While you’re here, you won’t want to miss –
With its location on a narrow strip of land between two harbors, water is the overriding feature of this cosmopolitan city. The Auckland City harbor is filled with sailboats, motorboats and super yachts. You’ll even find a hotel where you can dock your boat outside your window!
Close by, the Wynyard Quarter, with almost 2 miles of coastal frontage, is the place to stroll, view great art work and enjoy a choice of cafes.
Plan on spending several days in the city – you’ll discover so many things to do in Auckland you’ll wish you had more time to explore. As New Zealand’s largest city – home to ⅓ of the country’s residents! – Auckland’s reach includes the Matakana Coast, extending up to Northland, and includes the area south to Waikato.
For a break from the inner city, take a 40-minute ferry to Waiheke, an island of 8,000 permanent residents. You’ll have views of Auckland’s skyline from the water – and be able to enjoy a laid-back atmosphere at the wineries, restaurants and beaches on the island.
With its hot, dry summers and stony soils, Waiheke is the perfect locale for vineyards and olive groves. Visit internationally acclaimed Cable Bay and Stonyridge Vineyards, and a host of other restaurants and cafes to complement a day to remember. Not only is the island a delight to the palate, the beaches are beautiful and seductive.
In summer time, each golden bay and beach is ringed with the scarlet flowers of the cliff-hugging pohutukawa trees, which blaze against the blue of sea and sky. Rent a scooter to explore the island, take the local bus or a guided tour to explore the many things to do.
Every neighborhood has its own distinct character, with Parnell, Devonport and Ponsonby each a magnet for shoppers and people-watchers.
- In Ponsonby, look for the Annah Stretton, Minnie Cooper, Miss Crabb and Cybele boutiques for trail-blazing fashion and design.
- Parnell offers a wide range of contemporary and traditional art galleries, among them the Warwick Henderson, a contemporary dealer gallery, and the International Art Center.
- Take a ten-minute ferry across the harbor to Devonport, a charming historic village with five beautiful white sand beaches, all within walking distance of the main street. On a clear day you’ll enjoy the spectacular city and harbor views. Relax at the Mecca Cafe or the Devonport Stone Oven Café before discovering emerging local artists at The Depot Art Space.
Water, Water and More Water
Among the things to do in Auckland you’ll want to check out the regular ferries that travel to the far reaches of the harbor. Each destination is rewarding in itself!
If you’re up for seeing aquatic animals, catch a safari into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Over 25 of the 37 southern hemisphere marine mammals have been observed in this national park.
Have your camera ready — there’s a good chance you’ll spot dolphins or even a whale. If sailing is your thing, this trip can be combined with an outing on an original America’s Cup yacht – not your everyday vacation adventure!
If you prefer your territory a little more wild, travel out west to where the Tasman Sea pounds the black iron sand beaches – and surfers step up to the challenge.
Muriwai and Piha are two of the easiest to reach. On the cliffs you’ll see vast gannet colonies – and if you’re lucky, you may catch some fur seals sunning on the beach.
As befits the Pacific’s largest Polynesian city, you’ll find choosing among varied dining options one of the things to do. Auckland has many restaurants featuring Pacific Rim cuisine, combining fresh seafood and meats with flavors drawn from Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia.
Peter Gordon’s The Sugar Club – on the 53rd floor of the SKYCITY Grand Hotel – offers stunning views of the city in addition to an ultimate food fusion experience. Dine on an assortment of small plates hosted by the chef whose innovative food combinations have taken the world by storm.
Close by, the Britomart district has emerged as a foodie haven, with coffee shops, craft breweries, small eateries, late-night drinks and nibbles – and even pop-up container shopping. It’s well worth a visit any time of day or night!
If you’re in the area on Saturday morning, be sure to stop by the City Farmer’s Market for locally grown food and mouth-watering treats.
For international food, walk along ‘K’ Road (Karangahape Road) and make your choice from more than 100 eateries – from 5-star cuisine at the Langham Hotel to Auckland’s trendy and iconic cafes, ethnic restaurants and food courts. For vegetarians, the award-winning Satya South Indian Cafe offers inexpensive, yet tasty meals.
In Wynyard, Seafood Central at the Auckland Fish Market features the freshest local seafood in an alfresco courtyard setting. For something totally different, the Pescado Tapas Bar uses the finest local produce for its Mediterranean-style delights. Finish your visit with a climb to the public viewing deck and enjoy the stunning views across the harbor.
No matter what your interests, you’ll uncover something to attract and interest you with the variety of things to do in Auckland on your vacation. From golf to gourmet dining, artworks to antiques, it’s all there for you to discover and explore.