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Best things to do in Auckland

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Where in the world: South Pacific  /  New Zealand  /  North Island  /  Auckland Region  /  Auckland

Top 15 things to do in Auckland

1. Sky Tower

Charge your camera for panoramic photographs from Sky Tower, the tallest structure in New Zealand. Auckland's eye-catching landmark, this 328 m (1,076 ft) observation and telecommunications tower rises over the city's business district and remains best known for its unique needle-like design. An elevator whisks you to the top in less than 40 seconds, leaving plenty of time for breathtaking views from one of the observation decks. For an extra kick of adrenaline, take a peek at the city below through the glass-floor panels. If you happen to be here at sunset, you can see the colors changing over the city and enjoy a cocktail at the tower's cafe/bar.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. Auckland Zoo

Become a zookeeper for a day at , located near the city's central business district. Established in the 1920s, this 16 hectare (40 acre) zoo protects and exhibits animals native to New Zealand as well as a few species from distant corners of the world. Six themed zones devoted to the country's indigenous animals shelter ducks, herons, eels, frogs, owls, lizards, seals, and penguins. Every day the zoo hosts free, informative animal encounters, where professional zookeepers share their experiences and teach visitors about the many challenges of wildlife conservation. Check the website for a detailed listing of all daily encounters and tours.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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3. Auckland Museum

Learn about New Zealand's rich history at Auckland Museum, serving as both a major cultural institution and a war memorial. Designed in the 1920s as a commanding neoclassical temple, this structure features an impressive copper dome, added in 2007. The ground floor, dedicated to the Auckland area's natural and military history, houses impressive displays of Maori artifacts, including a war canoe and a carved meeting house (which you can enter only after removing your shoes). The upper levels feature more military exhibits and a display about the region's volcanic fields, including a fascinating simulation of an eruption. For the sake of convenience, take a guided highlights tour, included in your admission ticket.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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4. Tiritiri Matangi Visitor Centre

The wildlife sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi Visitor Centre shelters a number of threatened and endangered bird and reptile species, including the tuatara, the only survivor of a distinct order of reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs. Though over a century of farming had stripped this area of its native bush, much of it has been restored thanks to the efforts of volunteers, who planted nearly 300,000 trees here between 1984 and 1994. Today, the site ranks among New Zealand's most important conservation projects. Walk among the native bush and look out for the birds, such as the flightless takahe, wandering freely and flashing their colors. Sit quietly at one of the feeders and watch as the birds gurgle and feed safe from predators, or stay the night and visit the kiwis. Do consider taking a tour with a guide, who can show you things that the inexperienced eye may overlook. The shop near the lighthouse sells books and souvenirs, such as leadlight bird hangings, native wildlife finger puppets, and fridge magnets.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

On the Auckland waterfront, SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium showcases the underwater treasures of the South Ocean through more than 30 exhibits and 9 themed areas. You can get really close to king and gentoo penguins, see stingrays and jellyfish, and even stroll through an exciting shark tunnel. Adventurous visitors can try shark diving, with or without a protective cage.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Mount Eden

Reach Auckland's highest point with a hike to the top of Mount Eden, created by a dormant volcano that towers 196 m (643 ft) above sea level. Once you get to the top, take a break and enjoy dramatic full-circle views of the city below, its harbors, and the volcano's intact bowl-shaped crater. According to Maori legend, this 50 m (160 ft) deep crater was the home of Mataaho, a god who guarded secrets hidden in the earth. The moderate hike is manageable for people of most fitness levels as well as children. Pack a snack to enjoy at one of the picnic tables after your hike.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Wine Tours & Tastings, Waiheke Island

Suggested duration: 5h 30 min
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9. Rangitoto Island

The youngest island in the Auckland volcanic field at just 700 years old, Rangitoto Island makes a prime spot for an island hike. The moderately challenging trek up the 260 m (850 ft) volcano rewards you with fantastic views of the blue water, Aukland, and other islands nearby. The plant life on the island is impressive: over 200 species of trees, plants, and flowers call the island home, including several varieties of orchids and ferns. Its special geography as a young volcanic island means that you get to see many stages of its development, including raw lava fields and scrub.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Viaduct Harbour

Formerly Auckland's busy commercial port, Viaduct Harbour now serves as an upscale residential and dining area. This once run-down neighborhood received a major makeover in the 1990s and boosted its international profile by hosting the popular America's Cup sailing events in 2003. In addition to fashionable apartments, the quarter contains a string of chic restaurants, drawing well-heeled Aucklanders and tourists looking for a fancy dining experience. If you don't feel like dressing up for dinner, stroll around the precinct for a chance to soak up the local atmosphere and see some of the country's most expensive yachts.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. Cornwall Park

Join a number of locals for a stroll, jog, or picnic at Cornwall Park, one of Auckland's biggest and most popular outdoor areas. The center of the park is One Tree Hill, a volcanic cone that was a Maori stronghold. Today, the hill's summit is topped with a memorial to Sir John Logan Campbell, the park's main donor. In addition to lush greenery, the park offers facilities for various activities, such as tennis, cricket, rugby, cycling, or archery. With a peaceful atmosphere and more than 20 resident bird species, the park is also heaven for bird-watchers. The park is open every day from morning to dusk and there is no admission fee.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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12. Wine Tours & Tastings

Tour celebrated vineyards and wineries around Auckland and see for yourself why this area is known for producing exquisite wines popular around the world. Sampling some of New Zealand's award-winning wines and other local products, such as olive oil, chocolate, and Manuka honey, will delight your taste buds. Sightseeing with a guide along Auckland's rugged west coast will awake all your other senses, revealing many volcanic black-sand beaches and animals hiding in the native rainforest. These tours--whether half-day or full-day--are not limited to wine tastings and sightseeing. You can also pick a package that includes a thrilling zipline adventure in the morning, followed by a tasty lunch and sampling of craft wines and beers in the afternoon.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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13. One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)

One of the many small, dormant volcanic cones that lie through the city, One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) features an urban park with giant trees, wide avenues, plenty of trails to explore, and a viewing platform on the top of the hill. Visit the astronomical observatory or wander around looking at the sheep and cattle. Walk up to the top to see the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, marked by an obelisk facing a bronze statue of a Māori warrior. At the information center learn about the geologic and human history of the hill through interactive exhibits, and pick up maps for the volcanic and archeological trails. No camping is allowed on site, but you can bring along a snack and choose a picnic spot or use one of the many free barbecue sets.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

See the country's most extensive collection of national and international art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland's major public art gallery. The venue hosts international traveling exhibits as well as displaying parts of its extensive collections, including pieces by New Zealand's historical, modern, and contemporary artists, as well as works by Māori and Pacific Island artists. The onsite E.H. McCormick Research Library has over 3,500 files on New Zealand artists and is open to the public. Inquire about programming for children, talks, and special tours.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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