Things To Do In Auckland
Auckland is built on a piece of land between two large harbors. It is New Zealand’s largest city and also the country’s main port and industrial center. The Viaduct Harbor is the starting point of a variety of water sport activities you can enjoy when in Auckland. Yachts of all sizes and price ranges populate the harbor basin and are to be admired. Not to be missed is the adjacent Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum. This place is very educational and highlights the important reasons why the city of Auckland is known as the “City of Sails”.
When To Go:
The best time to make a tour or spend a holiday in Auckland is April and October. These months offer average temperatures. But during the peak season (November up to March), you have to deal with the huge turnout of travelers and high room rates, however you'll likewise enjoy the comfortable warm weather. In the middle of May and September, the temperature and tourist influx go down.
June and July are the wettest and coldest months, with a normal atmosphere running somewhere around 46 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is also the right time to travel to this city because you can find good discounts on hotel and flight deals. If your travel schedules are flexible, it is highly advisable to come around between January and March because during these months the children are back in school and the sunny weather is tolerable along with experiencing less queues or no long lines in every tourist attraction you visit in Auckland.
Here are the top attractions and things to do when in the city of Auckland.
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The Auckland Museum is contained in a huge building that is divided into two informative sections. On one part it is a Naval Museum, while on the other part it highlights the Museum of New Zealand. The New Zealand Museum section offers diverse exhibit and artifacts starting from the history of the Maori tribe (the indigenous inhabitants of the country) up to the present. The Naval Museum is the military part of the building that reflects the fate of the New Zealand Army regarding combat operations of the British Commonwealth in different years and in different parts of the world. Interestingly, both museums are worth a visit.
Learn a lot about the history of New Zealand and how the indigenous people survived during the early times. The recent history is represented in vivid images, especially the periods associated with the 1st and 2nd world war, in which the country and the soldiers of New Zealand participated. Much attention is paid to the sections on nature and natural phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions. A visit to this museum should be interesting for students and families with children. Officially, the visit to the museum is free, but donations are welcome.
The Mount Eden is one of the most picturesque attractions in Auckland. The mountain is located 5 km from the center of the Cornwall Park in Auckland. You can walk from the center of the city or take a bus. Many locals and tourists take an excursion and the easy hike up to the observation deck. From the top, you can see the idyllic skyline of Auckland city on all sides. The focal point and the main attraction of the mountain is a crater of an extinct volcano, the interior of which measures around 50 meters.
Most visitors get amused when they learn that once upon a time this place used to be an active volcano, but now, anyone can safely walk around the crater of this extinct volcano or even take a peek around its edge that is completely covered in grass. The last eruption took place more than 28,000 years ago and it is now declared safe by the geological authorities of New Zealand and has not shown any visible signs of being active again. Even during the winter season, you can still climb up here and see the volcanic edge all covered in snow. With half an hour you can do everything, including photos and filming.
One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)
Located right next to the majestic Mount of Eden, the One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) is one of the most ideal places to see Auckland from above. It is an open park where you can see many New Zealanders jogging, walking, or being engaged in outdoor and physical activities. You can reach the highest point of the hill by a car (on GPS New Zealand, this place is referred to as the One Tree Hill Domain) and from there you can go climb the stairs and you will arrive on the terrace from where you can admire Auckland’s breathtaking landscape.
It offers a wonderful panoramic view of the entire Auckland, including the Gulf and the volcanic cone of Rangitoto, a symbol of the city. The nearby Cornwall Park is also visible from this attraction. Don’t forget to take pictures beside the huge obelisk located on top of the hill. It is good to be prepared for a long and sloping walk. Choose a sunny day and for sure you will not regret it. The view from the highest point is sensational. This huge park offers a wide variety of hiking trails with tall oak trees, sheep, and cows lingering on its horizon.
The Cornwall Park is quite centrally located and after having climbed the highest point, you will have a wonderful view over Auckland. It surrounds the One Tree Hill almost completely and is a wonderfully landscaped garden in the heart of Auckland. It contains the great Pohutukawa trees, colorful flowering shrubs, palm trees and extensive lawns that are used by residents and visitors to relax, play, or enjoy a weekend gathering or picnic.
To reach this park, take the Downtown Auckland bus number 392 and after 20 minutes you will arrive at the calmest place in the city. The park is huge, neat, well marked and the view of Auckland city is truly panoramic. Arm yourself with a good camera and take pictures of the postcard like skyline of Auckland. It stands right next to the famous One Tree Hill and both sites deserve a visit.
