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The Top 20 Auckland Attractions (With Aucklanders’ Picks and Notes)

The Top 20 Auckland Attractions (With Aucklanders’ Picks and Notes)

Whenever I talk to people overseas about home, the people I meet often ask me the same thing: “Say I visit your country. What can I do in New Zealand?”

Luckily, I’m an Aucklander, born and bred. And as every Aucklander knows, this is the Kiwi city that doesn’t run out of things to do! And I’m not just saying this out of local bias: whether you’re into city travel or nature hopping, Auckland has something cool for everyone.

So, working together with the other Aucklanders on our team, I’ve curated a list of the best Auckland attractions that tourists and locals alike must see. And if you’re traveling to NZ soon, consider adding these attractions to your itinerary. 

Sky Tower

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Address: Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 363 6000

Operating hours: Monday – Thursday: 9:30 AM – 8:00 PM | Friday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM

Standing tall at 328 meters, the Sky Tower is a must-see landmark that totally dominates the Auckland skyline. 

The upper levels are open to everyone, offering some seriously awesome views. Up there, you’ll find two restaurants, a café, and three observation decks – all perfect for soaking in the sights. 

One of the restaurants, Orbit 360° Dining, even rotates once every hour, giving you a full view of the city as you dine. Pretty next-level, eh?

If you’re the adventurous type, you can try the ‘SkyJump’, where you leap off from the observation deck and plummet 192 meters towards the ground. It’s a real adrenaline rush, reaching speeds of up to 85 km/h as you zoom through the air. 

But if that’s a bit too intense for you, no worries! There’s also a Sky Walk where you can stroll around the observation deck on a glass-bottom platform. 

However, it’s worth noting that visiting Sky Tower isn’t free. A single entry for an hour will set you back $37 – the experience is priceless though!

Auckland Art Gallery


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

Contact details: +64 9 379 1349

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

The Auckland Art Gallery is a must-visit spot in the city, and there’s a good reason why it’s so popular. It’s spread out nicely over four floors, showcasing art from seven centuries inside one of the best buildings in the country. 

The best part is that you can wander around for free! Plus, there are super-friendly guides who can tell you all sorts of interesting stuff about the art and its history. One of them pretty much gave my niece a free interview for her school paper, actually – shout out to you, Sarah!

Anyway, it’s not just about the permanent collection here, although that alone is pretty awesome. The gallery also brings in these incredible exhibitions from all over the globe. So, there’s always something fresh and exciting to check out. 

On top of everything, there are also plenty of exciting events and workshops happening throughout the year. Pro tip: make sure to take a look at the gallery’s calendar to see what’s going on during your visit!


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Address: Auckland 0624, New Zealand

For a fun break from the hustle of downtown Auckland, why not catch a short and scenic ferry ride across Waitemata Harbour to Devonport? This seaside gem offers awesome views back towards the city with that chill vibe you’ll love. 

The waterfront area is where it’s at, with restaurants serving up good food and an even better scenery. And if you have kids with energy to burn, there’s a great park nearby with plenty of stuff to play on.

While you’re in Devonport, take a stroll along King Edward Parade to check out some beautifully preserved 19th-century homes. And don’t forget to hit up Victoria Road for some quirky and interesting shops. 

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium


Address: 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei, Auckland 1071, New Zealand

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Definitely one of Auckland’s top family attractions, SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium offers an immersive journey underwater. With general admission priced at $47 for adults and $34 for kids, visitors can enjoy exploring the place for the entire day.

As you stroll through tunnel walkways, you’ll come face to face with a variety of marine life housed in massive aquariums. You’ll find sharks, tropical fish, and stingrays.

But that’s not all – there’s also the Antarctic Encounter gallery, where you can hang out with penguins in a snowy enclosure. You’ll also learn about New Zealand and Antarctic connection here but we think those penguins are enough to pull you in. 

Finally, don’t miss the newest addition: the Sea Cave Adventure marine zone. It’s packed with fascinating creatures from the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, making it a particularly exciting and educational experience for the whole family.

