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A Museum Lover’s Guide to the Best Museums in Auckland 

A Museum Lover’s Guide to the Best Museums in Auckland

Auckland, also known as the City of Sails, has more than 1.6 million people calling it home. This makes it the biggest city in New Zealand and also the most culturally rich. 

No other institutions display this more than the many museums in the city. Whether you’re a history buff or an art enthusiast, Auckland’s diverse museums offer a kaleidoscope of experiences. 

Join us on a journey through the city’s cultural tapestry, where each museum unveils a facet of Auckland’s rich heritage!

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Address: Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 379 1349


Admission Fee: NZ$17 to NZ$20 

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm 

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki stands as a treasure trove right in the heart of Auckland, housing the biggest collection of art in New Zealand. The collection includes great pieces from within the nation and from countries all over the world. 

In the 4 floors of the museum building, there are over 15,000 individual pieces of art spanning across centuries.  There are some by Maori artists and some by Pacific Islanders. Paintings, sculptures, and prints of various kinds and origins call it home. 

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki also hosts a regularly rotating selection of temporary exhibits both from emerging local artists and established ones from abroad. 

Pro Tip: 
If you’re dropping by the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki for a visit, don’t hesitate to bring your kids with you. The museum is pretty enjoyable for them, especially the Creative Learning Center where they can join the hands-on learning experiences. 

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Address: Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 309 0443


Admission Fee: Free for residents, $28 for adult visitors ad $14 for kids under 13


  • Open on Monday and from Wednesday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm 
  • Open on Tuesday from 10 am to 8:30 pm 
  • Open from Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm

Nestled in Parnell, the Auckland War Memorial Museum focuses on the history of New Zealand and educating the public on its current standing. AMin features of this cultural epicenter are Maori and Pacific collections that tell the history of society and military. 

When you roam through the expansive halls, you’ll encounter a varied array of display items that covers natural history like preserved plants and taxidermied animals. The museum also has a collection of decorative arts and important historical documents. 

Other important features that you have to see before leaving is the Maori collection of 2000 artifacts like carvings and remnants of buildings, as well as a war canoe. 

Pro Tip: 
The Auckland War Memorial Museum hosts several events throughout the year, but none are as popular as the Mingle at the Museum in Spring Fling. This annual event invites you to dress up for a ball in the museum and meet other single people. 

The Charlotte Museum Te Whare Takatāpui-Wāhine o Aotearoa 

Address:  1A Howe Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 22 850 1013


Admission Fee: Free


  • Open on Wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 4 pm 
  • Open on Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm 
  • Open on Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm

Located in New Lynn, the Charlotte Museum operates as a celebration of lesbian life. This unique space combines the best of a museum, a library, a research center, an art gallery, a community center, reading area, and art studio all in one space. 

At the Charlotte Museum, you will find over 800 cultural artifacts that include Labrys made from bone, glass, and silver. There are also house ware and ceramics all inspired by the life of being a lesbian. There’s also a collection of 2, 100 books on lesbianism. 

The museum goes beyond its physical walls, offering guided history walks that spotlight local lesbian history, venues, and stories around Auckland. 

Pro Tip: 
The Charlotte Museum is a venue for events that focus on celebrating lesbian history, but it also hosts some events that support the entire LGBTQ+ community. Stay tuned on their website the schedule of craft clubs, quiz nights, and open forum events. 

Crystal Mountain New Zealand

Address:  80 Candia Road, Swanson, Auckland 0614, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 833 5033


Admission Fee: 

  • $10 for kids 1 to 2 years old 
  • $25 for kids 3 to 12 years old 
  • $15 for adults

Hours: Open everyday from 9 am to 5 pm 

If you’re a fan of crystals and you’re curious about the many processes behind how they’re formed, then a trip to the Crystal Mountain and Museum hidden in the heart of Waitakere Ranges in Auckland will make for a great day out. 

The Crystal Mountain and Museum invites you on an underground adventure into New Zealand’s largest exhibition of ethically sourced crystals and minerals. You take the elevator beneath the surface, where a world of rare crystals is ready for exploration. 

If a particular crystal catches your attention, you can head back up to the gift shop after your underground visit and find one to bring home with you.

Pro Tip: 
The Crystal Mountain and Museum is a great place to take the kids. They’ll enjoy the crystal collections too. Plus, the place has its own rides, huge dinosaur statues, and an animal park. There’s even an indoor play area for them to enjoy. 