The Waitakere Ranges is about 40 minutes drive from the city of Auckland. On this nature park you can see the bottom of the greatest sacred tree, a beautiful waterfall, lush vegetation, a huge dam, and if you are lucky the famous Kiwi (a nocturnal animal that is declared as the national bird of New Zealand). Bring your own water and a snack because there is nothing there. The tour is lead by a group of young guides who have enough knowledge of the place and the rich biodiversity that can be found here.
The one hour hike on a marked trail in the forest and the milieu of a silent but rich flora and fauna is a rare and interesting way to learn about the rich natural resources of the city. The information center is also very helpful in providing additional knowledge about the history of the place. It may be a bit isolated, but this place provides a better escape from the busy atmosphere of the city.
The Viaduct Harbor is located in the center of the city and an ideal place for eating, drinking, dancing, and fun. Situated within its premises you can find many restaurants, pubs, and club parties. The sunset view is great for taking pictures. Amidst the thousands of moored boats and private yachts in this area, you can also find a fish market where you can buy fresh seafood. Or you can choose to find a good place to sit on the edge and spend a long time to relax and just simply enjoy the view. Close to the bay area you can see large cruise ships and powerhouse ferries with containerized cargos arrive at this very busy harbor.
Take the elevator to the top of the Sky Tower and enjoy a truly unique view of the whole Auckland region. Look over the beautiful sea, mountains and urban areas. It is also possible to eat and have a drink at the revolving restaurant (which is really a must!). The exterior of the main level is made of glass floor, allowing you to see the street directly under your feet and cars, from 200m high. Even the elevator is completely made of glass, allowing you to see Auckland while having the chills in your knees.
The deck offers a chance to get out on the "balcony" to watch the beauty of Auckland without any glass wall (with a fee). From the outer platform, there are extreme sports activities you can choose from and offered by professional outdoor sports specialists. You can do a daring Bungee jump with a freefall rope from the top of the tower where you will get thrown into the void and rotated 360° to allow you an unobstructed view of Auckland. This activity is highly controlled and only accessible under certain weather conditions, with an additional course or seminar and signing a waiver certificate before every jump.
Be sure to visit the Devonport Wharf - a suburb of Auckland. The easiest way to get here is to take the rented boat tour from the main harbor station (boats depart very often). The waterfront of Devonport offers a great view of the harbor and from there you can see the naval base with huge ships. There are lots of things to do around here like; visit the interesting souvenir shops where you can buy trinkets and unusual things that are handmade, take a walk, organize a small picnic, sit on the benches, feed the local birds, and take pictures. You can also dine and taste the local cuisine (the fish and chips served with a fruit platter is the best!).
Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum
A visit to the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum is a unique experience. The museum is beautifully arranged with a broad and thorough perspective for the Maori traditions and as much attention to the modern nautical life. It is really informative for those who like boats and also for those who want to know a little about the history of the regattas because it is filled with crafts, photos, and old artifacts about sailing.
Besides having a nice waterfront restaurant there is a constantly updated exhibition about this seafaring nation. A tour takes you on a fantastic trip through the history of the early Polynesian people (Maori). How they settled in new places and how they traveled in ancient times. The staging is artistically done with games designed for children in an engaging and interactive presentation.
The Auckland Zoo looks like a fairly average animal reserve, but it is well maintained and is pleasant to walk around. The animals here are not too crammed into small enclosures and there are some places that they allow you to walk next to the animals. The large space offered by this place to care for animals is very impressive. If you take your time, visit the Zoo especially when you have kids and interact with some of the tame animals contained in the wide enclosure, it is fun and very engaging. It is an excellent zoo whose facilities are well maintained and equipped with a very large aviary. If you want to see the famous kiwi you have to be patient, but it will be absolutely worth it.
Visit the section of the zoo where you can enter and walk beside a kangaroo and an ostrich (just a wooden bar separates you and the animal). The plants in the garden are well tended, all green and healthy, especially the wide species of exotic plants and cactus. At this zoo, there is also a playground with a long slide that is ideal for children. All of the animals kept in this zoo came from difficult conditions like; they were not able to survive in the wild, were born in captivity, or have a serious injury. It is staffed by zoo volunteers who are always willing to tell interesting facts. The Kiwi bird can be seen if you are lucky. And if you have enough time, you can feed the giraffes and parrots. Do not fail to visit and spend half a day to explore and see everything when you are in the wonderful city of Auckland.
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