When we were living and working in Auckland we had time to visit all the tourist attractions that were in this beautiful city and we discovered there is so much to see and do here not just centrally but also in the vicinity of Auckland and all just a short drive away! Here are our top day trips in Auckland!
The Auckland War Memorial Museum is a must for any history lover, if you can prove you are a Auckland resident (take a bank statement, bill showing your address) entry is free, you can spend hours here on a rainy day learning all about Maori History and New Zealand’s contribution to the first and second world wars.
Auckland’s Sky Tower, is a must for any city lover. The telecommunications and observatory tower is 328 metres high and is home to SKYCITY entertainment complex. It has over 18 bars and restaurants, 2 hotels, a casino and a theatre in the complex it self! The best restaurants are in the Sky Tower including the revolving restaurant (Orbit 360) which rotates every hour, a bit of a novelty but the views on a clear day/night are incredible! You can also jump off the building and walk around the top of the tower with Sky Walk and Sky Jump – Hours of fun!
If you like sticking close to the coastline we suggest hiring a bike (or even better a E bike) for the day and cycle the entire, mainly pedestrianised coastal path of central Auckland. Starting west at Westhaven Drive underneath the Harbour Bridge you can walk towards the city passing through St Mary’s Bay (spot the expensive boats), along to Silo Park (don’t forget lunch at the Auckland Fish Market or along the Wynyard Quarter) across the Wynyard Bridge (make a pit stop at the Container Library, a free book swap!) towards New Zealands Maritime Musuem along Quay St past the ferry terminal and then heading east to Judges Bay, Okahu Bay until finally hitting Mission Bay, Auckland’s best beach. Don’t forget your camera!
Auckland is built on volcanic field of scoria cone volcanoes there are over 50 dormant volcanoes in a 1000 square kilometre radius! This has made Auckland incredibly hilly and there are some brilliant parks to explore for this reason! Mount Eden is the nearest to the city but the most touristy, yes the views are incredible but the amount of people at times can ruin your photos! We suggest driving a little further to Mount Mangere which is less untouched than Mt Eden and making it a much more peaceful afternoon of exploration!
We also strongly recommend Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill it is the largest area of parkland in Auckland and the views are spectacular!
Another great park we discovered just recently is Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park in Devonport (North Shore) this is great for kids there are old army barracks here from the second world war with lots of tunnels and hidden passage ways to explore! Plus there are great uninterrupted views of Rangitoto Island and the Hauraki gulf as well as the city across the harbour.
Heading West is a great option if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city in a short amount of time. You will need a hire car to reach them, but just 40 minutes drive west of Auckland lies some of the best black sand beaches NZ has to offer and some brilliant surfing!
You could easily spend days exploring the Waitakere Ranges, (You first stop should be the Arataki Visitor Centre) finding hidden waterfalls, cycling up at Woodhill Forest or driving along the Scenic Drive (trust me it has that name for a reason!) to Piha Beach, Murawai Beach or Bethalls Beach. Every time we head out this way we get reminded why we love Auckland so much! West is Best!
To me the main thing that makes Auckland so great is that it is so close to the sea! Just a short walk from our city apartment is Auckland’s Ferry Terminal where the Hauraki Gulf is on our doorstep, a pocket of the Pacific Ocean and home to over 50 islands! Your time in Auckland would not be complete without jumping on the ferry and exploring Rangitoto Island (Auckland youngest but dormant volcano) and Waiheke Island. Remember to check out Book Me for the latest deals!
Top Tip: If you need to find somewhere to stay when you visit then we highly recommend booking your accommodation in advance, it’s important not to under estimate how busy NZ gets between September and March each year. We suggest checking out BookaBach (private homes often not found on AirBnB) or this link to find out instant availability of the motels/hotels/guest houses in the area.
And for more inspiration of what to get up to during a weekend in Auckland check out our guide here 🙂