Davenport Museum

Media Credit: _hansubin_

Address: 33 Vauxhall Road, Devonport, Auckland 0624, New Zealand

Phone Number:  +64 9 445 2661


Admission Fee: Free


  • Open from Tuesday to Thursday from 10 am to 12 pm 
  • Open from Saturday to Sunday from 2 pm to 4 pm

Devonport, just a ferry ride away from downtown Auckland, is a popular destination for people trying to find a fun way to spend the weekend. One of the biggest attractions here is the Devonport Museum that delves into the local history of the area. 

The Devonport Museum hosts a huge collection of artifacts, memorabilia, photos, and documents that provide insights and information about Davenport. 

You can expect exhibits about the area’s nature and geology. There are also ones focused on landmarks and items connected to the social and maritime developments of Devonport. Household items, toys, and everyday tools are also on display. 

Pro Tip: 
To get to the Devonport Museum, you take a 10 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Once you arrive, make your way to the village shops. The museum is a 15 minute walk along the waterfront past the Holy Trinity Church onto Vauxhall Road. 

Howick Historical Village

Address: Lloyd Elsmore Park, Bells Road, Pakuranga, Auckland 2010, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 576 9506


Admission Fee: 

  • $18 for adults 
  • $10 for Children 

Hours: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm

You can transport yourself to the very beginnings of European settlement in East Auckland at the Howick Historical Village. The village tells the story from 1847 when the largest Fencible settlement of retired soldiers began in New Zealand. 

The Fencibles made New Zealand their new home and built the biggest settlement in Howick. Unlike other museums where the historical items are locked behind glass panels, here you’re free to roam through the village. 

You can see and feel what the soldiers felt as they walked through their own village, bridging the gap between imagination and reality as you make your way through. 

Pro Tip: 
The Howick Historical Village is set in 7 acres of land, so be ready to do a lot of walking by wearing comfy shoes and putting on sunscreen. After exploring, you can have some coffee and baked goods at the Homestead Cafe.  

Maungawhau Visitor Experience Centre

Media Credit: kidseatauckland

Address: 250 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden, Auckland 1024, New Zealand


Admission Fee: Free


  • Open everyday from 7 am to 8:30 pm in the summer
  • Open everyday from 7 am to 7 pm in the winter

With volcanoes being a central fixture in New Zealand’s history and topography, we make an exemption for the Maungawhau Visitor Experience Center to be added to this list as an honorary museum of Auckland. 

Nestled directly on the slopes of Maungawhau or Mount Eden, the Maungawhau Visitor Experience Centre tells the captivating narrative of Auckland’s volcanic field. 

You can delve into the geological giants that shape the city, with over 50 extinct and dormant craters.  There are scale models highlighting the significance of these volcanoes to the local Māori iwi and info panels explaining the stories behind them. 

Pro Tip: 
While you’re already there, we suggest you extend your exploration and make a full day out of your trip to the visitor center. You can climb to the summit which rests 196 m above ground level. There are boardwalks built to preserve the mountain’s landscape. 

Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)

Address: 805 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland 1022, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 815 5800


Admission Fee: 

  • $10 for kids 5 to 15 years old 
  • $19 for adults 
  • $10 for students and senior citizens 
  • Free for kids 0 to 4 years old 

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 4 pm

The Museum of Transport and Technology or MOTAT, offers a riveting journey through New Zealand’s technological evolution. You’ll learn info from the steam age to more modern and cutting-edge innovations in the country’s transportation industry. 

At the Museum of Transport and Technology, you can learn about the evolution of the nation’s transportation systems and heritage from trams, rail, road transport, aviation, and military aircraft. There are also cars, buses, and emergency service vehicles. 

The exhibits here trace the progress of transportation technology from historic vehicles used in the past to the advancements of their more modern day versions.

Pro Tip: 
While you’re at the Museum of Transport and Technology, make sure you check out the replica of a traditional colonial village. It comes complete with charming stores and even a blacksmith’s forge with information plaques containing fun facts and details. 

New Zealand Maritime Museum

Address: Corner of Quay and Hobson Street, Auckland 1140, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 373 0800


Admission Fee: Free

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm

Situated in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, the New Zealand Maritime Museum is a tribute to the island nation’s deep-rooted connection with the ocean. 

From telling the stories of  the Great Pacific Migration of Polynesian explorers to the intricacies of modern day yachting, the museum stays true to its Maori name Te Huiteanaui-A-Tangaroa, which translates to the keeper of Tangaroa’s treasures. 

