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The 18 Most Beautiful Places in Auckland You Should Visit

The 18 Most Beautiful Places in Auckland You Should Visit

Auckland, nestled on the cones of 48 dormant and extinct volcanoes, offers a mix of breathtaking attractions and panoramic cityscapes. Beyond the city’s vibrant core lies an array of picture-perfect coastlines and landscapes, waiting to be discovered.

From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, this guide will showcase the diverse and picturesque corners of the city. 

So, join us in unraveling the charm of these beautiful places in Auckland.

1. Bastion Point

Media: Joshua Peralta

Address: 19 Hapimana Street, Orakei, Auckland 1071


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6:30 AM–10 PM

Bastion Point, a site rich in New Zealand history and tranquility, beckons visitors seeking a blend of culture and relaxation. Located atop the hill from Mission Bay, the park offers serene gardens and breathtaking vistas.

Known as Takaparawhā in Māori, the area serves as a historic defense point for the city. Its elevated position provides unmatched views of Hauraki Gulf, Waitematā Harbour, and central Auckland, making it a prime photography spot capturing the city skyline.

This iconic site also houses historical landmarks like the tomb dedicated to former Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage. The memorial is adorned with Art Deco elements and an obelisk, amid beautifully landscaped gardens and a reflective pool.

Pro tip:
You can pack a picnic basket with your favorite treats and don’t forget a cozy blanket. The lush gardens and serene atmosphere make Bastion Point an ideal spot for a leisurely outdoor feast.

2. Cornwall Park

Address: Green Lane West, Epsom, Auckland 1051


Contact Details: +64 9 630 8485, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7 AM–9 PM

Cornwall Park is a significant Auckland tourist attraction that’s centered around Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill. It boasts historic buildings, the Stardome Observatory, remnants of a Māori pa, a playground, sports fields, an olive grove, and farm animals.

It’s a visionary gift from Sir John Logan Campbell in 1901 to the people of Auckland, and has transformed into a multifaceted haven. Here, you can ascend to the summit of One Tree Hill for breathtaking views or dine at the Cornwall Park cafe.

This park encompasses the Cornwall Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, and the Aquarium. Moreover, Cornwall Park has walking trails and picturesque picnic areas, making it a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.

Pro tip:
You can embrace the cultural richness by visiting the Māori pa site and exploring the heritage trail. It provides insights into the park’s historical significance.

3. Rotoroa Island

Location: east of Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf


Contact Details: 09 283 0849, [email protected]

Rotoroa Island stands is an overlooked but captivating heritage site, making it a must-visit for passing tourists. With a unique past as an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility, it has undergone a transformation into a conservation park.

Now under the ownership of the city of Auckland, the island is easily accessible by ferry. Exploration of Rotoroa allows visitors to delve into the heart of its old community, featuring heritage buildings like the jail, chapel, schoolhouse, and cemetery.

The island boasts four pristine sandy beaches, walking trails, and modern amenities, including free barbeques for a delightful experience. Adding to its allure, a sculpture by renowned New Zealand artist Chris Booth was placed on the southern headland.

Pro tip:
Check the ferry schedule in advance to plan your return trip. The last thing you want is to rush back and miss the chance to savor the island’s beauty a little longer.

4. Auckland Botanic Gardens

Address: 102 Hill Road, The Gardens, Auckland 2105


Contact Details: +64 9 267 1457, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8 AM–8 PM

Auckland Botanic Gardens is a 64-hectare sprawling haven for over 10,000 plants. The gardens boast themed sections, including a palm garden, vibrant African Plants Garden, and serene native forest.

Located 25 kilometers south of Auckland, this tranquil retreat offers a serene landscape dotted with lakes and a variety of plants. The gardens are free to enter and feature a café for a leisurely break.

Here, you can explore the award-winning Potter Children’s Garden, rare native plants, and large-scale outdoor sculptures. Every second summer, don’t miss the Sculpture in the Gardens event showcasing works from New Zealand’s finest artists.

Pro tip:
When visiting the Auckland Botanic Gardens, it’s highly advisable to don a pair of comfortable shoes. The sprawling grounds beckon exploration at a leisurely pace.

5. Piha Beach

Media: Kokee Alojado Maloles

Location: west coast of Auckland

On Auckland’s rugged West Coast lies the renowned Piha Beach, a haven for surfers drawn to its world-famous surf break and distinctive black sand shores. Dominating the seascape is Lion Rock, an iconic outcrop that stands as a symbol of this coastal haven.

