New Zealand's largest and most diverse city, Auckland is a bustling hub for outstanding food, shopping and entertainment.
You won't have to stray too far from Central Auckland's waterfront to experience what this city is all about. Walk along the harbour to admire the resident sailboats and superyachts, and pop into a café or restaurant for a bite with a view. Shop for souvenirs and New Zealand fashion labels on Queen Street and in the Britomart precinct. And for the best inner-city vista point, the Sky Tower is a must.
For a stark contrast to the buzzing city centre, take to the water. Auckland's Hauraki Gulf is dotted with beautiful holiday islands full of stunning beaches, walking tracks and native wildlife - plus culinary delights on Waiheke.
Where is it?
Auckland City is perched on the edge of a sheltered harbour that’s dotted with emerald islands, which you can journey to by ferry.
What can I do?
- Auckland Harbour Cruise - See the city's most iconic landmarks from the water. Cruise Auckland’s beautiful Waitemata Harbour, visiting its highlights – such as Bean Rock Lighthouse, Devonport’s naval base, and North Head volcanic cone. Sail under the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and finally past Viaduct Basin. See more details about Auckland Harbour Cruise.
- Viaduct Basin & Maritime Museum - For outstanding culinary options, stroll to Viaduct Basin - less than a 10-minute walk from the Ferry Building, with waterfront views the whole way. Have a pint at the rooftop brewery, Dr. Rudi's, or enjoy fresh seafood al fresco at Soul Bar & Bistro. The Viaduct is also home to the New Zealand Maritime Museum, a discovery experience encapsulating the spirit that inspiried the country's greatest maritime adventures and explorers.
- Wynyard Quarter - About a 20-minute walk from downtown Queen’s Wharf is Wynyard Quarter, a neighbourhood bordered on three sides by the sparking Waitemata Harbour. It's home to a collection of eclectic waterfront restaurants and bars, plus special events throughout the year. Spend an afternoon dining in the fresh air or hire bikes to explore the waterfront further.
- Britomart - This beautiful waterfront precinct is home to designer boutiques and award-winning eateries with spectacular rooftops. With cobbled laneways and heritage buildings, Britomart has been transformed with funky new fit-outs contrasting some of the city's oldest buildings. On Sunday mornings year-round, stroll through the stalls of fresh produce, baked goods, and more at La Cigale Market, a traditional Kiwi-style market with a Parisian flair.
- Sky Tower - Towering 328 metres above Auckland City, the Sky Tower has been an icon in the skyline for 20 years. Take in the view from the top, dine in Auckland's only 360-degree revolving restaurant, or get your adrenaline pumping with the SkyJump or SkyWalk experiences. SKYCITY, the surrounding entertainment destination, also boasts a casino, two hotels, plus plenty of restaurants and bars.
- Beaches - Mission Bay and St. Heliers urban beaches offer breathtaking views of the harbour and Rangitoto Island. To get there from downtown Queens Wharf, hop on a public bus heading west along Tamaki Drive, for a journey time of less than 30 minutes.
- Queen Street - Auckland's bustling commercial street runs straight from Queens Wharf waterfront and iconic Ferry Building. Lower Queen Street is home to international designer fashion, while the parallel High Street to the east is perfect for upscale boutique shopping. Duck down one of the many laneways (Vulcan Lane, for one!) that run perpendicular between Queen and High Streets for pubs, bars, and cafes. Continue up Queen Street to see the iconic Civic Theatre on the corner of Wellesley Street, or turn left to visit Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki in Albert Park.
- Coast to Coast Walkway - Did you know it’s possible to hike between Auckland’s two coasts in just five hours? Beginning at the Ferry Building, make your way from the Waitemata Harbour in the north to the Manukau Harbour in the south, venturing through the city’s unique neighbourhoods, parks, and volcanic cones.
- Auckland Domain & Auckland War Memorial Museum - Auckland Domian, Auckland's oldest park, is one of the largest in the city. It contains the explosion crater and surrounding ring of the Pukekawa volcano, which erupted more than 100,000 years ago. The famous Auckland War Memorial Museum is situated prominently on the crater rim. Its exhibits tell the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people - containing a wide range of Maori and Pacific collections, plus natural and military history exhibits. The park also includes the Domain Wintergardens, two large glasshouses with temperate and tropical plants respectively. Located in Grafton, Auckland Domain is a 20-minute bus ride (or 2.5 km walk) from the Ferry Building in downtown Auckland.
- Fullers & 360 Discovery Cruises Information Centres - If you're up for a trip to one of the beautiful islands in the Hauraki Gulf, visit Fullers360's Information Centre or ticket offices for recommendations on destinations and tours. Fullers Information Centre is located on Quay Street, adjacent to the Ferry Building (on the West side). If you're after an eco-adventure, swing by the 360 Discovery Cruises Ticket office, also on Quay Street, just on the other side of the Fullers Information Centre.
What do I need?
- Good walking shoes, sun block and a sun hat.
- A light rain jacket and warm layers. Temperatures can change quickly, regardless of the season.
How long should I stay?
Auckland is a sprawling, diverse region with so much to explore! We recommend at least half a day to see some of the highlights in the central city before hopping on the Harbour Cruise. Stay in the city for up to a week to explore the Hauraki Gulf islands, plus mainland highlights outside the city centre.