They say that New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world, but what about adventurous things to do in Auckland? While most sites suggest the lovely village of Queenstown as the de facto winner, may I present for your consideration the oft-overlooked adventures available elsewhere in the Land of the Long Dark Cloud. Who says you can’t have adventure in Auckland?
Here are a few of the best things to do in Auckland, aka the City of Sails. Whether you are a local, or new to this supercity, a visit to any of these 6 spots will be well worth your while.
One Tree Hill Domain
Nestled in the heart of the central suburbs, One Tree Hill is just one of the 50 volcanoes in Auckland. Conjoined with Cornwall Park, the two parks add up to a whopping 118 acres of land. If you head up to the summit (by car or by foot), then you can enjoy a 360 view of Auckland. You can spot many types of people at One Tree Hill, children learning to ride bikes, photographers, runners, tourists and those having a picnic. In the warmer months, you can hire out the public barbecues for any occasion. With 118 acres of space, there is plenty of room for your next gathering, workout or Sunday drive. Just beware of the opening hours as they shorten during the cooler months.
Image courtesy of Giapo
Giapo must be the most scrumptious store in the world. The place looks and feels like an art museum because their ice creams are real art pieces. It is worth the visit even if you are not planning to buy an ice cream. Just look around. Giapo is situated in downtown Auckland and it is ideal if you are going for a walk in the city. It gets quite busy as their ice creams are the talk of the town, be prepared to queue a little bit. Their service is second to none though. You will go through an ice cream degustation at the counter and then you pick your flavours, after a few minutes an art piece appears before you. The cones are unlike any other: innovative, incredible, beautifully made — not to mention positively delicious. A true Kiwi Wonka. The real Ice Cream lovers paradise on earth.
Since Auckland is the City of Sails, then you must head down to Wynyard Quarter to check them out. Just a stone’s throw away from Auckland CBD, Wynyard Quarter is the perfect spot for a stroll on a fine day. Spoilt for scenery, one side you have the skyline of Auckland City and the other side you have the glimmering sea of Auckland Harbour. If you’re more of a night owl, then Wynyard Quarter is home to a wide range of restaurants and bars. Whether you are after a few after work drinks or a 3 course meal. Our favourite spots for a meal is Miss Clawdys, their Southern Fried Jerk Chicken is legendary.
The North Shore is known for its stunning beaches and relaxed lifestyle and an absolute must when it comes to things to do in Auckland. With a full view of Rangitoto Island, Takapuna Beach is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. If the weather is not proving to be beach-worthy then we recommend heading to one of the many cafes for a flat white. With plenty of cafes to choose from, you will definitely be able to find your perfect brew. Because after all, “brunching” is a sport, especially in Takapuna. And once you’ve got your caffeine fix, browse through all the boutique shops that Takapuna has to offer, you never know what hidden gems you can find.
Winter Gardens/Auckland Museum
The Auckland Museum is the perfect Sunday Afternoon activity. Circle around the Auckland Museum and discover more about New Zealand history. Get a short history lesson on New Zealand in the ‘Maori Court’ area of the museum. New exhibitions are always on offer, so make sure to check out their website to keep up to date. If you are easily bored or have had enough of learning for one day, then we would recommend you to walk down to the Winter Gardens. Boasting with an exquisite range of flowers and botanicals, the Winter Gardens is the perfect spot for a photo or two (or if you’re like us then you might end up taking more like 20 pics).
If you are sick of hustle and bustle of Auckland City, then the calming allure of Waiheke Island is only a short ferry ride away and makes a great day trip from Auckland. Home to over 20 wineries, Waiheke Island is the perfect location for a long weekend lunch. Sail away in the morning and return in the afternoon for a relaxing day trip. With plenty of wine tours on offer, your day can be filled with merlot, pinot and rosé. Whether it be with the a group of friends, family or your significant other, just make sure to reserve your table in advance because you don’t want to miss out. We recommend Cable Bay, MudBrick and Obsidian Winery. If you are needing more than an afternoon of relaxation, then you will be glad to hear that there are plenty of homes available for rent. Stay for a night, maybe two, and you’ll probably never want to leave.
What are some of your favourite things to do in Auckland?