Auckland City: A Guide to Explore 23 Destinations in this Beautiful Corner of the World
Updated On: January 30, 2022
Auckland is a perfect destination that holds something for everyone. The moment you arrive in this splendid city, you’ll start absorbing in its joyful culture and heritage. Thanks to its strategic location, Auckland is home to a wide array of beaches to enjoy. There are those flickering golden sands in the North as well as the black sands of the west coasts.
Being home to wonderful waters, Auckland is rather known as the City of Sails for having plenty of access to waters. The city gained this famous nickname due to its symbolic location where several seas lock the island from different directions.
If beaches aren’t your thing, nature is here to have your back. Auckland is popular for its spacious landscapes and eccentric wildlife. It is a haven for nature enthusiasts who love to explore new dimensions of the world’s beauty. There are so many national parks to visit and natural landscapes to explore.
There are also perfect destinations for lovers of history and art. Several museums await you at different corners of the city. There are also popular monuments that stand tall and have some symbolic significance to the country; you shouldn’t miss them.
In this list, we have gathered for you all the perfect spots that you need to explore while in Auckland. Walk through the city’s plenty museums, fine art galleries, outdoor activities, wonderful beaches, and magnificent nature reserves. There is no room for boredom to seep in.
1- The Sky Tower
You can’t really visit Auckland and not see the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere, the Sky Tower. This incredibly tall tower is one of the most prominent features of the city. Tourists from all over the world flock there every year, enjoying the facilities of the incredible tower.
Besides being a splendid architectural masterpiece, it also offers its visitors great restaurants and outdoor activities. You can spend your day within the great tower, eating in the finest dining restaurants while observing picturesque landscapes. Bungee Jumping is one of the popular outdoor activities to pump your adrenaline with.
2- Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
The Sea Life Aquarium is not a destination to miss. This marvelous aquarium has been on top of the tourist attractions in Auckland since 1985. It features a wide array of aqua life that will fascinate you.
Kelly Tarlton is the name of the marine archaeologist who invented the idea of this aquarium. She’s also a diver who has great enthusiasm for the marine wildlife. Thanks to her, many tourists come to take a glimpse into the splendor hidden in the deep oceans.
3- Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland has no shortage of museum, and if you’re a history buff, you’ll find many museums to have your way around. Take a trip to the War Memorial Museum and witness the country’s precious heritage.
It embraces plenty of artifacts and Maori collections that can be found anywhere else. The museum is home to magnificent treasures of the country and prominent archival records. Currently, it serves as a memorial site for the casualties of wars.
4- Mount Eden
What can be more euphoric than standing on an incredibly high point, overlooking a city’s great wonders? Mount Eden is the highest natural point in Auckland where you get to observe spectacular sceneries. Formerly, the summit was a dormant volcanic cone that goes several; meters above the sea level. It’s a great destination to admire the beauty of the natural landscapes.
5- Michael Joseph Savage Memorial
Situated on Bastion Point, the memorial of Michael Joseph is a haven for history buffs. You will learn a lot about Michael Joseph, who were the first labour prime minister. He gained a wide admiration and respect from New Zealanders, from both European and Maori Origins. Joseph had a significant role in the country’s system of social welfare.
There is so much to explore on site. Besides the magnificent history lessons, the site will fill your vision with splendid scenes. It features a picturesque greenery scenes that surround a mausoleum and an obelisk.
6- One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)
This may have taken you back to the renowned American TV Series, but we assure you it has nothing to do with it. The New Zealand name of the site is Maungakiekie, where one tree stood alone on the summit.
This hill was formerly a volacno that went dormant. Not only is it a beautiful natural reserve, it also serves as an iconic memorial place for the Maori and New Zealanders. The land on which the hill stands used to be a colonial site for the Europeans.
7- Waitemata Harbour
Auckland is home to plenty of natural features, but Waitemata Harbour is the most prevalent among them all. It divides the city into two sides, making it easy to navigate through the city in the waters. Moreover, you can travel the city on foot, witnessing the magnificent features of the area.
The Quay Street is a prominent street around, spans along the harbour, easing your access through several areas. Also, there are several things to enjoy on Auckland Harbour Bridge, which is also a notable hallmark in the area.
8- Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is one of the most notable features in Auckland. It takes around 40 minutes to reach the island from Downtown Auckland on the ferry ride. Situated on the Hauraki Gulf, it stretches for several miles ahead. It is full of magnificent scenes of spacious landscapes and wondrous beaches.
9- Beaches of the East Coast
Auckland is the city of waters, it has beaches on different sides of the city, and they are all equally splendid. The beaches of the East Coast are places of pristine paradise. They’re amazing summer spots, where swimming and sunbathing are the most popular activities. You will also be amused by the splendid forests bordering the beaches.
Among the popular East coast beaches are the Cheltenham Beach and Milford Beach. They are perfect destinations for travelers who enjoy moments of serenity and peace as they’re less crowded than the other beaches. Takapuna Beach is the one that draws the most tourists and locals as it overlooks the gorgeous Rangitoto Island.
10- Rangitoto Island
Rangitoto Island is home to a prominent dormant volcano that is deemed among the most prominent landmarks in Auckland. Moreover, the island also encompasses a large scales where lush trees of Pohutukawa are scattered. It’s the largest forest of this kind of trees in all over the world.
