Top things to do in auckland new zealand sky tower

This article is the perfect guide to all the best things, popular attractions and tours that are must-do in Auckland, and I added some of my favourite places to have a coffee and a meal.

Here are 11 Top Things to do in Auckland New Zealand

1. Climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge

Not only can you climb to the top of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, but you can also jump off it, securely attached to a bungy cord! 

The Auckland Harbour Bridge is simply iconic. The bridge connects Waitemata Harbour in Auckland with Northcote in the former North Shore city.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge climb is brought to you by AJ Hackett Bungy, and is the only option to do a bridge climb in all of New Zealand! 

The 90 minutes long tour will delight you, with the history and secrets of this amazing structure being revealed by your tour guide. Of course, you are securely hooked on at all times so no need to worry about this, the bridge climbs are for everyone.

When you reach the top you will be rewarded with 360-degree views of Auckland and the bay. 

You get to see the bungy jumpers too and maybe you might consider doing this yourself. You can even choose to dip your head in the water as you jump.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand bridge
One of the best things to do in Auckland is the bridge climb

2. Auckland Free Walking Tour

This a fantastic way to see some of the top things in Auckland New Zealand. I did the tour with Darcy, who was fun and knowledgeable and it was the perfect way to spend the two hours. 

While you get to see some of the main sights in the city centre, the best part is to learn more about the city, its culture and history and get some tips and great personal stories. The tour goes for 2 hours around the CBD.

One of the best things to do in Auckland for free, but don’t forget to tip your guide. Book it here.

Top things to do in auckland tourist
One of the best free things to do in Auckland New Zealand is a free walking tour

3. Enjoy the views from the SkyTower

The SkyTower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere and is well known as the Auckland landmark. With 328 metres above the city, it’s actually taller than the Eiffel Tower.

You can easily walk to the SkyTower from downtown and be ready as there is a lot to do here, something for everyone.

You can simply come to see Auckland from 186 metres above the city. To make a reservation, simply buy your entrance ticket here

There is a revolving restaurant on the top – so you can have lunch or dinner here and enjoy the views.

And for the adrenaline junkies, why not consider the SkyJump – base jumping off the tower from 192 metres above the city. 

You can also do the SkyWalk, which is when you walk on a glass platform.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand sky tower
The close-up of the SkyTower – One of the best things to do in Auckland for families

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4. Enjoy dinner at Auckland Waterfront and Viaduct

Dinner with an ocean view at sunset? Yes, Auckland delivers once again.

The Waterfront is the place to be for a nice evening with dinner at the end of the day. You could enjoy some seafood at Saint Alice or for oysters and the best steak head to Oyster and Chop.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand harbour
Auckland waterfront is the perfect dining spot

5. The Auckland War Memorial Museum

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is a must-see for everyone, not just history buffs. This excellent museum has incredible collections of Maori times as well as themes from the First and Second World Wars. 

In the lobby are two Tyrannosaurus Rex! How cool is that? I actually spent most of my day here as it was a rainy day and there was so much to read and see. There is also more information and exhibits on the nearby Pacific islands.

I was lucky enough to visit them later on and Samoa was my final country on my adventure to visit EVERY in the world!

Definitely, one of the top things to do in Auckland New Zealand. Buy your online entrance ticket here.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand The Auckland War Memorial Museum
Top things to do in Auckland New Zealand – The Auckland War Memorial Museum

6. The Auckland Art Gallery for the art lovers 

The Auckland Art Gallery is the largest art museum in New Zealand and you can enjoy four floors of exhibitions.

There are 16,000 pieces from the 11th century until today so it’s a great place to spend a few hours.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand Auckland Art Gallery
Top things to do in Auckland New Zealand Auckland Art Gallery

7. Shop and eat at the Farmers’ Market in Matakana

This was another one of my favourites, the farmer’s market in Matakana which is on every Saturday from 8 am until 1 pm. 

The market is a showcase of artisan producers, farmers and growers from the Matakana region. There is also plenty of food and coffee and even seats and live music to enjoy the vibes. Great for some souvenir shopping as well. 

And if you are looking for “What can you do in Auckland for free?” the market is a great place to come and explore.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand farmers market
Top things to do in Auckland New Zealand farmers market

8. Rangitoto Island for kayaking, picnics or hiking!

After you explore Auckland downtown it is time to see what New Zealand is famous for – nature! Rangitoto Island is the perfect getaway, it’s easy to get to by ferry and it offers a few top things to do in Auckland New Zealand. 

If you are active and adventurous, I must recommend this Sunset Kayak Tour of Rangito Island

The tour takes 6 hours and it is just amazing. You get to kayak across to the island (takes about an hour), then a short hike (bring sturdy shoes – they provide a dry bag) and enjoy BBQ dinner and sunset. Then you kayak back. 

Of course, you can simply catch the ferry across the Hauraki Gulf and do some hiking on have a picnic.

