7 Unique Things to Do in Auckland For First-Time Visitors

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7 Unique Things to Do in Auckland For First-Time Visitors
New Zealand is a Polynesian paradise with rolling rivers, green mountains, and active volcanoes. If you're planning a trip to Auckland, I've compiled a list of these top things to do so you don't miss out!
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When it comes down to diverse landscapes, it doesn't get more dazzling than New Zealand. Fringed by lush forests, glimmering beaches, and a rich Maori culture, this country is captivating. From the mountains to the crashing coast, there's no doubt you'll fall in love with what's on offer.

This gem is home to character-packed towns, quaint villages, and awe-worthy activities, similar to other Polynesian Islands like Hawaii, Samoa, and French Polynesia. My first time in New Zealand left me speechless, and it's a place that I constantly rave about to other travelers.

Auckland offers various attractions, restaurants, and buzzing city vibes. The "City of Sails" is known for its adrenaline-filled fusion of adventure and outdoor activities. In this guide, you'll find everything you need to know about the top things to do in Auckland. Let's roll!

7 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Auckland

If you're wondering what to do in Auckland, you're in the right place! Whether planning a ski trip, plotting a camping adventure, or simply wanting to see the sights, you certainly won't be bored! There's so much to do and see in Auckland, whether you're looking for activities for families, a group of friends, or solo adventures.

Here are a few of my must-visit sights and scenes around the beautiful city of Auckland.

7. Sky Tower

The Sky Tower is on practically every postcard of Auckland, and it's become a characteristic symbol of the city. At 328 meters high, this observation and communication tower boasts a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the city and its surroundings.

Adrenaline enthusiasts can try the SkyJump, a heart-pumping 192-meter descent from the tower. Talk about a thrill! Auckland City is famous for many things, and the Sky Tower is one of the top things to do for adults!

Sky tower visible through other buildings and trees
Photo by Caramel on Unsplash

6. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Art lovers will be delighted in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Housing a colorful collection of New Zealand and international art, this is one of the best things to do in Auckland.

Get immersed in the diversity of art forms and don't miss the traditional Maori and Pacific artwork, some of the best on display in New Zealand. The Auckland Art Gallery is an immersive experience for all travelers who love the arts!

5. Viaduct Harbor

Situated in the heart of Auckland's waterfront, the Viaduct Harbour is a vibrant area with trendy restaurants, buzzing bars, and luxury yachts. Even if you can't afford to dabble in the scene, you can still take a stroll along the promenade!

Soak up the nautical atmosphere, enjoy a glass of wine on the port, and watch the sunset paint the sky all shades of pink and orange. Viaduct Harbor is one of the best free things to do in Auckland for couples and families.

White and orange sailboat in the blue waters of the sea with the New Zealand skyline in the background
Photo by Matthew Buchanan on Unsplash

4. Waiheke Island

Escape Auckland's hustle and bustle on a quick ferry ride to Waiheke Island. As a haven for wine lovers and nature enthusiasts, this gem is the perfect place to spend the day.

Discover the island's picturesque vineyards, enjoy local wine flavors, and lock lips with the local gastronomy scene. Sunbathe on the stunning beaches, get sweaty on the hiking trails, and get inspired by the art galleries. Get your heart rate up on this zipline and forest walk for something different.

3. Te Puia

Get immersed in a Maori cultural experience at Te Puia. Situated in the nearby city of Rotorua, this is one of the top things to do in Auckland, New Zealand. If you're anything like me and enjoy uncovering the authentic side of travel, Te Puia will not disappoint!

Admire the awe-worthy geothermal wonders, like steaming geysers and bubbling mud pools, and dive deep into Maori traditions, arts, and crafts. Enjoy the captivating cultural performances and relish the tastes of traditional Maori cuisine, the hangi. If you're planning a trip to New Zealand, Te Puia is one of Rotorua's best things to do.

Rocky shores along the hot springs
Photo by Yoann Laheurte on Unsplash

2. Waitakere Ranges

Sure, city life is great, but nothing compares to Mother Nature! Outdoor lovers will be pleased by the panoramic scenery of the Waitakere Ranges, located just west of the city.

Get active on one of the hefty hiking trails, breathe in the fresh air in the lush rainforests, and hear the thundering waterfalls, like Karekare and Fairy Falls. Bury your feet in the black sand at Piha Beach, see the landscape from the surrounding cliffs, and catch a wave at this surfer's hot spot.

The Waitakere Ranges is one of the best free things to do in Auckland! If you choose to go hiking, remember to bring an extra layer! Even the summer sunshine can be deceiving, and New Zealand is notorious for its wild weather.

1. Hobbiton Movie Set 

If you're planning a trip to New Zealand, there's one thing you can't miss. The Hobbiton Movie Set is a must-visit spot for every Lord of the Rings fan!

But the Hobbiton movie set isn't just for Hobbit fanatics. Home to lush farms, manicured gardens, and grass-covered homes, this place is nothing short of peculiar.

Hobbiton is a stunning town with all the country village vibes. Movie enthusiasts can see the Mill, Hobbit Holes, and the ever-famous Green Dragon Inn. Talk about a dreamland! If you want to visit New Zealand, the Hobbiton Movie Set is one of the best things to do for families, adults, and movie enthusiasts!

Small houses with circular doors hidden amidst green grass
Photo by Thomas Schweighofer on Unsplash

How to Plan a Trip to Auckland, New Zealand

My oh my, is this landscape spectacular! From the rolling hills and lush forests to the wild waters and plundering fjords, New Zealand boasts an escape like no other. Woven with a rich Maori culture, warm locals, and buzzing cities, there's seriously something for everyone.

On my recent trip to New Zealand, I was blown away by just how much there is to offer. I planned a 2-week road trip around the north and south island, ticking off bucket list items like skydiving in Auckland, whitewater rafting in Rotorua, and cruising in Lake Wakatipu.

Take Your Travels to the Next Level With Pilot!

So, what are you waiting for? Now that you know all the best things to do in Auckland, you can start to craft your ideal travel experience for you, your family, and your friends.

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Collaborate stress-free with your travel companions and have all the features you need all in one place with Pilot. It’s completely free and ready for you to try it out now!

Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

Jessica Bergin Blogs
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Jessica Bergin
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