Top 10 Activities In Auckland
In Auckland for the holidays and looking to find the best things to do? Auckland is a vibrant city full to the brim with fantastic activities, attractions, sights and sounds – whether it’s fun, relaxation, or adventure you seek – you’ve come to the right place! Check out our recommendations for the 10 best activities in Auckland below.
1. Take A Winery Tour
The Auckland region is renowned for its award-winning boutique wineries. It is home to some of New Zealand’s oldest and finest vines, all found nestled amongst fantastic views, rolling green hills, stunning ocean vistas.
Whether Chardonnay is your tipple of choice, you’re a Sav connoisseur, you prefer to mix it up a little with some Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris or Riesling, or shout a round of Rose. There is something to be found amongst the wineries of Auckland to suit everyone’s tastes.
Our top winery pics in Auckland:
- Coopers Creek. Home to some of the oldest established vines in NZ, Coopers Creek is the place to go for the best Rose and Pinot Gris. 30 minutes’ drive from Auckland central.
- Kumeu River Estate. For its world-class Chardonnay – of course! Kumeu River Estate is about an hour and 45 minutes from Auckland central.
- The Hunting Lodge. Best all-rounder with tasting room, restaurant, events and accommodation. Expect to find a wide range of handcrafted boutique wines, don’t miss the HomeBlock Sauvignon Blanc. The Hunting Lodge is a short 30 minute drive from Auckland central.
Need someone else in the driver’s seat? Consider the convenience of joining one of Auckland’s most popular wine and food tours.
2. Spend The Day In Matakana
Matakana is an easy one hour drive north of Auckland. It is a small town nestled among the low lying hills near the Tawharenui Peninsula. This small settlement is perhaps best known for its fabulous Farmers Market, which runs every Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm.
The Matakana Village Farmers Market is the place to be for true foodies, the focus here is on fresh, sustainable and artisan produce and goods all sourced locally. Expect to find fresh produce, flowers, bread, deli treats, and baked goods, plus live entertainment and fun for the kids.
The markets aren’t the only reason to make the trip to Matakana, though. While you are there, go check out the Sculptureum and explore its sculpture filled gardens and galleries filled with whimsical artworks.
Nearby Kawau Island offers the perfect destination for those who wish to explore a little further afield. One of the larger islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Kawau Island, is accessible by ferry from Sandspit, just a 10 minute drive from the Matakana Markets.
Once on the island, pay a visit to the expansive grounds of the historic Mansion House Homestead, enjoy a snack or meal at one of the three cafes on the island or just spend some time exploring the islands beaches, bays and walking tracks.
3. Visit The Auckland War Memorial Museum
Set among the expansive grounds of the Auckland Domain, you will find the majestic Auckland War Memorial Museum. Home to a variety of historic military memorabilia and a large selection of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts as well as decorative art and pictorial collections the museum is simply a must-do when visiting Auckland.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum is perhaps the most impressive of its kind in New Zealand. While acting as a war memorial, it also houses one of New Zealand’s top three heritage libraries. Its grand architecture, expansive rooms, and sweeping staircase are sure to impress and there is the chance to get hands-on with the Weird and Wonderful Gallery! The Auckland War Memorial Museum opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday. Entry is free for locals, but there is a small charge for international visitors.
Also located in the Domain, you will find the small yet intricately beautiful ‘Wintergardens’ complex. This historic setting comprises of two adjoining Victorian-style glasshouses full to the brim with exotic plants and flowers. Or you could wander about the Domain in search of the series of permanent art sculptures located around its grounds.
4. Experience An America’s Cup Yacht Sailing
The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy. It represents the very essence of the art of nations from around the world competing against the very best of the best. The Americas Cup yacht racing has always played a part in New Zealand’s sailing history throughout our history, and New Zealand are currently the holders of the 36th Americas Cup.
Discover the once in a lifetime excitement of sailing these impressive yachts for yourself by sailing on a real America’s Cup yacht in Auckland. The yachts are ex Americas Cup contenders, complete with an experienced crew and the opportunity to take the helm and steer or have a go on the grinders to hoist the mainsail.
This unforgettable sailing adventure out on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour will be the highlight of your visit to Auckland – for sure! Expect to spend roughly 2 hours out on the water, tours depart from Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. You can be as hands-on as you choose, so if you just wish to sit back and enjoy the views, then that’s ok too. America’s Cup Yacht Sailing excursions are priced at $190 for adults and $135 for children over the age of 10. No sailing experience is necessary.
5. Bungy Off The Bridge
Auckland’s Bridge Bungy is one of those must-do activities when visiting Auckland. Completing a Bungy jump is sort of a rite of passage for every New Zealander and visitor from overseas – and making the jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge is a great place to do it!
The 40 metre high free-fall (while attached to a bungee cord) will give you an amazing thrill – you can even touch the water if you want! Combine the Auckland Bridge Bungy with the Auckland Bridge Climb, and you can make a day of it on Auckland’s most iconic feature.
Allow at least two hours for the Bungy and the same for the Bridge Climb – you will need a jacket and comfortable shoes. Bridge Climb suits are provided for the climb, but you will be Bungy jumping in your street clothes, so it might pay to put a bit of thought into your clothing choices for the day.
The Auckland Bridge Bungy is usually priced at $165 per person however, do keep an eye out for specials online. The Auckland Bridge Climb is priced at $130 per person or the combo price for the two activities is $215. There is a minimum age requirement for the Bungy jump of 10 years and 7 years for the climb.
6. See The Sky Tower
Auckland’s Sky Tower is one of those must-do attractions for all visitors to the City of Sails. You can’t miss the 328 metre high structure as it protrudes prominently from the city’s skyline. Within the tower, three different observation decks provide the most outstanding aerial views you will find anywhere in Auckland.
