ATEED - Things to do in Auckland

Auckland Destination Fact Sheet

Auckland offers the best of both worlds – it’s a place where big city sophistication goes hand in hand with a stunning natural playground. There are so many experiences so close by and it’s easy to hop from one adventure to the next.

  • Auckland is a world-class international destination renowned for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant city culture.
  • New Zealand's indigenous Maori people called this land ‘Tamaki Makaurau’, a maiden with 100 lovers. It was a place desired by many and fought over for its riches, including its forested hills, productive volcanic soils and harbours full of seafood.
  • Set on three beautiful harbours – Waitemata (an arm of the Hauraki Gulf), Manukau and Kaipara – Auckland is home to more than 50 islands. The Pacific Ocean on the east coast and Tasman Sea on the west coast, less than an hour’s drive apart at their furthest, form the coastline around the Auckland region. The mainland coastline is over 1,600 kilometres long and Auckland is home to hundreds of beaches – sheltered idyllic white sand on the Pacific east coast and spectacular rugged black sand beaches on the Tasman west coast.
  • Auckland’s landscape is dotted with 48 volcanic cones. The largest and most iconic is Rangitoto Island, Auckland’s youngest volcano and New Zealand’s youngest landform, which emerged from the water approximately 600 years ago.
  • It is New Zealand’s largest city, with approximately 1.5 million people – about one third of New Zealand’s population – living in the greater Auckland area.
  • Auckland is the world’s largest Polynesian city and one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities, with a rich mix of Maori, Pacific Island, Asian and other cultures – a true melting pot.
  • The city’s sparkling waters, varied landscapes and cosmopolitan city life combine to make it one of the most desirable places in the world to live or visit. Auckland is rated third on the Mercer scale of global lifestyle cities.
  • Every year Auckland is full of cultural festivals, major sports competitions, international stage shows, concerts and exhibitions.

Auckland Activities and Attractions

  • Auckland Activities and Attractions

The city’s boutique shopping, vibrant café culture, unique cultural experiences and world-class restaurants are just minutes away from scenic wine regions, native rainforest, stunning beaches and the beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf making it an ideal multi-day inclusion in any New Zealand holiday.

  • Climb a Volcanic Cove

There’s no better place to get 360-degree views than from the top of one of Auckland’s 48 volcanic cones – yes, 48. Hop on the ferry to Rangitoto Island and walk through the Pohutukawa Forest and lava caves, or take the 4WD road train to the top. Climb or drive to the summit of Mount Eden (Maungawhau), the highest natural point in Auckland, for spectacular views across the city and Hauraki Gulf. Choose a picnic spot in the beautiful parkland surrounding One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) and discover one of the largest former Maori settlement complexes in New Zealand. Explore the historic underground tunnels and gun emplacements at North Head – jutting out into the harbour this may just be the best view in Auckland.

  • On The Water

Find out why Lonely Planet named Auckland Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf as the best experience in New Zealand. With the sea on the city’s doorstep, there are so many ways to get out on the water. Kayak out to a nearby island, help sail an America’s Cup racing yacht or take a spin on a high speed jet boat ride. Land a big one on a fishing charter, or unwind and see the sights with a relaxing dinner or coffee cruise on the Waitemata Harbour.

  • Island Hopping

Explore Auckland’s magnificent Hauraki Gulf and its beautiful islands. The jewel of the gulf is Waiheke Island, a haven of vineyards, olive groves, beaches and fine dining, just a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. For an exciting day trip, discover the history and sandy coves of Rotoroa Island, explore the open wildlife sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi Island or climb the volcanic cone of Rangitoto Island for incredible views from the summit. If you have a little more time, travel by light plane to Great Barrier Island, renowned for its rugged beauty and unspoilt wilderness.

  • Wildlife

Hear the birdsong and soak up the scenery at the world renowned open wildlife sanctuary Tiritiri Matangi Island. Head out on the Hauraki Gulf, one of the most diverse marine environments in the world, to see magnificent whales and dolphins. Swim, snorkel and dive at New Zealand’s first marine reserve, Goat Island, and learn more at the Marine Discovery Centre. Visit Auckland Zoo to see the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand, Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium to get up close to stingrays, sharks and penguins, or Butterfly Creek to see giant saltwater crocodiles, farm animals and hundreds of colourful butterflies.