If you prefer to take it easy and maybe do more whale/dolphin watching then this tour is more suitable:

Top things to do in auckland new zealand Rangitoto Island
Top things to do in Auckland New Zealand Rangitoto Island

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9. Take the boat to Devonport

A lovely suburb of Auckland, Devonport is an easy 15-minute ferry ride. But once you arrive it feels like a different world.

The village is perfect for some peace and it also has the nicest beach near Auckland, Cheltenham Beach. It is about 30 minutes walk from the port, but it is worth it.

Maybe refuel at Manuka Cafe before you walk, or if you are keen you can also walk up to the top of Mt Victoria for some epic views. 

Top things to do in auckland new zealand Devonport
Top things to do in Auckland New Zealand – Enjoy the quieter vibes of Devonport

10. Visit Waiheke Island on a wine tour from Auckland

Love wine? Well, we’ve got an island for you! One of the top things to do in Auckland New Zealand is to head over to Waiheke Island and try some of the fabulous wines that this country is famous for. Oh, and if you are not familiar with NZ wines, get ready to be amazed.

Waiheke is known for its exceptional red wines such as Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. There are many wineries here (30+) and most of them offer tasting rooms or even restaurants to enjoy the best wines with a view. 

Personally, I think the best thing to do here is to do a tour of the wineries as you don’t have to worry about the transport and logistics of visiting the best ones.

This Tour of the Wineries includes the ferry ride, and guide and you get to savour tastings at each of the 4 quality wineries, with an extended lunch break for your own free time at one of them.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand Waiheke
One of the fun things to do in Auckland for adults is a wine tour of Waiheke Island famous for the wines

11. Mount Eden – The dormant volcano 

Mount Eden is the highest point in Auckland and it offers stunning 360-degree views of the city. So if you are a keen hiker, this is the place to come.

And that’s it for the top things to do in Auckland New Zealand. Here are a few more helpful facts about Auckland.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand sunset at mount eden
Sunset at Mount Eden – one of the free things to do in Auckland

Best time to visit Auckland New Zealand

The best time to visit Auckland New Zealand is during summer between December and March. This is also the busiest time in Auckland, but the days are sunny and long.

Winter in New Zealand is more focused on skiing and for that, you would need to visit the South Island (Queenstown).

Travelling in the shoulder seasons can be a great idea as you’ll find more availability and better rates on accommodation and activities.

We recommend for the best deals on accommodation in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand.

Top things to do in auckland new zealand Season

Where to stay in Auckland

There are a few areas I recommend to stay when in Auckland.

CBD (Central Business District) – If you wish to stay right in the heart of Auckland then stay in the city centre also known as the CBD. You will be within a walking distance of the SkyTower, the Art Gallery, the Waterfront and restaurants and shops.

Ponsonby – For great nightlife, you can choose to stay in Ponosby a district located west of downtown Auckland. It’s only about 2km away so still an easy walk into the CBD or you can catch a bus.

View ALL accommodation options here.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants here at night and don’t miss out on the cocktails at Limebar.

A few suggestions for some good choices of accommodation in Ponsonby are below:

Ponsonby Manor – This Victorian manor is ideally located 10 minutes’ drive from Auckland CBD and 500 metres away from Ponsonby Central and over 50 eateries, bars and restaurants.

QT Auckland – Set in Auckland in the heart of the Viaduct Harbour, QT Auckland offers accommodation with a restaurant, valet parking, a fitness centre and a bar.

Mt Eden neighbourhood – If you love the outdoors and are ready to do some walks and hikes, or just want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city Mt Eden area is perfect.

View ALL Accommodation Options here.

Viaduct Harbour – perfect for food lovers and people who love the water. The waterfront combines amazing places to stay and eat.

View ALL Accommodation Options here.

Top things to do in auckland on a map of new zealand
Auckland on a map of New Zealand

How to Get Around in Auckland

Your best option to get around Auckland to see the many highlights listed above is on the Hop-On, Hop Off Bus. Buy an Explorer Bus Ticket here and it’s your choice to get either 24 or 48 hour bus ticket. 

This Hop On, Hop Off Bus Pass allows you to explore Auckland at your own pace and jump on and off as often as you please. Furthermore, you get to learn anout the city as you ride around as you can listen to commentary in English on-board.

Things to know about Auckland New Zealand:

  • Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand but not the capital. The capital is Wellington.
  • Auckland’s second name is the City of Sails (with over 135,000 ships currently registered here).
  • The population of the city is 1.6 million so about one-third of the population of New Zealand lives in Auckland.
  • About 40% of residents are now foreign-born.
  • Auckland is the world’s largest Polynesian city, 28 per cent of Auckland’s 1.3 million-strong population is of Pacific origin.
  • Auckland is home to over 50 volcanoes.

I hope you enjoyed this list of the top things to do in Auckland New Zealand. What awesome activity would you add to our list?