Tangaroa, or the Sea God, is represented in the exhibits here like the European voyages, coastal trading, whaling, sealing, and maritime arts and crafts. Modern industries of commercial shipping and coastguard services are also present here. 

Pro Tip: 
Apart from the restored ships that the New Zealand Maritime Museum houses, there are also many museum owned ships parked by the harbor. You can check out the Breeze, a 1982 reproduction for a New Zealand coastal trade brigantine among them. 

Stardome Observatory & Planetarium

Address: 670 Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland 1345, New Zealand

Phone Number:  +64 9 624 1246


Admission Fee: 

  • $12 to $15 for adults 
  • $10 to $12 for children under 15 years old 


  • Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 5 pm and from 6 pm to 10:30 pm 
  • Open on Monday from 9:30 am to 5 pm

Lovers of celestial wonders and the mystery of space can drop by for a visit at Auckland’s Stardome Observatory & Planetarium. This place is a haven for people who are interested in learning about space history and the stars. 

There are replicas and scale models of iconic space crafts like Sputnik 1 all the way to Apollo 11. There are also preserved newspaper articles on the moon landing in July of 1969 in the New Zealand Herald and the Auckland Star. 

The compact yet surprising museum also has a dedicated display on Matariki or the Māori New Year and explores the details of indigenous Māori cosmology.

Pro Tip: 
The Stardome Observatory & Planetarium hosts a whole list of regular events which include planetarium displays and actual stargazing parties that you should sign up for. Just be sure to regularly check the website for schedules and announcements. 

Te Toi Uku Crown Lynn Museum 

Address: 8 Ambrico Place, New Lynn, Auckland 0600, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 827 7349


Admission Fee: Free


  • Open from Wednesday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm 
  • Open on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm 

Some of the best historical stories are told through crafts. The tales that the  fascinating world of ceramics at Te Toi Uku Crown Lynn Museum tells are worth listening to. The pieces are from the West Auckland clay industry from the Crown Lynn era. 

The museum has 11 collections that include nurseryware from the 1950s, dinnerware and badge ware, vases, and technical ceramics. There are also collections from the Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company, Luke Adams Pottery, and Titian Potteries. 

The Production Collection features tools and items used in the making of Crown Lynn ceramics like ram press cases, backstamps, molds, models, and engraving plates. 

Pro Tip: 
The Te Toi Uku Crown Lynn Museum is relatively smaller compared to the other entries on this list. Touring the entire place will take less than an hour, but if you really want to get down to the details, you can chat up the curators who are very friendly!

Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery

Address: 420 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, Auckland 0604, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 817 8087


Admission Fee: Free

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 4:30 pm 

The Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery is an ever changing museum that guarantees a unique experience each time you go there. They switch out the exhibits every year but all of them display quality and interesting contemporary modern art. 

The pieces you can expect to see on display range from paintings, sculptures, and pottery to photographs, sketches, and live art installations. 

One of the biggest events here is the yearly Portage Ceramic Awards that features famous artists like Ron Brownson, Haru Sameshima, and Linda Tyler. Other notable past exhibits include JAnet Lilo’s Status Update and Caroline McQuarries’ No Town. 

Pro Tip: 
The building itself is a must see with architectural details that incorporate natural light from the roof openings that bounce across white gallery walls. Make sure you give ample time to appreciate these details during the morning hours to really get a feel. 

Torpedo Bay Navy Museum

Address: 64 King Edward Parade, Devonport, Auckland 0624, New Zealand

Phone Number: +64 9 445 5186


Admission Fee: Free for residents, $10 for visitors

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm

Another place to explore the country’s great relationship with the sea is at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum in Devonport where you can learn about naval history. 

The site of the museum itself is steeped in legend and maritime heritage. It’s widely believed that Kupe, one of the best and earliest navigators named the area Te Hau Kapua or cloud carried by wind in 950. 

Today, the palace acts as the official museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy and retells naval stories all the way back to the Flagstaff War in 1845. Exhibits include one dedicated to the HMS New Zealand, a British battlecruiser. 

There are also exhibits that cover World War II events and the country’s participation in the Vietnam War, the Malayan Emergency, the Gulf War, and the war in Afghanistan.   

Pro Tip: 
Apart from the displays that tell stories of New Zealand’s war past, there are also ones dedicated to its current efforts in peacetime duties like fishery protection, disaster relief, hydrographic surveys, and search ad rescues.