Nestled in a small village with around 600 residents, Piha is a distinctive coastal retreat just a 45-50 minute scenic drive from the city. Its black-iron sand beach, immortalized in the classic film ‘The Piano,’ adds a cinematic charm to the coastal landscape.

The beach is not just a surfing haven but a multifaceted destination where visitors can explore native bushland through various walking tracks. Meanwhile, Piha’s Tasman Sea offers surfers an exhilarating playground with strong currents and high waves.

Beyond its surfing allure, Piha Beach invites visitors for swimming, fishing, and immersion in the West Coast’s natural beauty. Piha blends adventure and tranquility, whether riding waves or strolling on unique black sands.

Pro tip:
Before hitting the black sands, grab some local treats from Piha Café to enjoy a beachside picnic. It’s the perfect prelude to a day of surf and sun.

6. Lucas Creek Falls

Media: Bryn Nealie

Location: Lucas Creek Memorial Park, North Shore area of Auckland


Situated in Auckland’s Gills Reserve, Lucas Creek Falls offers a surprise escape into nature amid the suburban sprawl of Albany. The short, pleasant walk provides a perfect respite, leading to the picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush landscapes.

This serene spot invites visitors to immerse themselves in the soothing sounds of cascading waters and the tranquil ambiance of wilderness. The hike to the waterfall is accessible for various visitors, making it an ideal for families and casual hikers.

Beyond the falls, the surrounding forest offers opportunities for birdwatching, creating a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Lucas Creek provides a rejuvenating experience for those seeking a quiet escape in Auckland’s natural beauty.

Pro tip:
Follow the principle of “leave no trace.” Respect the natural environment by refraining from littering and staying on designated paths to preserve the beauty of this hidden oasis.

7. Shakespear Regional Park

Media: Kristina Arthur

Address: 1501 Whangaparaoa Road, Army Bay, Auckland 0930


Contact Details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Shakespear Regional Park is located at the tip of Whangaparaoa peninsula and is a testament to conservation efforts. It boasts a predator-proof fence that transformed it into an open bird sanctuary in 2011.

This natural haven offers an array of walking trails, showcasing features like waterfalls, farmland, and resident wildlife. It has three pristine beaches, a popular campground, and a lookout tower providing 360º views of the Hauraki Gulf.

Its diverse landscapes, from sheltered bays to regenerating native forests, create a picturesque backdrop. It draws visitors to explore its trails and indulge in beachfront serenity.

Pro tip:
Don’t miss the infamous picture frame for your Instagram-worthy shots. It’s strategically placed to frame the stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island.

8. Inside the Civic Theatre

Media: Gillian Jackson

Address: Cnr of Queen Street &, 269-287 Wellesley Street West, Auckland 1010


Contact Details: +64 9 309 2677

The Civic Theatre is a captivating proof of Auckland’s cultural richness. Its exterior, adorned with intricate Indian motifs, hints at the visual treat that awaits inside.

As one of the few remaining “atmospheric theatres” globally, stepping into the Civic is akin to stepping back in time, offering a rare and enchanting experience. Hosting nearly 2400 guests, the main theatre, unveiled in 1929, carries the echoes of a bygone era.

A live show in this historic venue is not just entertainment; it’s a journey into the heart of Auckland’s cultural legacy. Beyond its architectural magnificence, The Civic holds the distinction of being New Zealand’s inaugural purpose-built cinema for ‘talkies.’

Today, it continues to be a cherished hub for world-class performances, from musicals to international film festivals. This makes it an integral part of Auckland’s vibrant cultural tapestry and solidifies its place as an enduring landmark in the city.

Pro tip:
For a unique perspective, opt for balcony seating. The bird’s-eye view offers a different angle on the performance and lets you take in the grandeur of the theatre.

9. One Tree Hill

Media: Philipp Inozemtsev

Location: within the Cornwall Park in Auckland


One Tree Hill, a monumental volcanic cone in Central Auckland, is a distinctive landmark and an evidence of the city’s rich history. The site, also known as Maungakiekie, boasts a panoramic view of Auckland’s harbors.

With its historical significance, including a Maori Pa site and Fortified Pā, it holds a place in Auckland’s cultural tapestry.  Sharing its expanse with Cornwall Park, it creates Auckland’s largest green space, blending farmland with well-preserved park areas.

The obelisk crowning its summit is a poignant memorial to Māori history, adding depth to the natural beauty. The proximity to the city and the sprawling views make it an ideal destination for leisurely walks, family outings, and tourist exploration.

