New Zealand's largest urban environment, Auckland is home to 1.5 million people who bring a rich diversity to the region's food, arts and cultural experiences. Enjoy spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf Islands, native forest ranges, twin harbours and sparkling cityscape. With three local wine regions, surf and harbour beaches, native bird sanctuaries, marine reserves and seaside regional parks, there's always something wonderful to do or see here.
It's all pretty special, which is why Lonely Planet, the world's go-to travel authority, has named Auckland the number one city to visit in its 'Best in Travel 2022' book. From Auckland you can easily extend your holiday to the rest of New Zealand. We offer non-stop flights to 15 provincial cities and one-stop connections to most other destinations.
Where to go and what to see in Auckland
Experience the adventure and natural beauty of New Zealand's largest city. Idyllic island sanctuaries, forest parks, surf beaches and renowned wine regions are all within 40 minutes of a sophisticated harbour city centre.
Stepping ashore on Rangitoto Island is like landing on another planet and the hike to the summit is rewarded with spectacular 360° views.
Enjoy delicious food and wine
Whether you're a well-seasoned foodie or simply enjoy exciting flavours, Auckland is sure to impress. From waterfront fine dining and bustling cafés to back-alley street food and boutique craft breweries, there's a world of local and international cuisine to explore.
Head to Britomart, Princes Wharf, Viaduct Harbour, North Wharf or the Sky Tower for some of the best restaurants in Auckland with harbour views. Along Ponsonby Road you'll find boutique shops and a huge range of hip eateries and bars. Inner city suburbs like Parnell, Devonport, St Heliers, Mount Eden and Kingsland are always a good choice for restaurants, cafes and bars with a relaxed village vibe.
With three distinct Auckland wine regions to choose between, you're never far from a great wine tasting experience and a delicious alfresco meal amidst the vines. Take a tour west to some of New Zealand's oldest winemakers, north to the country village and vineyards of Matakana or catch a fast ferry to Waiheke Island, home to more than 20 vineyards and wineries.
Hop on a bus or train to go shopping in Auckland
We recommend you arrive in Auckland with space in your luggage, because shopping is something this city does extremely well. You'll find a pleasing blend of mega-malls and traditional street-side shopping centres, as well as newly-developed downtown retail precincts. Here are a few of the best:
It's Auckland's hottest spot for shopping and New Zealand's home of luxury. With a curated mix of over 200 shops and a new line-up of flagship boutiques from luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Moncler, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Partridge Jewellers, Jimmy Choo, Coach, Michael Kors and Mulberry, this modern retail experience is as good as it gets. And it's not all about shopping; enjoy rooftop dining, plenty of quick eats and an entertainment precinct. If you're staying near the CBD, catch the train from Britomart.
Sylvia Park Shopping Centre
Newmarket's biggest rival has to be Sylvia Park, a Mt Wellington mega mall that also has 200+ shops. Train is the best way to get there if you don't have a car. The shopping area is vast, with wide promenade areas for walking and several food court areas.
Commercial Bay ticks all the wishes on your list - great shops, beautiful hospitality environments, enjoyable public spaces and internal access to public transport.
Ponsonby Road shops
Strolling down Ponsonby Road is an iconic Auckland shopping experience involving nearly two kilometres of eclectic shops. You'll find everything from Kiwi designer fashion (Karen Walker, World and Kate Sylvester) and recycle boutiques to jewellery, food and toys. It helps that every second shop is a restaurant or café.
In Takapuna you can combine a day at the beach with a couple of hours around the shops. Most of the retail action is on Hurstmere Road between Anzac Street and Lake Road, or walk for five minutes to discover Shore City, one of Auckland's first shopping malls.
For a mix of the world's best brands and premium NZ brands, Britomart is the place to take your credit card out for some exercise. Tiffany & Co, Jo Malone, Ted Baker and Sass & Bide rub shoulders with Kiwi greats like Trelise Cooper, Zambesi, World and Kathryn Wilson.
Escape to magnificent islands
Waiheke Island is the most popular, and populated, island in Auckland. It's loved for beautiful sandy beaches, vineyards, olive groves and an arty laid-back lifestyle. Waiheke Island is only 40 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, so many of the island's residents commute to and from the city each day.
Auckland's vast Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park includes more than 50 islands and five marine reserves. Most of the islands are public conservation parks, perfect for day visits spent hiking or relaxing at a beach in the arms of nature. Rangitoto Island is the youngest of all. Stepping ashore here is like landing on another planet and hiking the lava-rock path to the crater summit is rewarded with spectacular 360° views. Tiritiri Matangi Island, aka Tiri, is a predator-free sanctuary for some of New Zealand's rarest bird species. Their populations have flourished here and birds fly close by, showing no fear of human visitors.
Immerse yourself in art and culture
Auckland Museum is a treasure trove of local and international cultural artefacts and the guardian of the world's largest collection of Māori taonga (treasures). Through a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum provides fascinating insights into New Zealand's past and our place in the world. Several times a day, a highly acclaimed Māori cultural performance takes visitors on a journey through the story of Auckland and New Zealand.
Just off Queen St, and alongside Albert Park, the Auckland Art Gallery is where you'll find 17,000 works, including major holdings of New Zealand historic, contemporary and modern art. Regularly changing exhibitions feature pieces from the gallery's collections and beyond.
For outdoor art experiences check out the region's sculpture parks and trails, such as the whimsical Sculptureum in Matakana, about an hour north of downtown Auckland by car.
Embrace the great outdoors
With beautiful regional parks, black and white sand beaches, and the picturesque Waitematā Harbour, you'll want to get outside at every opportunity while you're in Auckland.
Hike through native forest parks to waterfalls, clifftop lookouts and spectacular ocean beaches; join a tour of Auckland's inner city volcanic cones for long range views and insights into the region's unique geology and Māori history; catch a 10-minute ferry to historic Devonport and stroll the foreshore to climb North Head and explore its wartime tunnels; or walk up to the crater summit of Mount Eden to watch the sun set over the city and Waitākere Ranges.
The iconic west coast black sand surf beaches, including Piha and Muriwai, are only 45 minutes from downtown Auckland by car. There are also inner-city beaches, like Takapuna and Mission Bay, for white sand, calm waters, cafes, bars and restaurants. Ninety minutes north of the CBD, Tāwharanui Regional Park and Goat Island Marine Reserve are pristine places for coastal walks, bird watching, swimming, surfing, snorkelling and diving.
If you like adventures that get your heart racing, you'll find plenty of fun things to do in Auckland. SkyWalk or SkyJump at the Auckland Sky Tower, bungy jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge, kayak to Rangitoto Island, sail an America's Cup yacht on the harbour, zip line on Waiheke Island, go canyoning at Piha, ski all year round at Snowplanet or swim with sharks at Kelly Tarlton's. Never a dull moment, that's for sure!
Best time to visit Auckland
Many people choose to visit Auckland in summer and autumn, so if you prefer things less crowded come in winter or spring. The almost-subtropical city is New Zealand's warmest main centre and one of the sunniest, with warm humid summers and mild damp winters. Average highs range from 24°C in summer to 15°C in winter. The weather can be changeable, so pack a small umbrella or rain jacket.
How much will it cost?
This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about NZD $100 to $150 a day per person for food and entertainment.