AucklandTravel Guide

New Zealand’s most populous city will captivate you from the moment you arrive. Within the city itself you’ll find world-class restaurants and bars, museums, art galleries, hip shopping precincts and the largest collection of Maori treasures in the world, including an original, full-size marae (meeting house). Just a 40-minute ferry ride away is Waiheke Island, known for its beautiful vineyards, olive groves and beaches. With a stunning harbour, breathtaking natural surroundings and warm, welcoming locals, Auckland is definitely one of New Zealand’s highlights. If you’re planning a visit, explore our Auckland travel guide and find out how to make the most of your time in this City of Sails. We’ve collected the best tips from our travel experts, and have top suggestions for things to do, the best time to travel, where to stay in Auckland, getting around and more.

Auckland quick facts


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Explore Auckland

Where to stay in Auckland?

When asking yourself where to stay in Auckland, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed by options. From Parnell to Newmarket, there’s accommodation in Auckland to suit any taste and budget. While Downtown might be the obvious choice if you’re keen to spend time in the CBD, some of the less central hubs are worth considering if you have specific attractions you’re hoping to visit. To help you make your decision, here are some of our favourite places to pull up for the night while in Auckland.

Downtown is one of the best places to stay in Auckland if you wish to remain quite central. Staying in Downtown puts you close to public transport, monuments, landmarks, attractions, shopping and more. Absolutely everything the city has to offer is right outside your hotel's front door, which is perfect if you prefer to see the city on foot.


A beautiful marina district on the Auckland Harbour, and technically part of Downtown, this hotel-rich area is perfect if you want that five-star experience during your stay. Gorgeous water views, trendy restaurants and eateries, glamourous shopping at the nearby Britomart centre… what more could you want in a luxury stay?

East of the CBD, you'll find the leafy Parnell. A quieter but still rather upmarket harbour suburb, Parnell is perfect if you want a bit of pampering but don't like the rush and bustle of Downtown. Relax in the Parnell Rose Garden or take a walk along the Seawall – the options for unwinding are endless.

An affluent suburb to the west of the CBD, Ponsonby is one of the most colourful and artistic suburbs in Auckland. If you're looking for places to stay in Auckland that have a bit of character to them, look no further. Close to the water and a wealth of local shopping outlets, a stay in Ponsonby is perfect for the artistic at heart.

An entertainment district located south of Downtown, Newmarket is perfect for shopping, exploring, and being entertained. There are many local businesses, from cafes to fashion boutiques, galleries, theatres, public squares and more just waiting to be discovered. Don't forget Newmarket's many historic sites, either. This area has it all and then some.

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  • Mountain range over looking ocean at sunset
    • Close up of the sky tower peak
    • Distant view of Auckland city through a pair of trees
  • Mountain range over looking ocean at sunset
    Mountain range over looking ocean at sunset
    Mountain range over looking ocean at sunset
  • Close up of the sky tower peak
    Close up of the sky tower peak
    Close up of the sky tower peak
  • Distant view of Auckland city through a pair of trees
    Distant view of Auckland city through a pair of trees
    Distant view of Auckland city through a pair of trees

Things to do in Auckland

There’s an almost-endless list of fantastic things to do in Auckland – putting together your itinerary is all about mixing and matching to suit your interests. This diverse, modern city loves showing visitors things they’ve never seen before, but it will also educate you in the myriad ways New Zealand’s unique Maori culture is a part of daily life.

One of the most recognisable Auckland landmarks, the Sky Tower allows visitors to view the city from 220m in the air. Step into its lofty indoor observation deck and you'll be greeted with panoramic 360° views of the whole city and, on a clear day, up to 80km of scenery in every direction.

Climbing aboard one of the many Auckland harbour cruises is a great way to see the city from a whole new perspective. Taking to the water will allow you to get up close with popular landmarks like the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Before or after your cruise, spend some time learning about the city's long and fascinating maritime history at the Auckland Maritime Museum.

Located in the Auckland Centennial Park and on the way to Karekare Beach, theak Waitakere Ranges are the ultimate destination if you're keen to do a bit of Auckland hiking. Its many hill climbs will reward dedicated hikers with views unlike anything you've ever seen before, and you can be back in Auckland by dinner time, ready to do it all again the next day.

A shrine to Auckland's long-standing naval history, the Auckland Maritime Museum traces New Zealand's history on the water back to when the first Polynesian settlers arrived on the shores in their hardy canoes sometime in the 11th century. This museum is a gorgeous time capsule of Auckland life since before the city began.

