There are so many incredible things to do in Auckland, that it can be difficult to decide what to see when you’re on a flying visit. To make choosing a little bit easier, here are five picks of some of the best Auckland attractions.
Catch the Ferry to Rangitoto Island
Hop on a morning ferry from the terminal on Quay Street and enjoy a 25-minute cruise across the Hauraki Gulf to Rangitoto Island. One of the most popular Auckland tourist attractions, Rangitoto is New Zealand’s youngest volcano, and spectacular 360-degree views of the city and Hauraki Gulf await those who make the short hike to its summit. If you don’t feel like making the one hour climb you can take the 4WD road train up and enjoy a history lesson on the way. Visitors can marvel at the spectacular rugged landscape of the lava fields or even head underground to explore some of the Island’s many lava caves. Visitors can also take a stroll across the causeway to neighboring Motutapu Island and step back in time exploring the World War II bunkers, gun emplacements, and tunnels.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Auckland Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, so after an energetic morning, why not enjoy one of the quieter attractions in Auckland. Tamaki Paenga Hira, as it is called in the Māori language, houses a fantastic collection of the artistic legacy of the native Pacific peoples including monumental carvings, canoes, and treasures (taonga). Enjoy a Māori cultural performance, or take the highlights tour, both of which are very popular Auckland activities. The Auckland Museum is also a war memorial and houses many other interesting exhibits, all of which you can enjoy at your own pace. If you’re feeling hungry, or need a coffee fix, enjoy a break and a delicious coffee in one of the museum’s four cafes.
Take a Stroll around Cornwall Park
Situated in central Auckland, the beautiful 670 acres Cornwall Park is one of the most popular free things to do in Auckland. Take a walk up to the top of One Tree Hill where some remains of an ancient Māori settlement can still see, along with spectacular views of the city and its many volcanic cones. Cornwall Park also houses a café and bistro where you can enjoy a unique smart casual dining experience, utilizing fresh vegetables and herbs produced right there in the park.
Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki
Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki is a fantastic place to take in some of New Zealand’s unique art culture. The new 15,000-square meter building which opened in 2011 is an incredible piece of modern architecture, inspired by its surrounding natural landscape. The ambitious project also restored and adapted several heritage buildings to create a truly unique venue for the more than 15,000 works of art. Historical and contemporary artwork from New Zealand, as well as Pacific Island and Maori artists, are displayed along with international sculptures paintings and prints dating from 1376 to the present time. The Gallery is also a popular Auckland events venue, hosting functions throughout the year, including Gala dinners and exhibition launches. Auckland Art Gallery opens daily at 10am, and the free guided tour at 11.30am is a great option if you’re looking for cheap things to do in Auckland.
Explore Historic Devonport
Devonport offers some of the most fun things to do in Auckland, like a tour on a Segway, or a ride in a horse and cart. Ferries leave from the Quay Street terminal every half hour, and the crossing takes just 12-minutes. When you arrive you will be greeted by a picturesque, historic seaside village which is home to a passionate and colorful community. Check out the many galleries and boutiques, and why not round out your two-day adventure with another of the favorite activities in Auckland, a delicious dinner in one of Devonport’s world-class beachfront restaurants?
Angela Hallberg is Marketing Manager for Omega Rental Cars, one of the most trusted Auckland car hire companies. With a passion for travel and years spent in the New Zealand tourism industry as a travel agent, tour organizer, and incentive travel specialist, she loves to help others discover all the best things to see and do in her home country. Sharing local knowledge, feedback from Omega Rental Cars customers, and actively seeking information on activities and attractions, Angela can help you plan an itinerary to maximize your time in New Zealand.