Stardome Observatory & Planetarium

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

Contact details: +64 9 624 1246

Operating hours: Monday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM | Tuesday – Sunday:  9:30 AM – 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Whether you’re with kids or flying solo, Stardome Observatory & Planetarium is a must-visit spot in Auckland. It’s been around since 1967 and has grown a lot since then. 

What used to be just an observatory is now a great place for people of all ages to have fun and learn something new. Here, there are two telescopes that you can check out as part of a presentation where you get to peek at the stars. 

First, there’s a show in the planetarium to get you in the mood, and then you can wander around and explore the exhibits.

Tickets start at $5 for just the exhibits, but if you want to catch one of the planetarium shows, it’ll cost you around $15 per person. 

Auckland Zoo

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Address: Motions Rd, Western Springs, Auckland 1022, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 360 3805

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Located in the Western Springs neighborhood, Auckland Zoo is spread across 40 acres and offers loads of fun for families visiting the area. You can get a day pass starting at only $19 per person. 

Established in 1922, the zoo has added some cool new features over the years, including Te Wao Nui, which is all about showcasing local plants and animals.

There’s so much to see here! With themed areas featuring over 1,400 creatures from about 135 species, you’ll encounter animals from Africa, Australia, and South America. 

Additionally, heading here could make for an awesome day out for the entire family. The zoo has a bunch of cool stuff to try, like after-dark safaris, photography workshops, and junior zookeeper programs – all perfect for the little ones.

Piha Beach

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Address: 55 Marine Parade North, Piha 0772, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating hours:  Open 24 hours

Super-popular with surfers, Piha Beach is located on Auckland’s West Coast. It’s world-renowned for its surf break and black sand beaches, but there’s a lot more to do here than just surfing.

You can soak in the coastal views from the Piha Beach Lookout, just off Piha Road. And don’t miss climbing Lion Rock, which is an iconic landmark in the area. The hike is short, only about 300 meters with a small elevation gain, so you’ll be at the top in no time!

Lastly, a favorite activity here is walking to Kitekite Falls for a swim! 

Just head to Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, a quick 3-minute drive from the beach. Then wander through lush rainforest, find cool swimming spots, and be treated to a beautiful waterfall.

Howick Historical Village


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

Contact details: +64 9 576 9506

Operating hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

If you’re curious about New Zealand’s colonial history, Howick Historical Village is a must-visit. It’s like stepping back in time with around 30 authentic historic buildings dating from the 19th century, all rebuilt right here. 

You can join guided tours, watch re-enactments, and see demonstrations by folks dressed in period costumes. Plus, there’s a beautiful garden to explore if you’re into nature.

For some extra fun, take a wagon ride around the village. And when boredom strikes, you can grab a bite at the café or find a neat souvenir at the gift shop. 

If you’re game, why not have a relaxed picnic in one of the village’s picnic areas? You can bring your same group over for a quiet, afternoon chill. Admission here starts at $15 for adults and $7 for kids.

Albert Park

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

Contact details: +64 9 301 0101

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

A park in the city center? That’s Albert Park for you. It’s the go-to green spot right in the heart of the city, boasting a beautiful Victorian fountain, cool statues, and lots of colorful flower beds. 

And it’s not just a pretty park – there’s some neat stuff to check out too.

For instance, Albert Park House has a bunch of cool ceramics and clocks (the floral clock near the entrance on Princes Street is a must-see). Up at the highest point in the park, you’ll find the Meteorological Observatory that keeps track of Auckland’s weather since 1909. 

Nearby, you can also see the Old Government House, which used to be New Zealand’s first parliament.

If you’re around in February, you might catch the Auckland Lantern Festival, one of the city’s hottest summer events. It’s all about Chinese food, fireworks, martial arts, dancing, live music, and more. 

The main party happens in Albert Park over three nights, but there’s also a lantern-only night before the big event. So, don’t miss that one when you’re in the area.

Kaipara Coast Plant Centre & Sculpture Gardens

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Address: 1481 Kaipara Coast Highway, Kaukapakapa 0984, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 420 5655

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Looking for a peaceful stroll through the countryside just north of Auckland? Head about 50 kilometers out of the city to the Kaipara Coast Plant Centre & Sculpture Gardens. 

This place is filled with native plants and cool sculptures made by local artists. You’ll also find over 50 sculptures along the one-kilometer pathway, creating these awesome outdoor galleries.