Nestled in the Monte Cecilia Park in Hillsborough, the Wallace Arts Centre hosts a bevy of contemporary works by local artists, as well as a regular rotation of touring exhibits. Found in the historic Pah Homestead, the gallery is home to over 8,000 different artworks and is the perfect place for art lovers to spend the day.

The Auckland Art Gallery, situated on the grounds of the beautiful Albert Park, is one of the largest repositories of works created by local and overseas artists. For a taste of true Kiwi creativity, art lovers would be remiss if they didn't add a visit to this incredible gallery to their itineraries. Best of all, entry is free!

Located a 45-minute drive from Auckland through the picturesque Auckland Centennial Park, Karekare Beach is a gorgeous example of New Zealand scenery. With craggy bluffs, a sandy inlet and perfect weather for a bathe or a sunbake during summer, Karekare Beach is the perfect reward for those who feel like hiking through the park.

This giant body of water lies beyond Auckland Harbour and toward the top of New Zealand's North Island. Hauraki Gulf provides the kind of high-seas adventure that ocean lovers want, yet it never takes you too far from the shore. This is the perfect day trip destination if you'd like to spend time fishing or diving while on holiday in Auckland.

A popular day trip destination situated across the Gulf from Auckland Harbour, Waiheke Island is New Zealand life in a perfect microcosm – beautiful scenery, friendly locals, historic architecture, and hearty meals all in one place. This is the perfect spot for a quick and quiet getaway during your Auckland holiday.

Also referred to as the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Auckland Museum is located within the Auckland Domain park in Parnell. A showcase for artefacts from both around the world and from Auckland itself, touring the museum is one of the greatest ways to immerse yourself in New Zealand's rich, textured history.

The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is Auckland's love letter to the most inventive Kiwis to ever pick up a wrench. A time capsule like the Maritime Museum before it, visiting MOTAT is a wonderful way to learn about the innovative Kiwi spirit that has kept the country alive and energised since its foundation.

The highest natural point in Auckland, the affluent suburb of Mount Eden lies around a dormant volcano. Yes, a volcano. Called Maungawhau by the Maori, Mount Eden is the perfect landmark to explore if you like a good walk or a low-intensity hike but you don't want to travel too far out of the city.

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Auckland travel tips

Travelling overseas can be a bit of a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve never journeyed abroad before. The good news is that New Zealand is one of the simplest countries for Australian travellers to visit, both in terms of entering the country through customs and getting around and communicating with the locals. Just in case you’ve never been before, let us lay your concerns to rest with some of our top Auckland travel tips. Remember: you can always speak to your nearest Flight Centre Travel Expert should you have any concerns about your trip to New Zealand.

If you're travelling on a current Australian passport, you don't need to apply for any New Zealand visas or waivers. This means your trip through customs will not only be a breeze but also extremely short! Check out the New Zealand government website for more information.

Most New Zealand food is quite similar to what Australians are used to finding at home. This means getting a feed will be very easy for those who are less adventurous in their tastes, while those who wish to sample true Auckland cuisine will be able to quickly find something delicious and different.

More good news! New Zealand uses the same electrical plugs and voltage systems as Australia, which means you don't need to round up any converters or adapters to use tech items like laptops, phones, tablets, cameras or portable batteries. Plus, there are plenty of USB-charging facilities available around the city in case your batteries start to run low.

Auckland Airport will likely be where you catch your first glimpse of New Zealand's legendary landscapes. Perched on the edge of the Manukau Harbour, looking towards Manukau Heads, the rock formations make a striking impression. The terminal itself is very easy to get around, with domestic and international areas clearly divided.

New Zealand uses a dollar system very similar to Australia. The New Zealand dollar is not usually valued higher than the Australian dollar, which means you will very likely have more New Zealand currency once converted than you took with you – another great reason to indulge in an Auckland shopping spree, or to buy that extra souvenir from the markets.

Much as it is in Australia, tipping in New Zealand is purely optional and generally only provided as a compliment for exemplary service. While most minimum-wage workers will be thrilled to accept a tip for providing great service, you shouldn't feel bad if you can't afford to do so. The minimum wage is high enough in New Zealand that tipping is lovely but not necessary.

Auckland is a city in which language is no barrier for Australian travellers. While English is the primary language used in Auckland, and in wider New Zealand, you will find examples of the native Maori tongue sprinkled throughout a lot of the local signage. Locals may also drop the occasional Maori word into their day-to-day conversations, but most are more than happy to translate.

