How to Tackle Auckland as a First Timer
New Zealand’s largest city and the first port of call for many visitors to the North Island, Auckland has plenty to tempt travelers—beautiful beaches, atmospheric neighborhoods, and an abundance of cultural sites. To help you plan your trip, here are our tips for first-time visitors to Auckland.
Take a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
While Auckland’s central sights can be reached on foot, a hop-on hop-off tour will take you to the coastal neighborhoods and scenic vista points dotted around the city. Jump off to visit the Auckland Museum or Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE® Aquarium, climb One Tree Hill or Mount Eden, or explore Parnell Village.
Visit the Sky Tower
Ride the elevator up to the 1,076-foot-high (328-meter-high) Auckland Sky Tower, New Zealand’s tallest building, and take in panoramic views that span the entire city. Adventurous travelers can brave the Skywalk or Skyjump, but a drink at the Sky Lounge and a visit to the 360-degree observation deck are equally worthwhile.
Explore Auckland’s Waterfront
An atmospheric spot for a walking, bike, or Segway tour, Auckland’s waterfront is buzzing with activity day and night. Come in the evening hours to browse the night markets in the Wynyard Quarter, enjoy a seafood dinner at a harborside restaurant, or go barhopping around Viaduct Harbour.
Cruise the Coast
Getting out on the water is a must for first-time visitors to Auckland. Set sail on a romantic dinner cruise around Auckland Harbour, or hop on a ferry and enjoy wine tasting on Waiheke Island or hike volcanic Rangitoto Island.
If you only have time for one day trip from Auckland, make it a trip to Middle Earth. Just two hours from Auckland, the Hobbiton™ Movie Set takes you behind the scenes of theLord of the Rings andThe Hobbit films, and day trips are often combined with other North Island attractions such as Rotorua or the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Take a Hike
Auckland is ringed by volcanoes, which offer numerous opportunities for hiking. Tackle the famous coast-to-coast hiking trail, which runs all the way from Waitemata Harbour to Manukau; climb to the top of One Tree Hill; or hike to Auckland’s highest viewpoint, Mt. Eden.