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Visiting Auckland for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting Auckland for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Hi, I'm Zoë!

Zoë Smith is a British travel writer, editor, and digital content creator who has lived, worked, and traveled over six continents, and is currently based near Nantes, France. She has written for Rough Guides, CNN, and Culture Trip, and is digital editor at FrenchEntrée.

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Hi, I'm Zoë!

Zoë Smith is a British travel writer, editor, and digital content creator who has lived, worked, and traveled over six continents, and is currently based near Nantes, France. She has written for Rough Guides, CNN, and Culture Trip, and is digital editor at FrenchEntrée.

see more

New Zealand’s largest city and the first port of call for many visitors to the North Island, Auckland has plenty to tempt travelers—beautiful beaches, atmospheric neighborhoods, and an abundance of cultural sites. To help you plan your trip, here are our tips for first-time visitors to Auckland.

Take a hop-on hop-off tour

Get around with ease.

While Auckland’s central sights can be reached on foot, a hop-on hop-off tour will take you to the coastal neighborhoods and scenic vista points dotted around the city. Jump off to visit the Auckland Museum or Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE® Aquarium; climb One Tree Hill or Mt. Eden; or explore Parnell Village.

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Visit the Sky Tower

For panoramic views over the city.

Ride the elevator up to the 1,076-foot-high (328-meter-high) Auckland Sky Tower, New Zealand’s tallest building, and take in panoramic views that span the entire city. Adventurous travelers can brave the Skywalk or Skyjump, but a drink at the Sky Lounge and a visit to the 360-degree observation deck are equally worthwhile.

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The views from Auckland's Sky Tower are hard to beat. | Photo Credit: Jiri Foltyn / Shutterstock

Explore Auckland's waterfront

Soak up the atmosphere in Auckland.

An atmospheric spot for a walking, bike, or Segway tour, Auckland’s waterfront is buzzing with activity day and night. Come in the evening hours to browse the night markets in the Wynyard Quarter, enjoy a seafood dinner at a harborside restaurant, or go barhopping around Viaduct Harbour.

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Cruise the coast

Enjoy views from the water.

Getting out on the water is a must for first-time visitors to Auckland. Set sail on a romantic dinner cruise around Auckland Harbour or hop on a ferry to enjoy wine tasting on Waiheke Island or the option of hiking volcanic Rangitoto Island.

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Sail out to Waiheke Island when in Auckland. | Photo Credit: krug_100 / Shutterstock

Take a hike

Explore the city's natural attractions.

Auckland is ringed by volcanoes, which offer numerous opportunities for hiking. Tackle the famous coast-to-coast hiking trail, which runs all the way from Waitemata Harbour to Manukau; climb to the top of One Tree Hill; or hike to Auckland’s highest viewpoint, Mt. Eden.

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Visit Hobbiton

A must for first timers in Auckland.

If you only have time for one day trip from Auckland, make it a visit to Middle Earth. Just two hours from Auckland, the Hobbiton™ Movie Set takes you behind the scenes of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, and day trips are often combined with other North Island attractions such as Rotorua or the Waitomo Caves.

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You can't go to Auckland without making time for a Hobbiton day trip. | Photo Credit: Svetlana Orusova / Shutterstock

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See all Auckland tours
474 tours & tickets
Things to do in Auckland
See all things to do in Auckland
Skiing Near Auckland
Skiing Near Auckland