Flights to Auckland

Auckland food and drink

In Auckland, food and drink is a point of pride for the locals. A reflection of New Zealand’s status as a multicultural haven, the local cuisine is a constantly changing amalgam of traditional Auckland food and British colonial favourites augmented by Mediterranean and Asian influences. What this inevitably means is that Auckland is home to some of the finest fusion cuisine in the world. If you’re a foodie looking to sample some of the most delicious examples of Kiwi cuisine while abroad, let your Flight Centre Travel Expert know. We can arrange a food and drink tour that will delight your senses and help you decide where to come back to for dinner.

If you prefer to make your own meals even while on holiday, or if you simply like to support local farmers, Auckland food markets stock everything you need. The city is dotted with outstanding markets, from the Hobsonville Point Farmers Market in the southwest to the Parnell Farmers' Market in the inner city. New Zealand is known for its love of sweet potato variants. Try the Kūmara for the true hāngī experience. Our pick...

New Zealand is known for being a very laidback, stress-averse country – and this is never more evident than when stepping into Auckland's bars and nightlife scene. From modest taphouses in Ponsonby and Parnell to upscale wine and cocktail bars along the waterfront, there are plenty of places to meet for a quiet drink in the evening. Live music abounds with bands and DJs performing regularly in almost every venue.

Do you love exploring each destination's fine-dining scene? Auckland restaurants will not disappoint. From waterfront restaurants in the Viaduct Harbour, to quirky eateries in Britomart and Ponsonby, there's something to suit every taste, from classic fish and chips to high-class dishes and desserts for the refined palate.

Auckland locals love a cuppa, and so will you when you get to try a proper New Zealand coffee from one of Auckland's many amazing cafes. The Auckland CBD is littered with fabulous cafes, allowing you to sit down and enjoy your brew in a relaxed space or grab a cappuccino to go on your way to one of the city's wonderful landmarks. You'll also find excellent coffee makers on the North Shore and scattered around the inner city suburbs.

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Auckland through your eyes

Where to shop in Auckland?

While there are plenty of big-name outlets to choose from, Auckland shopping is all about slowing your pace, exploring the urban jungle, and tracking down the little gems that hide in side streets and old heritage-listed buildings. From local fashion boutiques to humble family-owned supermarkets, there’s a huge variety of souvenirs just waiting to be found. Soak up the sun while shopping in Parnell, Ponsonby, or any of the Auckland’s marvellous markets. Alternatively, duck inside for some retail therapy at Britomart, Newmarket, or one of the CBD’s sprawling shopping centres.

Auckland markets are filled with fabulous homemade items crafted by local artists and craftspeople. They're also the perfect place to find genuine Maori souvenirs and keepsakes for you to remember your trip by. If you love supporting local creatives and small businesses abroad, a visit to the Takapuna Market, Victoria Park Markets or the Auckland Night Markets should hit the spot. Our pick...

Unlike the other places in this list, Britomart is not actually a suburb of Auckland (though it's large enough that it could be mistaken for one). Located a stone's throw from Captain Cook Wharf, Britomart is one of the largest and fanciest Auckland shopping centres. The home of Auckland fashion and designer shopping, lavish eateries and its own underground train station, this is one shopping destination you won't want to miss.

Prefer to hunt for bargains in leafier, more low-key surrounds? The suburb of Parnell, to the east of the CBD, is for you. Wandering its streets, you'll uncover many smaller speciality stores and boutiques, but it's the outdoor Parnell Village shopping centre that will be most difficult to resist. Enjoy great stores, brilliant coffee, and plenty of Auckland sunshine.

Auckland's CBD is one of the densest shopping areas in the entire city. The question of what to buy in Auckland will, in many cases, be answered here. Make sure you investigate the CBD's sprawling shopping arcades like The Atrium on Elliott or the spacious Queens Arcade on Queen Street.

If locally owned stores and boutiques are your favourite places to shop, look no further than the inner-city suburb of Ponsonby. Long considered the home of Auckland's artistic residents, as well as its LGBTQ+ community, Ponsonby is as colourful as it is diverse. If you're looking for a truly unique gift to take home, you'll almost certainly find it here.

A district south of Parnell that's as much about arts and education as it is about entertainment, Newmarket is filled with big-brand fashion outlets, shopping complexes, and simple corner stores. If you're looking for a great mix of every shopping experience the city has to offer, Newmarket is the suburb to investigate. Check with your hotel concierge for an Auckland shopping guide before heading out.

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Auckland?