  • Nature and Walks

You’ll find the best of both worlds in Auckland, with beautiful rainforest, parks and beaches all so close to the city centre. The west’s Waitakere Ranges Regional Park has more than 250 kilometres of walking and hiking tracks through lush native rainforest, past cascading waterfalls and along magnificent coastline. Walk through the region’s largest native forest in the Hunua Ranges, home to more than 450 species of native plants and the spectacular Hunua Falls. Explore the striking landscapes of some of Auckland’s 26 regional parks, such as Shakespear, Wenderholm, Tapapakanga or Awhitu.  

  • Discover Auckland’s Beaches

You’re never far from the sea in Auckland. Bring your board to one of the black-sand surf beaches on the wild west coast – check out favourites like Karekare, Piha, Te Henga and Muriwai. Head north to the expansive golden sands and clear waters of Tawharanui and Pakiri. If you’re looking for a beach near the city centre, visit Mission Bay, Kohimarama or St Heliers, just a 15-minute drive from downtown Auckland. Enjoy a stroll along the promenade, hire a kayak or stand up paddleboard, or tuck into fresh fish and chips. You’ll also find a range of cool cafés and ice cream shops, as well as playgrounds for the kids.  

  • Adventure

For thrill seekers, Auckland is one big playground. First stop is the Sky Tower – as well as the incredible views from the observation deck, you can ‘SkyJump’ off it in a base jump by wire, or ‘SkyWalk’ around the outside on a narrow platform 192m above the ground. See the city sights on the back of a Harley Davidson motorbike, go canyoning down waterfalls in the rainforest or ziplining high above the trees on Waiheke Island. Climb under, up and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge or leap off it in New Zealand’s only ocean-touch bungy.

  • Wine Regions

Auckland has not one but three main wine growing regions, where superb wine and stunning scenery go hand in hand. Visit Waiheke Island, known as ‘the island of wine’ for its 30 wineries and vineyards, some of which also have excellent restaurants. North of the city, discover Matakana’s boutique wineries set amid picturesque coastal countryside and close to some of Auckland’s most spectacular beaches. Kumeu in the west is home to Auckland’s oldest established vineyards and is surround by market gardens and organic produce.

  • Dining Precincts

Auckland has an impressive variety of restaurants, cafés and bars to suit every taste and budget, from fancy to casual. In the inner city you’ll find modern dining at Britomart, Federal Street and City Works Depot. Enjoy dinner and drinks or a casual bite on Auckland’s beautiful waterfront in the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter precincts. The city fringe suburbs of Parnell and Ponsonby both offer stylish dining day and night, and Ponsonby’s bars and clubs are popular nightlife spots.  

  • Markets

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of Auckland’s numerous farmers’ markets and pick up fresh local produce and tasty treats. Head to Matakana Farmers’ Market or Clevedon Village Farmers’ Market for organic and locally grown food and produce – fruits, vegetables, flowers, artisan breads, olive oils and more. Wander through the French style La Cigale market in Parnell and stock up on freshly baked breads and pastries, French cheeses and cakes, as well as organic produce. Check out the City Farmers’ Market at Britomart for great coffee and goodies right in the city centre. Visit the summer Silo Park markets on the waterfront, or the Asian-inspired night markets at Glenfield on Sundays for delicious cooked food and a side of entertainment.

  • Arts and Culture

Explore Auckland’s galleries and museums to discover the city’s melting pot of cultures and fascinating stories. Wander through more than 15,000 traditional and contemporary artworks in the beautiful heritage building of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki (with free entry). Discover fascinating cultural, historical and scientific exhibitions at Auckland War Memorial Museum and check out one of the cultural performances. Learn about the country’s rich maritime heritage at Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum or discover a replica 17th Century Maori village at Te Hana Te Ao Marama. Pick up your own piece of Kiwi art at one of the great galleries in the seaside village of Devonport.

Awards and Accolades

  • Awards and Accolades

Lonely Planet

  • Auckland was ranked in the top 10 cities in the world to visit in its 2014 Best in Travel guide.
  • Auckland's Hauraki Gulf 1st and Auckland City 2nd in the Top 20 New Zealand Experiences in its 2012 New Zealand Travel Guide.

Conde Nast Traveller

  • Ranked Auckland 1st equal with Melbourne as the world's friendliest city 2014.

World Travel Awards

  • Ranked Auckland as the Top Australasian Destination, 2012.


  • Waiheke Island ranked 7th in the 'Top 10 South Pacific Islands' in their 2013 Travellers Choice Awards.

Mercer Quality of Living Survey

  • Ranked the 3rd most liveable city in the world in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Mercer Quality of Living scale.

For More Information

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