In the evening, the cityscape transforms into a spectacular sight, enhancing the allure of this breathtaking Auckland gem. After absorbing the vistas from the top, a visit to the Cornwall Park cafe offers a perfect coffee refuel amid the serene surroundings.

Pro tip:
You can pack a picnic basket with local delights and settle in at one of the designated picnic spots. The combination of good food and stunning views is hard to beat.

10. Auckland Art Gallery

Address: Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010


Contact Details: +64 9 379 1349

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the country’s largest visual arts experience, spanning four floors of its acclaimed building. The gallery’s international painting, sculpture, and print collections add to its diverse offerings.

It has nearly 17,000 artworks. The collections at this gallery showcase significant New Zealand historic, modern, and contemporary art, along with works by Māori and Pacific artists.

Nestled between majestic kauri columns, visitors can explore seven centuries of art. It offers world-class exhibitions and the atmosphere of traditional and contemporary international works.

Auckland Art Gallery stands out not just for its remarkable artworks but also for its alluring design store and inviting terrace café. These additions enhance the gallery experience, offering a harmonious blend of cultural immersion and city charm.

Pro tip:
You can experience the gallery during the evening hours. The changing lighting conditions can lend a different ambiance to the artworks, creating a unique visual experience.

11. Waiheke Island

Location: Hauraki Gulf


Waiheke Island, a cherished retreat in the Hauraki Gulf, is one of Auckland’s beloved destinations. Famous for its stunning beaches, diverse dining options, and charming vineyards, the island offers a perfect blend of relaxation and indulgence.

It’s the most populous and second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf. Waiheke invites exploration along its pathways, leading to picturesque beaches and tranquil forest enclaves.

You’ll also discover the historic Stony Batter passageway, unveiling World War II gun sites and concealed tunnels. Whether opting for a stay at a cozy backpacker’s hostel or a beachfront house, you can immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of the waves.

Moreover, Waiheke Island beckons with opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and delightful picnics. This makes it an ideal escape within Auckland’s embrace.

Pro tip:
With over 30 boutique vineyards dotted across the island, Waiheke is a wine lover’s paradise. Be sure to book a tasting tour and indulge in some of New Zealand’s finest vintages.

12. Albert Park

Media: zweireiserei

Address: 33-43 Princes Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

Beyond its green expanses and inviting spaces, Albert Park is home to the esteemed Auckland War Memorial Museum. It showcases a wealth of New Zealand’s historical treasures.

The Auckland City Art Gallery, nestled at one end, adds a cultural touch. On the other hand, the refurbished park-keepers’ house at the other end houses an enchanting memorabilia museum.

With its central location, Albert Park is an intrinsic part of Auckland’s cultural landscape, attracting both locals and tourists alike. It stands as not just a park, but a testament to the city’s history and identity.

The presence of amenities such as playgrounds, picnic spots, and a basketball court enhances its appeal, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a quiet stroll or a peaceful escape, Albert Park remains a quintessential destination.

Pro tip:
Find a bench, soak in the atmosphere, and do some people-watching. Albert Park is a kaleidoscope of Auckland life, and observing the diverse mix of people can be both entertaining and enlightening.

13. Muriwai Gannet Colony

Address: 428 Motutara Road, Waitakere, Muriwai 0881


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Located along the impressive Muriwai Beach, the Muriwai Gannet Colony is a unique spectacle. It hosts over a thousand breeding pairs of Australian gannets each year from September to April.

The black sand shores of Muriwai Beach are not only a surfer’s haven but also provide a distinctive backdrop to this breeding ground. The gannet colony, with up to 1,200 breeding pairs, offers a captivating glimpse into the natural habitat of these birds.

From August to March, this spot creates a striking tableau of breeding activity of gannets. The viewing platforms provide an ideal vantage point for observing the intricacies of their behavior, making it one of Auckland’s most beautiful locations.

Pro tip:
Grab a pair of binoculars to get an up-close look at the intricate details of gannet behavior. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience.

14. Maritime Museum

Address: Corner of Quay and Hobson Street, Auckland 1140


Contact Details: +64 9 373 0800, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

The New Zealand Maritime Museum is a fascinating repository, weaving together the intricate tales of Aotearoa’s maritime heritage. This unique space encapsulates the profound impact of the ocean on the lives of individuals in New Zealand.

The museum serves as a focal point for these narratives. It unfolds its stories through engaging events, exhibitions, and harbor sailings, creating an immersive experience for all ages.