Generally speaking, there’s no wrong time of year to visit Auckland. Regardless of when you visit, or the day-to-day weather in Auckland, you’ll find that there’s plenty on in the City of Sails to satisfy your wanderlust. Hit the beach during the warmer seasons and get into the hills for some exquisite hiking adventures, or retire to the city’s many galleries on a rainy autumn afternoon. From the sunny summer months to the wetter winters, Auckland will keep you entertained, well-fed and full of energy year-round.

Widely considered the best time to travel to Auckland, summer is a time of sunshine but also mild temperatures. The mercury rarely rises above 25°C and remains mild during the evening. This means trips to the beach and into the many parks and mountainous areas near the city are the perfect ways to while away the sunny days. Appropriate clothing: A bit of everything – jeans and jumpers, but also shirts and shorts. Don't forget: Sunscreen – the temperatures may be mild but you can still get sunburnt!

Known for the long bouts of Auckland rainfall, winter is by far the region's wettest period. The good news is that the bulk of the wet is confined to July and begins to wane somewhat in August and September. The temperature has now hit its lowest point with highs of around 10°C. The perfect weather for grabbing a cuppa and heading to the Auckland Art Gallery, wouldn't you agree? Appropriate clothing: Waterproof everything, warm clothes, and layers. Don't forget: An umbrella.

The Auckland temperature begins to drop rather late during autumn, only beginning a descent in mid-April before settling into colder temperatures during late May and June. As the temperature begins to drop, the city also sees a rise in the amount of wet weather. While still reasonably sunny and mild during autumn, you may be forced indoors here and there as the winter rains begin to roll in. Appropriate clothing: Jeans and jumpers. Don't forget: Your AT HOP card for getting around safely when it's raining.

Finally, the rain eases, the sun returns, and the temperature begins its steady climb back to the summer norm. Time to get back out into the great outdoors! The mildest of all Auckland seasons, spring is a time when the beautiful New Zealand green comes roaring back to life, and the whole city is a riot of colour. Appropriate clothing: Jeans and jumpers. Don't forget: Sunglasses – it can get glary in spring.

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How to get around Auckland

Given its smaller size compared to other world cities, and the amount of reliable Auckland transport available, getting around Auckland is one of the easiest parts of a holiday here. The best part about having shorter travel times in Auckland is that it requires less planning on your part. Don’t stress if you left your hotel late – chances are your destination isn’t as far away as you think it is anyway. Whether you decide to grab an AT HOP card, jump on a bike or opt to see the city on foot, there are plenty of ways to get where you’re going in Auckland.

There are numerous taxi services around Auckland ready to get you to your next destination in no time. Taking Auckland taxis remains the most direct way to move around town and is especially useful if you do find yourself running late for something unmissable. Don't forget that ridesharing services like Uber also operate in Auckland.

Given its smaller size compared to other world cities, walking Auckland is one of the best ways to see the city up close, get a little exercise in, and still get where you're going on time – especially if you're staying in the CBD. Make the most of the city's beautiful weather and head out on foot. You never know what you'll find.

The best way to take advantage of Auckland public transport is by getting yourself an AT HOP card, a prepaid travel card similar to the Myki, Opal or go cards in use here in Australian capital cities. Having one of these cards will give you access to every train, bus and ferry in the city, meaning you can get anywhere you need to go at a moment's notice.

Maybe where you're going is a little further than would be feasible to walk, but still not far enough to warrant a drive. Locate one of the many Auckland Bike Hire locations, get yourself a bicycle, and head off! Return the bike to any of the rental bike racks throughout the city when you're done.

Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Auckland?

You’re never far from a beautiful beach in Auckland, with this major New Zealand city located on two spectacular harbours and surrounded by water. Auckland beaches can be of the white sand, golden sand or black sand variety—all incredible in their own way but travellers take note: black sand gets HOT. Beyond the mainland, you also have stunning beaches on nearby Waiheke Island, also a haven of vineyards and olive groves and well worth a day trip (wine lovers, we’re not telling you anything new!)

But back to Auckland city. For one of the most centrally-located beaches, head to St Heliers Beach in the Eastern suburbs. This lovely beach faces north and gives you a view of Rangitoto Island, while Tamaki Drive which borders the beach has a good choice of cafes and eateries. St Heliers Beach also has a promenade along the waterfront which is perfect for an easy stroll.

Also on Auckland’s North Shore is Cheltenham Beach, a sandy beach located close to Devonport town centre and not far from North Head Historic Reserve. The calm waters of Cheltenham Beach make it a popular spot for swimmers.

