Auckland is a colourful urban hub nestled between two contrasting coastlines and has the perfect combination of metropolitan delights and natural landscapes. Explore the emerald islands of the Hauraki Gulf by kayak, boat or on foot; stroll the ruggedly beautiful black sand beaches of the west coast or indulge in delicious food and wine at world-class vineyards.
Explore the lush rainforests, waterfalls and natural pools of the Waitakere Ranges. There are plenty of stunning walking tracks, or try a thrilling canyoning adventure. Only a 40-minute drive from Auckland, the Waitakeres feel like a world away from the central city.
Waiheke Island is the ultimate island retreat just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Known as the 'island of wine' for its many wineries and vineyards, a wine tasting tour is a must. For adventure seekers, try horse riding, archery or zipling above the forest canopy. Or hire a scooter and enjoy a day exploring the island's many secluded beaches.
Auckland’s most iconic island, Rangitoto is a dormant volcanic cone that sits just off the coast from the central city. Take the quick ferry from the city to walk (or join a guided tour) to the summit for spectacular 360-degree views, of the Hauraki Gulf and back to the city. Or glide across the harbour via paddle power on a sunset kayak tour.
Central Auckland is a vibrant mix of shopping, dining and entertainment. Explore the city's wide range of different shopping experiences from local and international designer clothes to retro and vintage fashions. Or soak up the lively nightlife with a visit to one of Auckland's many bars and eateries. Auckland is home to world-class food producers, making it a haven for foodies.
Less than an hour from central Auckland lie the wild West Coast Beaches. Here the Tasman Sea meets long, vast stretches of black sand. Visit Muriwai Beach to see the impressive clifftops and gannet colonies or nearby Bethells to explore the sand dunes. Down the coast is Piha, a popular surf beach, and Karekare, made famous as the backdrop for the film The Piano.
Matakana’s beautiful beaches, boutique vineyards and local arts scene make this region a divine destination. Stroll through the picturesque village and don’t miss the superb farmers markets. For a day of exploring and wine tasting, indulge in a deluxe vineyard tour with Great Tastes Matakana. The nearby settlement of Leigh is home to New Zealand's first marine reserve, a great spot for snorkeling.
Auckland city is perched on the edge of a sheltered harbour dotted with emerald islands, which you can journey to by ferry. Many of these islands are wildlife sanctuaries and beautiful walks, beaches and birdlife await. The gulf is also home to three different species of dolphin, rare whales, seals and diverse seabirds, head out on the water and experience it for yourself with Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari.
Explore world class exhibitions at one of the many art galleries or wander through a contemporary collection of New Zealand sculptures amid stunning landscapes as part of the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail. Take a guided walking tour of Rangitoto Island or explore the Maori history and traditions at Auckland Museum. For a really unique experience try exploring the harbour on a traditional Maori sailing waka (canoe).
There’s no better place to get 360-degree views of Auckland than from the top of one of the city's 48 volcanic cones. Climb the summit of Mount Eden (Maungawhau), for spectacular views across the city and Hauraki Gulf, choose a picnic spot in the beautiful parkland surrounding One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) or explore North Head's historic underground tunnels and gun emplacements at Devonport.
A boating paradise, Great Barrier Island shelters Auckland’s harbour from the relentless swells of the Pacific Ocean. Covered in lush native forest, hike the Aotea Track, visit the rare wildlife of Glenfern Sanctuary or relax on Medlands Beach. With almost zero outdoor lighting, the island is perfect for star-gazers. Either Go Great Barrier Island Tours or Sundancer Tours offer great ways to see the island.