Auckland's compelling mix of urban and coastal beauty offers the ultimate playground to explore. Learn how to see dolphins, zipline over native forest, meet the locals and savour a delicious feast – all in a single day!
Known as the City of Sails, Auckland is a bustling urban hub nestled between two stunning coastlines. Sunshine, nature, delicious dining and Polynesian culture mix together to create a city experience like no other.
Sound like a bit of you? Check out our Auckland – Dolphins to Fine Dining video clip, and then learn how to create the ultimate day in Auckland with our itinerary suggestions below.
Auckland City overlooks the Hauraki Gulf, a beautiful inner-city harbour dotted with islands big and small. Dolphins, whales and penguins are frequent visitors of this marine haven, and seeing them close up is pretty special. Kick off your day in Auckland with a dolphin cruise – the chance of viewing these playful creatures is very high, and if you’re lucky you might spot whales and other sea creatures as well.
Make it happen: There is a range of dolphin spotting boat cruises to choose from – most last between two and three hours. All depart from the central city wharf.
Waiheke Island is a short 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, but a world away in every other sense. It’s known for its community of artists, wineries, forest walks and white sand beaches. Get your adrenaline pumping with a visit to EcoZip Waiheke, where you’ll zoom high above native forest on three 200m-long ziplines. Along the way, enjoy awesome views of the island and harbour beyond.
Make it happen: EcoZip Waiheke will pick you up from the ferry and transport you to their location on Trig Hill. You have a choice of drop-off locations afterwards to make exploring more of Waiheke nice and simple.
Work up an appetite for lunch by exploring Waiheke’s forests and beaches. Enjoy the call of birdsong, feel the sand beneath your feet or jump in for a swim if you work up a sweat.
Waiheke is famous for its vineyards, olive groves and delicious, fresh seafood. Sit down in the sun and feast on a tasting platter with a glass of Waiheke Syrah. Many vineyards are home to stunning harbour views, but a picnic on the beach is budget-friendly (and just as beautiful!)
Make it happen: Find out more about Waiheke Island's wineries, or pack a picnic lunch before catching the ferry from Auckland and grab a bottle of local wine when you arrive.
Unique and cuddly, visiting an Alpaca farm on Waiheke Island offers a very unique end to your day in Auckland. On your visit you’ll get up close and personal to these cheeky animals, and even get the chance to feed them and take photos. It’s a real kiwi experience if you haven’t visited a farm before.
Wondering what other places to add in to your New Zealand adventure? Check out our Backpacking itineraries for more inspiration.