Being the main point of entry into New Zealand, Auckland makes a strong effort at keeping both in and outbound travelers around the city for more than just a 'travel day'. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland has HEAPS to offer, from its majestic harbours, adrenaline-packed thrills, and cool urban neighborhoods, to beautiful beaches, great museums, and a happening nightlife scene. No matter how brief your trip to New Zealand, be sure to leave a day or two to explore this happening city.
Being the main point of entry into New Zealand, most international flights stop in Auckland before heading onto other destinations. It is a routine stop on all bus and hop-on/hop-off routes, and domestic carriers have several daily flights from all corners of the country. You shouldn’t ever have a problem getting in or out of Auckland, that’s for sure.
Things to do in Auckland
- Go for a walk in the clouds- Auckland’s Sky Tower is immediately recognizable amidst the city’s skyline. Part of the Sky City complex, the Sky Tower has various observation decks from which you can get a good view of the layout of the city. You’ll also have the opportunity to don a special safety suit for a walk right around the edge of the tower. Or, if you’re REALLY crazy, you can jump right off the edge for a controlled free-fall back down to street level.
- Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungee- Yet another location to take on the Kiwi-invented sport of bungee jumping, the Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungee is a 67 meter plunge into the Waitamata Harbour. You can also climb the bridge if you want (for an additional fee, of course...).
- Check out some of Auckland’s neighborhoods- Auckland’s CBD is surrounded by numerous urban suburbs that are full of cafes, boutique shops, restaurants, and bars- each having a unique vibe and feel about them. Newmarket and Ponsonby are two of the best...
- Hit the beach- Auckland has several public beaches that draw thousands of sun worshippers during the warm summer months. Piha is the most popular by far. Ask at your hostel for tips on where to go to avoid the crowds...
- Get some culture- Auckland has several museums and galleries that are worth a visit- the Auckland Art Gallery, the Auckland Museum, the Auckland Zoo, the Museum of Transport, Technology, and Social History, just to name a few.
- Visit Mission Bay- A gorgeous suburb along the eastern shores of Auckland, Mission Bay is FULL of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques, and is a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
- Hang out in Viaduct Harbour- Auckland’s elite take to the scene on the Viaduct. Even if it’s beyond your ‘Backpacker’s Budget’, it’s worth walking through if only to marvel at the massive yachts, tease your taste buds at the amazing restaurants, and catch a glimpse of Auckland’s ritzy side.
- Have a lazy day in the Domain- pack a picnic and chill out in the shade in the Domain- a park on the east side of town. Take a book, take a frisbee, take a snooze- it’s all good.
- Be careful where you stay in Auckland- some hostels are definitely more ‘party’ pads, while others cater to a less-raucous crowd. Do your research, and book accordingly.
- Shop at street markets for good deals on prepared food as well as raw ingredients for cooking your own meals.
- Ask your hostel about discounts and deals at local restaurants and pubs- they’re sure to know where you can save some money on food, drinks, and activities.
- If you’ve got the time, take a trip out on the Hauraki Gulf- known for its abundant sea life, the gulf is great for whale watching, dolphin cruises, scuba and snorkeling, and just about anything else you can do on the water. Ask your accommodation’s Activities Desk for information.