Nature lovers, you’re in for a treat too! The gardens showcase a variety of New Zealand landscapes, from pine forests to native bush and farmland. 

And if you’re up for a bit of adventure, there’s a hiking trail through the forest dedicated to conservation efforts. It’s a peaceful place to wander, with streams to cross and waterfalls to admire. 

Mount Eden

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Address: Auckland, New Zealand

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Just a quick 20-minute bus ride (or an hour’s walk) from the CBD, and you’ll find yourself at Mt. Eden, a dormant volcano with a massive crater at its summit! Fun fact – that crater is what’s left from the volcano’s last eruption! 

And guess what? You’ll also get one of the best views of the city from up there, which explains why it’s such a hit with tourists in Auckland.

The hike up Mt. Eden is one of the best on the North Island. It’s a loop trail that’s just over 2 kilometers long and takes about 40 minutes to complete. The path is paved and pretty easy-going, so most people can handle it. 

However, the 223 feet elevation gain might be a bit daunting for some. But truly, the breathtaking view that awaits you is worth it.

Rangitoto Island

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Address: Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

If you’re looking for a hiking adventure, look no further than Rangitoto Island, just off the coast of Auckland! It’s only a short 25-minute ferry ride from the downtown ferry terminal, so consider it for a quick day out. 

This volcanic island is the largest of the 48 dormant volcanoes in the area and boasts the world’s largest pohutukawa forest. These features make it a favorite destination for hikers and day trippers alike.

Once you arrive on the island, you can hike to the top of the dormant volcano, which will take approximately an hour each way. Along the way, you’ll pass by black lava caves – and if you have a torch, you can definitely explore them.

The views from the summit are simply breathtaking, offering panoramic vistas of the Hauraki Gulf, the Waitakere Ranges, and the Hunua Ranges. You won’t want to miss it!

New Zealand Maritime Museum 


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

Contact details: +64 9 373 0800

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

If you’re into boats and all things maritime, you have to check out the New Zealand Maritime Museum. You can learn all about the technology and designs used in the yachts from the famous America’s Cup tournament. 

Plus, the museum’s collections dive into New Zealand’s deep connection with the sea, featuring the story of the Great Pacific Migration thousands of years ago.

You’ll find the museum right in the Viaduct Basin in the CBD, open every day except Christmas from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is just $15 per adult and includes a guided tour. 

If you’re feeling hungry, know that there’s a sweet café on-site serving up yummy coffee and snacks. 

Catalina Bay Farmers’ Market


Address: Hudson Bay Road Extension, Hobsonville, Auckland 0616, New Zealand

Operating hours: Saturday – Sunday: 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Right by the waterfront on Hobsonville Point, you’ll find the Catalina Bay Farmers’ Market. It’s a covered market where you can grab almost every fun treat you’d expect.

The vibe here is super family-friendly, making it a must-visit on your West Auckland adventures. Plus, with its waterfront location and live music, the market is always bursting with energy.

On top of that, there are many things you can try here. Grab a coffee, sample some delicious bites from the variety of food vendors, pick up fresh produce for the week, or browse the unique handmade items on sale. 

Of course, don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll around the coastal walkway and explore everything else Catalina Bay has to offer.

No need to worry about parking too. It’s available on Hudson Bay Road, or you can hop off the ferry and dive straight into the action.

Muriwai Beach 

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Website: 458 Motutara Road, Muriwai 0881, New Zealand

Address: +64 9 301 0101

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Visiting the Gannet Colony at Muriwai Beach is a top Auckland attraction, especially between August and March. During this time, thousands of large white gannets, similar to seagulls, make their nests on Otakamiro Point – actually it’s the only gannet colony in the region!

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also drive along Muriwai Beach. Just make sure you have a 4WD vehicle and have applied online for the free permit beforehand. 

The beach stretches for a couple of kilometers, so the driving experience is really remarkable. And let’s not forget about the scenic drive from Auckland to Muriwai itself, which is its own adventure!

