve of nature walks and hikes which will take you to scenic lookouts, waterfalls, coastal walkways and many other wonders! There are so many different walks there, you could spend a week exploring and you still wouldn’t run out of walks to do.
3. Stuff Your Face at Giapo
For food-lovers, the innovative ice cream shop Giapo is an Auckland must-do. They provide a delicious dessert experience like no other, where you get to taste every flavor without seeing it before you buy! Their signature chocolate colossal squid blurs art and gelato, changing the way you see ice cream forever.
4. Learn to surf at Piha
Piha beach is one of New Zealand’s most notorious surf beaches. The waves are very dangerous for swimming, but it is always full of surfers doing their thing and riding the big waves. An awesome place to start to surf, if you ask me!
5. Do a sky dive at Parakai
If you’re more of the adventurous type, Auckland Sky Dive offers tandem sky dives up to 16,500 ft. It is a beautiful experience dropping amongst bush and farmland.
Things to do in Central Auckland
6. Have brunch at Mission Bay
Mission Bay is the trendiest, most central beach in Auckland. Lined with a boardwalk as well as a great selection of cafes and restaurants, it is a great place to have a bite to eat before taking a walk or relaxing on the beach.
7. Have a picnic at Cornwall park
Cornwall park is a huge park near the city centre. Famous for the ‘one tree hill’, it is a place that kiwis typically go to enjoy a family picnic or game of cricket in Summer. Walk around, buy an ice cream, climb the hill, or just simple relax and watch the world go by.
8. Walk around the Sky Tower
The sky tower is New Zealand’s tallest tower and a major tourist attraction. While going up and seeing the view is great, if you are more adventurous you might like to do the sky walk or sky jump to have a bit of fun!
Read Next: Where to See the Best Views of Aukland
9. Climb to the top of Mount Eden
Mount Eden is Auckland’s highest mountain, but easily climbable in an hour or less. Climb up to get a great view of Auckland city and its skyline, as well as surrounding suburbia.
10. Jump off the harbour bridge
Another common thing that Auckland adrenaline junkies do is bungee jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge (bridge that joins the North Shore with Auckland city). Choose to get no-dunk, half-dunked or fully dunked into Auckland’s ice cold water! Definitely one of the most crazy things to do in Auckland!
11. Take a ferry to a nearby island
Take your pick of island (I would recommend Motutapu, Rangitoto and Waiheke Island) but certainly take a ferry and go and explore off the mainland!
12. Have a night out in Ponsonby
If you are looking for a fine dining and nightlife scene, this is the place. Have dinner in one of the awesome restaurants and then go for a drink in one of the bars.
Things to do in South Auckland
13. Stroll around Wrights Water Gardens
Wrights Water Gardens is a newly reopened garden in Patumahoe, South Auckland. Best time to visit is Summer or Spring, where it will be flourishing with new flora life and abundant with lily pads. There is also a man-made waterfall. There is a small fee to pay to go in and have a walk around.
14. Hike the Hunua Ranges
The Hunua ranges have a view different walks depending on your fitness level. Awesome bush walks which come out at a waterfall and swimming hole.
15. Have fun at Rainbows End
Rainbow’s End – New Zealand’s best (dare I say only) theme park is the go-to place for a fun day out for most Aucklanders. To be honest, it is fairly average as far as theme parks go, but nothing like a little fun for the whole family.
16. Take a quad bike to Kariotahi Beach
Kariotahi beach is another great black-sand surf beach in Auckland – although much less well-known. It is unique in that it is a long, fairly straight beach and it allows vehicles, so if you have a sturdy motorbike, quad bike or 4×4 it is certainly a great place to go and let loose a while on our wild west coast.