The island is a great spot for hiking, given its various trails and the pretty scenes it overlooks. From the island’s summit you can see the stunning views that the Hauraki Gulf offers. This gulf provides splendid views of nature that will leave you spellbound.
11- Auckland Art Gallery
Some great news for lovers of unique artworks is that the largest art institution in New Zealand happens to be in Auckland. Known as the Auckland Art Gallery, it features thousands of works of New Zealander and international artists.
The beautiful building we see today is quite different from the original construction as it has undergone multiple renovations. Besides the splendid exterior, the artworks exhibited within its walls is worth visiting.
12- Piha Beach
While scrutinizing the list, you will keep coming across beach destinations that you should visit. After all, the city is home to magnificent waters and beaches. Piha Beach is one of Auckland’s beaches that draw tourists every year. It falls on the west coast of the city, and it features beautiful black sands that resulted from volcanic ashes. The landscapes of this sites are unrivaled; you should’t miss them.
13- Stardome Observatory & Planetarium
While you’re in the One Tree Hill area, you have to head to the Stardome Observatory & Planetarium. It’s also a perfect destination for families with children. The site became a major attraction since becoming an astronomical research observatory that offers lots of fun activities. It offers telescopes for the visitors to observe the magnificent sky at night. You can also find a small gift shop, where you can purchase cute souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
14- Tiritiri Matangi Island
If you enjoy spotting rare wildlife and immersing yourself into nature, then you shouldn’t miss this splendid island. Tiritiri Matangi Island can be easily accessed by riding a ferry from Auckland. It takes just a few minutes to be there and enjoy the magnificent nature reserve.
Upon arrival, a local ranger will take you around to introduce you to the place. You also have the option to explore the area on your own if guided tours aren’t your thing. There, you can enjoy unprecedented form of wildlife that includes endangered breeds of birds and reptiles. Don’t forget to take a look the beaches that surround the area for more pleasant views.
15- Shakespeare Regional Park
Auckland is home to multiple nature reserves, but the Shakespeare Regional Park remains the open sanctuary most visited by tourists. It lies around 30 miles from north of Central Auckland, with being the most popular sanctuary in the region.
The park is home to a wide array of rare species that are endangered. It is highly protected to ensure the survival of these rare forms of wildlife. The park is a pest-free habitat that even other animals and pets are not permitted to enter the premises.
16- Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary
If open sanctuaries are your thing, you can now tell that Auckland suffers no shortage of them. Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary is one of the most prominent areas in the city. It provides a diverse array of vulnerable wildlife. The sanctuary is home to the takahē – a kind of flightless birds that are large in size and quite colorful. You can hardly find them elsewhere around the world.
The Sanctuary is quite accessible by tourists and local visitors. It lies about an hour and half away from the city center. There are many cars that offer rides to the sanctuary, and it will only take around 90 minutes to be there.
17- Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
Would you love to visit somewhere that will stimulate your curious mind? If your answer is yes, then the Museum of Transport and Technology is your go-to. Commonly abbreviated to MOTAT, this museum displays the magnificent evolution of technology in New Zealand.
There are several aviation exhibitions and other machinery-based displays. You will also get to see a model railway of what used to exist in New Zealand and how it, and other transportation methods, evolved through the years. The museum also exhibits a fascinating collection of historic relics used to educate and entertain the visitors altogether.
18- Ōtuataua Stonefields
If history happens to be your thing, there are different places to learn about the past other than museums. In fact, Ōtuataua Stonefields is a site not to be missed. This archaeological site lies in Māngere.
It is a real depiction of the early life of Polynesian settlers and their habits back in 1300 CE. Not only that, there is also a deep insight into the ancient lives of the Maori. Besides all the history education, you will be fascinated by the ancient stone walls that managed to survive to this day.
19- Auckland Domain
One of the things you should do while in Auckland is visiting its oldest and largest park, the Auckland Domain. This park is home to the renowned Pukekawa Volcano, embracing its entire explosion crater and most of its rim. Such natural feature is a great addition to the park that aid in attracting tourists from everywhere.
Apparently, this park has something for everyone. It is home to several sports field that serve fitness gurus. There are also walking tracks for a serene walk around the park for nature lovers. The most prominent tourist attractions in this park are the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and Domain Wintergardens.
20- Great Barrier Island (Aotea)
The Great Barrier Island is one of the largest islands in New Zealand, coming in the sixth place. It is one of the most prevalent spots in Auckland, being the only place to provide wilderness walk in the city. Besides, it embraces some of the most beautiful beaches in the country; you will enjoy the most spectacular views.
21- Albert Park
Albert Park is a magnificent green space with splendid landscapes for nature lovers away from the bustling city. The city is a serene spot suitable for meditation and tranquil walks. It features the opulent Victorian Fountain where beautiful flower beds and statuary surround it.
There’s also the Albert Park House that features a floral clock and other diversity of clocks and ceramics. You will also find at the highest point of the park the Meteorological Observatory of the city proudly standing. It has been around since 1909, marking the weather of the city throughout the years.
22- Auckland Zoo
Apparently, Auckland is a safe home to many animals, featuring a wide array of wildlife that won’t be found anywhere outside New Zealand. The Auckland Zoo is one of the prominent spots of the city since its opening in 1922. It offers entertaining safari nights and several activities that will satisfy the animal lovers.