Wētā Workshop Unleashed


Address: Convention Centre Level 5/88 Federal Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 4 909 4035

Operating hours: Monday and Friday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM | Tuesday: 9:30 AM – 8:00 PM | Wednesday – Thursday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Looking for something different from the usual nature and gallery attractions? Check out Wētā Workshop Unleashed! 

From the talented folks behind the famous Weta Workshop in Wellington – known for creating props for blockbuster movies like Mad Max, Fast and the Furious, and Lord of the Rings – Weta Workshop Unleashed offers an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

During this 1.5-hour tour through the film effects facility, you’ll come face-to-face with monsters, giants, and robots and see set pieces from several famous movies up close. Plus, you’ll get to learn all about how the Weta crew designs and builds these amazing creatures and sets.

This unique attraction is located on Federal Street in Auckland CBD, and tickets are $60 per adult. 

Vector Wero Whitewater Park


Address: 770 Great South Road, Wiri, Auckland 2104, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 913 5251

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Wanna visit somewhere in Auckland where you can also get some action? Go to the Vector Wero Whitewater Park! 

It’s a blast and totally worth the 30-minute drive from downtown. Here, you can try rafting, kayaking, and other fun activities.

The park has different courses for all skill levels. Start with the easy Tamariki River, a 200-meter Grade 1-2 whitewater course. If you’re up for more thrills, tackle the River Rush course – it’s 300 meters of Grade 3-4 excitement!

And for the ultimate challenge, there’s the Pump Waterfall, the highest artificial waterfall in the world at 4.5 meters. Rafting down it is simply unforgettable.

Prefer something chill? Head to The Lake, a 9,000 sqm man-made lake perfect for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. It’s great for families and large groups too!



Address: 91 Saint Georges Bay Road, Parnell, Auckland 1052, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 303 9660

Operating hours: Tuesday – Friday: 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM | Saturday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Pavlova is a famous dessert in New Zealand, traditionally enjoyed by Kiwis during Christmas. However, at Cibo Restaurant in Auckland, you can indulge in this sweet treat at any time with their Cibo’s Famous Pavlova.

For those unfamiliar, it’s a beloved dessert featuring meringue, whipped cream, and fresh fruit. 

And Cibo offers three variations for you to try: one with salted caramel, peanut, and chocolate dust; another with pineapple lump, Valrhona chocolate, and pineapple curd.

The third one is with apple cider gel, white chocolate, and rhubarb walnut. Each variation is priced at $26.

Don’t miss out on trying other New Zealand dishes from their menu plus their fantastic wine selection. Remember to book your table in advance through their website – it’s a must!

Auckland Botanic Gardens

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Address: 102 Hill Road, The Gardens, Auckland 2105, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 267 1457

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Can you believe Auckland Botanic Gardens attracts nearly a million visitors every year? It’s definitely one of Auckland’s most popular attractions, and well – it’s totally free! 

The gardens are absolutely stunning, with different areas showcasing all kinds of plants and flowers. You have the African Plants Garden, Camellia Garden, Conifer Garden, and even an Edible Garden where you can learn to grow veggies and herbs at home.

If you’re bringing kids along, they’ll have a blast riding the Wiri Rambler train around the gardens. And for those who love a good walk, there are plenty of trails to explore too. 

Check out the Permanent Sculpture Trail to spot cool artwork scattered around. Or take a hike along the Puhinui Stream Forest Trail, which connects to Totara Park and lets you get up close to native plants.

Finally, don’t forget to swing by the Huakaiwaka Visitor Centre and grab a bite at Cafe Miko while you’re there!

Tawharanui Regional Park

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Address: 1181 Takatu Road, Tāwharanui Peninsula 0986, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 9 366 2000

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

About an 80-minute drive north of the CBD is this small regional park. If you’re a surf enthusiast, Tawharanui is your paradise with Anchor Bay offering some of Auckland’s finest surfing conditions on its 360-meter stretch of white sand beach.

But if you prefer a leisurely stroll, there’s plenty for you too! Explore the ecology trail, which takes you through the breeding area for dotterels, a rare New Zealand bird. You’ll also find a couple of longer walking trails here, including one with an epic view of the peninsula.

Tawharanui is a year-round destination, but visiting in winter has its perks. It’s quieter, and the dark skies create a moody atmosphere, which is perfect for photographers looking for unique shots.