What to do and see in Auckland, New Zealand: The Best Places and Tips

January 3, 2018 Roseanne Arnett

The Māori call Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau — a maiden desired by 100 lovers, and a valuable territory fought over for centuries for its fertile land and natural harbors on the Pacific Ocean (to the east) and Tasman Sea (to the west). Today, it’s New Zealand’s largest city: A vibrant and diverse place where nature and urban life go hand-in- hand, with 48 volcanic cones, more than 50 islands, and 29,000 km of coastline and beaches just minutes away from the arts and shopping of the central city.
Restaurants in Auckland

1. Sky Tower

Corner Victoria and Federal Sts, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand +64 9-363 6000
Excellent
51%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 9 reviews

Sky Tower

Auckland's Sky Tower is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, this tower is more than 300 metres high. Offering stunning views, along with award winning restaurants, a gift shop and an opportunity to push your limits by walking the outside of the viewing platforms, or by jumping off from 192 metres above Auckland's CBD.

Reviewed By Alex D - London, United Kingdom

The Sky Tower was a great experience. The lifts were readily available and quick. The glass panel in the floor was a good touch. The views from the viewing platforms were superb. They keep you informed when and if there is anyboby going to do the jump. We were fortunate and got a couple of great shots of someone in mid air. Noit overly expensive and well worth a visit.

2. Tiritiri Matangi Island

Auckland Central, Auckland, New Zealand
Excellent
84%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Reviewed By Benjamin S

This is definitely on my short list of Auckland musts. Susan and Anna were our guides and provided wonderful insight to the Islands rich ecology. I recommend the guide as it helps fund the conservatory effort, though the island is beautiful no matter how you approach it.

40 Omaha Flats Road, Matakana, Auckland 0986, New Zealand +64 9-422 7375
Excellent
90%
Good
6%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 252 reviews

Sculptureum

The hundreds of works on display in its Gardens and Galleries have been chosen to amuse, inspire and stimulate. They are a mix of colour, whimsy and wonder.

Reviewed By MagsCrichton - Waipu

This is a hidden gem in Matakana. The sculptures and art on display are amazing. A real feast for the eyes and soul. Allow a good 2 hours for both the outdoor and indoor Exhibitions. Dont worry about the weather, they provide umbrellas :) make a day of it and dine at the fantastic restaurant. This is one of the best attractions in NZ. Really worth a visit.

4. Tawharanui Regional Park

Takatu Rd, Warkworth, Auckland, New Zealand
Excellent
87%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 206 reviews

Tawharanui Regional Park

Reviewed By Haastman

Tawharanui Regional Park is truly a wonderful place.
It has beautiful sandy Beaches which generally have a light surf.
It has some great, relatively short bush walks and being a pest controlled wildlife reserve, it has good numbers of NZ native birds.
It also has some pasture land and usually has sheep running around.
There is good car parking and public toilets.
Well worth a visit.

5. Tantalus Estate Vineyard & Winery

70 - 72 Onetangi Road, Auckland, Waiheke Island 1971, New Zealand +64 9-372 2625
Excellent
85%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 128 reviews

Tantalus Estate Vineyard & Winery

The newest edition to Auckland’s vineyard destinations has been honored with international accolades for our estate-grown wines, plus national awards in architecture and design, building craftsmanship, cuisine and dining. The idyllic sloping vineyards of the family owned Tantalus Estate are located in the heart of the Onetangi Valley - a gentle picturesque twenty-acre vineyard in Waiheke’s renowned wine growing region. Complete with olive groves, macadamia trees, an apiary, kitchen Gardens, native trees and boardwalks, Tantalus Estate is a destination not to be missed.

Reviewed By Theresa D - New York, New York, United States

It's really tough picking a favorite meal on Waiheke, but this one came close -- and it feels a bit like cheating because we only had appetizers. The truffle fries were hyped up by our bus driver and they were even better than that! Oysters were from Coromandel and thus, really creamy and delicious. Then we had squid pressed into "noodles." Really cool and perfect for a summer day. We did a beer tasting at the table and really enjoyed that, too, more than other NZ beers we had tried. We did a wine tasting afterwards and I thought the prices were very fair and I enjoyed the estates reserves more than the regional tasting. Would definitely return -- the estate is gorgeous! We even saw some super rich people land a helicopter in the vines. Very fancypants. Our waitress was nice.

