Whilst venturing around New Zealand we quickly ran out of adjectives to describe the drastically diverse landscapes and beautifully natured people. Honestly, it’s just STUNNING! And the same can be said for the Auckland and its surrounding areas. Its a smaller city but don’t let that fool you there is plenty to see and do and its a great base to start your New Zealand adventure from.
Did you know the Auckland was the City of Sails? No, nor did I. And to be fair when I thought about it I didn’t really know much about Auckland or what to expect. So when we found ourselves for a few days (and bringing in the New Year) we quickly got searching for the top things to see and do to get the most out of our time there.
Those not familiar with the New Zealand it is split into the North Island and the South Island and both are said to be remarkably different landscapes. Auckland can be found on the North Island and is the largest city both in population and size. It’s actually even the largest urban area in the whole of New Zealand but not the capital- that would be Wellington. It’s a fairly expensive city to live in but didn’t’ feel too expensive to travel in. There is a whole host of accommodation choices available from b&bs and hostels to 5-star hotels and caters for those who like adventure, like their food, like relaxing, like exploring the natural world or even just like wandering through the city streets.
Here are our top 5 things to do in Auckland
Catch the ferry to Devonport
Well, you can drive if you like but seriously in a city with so much water around you just need to get on it. Devonport is a small harbourside suburb which has so much character. It has a beautiful waterfront parade that gives picturesque views over the Waitemata Harbour. You also need to ensure you go up Mount Victoria and North Head. Mount Victoria is the highest volcano on the Auckland harbour. Wandering on the top also gives you magnificent views of Auckland and Rangitoto Island.
If you can be in Auckland for New Years then you will get to see this tower in all its glory. Fun Fact Auckland is the first city in the world to see the new year in however most tv channels start their coverage with the Sydney fireworks. The Skytower has lots of options for those adventurous and those not so adventurous. You sky bungee jump off the side of the tower, walk on the side with a harness or enjoy the views from safely inside the viewing platforms. The 360 views of the city and harbour show you are amazing. You also get to see just why it is the city of sails with all the boats in the water.
Like Devonport, this is another place that you need to get on a ferry to explore. This island is a little piece of paradise. It has sweet boutique shops with lots of lovely gifts, quirky eateries and most importantly a whole lot of wineries. One I can recommend is Goldies which is actually associated with Auckland University. The island is small and easily covered by hire car or there is a hop on hop off bus that you can go from winery to winery and a quick pit stop at the beach. I loved Waiheke and was one of my favourite places in the whole of our New Zealand trip so this comes with a gold star recommendation.
This is a lovely area just by the ferry terminals. Full of huge superyachts, stylish waterfront apartments, upmarket restaurants and lots of communal space for tourists and locals alike to share. You can even find a library in a shipping container with deck chairs for you to sit and read and absorb the laid back atmosphere. This is a great part of Auckland to enjoy both during the day and in the evening. The restaurants in this area are fab with so many different styles of cuisines you will be fed and watered well!
Adjacent to the Viaduct Harbour is the Maritime Museum which is certainly worth the entry price and gives you an insight into the maritime history of both Auckland and New Zealand. It has extraordinary exhibits and you will be surprised just how many boats they have in there. The collections are interesting and informative that leave you walking away feeling a little bit more educated about the sailing world and New Zealand’s Maritime history. You can also book to go out in a historic boat on the harbour if the weather is right.
Like with most places you visit you can’t see everything so here are a few others that we didn’t make it to but are on the list for next time.
- Mount Eden
- Take a ferry to Rangitoto
- One Tree Hill
- Visit Whatipu
- Kitekite Falls
Have you been to Auckland? What else would you recommend in Auckland?
We’ve blogged about our New Zealand here if you want more ideas for your trip.
Pin for later