Things to Do in Auckland That You Can’t Miss Out On

written by local expert Caitlin Fairty

From hiking across Spain to teaching English in Thailand, Caitlin has been a wanderer for most of her adult life. She is an expert in traveling around Southeast Asia and giving out travel tips. Her passions include making music, exploring new places, and eating waffles.

Located on New Zealand’s north island, Auckland is packed full of exciting sights and stunning natural beauty. Auckland is situated on two major harbors; in the city itself, you can find everything from gourmet dining to indoor skiing (yes, that’s a thing!).

If you’re looking for something a little more secluded and picturesque than the busy city life, the area surrounding the city definitely has it. Dormant volcanoes, marine reserves, nature walks, and more are all waiting to be explored. Check out some of our favorite things to do in Auckland!

Climb a Volcano

Auckland is home to 48 volcanos. But don’t worry…they’re not active! (At least not yet!) And when they’re not exploding with lava, it turns out volcanos actually make for terrific hiking spots. Most of the volcanoes offer walking trails, ranging from an easy one-hour stroll to a slightly more challenging 200 m summit. Maungawhau is Auckland’s highest volcano and from it, you’ll catch some of the best views of the city.

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Walk the Width of the Country

Auckland’s coast-to-coast walk sounds a little more impressive than it actually is, but it’s still a challenging trek! The walk begins in the center of the city at Waitemata Harbor and proceeds to Manukau Harbor on the opposite coast. The entire cross-country trek takes about 5 hours and is a great stop to add to your adventure bucket list!

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auckland harbor

Go Snorkeling at Goat Island

Despite its rather misleading name, Goat Island isn’t home to a lot of goats. It is, however, a beautiful marine reserve and a terrific place for snorkeling. The island is tiny, only a couple of acres in total, but it houses a research facility and plenty of wildlife. The waters surrounding it are perfect for scoping out some sea life as you snorkel.

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Go on a Food Trip at Giapo’s

With all the hiking and exploring you’ll be doing, you’ll need to take a break and enjoy a little treat. Giapo doesn’t just serve ice cream….they let you live the ice cream dream. You can choose from one of their many decadent flavors (vegan options, too!) or even take part in a chef’s table experience and let the chefs choose for you.

This brand became an icon when the husband and wife duo decided to put a spin on Italian gelato, allowing people to experiment with various tastes, flavors, and forms. The experience itself is highly interactive, allowing guests to come up with a variety of ice cream looks as they let their imagination go wild. The flavors are out of this world and really take ice cream to the next level.

For example, in their 3D design studio, the team thought of creating a colossal squid which then became an iconic favorite in their menu. From adding donuts, jellies, to even french fries, your imagination is the limit here in Giapo. Walking in here is like being a kid again. So many flavor and ice cream options making it a perfect family friendly activity. If you’re looking for a unique and fun experience while in Auckland, this place is highly recommended!  squid-giapo

Kayak to Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island is New Zealand’s youngest volcano. The entire island is only about 5 km wide and is filled with volcanic rocks, rolling hills, and plenty of walking trails. You can rent a kayak to paddle to the island and then get out and explore. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try paddling around the island. If you’re not much for paddlesports, don’t worry…there’s a ferry that goes to the island, too! kayaking

Bungee Jump off of Harbour Bridge

If you want thrills, Auckland’s only bungee jumping locale will be right up your alley. Leap off Harbour Bridge and plunge down 40 m to the ocean below before rocketing back up. You might even get to touch the water! You can make reservations beforehand and even have transportation arranged to the jump spot.

Check out an Event at Silo Park

Located in the city’s Wynyard Quarter, Silo Park hosts a plethora of events throughout the year. Stop by on a summer evening for an outdoor movie, or catch a musical performance. On Fridays and Saturdays, the park hosts a sprawling market. Even when there aren’t events going on, it’s a great location to stroll around and take in some beautiful ocean views.

Dangle Above the City on the Skywalk

If standing on top of the city’s tallest building sounds like fun to you, you’ll love the Skywalk. If you’re like me and terrified of heights, maybe not. But whether you’re a thrillseeker or you just want some unparalleled views of the city, the Skywalk really can’t be beaten. And while it might be terrifying, it’s perfectly safe. Step out along a narrow walkway nearly 200 meters above the ground. Don’t worry, you’ll be strapped into harnesses so you won’t have to worry if you trip! auckland tower

Splurge on a Dinner at Sidart

Named Auckland’s best restaurant of the year, this fine dining establishment is one for the books. You may want to block out 3 hours for a chef’s table, or merely stop by for a gourmet lunch on a Friday. Either way, it’ll be an experience to remember.

Ski Indoors at Snowplanet

If you need a taste of winter but there’s not enough snow outside for you, head inside to Snowplanet for an indoor ski session! You can try your luck at skiing, snowboarding, or tubing inside this giant indoor snow park.

Wander around the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Home to more than 10,000 species of plants, the Auckland botanic gardens are a wealth of natural beauty. From flowers to trees and even an edible garden, this is a lovely spot to take an afternoon stroll. There’s even a children’s garden if you’re traveling with kids!

Hopefully, this list has given you a couple of ideas on what to do in Auckland. Regardless if you’re in Auckland for a few days or weeks, there is so much to see and explore in the area so make sure you take the time to see everything that this vibrant city has to offer.

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