Like any major city, Auckland is packed full of places to see and things to do and the best way to see it (if you have the time) is to wander around exploring every nook and cranny, and visiting every attraction, restaurant and historic site possible. However, if you have limited time, having a to-do list of the highlights is definitely the way to go. There’s a great range of hotels in Auckland that are close to most attractions, restaurants and sights. Getting around the city isn’t difficult. There are plenty of taxis, buses and trains in the CBD, and the Auckland ‘Hop On/Hop off’ Explorer charges a reasonable fee and allows tourists to hop on and off the bus all day. There are stops at most of the major Auckland attractions.
Here’s a handy checklist of top things to do on an Auckland short break.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki should be the first stop on your Auckland itinerary. The gallery is the home of visual arts in New Zealand and boasts over 15,000 artworks by Maori and Pacific Island artists as well as international artists. Allow a couple of hours to look through the gallery and factor in some time for a coffee and cake at the gallery cafe.
Next stop is the Auckland Zoo — home to New Zealand’s largest collection of animals and known as one of the most progressive zoos in the world. The zoo is set on 17 hectares of lush parkland and houses 138 different species.
Finish your day with a walk around cosmopolitan Viaduct Harbour and a quick visit to the Maritime Museum, followed by a relaxed dinner at one of the Viaduct’s waterfront restaurant. Retire to your Auckland CBD accommodation exhausted!
If you have another day to spend in Auckland, start with an adrenalin-filled jet boat ride around the city’s beautiful Waitemata Harbour, followed by a ferry ride to Devonport for a relaxing brunch. Take some time to explore this charming seaside town, with its beaches, shops and galleries.
From Devonport, head back to the CBD and visit the Auckland Museum — home to the world’s largest Maori and Pacific Island cultural collection. The museum is housed in New Zealand’s most iconic and impressive heritage building.
From here it’s a short trip to the famous Sky Tower — Auckland’s tallest building, where you can enjoy 360° views of the city from a 1.2-metre-wide observation deck called Sky Walk (192 metres above the city streets). Adrenalin junkies may want to take the experience one step further and have a go at Sky Jump – described as base jumping while attached to a wire.
A great way to conclude your visit to Auckland is with a sunset dinner cruise on Auckland Harbour. There are several companies that offer dinner cruises. Most depart from Viaduct Harbour and if you’re lucky you may get to see some dolphins while you’re out on the water. A quick trip back to one of the excellent Auckland Airport hotels means you’ll be ready to fly out first thing in the morning — knowing that you’ve seen the best of Auckland!