Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and most diverse city, offering a range of attractions and experiences for visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re into culture, nature, adventure or cuisine, you’ll find something to suit your taste in this vibrant metropolis. Here are five must-see places in Auckland that you shouldn’t miss.
Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island that lies just off the coast of central Auckland, across from Devonport. It’s a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts, who can explore its lava fields, native bush and stunning views from the summit. The island is home to the world’s largest pohutukawa forest, a native tree with bright red flowers that bloom in summer. You can reach Rangitoto Island by ferry from downtown Auckland or Devonport, and choose from various trails to suit your fitness level and time availability. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour that includes a four-wheel drive road train ride around the island.
Cornwall Park is a sprawling green oasis in the heart of Auckland, where you can enjoy a relaxing stroll, picnic, bike ride or jog. The park sits on a volcanic cone called One Tree Hill, which offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. You can also visit the historic Acacia Cottage, the oldest surviving building in Auckland, and the Cornwall Park Information Centre, which displays exhibits and information about the park’s history, flora and fauna. The park also features the remnants of a pre-European Maori fort and the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, the park’s donor and a prominent figure in Auckland’s development.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the most important cultural institutions in New Zealand, showcasing the country’s natural and human history. The museum houses impressive collections of Maori and Pacific artifacts, including a carved meeting house, a war canoe and a full-size marae (communal space). You can also learn about New Zealand’s involvement in various wars, from the colonial conflicts to the world wars and beyond. The museum also hosts regular exhibitions, events and performances that celebrate the diversity and creativity of New Zealand’s people and culture.
Waiheke Island is a paradise for wine lovers, foodies and beachgoers, located just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. The island boasts more than 30 wineries and vineyards, where you can sample some of the finest wines in New Zealand and enjoy scenic views of the sea and countryside. You can also indulge in delicious local cuisine at one of the many cafes, restaurants and markets on the island. If you’re looking for some sun and sand, you can head to one of the island’s beautiful beaches, such as Oneroa, Palm Beach or Onetangi. Waiheke Island also offers plenty of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, ziplining, hiking and biking.
The Sky Tower is an iconic landmark that dominates Auckland’s skyline and offers spectacular views of the city and its harbor. At 328 meters (1,076 feet) tall, it’s the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Auckland. You can visit the observation deck or the revolving restaurant to enjoy 360-degree vistas of Auckland and beyond. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try some thrilling activities at the Sky Tower, such as walking around the building’s edge or jumping from it with a harness. The Sky Tower also hosts various events throughout the year, such as yoga classes, light shows and fireworks displays.