6. Waitakere Ranges

Arataki Visitor Centre | 300 Scenic Drive, Titirangi, Auckland Central, Auckland 0604, New Zealand +64 9-817 0089
Excellent
73%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 706 reviews

Waitakere Ranges

This scenic drive takes you past bush scenery, to observation points for spectacular views and to gorgeous Beaches.

Reviewed By TravlQ - Bengaluru, India

Beautiful ranges; we drove through these ranges during our road trip. It was an amazing experience. There are also good breakfast joints on the way with amazing views. Do make a pit stop for a good English breakfast with awesome view.
View of clouds touching hills is simply mind blowing. A must do road trip; recommended highly by me

7. Kitekite Falls

Piha, Auckland, New Zealand
Excellent
72%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 162 reviews

Kitekite Falls

Reviewed By Paul K - Eastleigh, United Kingdom

We walked to the top of the falls. It is quite a steep climb but well worth it. I recommend wearing suitable footwear I myself wear my trusty old Merrels (strapped sandals) Various paths around Piha are closed due to Kauri dieback although there does not appear to be any signs stating this so perhaps not officially closed and as a tourist you have no idea) but we were told this one was open. The view of the falls from the bottom are breathtaking. The pool at the base had a couple of eels swimming around

8. Waiheke Island

Hauraki Gulf, Auckland Central, Auckland 1081, New Zealand
Excellent
71%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Waiheke Island

Reviewed By Veronica660 - New Jersey

I purchased a two-day bus pass online from Fuller’s website, then I printed the tickets saving me time, otherwise I would have been waiting on line to buy the tickets at the harbor.
My flight landed at 8:00 am, a shuttle service picked me up to take me to the hotel. I left my light baggage in storage at the hotel because it was too early to check in; then I walked from the hotel to the Auckland ferry. There was a short line to board the ferry. The ferry ride is approximately 40 minutes long with a many scenic views and photo opportunities.
Once off the ferry, I followed the yellow duck feet prints on the ground to reach the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. Any seat is comfortable but for a better view I walked upstairs and sat on the front row, taking photos of the Island. Once it reached the midpoint of the route, a scenic beach, it turned to make its way back to the ferry, I waited to get off near four vineyards. I first visited Bach to have lunch. I ordered a fish plate with chips and drank some local wine. Once my stomach was full, I visited Wild, Stony Ridge, and Te Motu vineyards to enjoy the scenery and their wines. Satisfied with my day, I returned to Auckland that night to sleep.
The following day I stopped to have breakfast at a place with a view of the water, visited museums and shops. I visited two vineyards near the beginning of the bus route. Later that afternoon, I visited Mudbrick and Cablebay, those two locations have excellent views of the water.
The Hop-On Hop-Off two-day pass is an excellent way to enjoy the Island, without worrying about being too intoxicated to drive safely or ride a bike. You can get on and off as many times as you want or just sit back and watch the scenery. The pleasant bus guide will greet you and inform you about the Island, while you see the location on a map.

9. Hauraki Gulf

Auckland Central, Auckland, New Zealand
Excellent
79%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 329 reviews

Hauraki Gulf

This area comprises 47 Islands, the most popular of which is Waiheke for its excellent Beaches and bays.

Reviewed By sofiegsd - Bainbridge Island, Washington

We took a ferry ride in the gulf and enjoyed our day. There are many Islands in the gulf and iit was a sunny day there were sail boats everywhere.This is a perfect trip to get away from the city for awhile.

10. Muriwai Gannet Colony

Muriwai Beach, Auckland, New Zealand
Excellent
76%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 336 reviews

Muriwai Gannet Colony

Reviewed By jaybeeFL - Florida

Incredible coastline, cascading surf, towering cliffs and oh yeah, THE BIRDS! This is nature at its finest. We visited towards the tail end of the gannets' nesting season but there were still plenty of adults with their young including several still on their eggs. Go early as the bus tours show up around 10-11AM and overwhelm the place. Great photo ops!! Limited parking as well especially weekends.

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