Here, visitors can participate in virtual yacht racing, marvel at traditional Polynesian outrigger design, and even sail aboard the heritage scow Ted Ashby. These are some ways they can submerge themselves in the timeless essence of maritime culture.

Aside from the museum’s interactive and diverse offerings, there’s also an opportunity to cruise the sparkling waters of Waitemata, against the backdrop of Auckland’s iconic skyline. These contribute to its distinction as one of the most beautiful places in the city.

Pro tip:
You may consider supporting the museum by purchasing souvenirs or becoming a member. Your contribution helps in preserving and sharing the rich maritime heritage of New Zealand for future generations.

15. Awhitu Peninsula

Media: Amazing Australia/New Zealand

Location: southwestern part of the Auckland region

The scenic Āwhitu Peninsula, located southwest of Auckland, captivates visitors with its contrasting black and white sand beaches. At its tip stands the Manukau Heads lighthouse, offering spectacular views.

There’s also an infamous sandbar that’s linked to the HMS Orpheus maritime disaster, a poignant part of New Zealand’s history. Here, you can take the time for a hike through Āwhitu Regional Park, surrounded by magnificent wetlands and wildlife.

Pro tip:
The wetlands around the peninsula are a haven for birdlife. So, bring binoculars for a closer look at the diverse avian residents.

16. Wenderholm Regional Park

Media: Rachael Tauva

Address: 37 Schischka Road, Waiwera 0873


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 6 AM–9 PM

Wenderholm Regional Park is a natural haven where coastal beauty and lush landscapes seamlessly merge. A pristine, sandy beach stretches beside the embrace of pohutukawa trees, creating an idyllic setting for relaxation or a leisurely stroll.

As tidal estuaries weave through thoughtfully planted enclaves, Wenderholm unveils a unique, almost ethereal ambiance. The park’s headland, standing sentinel between the Waiwera and Puhoi Rivers, invites hikers to explore native forest trails.

This venture is rewarded with sweeping views over the Puhoi River valley and the expansive Hauraki Gulf. For nature enthusiasts, the park hosts the successful release of rare North Island robins, adding a touch of avian charm to your walks.

Pro tip:
You can explore the historic town of Puhoi, which is known for its Bohemian immigrant heritage. The wharf near Puhoi offers a picturesque endpoint for your kayak adventure and a chance to step back in time.

17. Howick Historical Village

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


Contact Details: +64 9 576 9506

Operating Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday-Sunday: 10 AM–4 PM

Howick Historical Village is a remnant of the early colonial life of New Zealand, offering visitors an immersive journey into the 1800s. Set within a picturesque parkland, the village boasts over 60 heritage buildings, each narrating the stories of the past.

Roaming through structures like the church, schoolhouse, and post office, guests gain insights into the daily experiences of the first settlers. The village’s charm extends to its heritage gardens, providing a tranquil backdrop for a family picnic.

Beyond architectural marvels, visitors can engage in hands-on activities like gold panning, candle making, and bread baking, offering a tactile connection to the past. The village also hosts various events, from Easter egg hunts to Christmas markets.

Pro tip:
You may consider joining a guided tour for deeper insights into the history and anecdotes associated with specific buildings. It adds a layer of storytelling to your exploration.

18. Auckland Domain

Media: Georgios Kitsos SKG Globetrotter

Address: Park Road, Parnell, Auckland 1010


Contact Details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: Open 24 hours

Near downtown Auckland, the Auckland Domain serves as a validation of the city’s lush natural charm. Spanning 75 hectares around the cone of an ancient volcano, this expansive park has a unique landscape shaped by the remnants of volcanic activity.

A leisurely stroll through the Auckland Domain unveils more than just scenic splendor. At one end, the iconic Auckland Museum graces the landscape, adding a touch of cultural richness to the surroundings.

In spring, the park dons a breathtaking cloak of cherry blossoms, creating a mesmerizing scene. You’ll embrace the simplicity of life within the park – fly a kite, share a moment with ducks by the water’s edge, or meander through native forests.

A trail adorned with outdoor sculptures adds an artistic charm to this inner-city haven. The Auckland Domain, with its natural allure and diverse activities, seamlessly blends urban life with nature’s tranquility, making it a cherished gem in Auckland’s landscape.

Pro tip:
Don’t just admire the exterior of the Auckland Museum – venture inside. The exhibits are fascinating, and it’s a great way to soak in some Kiwi history.