10 Best Things to Do in Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand’s most populated city and has some of the best cultural places and museums to visit along with the many other features and attractions which you can find scattered around the city.

There are plenty of things to do for all the family, so if you fancy taking a trip to see how the Hobbits live, you can.

Or you can stay closer to home and make the most of Auckland Central and perhaps some shopping down the cities famous Queen Street.

No matter what you choose to fill your time, some things can take an hour or two, or they can have you out for most of the day. The top things to do in Auckland will leave you wanting more.

Kelly Tarlton’s sea life aquarium

In This Guide

Top Ten Places to Visit in Auckland

1. Sea Life Aquarium

Kelly Tarlton’s sea life aquarium is there for every member of the family to enjoy. It was first open to the public back in 1985 and was the idea of the diver Kelly Tarlton.

The aquarium was unique at the time because it was built in sewage tanks that lay unused and was the first to use acrylic shaping to make the curved tunnels where visitors can walk.

One interesting thing to note is the fish look up to a third smaller than they are in real life. So if a shark heads in your direction, it will be bigger than it seems.

There are over 1,800 marine creatures in one section alone. Back in 2012, it was upgraded to be a more interactive experience for all the family members.

There are plenty of areas such as Antarctic Ice Adventure and Scott Base, oceans Discovery, Stingray Bay and Shipwreck Explorer.

Auckland Zoo

2. Auckland Zoo

Keeping in the animal theme. The Auckland Zoo is just a few KM outside of downtown Auckland.

This is one of the top animal attractions that will keep kids happy for a few hours. The zoo has been praised for its conservation efforts and is now home to over 135 species, with numbers reaching over 1,400.

There are all the regular zoo-like beasts you can imagine. From lions, elephants, cheetah, giraffe’s, seals to smaller animals like the Pygmy marmoset, or the thunderous rhinoceros.

There are lots of different experiences you can take part in doing. From safari nights, to behind the scenes or Junior Keeper for children. It is a great way to spend the middle part of the day.

Auckland War Memorial Museum

3. Auckland War Memorial Museum

The primary reason for the Auckland War Memorial Museum is to let everyone know the history of the Auckland region.

It was erected to commemorate the fallen service members and has many exhibits that push focus toward the Mario people and the Pacific Islands communities.

Both cultural and military history are shown in equal measure. It was the very first to be built in New Zealand, and they hold an annual commemoration for ANZAC Day dawn services.

The City of Sails is proud of its heritage, and this makes the museum a must-see for any visitor to Auckland.

The museum sits in the center of a large park that encompasses more than enough features and attractions to keep any explorative family busy.

Auckland Harbor Bridge

4. Auckland Harbor Bridge

For the more adventurous family members, the Auckland Harbour Bridge can serve up some of the most exciting things to do in Auckland city.

AJ Hackett brought both the bridge climb and the Auckland bridge bungy to the masses.

The 40m drop lets you touch the ocean before you are sprung back up to the underside of the bridge.

There are height and weight restrictions, but for the family who wants to do something they will never forget, it is either this or scaling the curved part of the bridge up top to gain the best and unique views of Auckland.

Auckland Sky Tower

5. Sky Tower

You can see Sky Tower from anywhere in Auckland, and from the top on a clear day, you can see 80km into the distance.

It stands 328 meters high and climbs out of the SkyCity Auckland complex and casino that sits at its base.

There is the observation deck that you can reach in the glass elevator, or you can take on some more thrilling experiences.

There is the Sky Walk where you walk around the edges of the tower and just connected by a rope 192 meters above the floor.

Or you can go all in and do the Sky Jump. Jump off the building, and you spend 11 seconds in flight until you reach the floor with nothing but a wire holding you for safety.

Auckland Waiheke Island

6. Waiheke Island

When the weather is right, you can head to the ferry terminal and take a 40-minute ride to one of the most popular destinations around Auckland. Waiheke Island is just 12 miles in length and sits in the Hauraki Gulf.

There are vineyards, glorious beaches and some of the most beautiful natural landscapes you can imagine.

Like anywhere in New Zealand, there is the chance to tackle a zip ride, or you can make the most of it and relax for a day.

There are wine tasting tours, which can be the best way to explore the island without hiring a car. The other option of being a family bus pass so you are not just stuck in one area.

Auckland Domain

7. Auckland Domain

Auckland Domain is the cities oldest park and home to the museum. It is made from the full explosion crater and a fair amount of the crater rim from the Puketawa volcano.

There are plenty of sports fields, many walking trails and plenty of tourist attractions. The Domain Wintergardens being one of the most iconic.

These are two huge glasshouses that are home to many botanical wonders of tropical plants. Sitting between these is a fishpond and fountains surrounded by marble statues.

Waitemata Harbour

8. Waitemata Harbour

Waitemata Harbour is one of two harbors that give the primary ocean access to Auckland. In itself, it is 70 square miles in size.

From here, you can take one of the many whale and dolphin tours, a fishing charter, or any other trip to roam the large area. However, it is a night that the harbor changes into something very different.

There are lots of places to eat and walk bathed in the city lights that cascade over the water’s edge.

If you want a romantic evening, you can take an Auckland Harbour dinner cruise. That can leave a lasting memory of the city.

This may be time to find something to keep the children occupied like paintballing or one of Auckland’s escape room adventures.

City Center in Wynyard Quarter

9. City Center in Wynyard Quarter

Auckland has some great night markets to explore. There are, however, some other fantastic places to explore where you can eat or drink. Just away from the city center is the Wynyard Quarter.

You can see this is a newer area of development and is full of restaurants and trendy bars for a lively night out.

One of the better-known areas is Silo Park, where there are countless exhibitions and events all through the year.

You will quickly find this a great area to soak up all the vibes and have a thrilling night, which doesn’t take you too far from the hotel.

Auckland Art Gallery

10. Take a Cultural Tour

When you are looking at what to do in Auckland that will encompass what the islands are all about. It is advisable to take one of the many cultural tours.

The entire family can explore all the hidden gems, the Maori culture, and the European influences.

You can even make up your tour on foot and explore the depths of the city. The Auckland Art gallery is a good example and free.

This is home to the countries significant works of both modern and contemporary artists of both Maori and Pacific artists.

If you are looking for things to do at night, then hit the street markets for some tasty street food, or just while away the hours until the market closes.

Auckland has many influences, and many of these can be seen at different times of the day. It is a vibrant city that is fun to explore and has more than enough things to do to keep kids happy. No member of the family will feel left out.

From the bright lights, busy streets, and the hustle and bustle of city vacations. It only takes a few minutes to be in a very different world that is full of natural wonders.

The things above are just the tip of what you can do to make the most of the family’s time in the great city of Auckland.

10 Best Things to Do in Auckland