Enjoy a meal at the unique Orbit Restaurant, which turns slowly as you dine, so you don’t miss out on any of the stunning views! The Sky Walk allows you to exit the tower and take a walk around its external platform and the Sky Jump is a thrilling 192 metre jump-by-wire experience not to be missed!
The Sky Deck is the highest viewing point, complete with see-through floor and elevator panels, so if it’s just the views you’ve come to see, head straight for this epic viewing experience.
- Sky Tower Entry. $32 for adults and $13 for children, allow 45 minutes
- SkyJump. $180 per person, allow about an hour (minimum age 10 years)
- SkyWalk. $150 per person, allow 1.5 hours (minimum age 10 years)
7. Chill Out At Cornwall Park
Feel like spending the day enjoying the outdoors? Cornwall Park is Auckland’s very own working farm – right in the middle of the city! See the resident sheep and cows wandering about the paddocks, explore the grassy hills on foot and have a picnic under the huge oak trees.
Visit during spring to spot some of the newest additions to the park – the lambs and calves. And keep an eye out for behind the scenes farm tours for the best insight into the day to day running of this wonderful park.
Make your way around the many walkways, check out the views from the top, explore some of the park’s heritage sites such as Acacia Cottage, the Memorial Steps, the Rongo Stone, the One Tree Hill Obelisk and the Huia Lodge Discovery Hub.
For some night time adventures, the Stardome Observatory sits at the southwestern end of Cornwall Park. It offers some awe-inspiring planetarium shows, access to the Space Gallery and exhibits, as well as music lasers and light shows projected onto the unique dome-shaped screen for all to enjoy. The observatory is open during the day; however, the planetarium shows generally run at night and include courtyard telescope viewing opportunities, dependent on the weather, of course!
8. Kayak To Rangitoto Island
One of the most memorable ways to really experience the essence of what Auckland has to offer is to join the Sunset Sea Kayak Tour to Rangitoto Island. This experience enables visitors to combine getting out on Auckland’s famous Hauraki Gulf and experiencing it from a whole different perspective, with adding in some kayaking fun and the chance to visit Rangitoto Island – an iconic Auckland landmark.
The kayaking tour is accompanied by experienced guides that will lead you out across the water and over to the Rangitoto Island Scenic Reserve. Look out for Little Blue Penguins, dolphins and other wildlife along the way. Once you reach the island, make the short hike up to the summit and soak up the beautiful views. The benefit of the sunset tour is the opportunity to enjoy watching the sun set from atop the peak of Rangitoto Island.
A kiwi style BBQ awaits your return to the beach, and the following paddle back to shore in the darkness under the stars drawn by the sparkling lights of Auckland City – this is an experience you won’t soon forget!
Sunset tours cost around $195 per person, which includes the BBQ dinner, kayak and lifejacket. Group discounts are available, however, there is a minimum age requirement of 14 years. Departure times may vary depending on the time of year (to make allowances for sunset times).
9. Channel Your Inner Child At Rainbows End Or Kelly Tarlton’s
The top two themed attractions in Auckland, Rainbows End and Kelly Tarlton’s are the perfect choice for a fun day out in the city. Make it a day of rides and excitement a Rainbows End or explore the underwater delights of the ocean and its creatures at Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium – or why not do both in one day!
With more than 20 rides and attractions, there is fun for all at the Rainbows End Adventure Park. Thrill-seekers will want to attempt the Stratosfear and Fear Fall rides first up, or for something a little more family-friendly, you can’t go past the Log Flume and the swinging Pirate Ship. The Kids Kingdom area is perfect for the little ones or if you are a bit of a tech-head then don’t miss the Rainbow Playlab for virtual reality, e-sports, escape rooms, arcades and more!
Ever wondered how it would feel to come face-to-face with the mysterious creatures of the ocean? Then Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium is the place for you! Swim with the sharks, encounter the penguins, see the delights of the fish gallery, go behind the scenes at the aquarium and more. Book online to save on entry prices and avoid disappointment as space is limited.
10. While Away The Time On Waiheke Island
A visit to Waiheke Island is like just stepping off the escalator for a moment and just watching the world go by. From the minute you depart the ferry you will notice the laid back and relaxed vibe the island is known for. Explore its fabulous beaches, secluded bays, rolling hills and expansive vineyards, all the while taking in the stunning views in every direction.
Waiheke Island is a favourite weekend destination and holiday spot for Aucklander’s, New Zealander’s and tourists alike – it is well set up with multiple transport options, two choices of ferries for easy access, as well as a good selection of cafes, restaurants, activities and of course – wineries!
No visit to Waiheke is complete without visiting at least one of the 30 something boutique wineries located on the island. Whether you are looking for a quick wine tasting experience, to sample some of the finest local produce at a restaurant or to spend the day relaxing among the vines you will find there is something for everyone.
Our top 4 winery picks on Waiheke:
- Tantalus Estate. For a delicious restaurant meal, beautiful wines and craft beers.
- Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant. The perfect place to immerse yourself in the winery experience for the afternoon; wine tastings, restaurant and vineyard tours and accommodation if you want to stick around for a while longer – Mudbrick is the epitome of everything you would expect Waiheke wineries to be.
- The Shed. For some rustic Waiheke vibes, The Shed is the place to be. Fresh produce is the star of the show here and the wines, of course!
- Man O’ War Vineyards. For a wine tasting with a difference! The architecture and atmosphere here are sure to impress – oh yeah – and the views!
Prefer to leave the planning up to those in the know? Take the hassle out of travelling in Auckland with luxury tour operators Chauffeured Tours NZ. Get in touch today to discuss your Auckland holiday private or small group tour requirements.