An A-Z of things to do in Auckland
Auckland War Memorial Museum This is New Zealand’s first museum, established in 1852. The Museum is one of New Zealand’s most popular man-made tourist attractions, with around half a million visitors every year. Britomart: Auckland’s transport hub for buses and trains, located opposite the ferry terminal from where buses depart for the airport every 15 minutes. It’s also home to swanky shops showcasing some of the country’s top designers, great eateries and Bars, and the weekly city farmers market on Saturday mornings. Cafes: Auckland is a haven for foodies with some of the country’s top chefs, like Al Brown, Judith Tabron, and Simon Gault, peddling their wares in the heart of the city. Devonport: this charming seaside village boasts heritage buildings, galleries, cafés, the naval museum, and boutique shops. It’s just a five-minute ferry ride from Auckland’s CBD and the fourth most-visited destination in the Auckland region. Events: Auckland is the capital of cool when it comes to visiting international acts. At the time of writing, there were 2100 events listed in Auckland, including nearly 200 free events. Food: Auckland food comprises everything from market stalls to farm gate sales to flash restaurants. It is also home to the sprawling Seafood Market in the Wynyard Quarter, where you’ll find delicious seafood literally fresh off the boat. And don’t get me started on food-themed festivals like Taste and The Seafood Festival. Golf courses: there are more than 30 golf courses in Auckland city, with at least seven easily accessible from the city centre, so there are plenty of reasons to bring your clubs to the Queen City. Harbour Bridge: yes, I know Auckland’s coat hanger bridge is just a little like Sydney’s, only smaller – although it will seem high enough if you take the guided walk to the top. Those with vertigo need not apply. You can even bungy jump, if you’re so inclined. Islands: Auckland CBD is the departure point for the unique and diverse Hauraki Gulf islands. The closest residential island is Waiheke, with a permanent population of around 8000, many of whom – like myself – commute daily to the city to work each day. The population can swell to 50,000 during peak holiday times as visitors throng to the beaches, vineyards, cafés, and art galleries. The ferry ride to Waiheke takes you past numerous other beautiful islands like Browns, Motutapu, Motuihie, and the brooding volcanic cone of Rangitoto. Waiheke’s beautiful beaches and native forest reserves harmonise delightfully with the cafés, vineyards, and art studios. Jet boating: one of the latest thrills to hit Auckland harbour is the jet boat experience, which will see you don bright red waterproof overalls to take a fast and furious tour of the harbour. Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium is one of Auckland’s top visitor attractions, showcasing more than 30 live animal exhibits from over 80 different species in spectacular habitat displays, all located in a vast underground tunnel network. Link buses: the Link Bus network is one of the great things about this city that gets so much bad press for its clogged roads. Board one of three colour-coded Link services – inner (light green), outer (orange), and WynDot (red) – and you will be able to see most of the city for a very modest price. MOTAT: Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology, located adjacent to Auckland Zoo and wonderful Western Springs Park, is a must see for families. Nightlife: if you like nightlife, you’ll love Auckland after dark. There’s always something to see and do, even if it’s just wandering around Ponsonby celebrity-spotting. One Tree Hill: the 360-degree views of this city from this controversial cone make a visit to the top almost mandatory. Planetarium and Stardome Observatory: Auckland Stardome Observatory and Planetarium is – unsurprisingly – one of the city’s major attractions. Prepare to be amazed as your guide takes you on an unforgettable tour of our universe. Queen Street Queen Street is the city’s main street, so it’s definitely worth a stroll to check out retail institutions like Smith and Caughey, and the numerous quirky shops and alley ways. Don’t miss High Street, which runs parallel to Queen. Rangitoto Island is the most recognisable feature of Auckland’s inner harbour. It features spectacular views, volcanic caves, and the largest podocarp forest in the world. Sky Tower: the tallest building in the southern hemisphere is well worth a visit for unsurpassed views of the city. Toi o Tamaki/Auckland Art Gallery: since 1888 Toi o Tamaki has remained the largest art institution in New Zealand, with a collection numbering over 15,000 works. The gallery is adjacent to attractive Albert Park. University of Auckland: New Zealand's largest university calls Auckland home. You'll find it near Albert park in central Auckland, which is a great park for a wander on a sunny day. Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum explores New Zealand’s rich and diverse maritime history, or experience Auckland’s stunning Waitemata Harbour aboard a heritage sailing vessel. Wynyard Quarter is just a few minutes along the waterfront from Britomart Transport Hub is a thriving café scene and Auckland’s Seafood Market. This is the new heart of maritime Auckland – a not-be-missed summary of all that is good about the supercity. Xtreme sports: bungy off the Auckland Harbour Bridge or Sky Tower, or participate in one of the many Auckland events for the adrenaline junkie or extreme sportsperson. Yachting: this is the City of Sails, after all. Board a charter boat or simply walk around the viaduct region and Wynyard Quarter to see a plethora of stunning vessels. Zoo: Auckland’s Zoo is where the wild things are. It’s a wonderful place to get close to conservation in action, and to enjoy the wonder on the face of your favourite child or grandchild.