Another wild and wonderful west coast beach, less than an hour’s drive from the city, is Te Henga (Bethells Beach). It’s smaller than some of the others, giving it a more secluded feel.

To the north of the city, on Auckland’s North Shore, lies the golden sands of Long Bay Beach. True to its name, Long Bay Beach is long, flat and, as part of a regional park, provides a lush green backdrop to this postcard-perfect setting. Offshore from Long Bay Beach, the waters are part of a marine reserve, so if you love a bit of snorkelling, this is the place. Swimmer’s tip: this beach is always patrolled in summer.

West of Auckland you’ll find one of the city’s most famous black sand beaches: Piha Beach. Piha is much-loved by locals as a great place to swim and surf. It’s also part of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park which means one thing: epic natural surroundings. This part of New Zealand is known for its mighty surf, rugged beauty and vast black-sand beaches. Look out for Lion Rock, a small island that stands in the middle of the beach.

Famous Karekare Beach is also on the west coast. Karekare features the Oscar-winning movie The Piano and is an isolated beach with absolutely jaw-dropping scenery. If you go for a swim, make sure you swim between the flags. 

Some of the best beaches in Auckland are wild and unpatrolled so enjoy the big skies, pristine water and beautiful surroundings but always stay safe.


What are the best parks in Auckland?

New Zealand is known for its incredible landscapes and seaside locales. Some of the perfect places to experience their majesty are within the many beautiful Auckland parks throughout the city and surrounds. As a port city, Auckland is blessed on all sides with gorgeous beaches, some of which can only be accessed through equally splendid national parks. Piha Beach, located on the western side of the Auckland Centennial Park, is a perfect example of this.

Located in the centre of the city, the sprawling Auckland Domain is home to botanic gardens, war memorials, historic landmarks, walking trails, and expansive greens fit for relaxing. Head down for a barbecue or just spend the afternoon walking through the beautiful gardens and recreational areas.

A gorgeous public square located right behind the Town Hall on Queen Street, Aotea Square is one of Auckland's most vibrant cultural hubs. Filled daily with events, shows, food carts and interesting stories, it's a fantastic place to visit when looking to feel out the city's vibe. This is a must-visit for any walking tour of the city.

At the top of the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park lies Bastion Point, a beautiful local landmark with picturesque views. The perfect place to unwind after a visit to the nearby Sea Life Aquarium, Bastion Point is a beautiful spot to stop and watch the world go by.

Found at the south end of Totara Park in The Gardens district, the Auckland Botanic Gardens are home to one of the most gorgeous collections of New Zealand and international flora ever assembled. Spend the day exploring its many walking paths and finding out more about the many vibrant kinds of plant life only found in a country like New Zealand.

Just a few streets away from Aotea Square lies Albert Park Auckland, home to not one but two separate art galleries. The park's green spaces are criss-crossed by fantastic walking trails. Albert Park is the perfect spot to meet for coffee after browsing the Auckland Art Gallery, or to pause in the middle of a hectic tour schedule.

Getting from park to park is so much better with your own wheels. Hitch your ride now!

Auckland Frequently asked questions

Auckland is a hilly city with lots of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must! The weather in Auckland can also be a fickle beast so be prepared with layers that can be added or shed as needed. The rest of your packing list will be determined by the time of year you plan to travel as well as your proposed itinerary.

Auckland is a culinary and cultural smorgasbord dishing up an endless array of things to see, do and devour. You could happily spend your entire holiday wandering around the CBD, eating, exploring and checking out the many museums and art galleries. If you’re keen to venture out of the city centre, you’re spoilt for choice with Waiheke Island and Rangitoto Island just a hop, skip and jump away (okay, more like a short ferry ride). The black sands of Piha Beach are a popular pit-stop for surfers, while Devonport boasts a charming array of cafes, shops and galleries.

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The best time to visit Auckland comes down to personal preference. Sun-seekers will be drawn to Auckland during the summer months (December to February), when the weather is warm and there are plenty of outdoor events and festivals to keep you occupied. If you prefer fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May). Winter (June to August) is technically the low season in Auckland, with cooler temperatures providing the perfect excuse to cosy up around a fire.

Go hiking on Rangitoto Island, enjoy a glamping getaway on the cliffs at Karioitahi Beach or get a dose of culture at the multitude of museums and galleries dotted around Auckland’s CBD. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, SkyJump off the Sky Tower, go stargazing at Great Barrier Island, sip and snack your way around the city, visit Waiheke Island (aka the island of wine), watch the sunset, wander stretches of black-sand beaches, the list is endless!

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