Once dubbed “Fortress New Zealand” for its strict border security measures during the pandemic, the country is finally reopening its borders! With its many magnificent attractions and exciting activities, this news is undoubtedly cause for celebration for tourists. Perhaps no other city sums up the wonders of New Zealand better than the great metropolis of Auckland. Located in the north of New Zealand north islandAuckland offers the perfect mix of exhilarating countryside adventures and urban attractions.
Whether you are a tourist planning an itinerary for a trip to Auckland or you have not yet decided on your next travel destination, this article has something for you. From wine tasting to hiking through lava fields, here are the best things to do in Auckland to celebrate the reopening of New Zealand’s borders.
Also read: New Zealand: reliving memories to rekindle our love of travel
Nature-centered activities in Auckland
1. Boat ride in Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Renowned as one of Auckland’s finest natural attractions, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are definitely a sight to behold! The caves are in Waitomo, a village in the North Island, the caves contain many complex mineral formations, from stalactites to stalagmites. The beautiful natural structures will take your breath away.
The star of Waitomo Caves is the luminous arachnocampus, a species of glowworm native and exclusive to New Zealand. A serene and immersive boat ride through the caves reveals thousands of glowworms illuminating the darkness. It’s a truly magical experience straight out of a fairy tale! The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are undoubtedly an exciting attraction not to be missed on your trip to Auckland.
Read also : 26 best natural attractions in New Zealand that will blow your mind!
2. Watch whales and dolphins on an eco-safari cruise
Marine life enthusiasts, rejoice! Recognized as one of the most biologically diverse marine sanctuaries in the world, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park offers a half-day eco-cruise on a 65-foot catamaran. The eco-cruise offers stunning views of dolphins, whales, as well as a plethora of marine life. Get your cameras ready to get up close with these majestic mammals while enjoying a relaxing cruise!
For those who want to learn more about marine life, the eco-cruise enhances that experience by teaching you about marine life. The captain and guides provide interesting facts about the Haukari Gulf Marine Park, pointing out marine life and landmarks along the way. There are even marine science experts on board who conduct biological research. Participate in their interactive research while learning about the conservation efforts of these experts!
3. Trek through the lava fields of Rangitoto Island
Looking to keep fit among the many local delicacies Auckland has to offer? Well, look no further! Located on Rangitoto Islanda volcanic island Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, the Rangitoto Summit Trail starts at Rangitoto wharf and ends at its summit at 259m altitude. In what is probably the most unique trail you will ever have the pleasure of walking, the path is a gentle walk through ancient lava fields, populated by unique flora and fauna capable of thriving on this arid land.
After hiking for approximately two hours, you will be greeted by stunning views atop the volcanic island. Marvel at beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding Hauraki Gulf as you bask in the glory of conquest on a seven-kilometre trek. This is the perfect opportunity to update your Instagram feed!
4. Swim in the waters of Piha Beach
With all of Auckland’s amazing beaches, you’d be remiss not to visit one on your trip. An exceptional beach is Piha Beach, a coastal settlement located on the west coast. The beach is dramatically marked by its black sand, dominated by steep cliffs that dominate the water. It’s a popular destination for surfers of all abilities, but it’s also a great place to swim or picnic!
The beach is divided into two sections by Piha’s most emblematic monument – lion’s rock. Be sure to get your cameras out to photograph this amazing natural formation!
5. Marvel at Oakley Creek Falls
Conveniently placed in Auckland Central is the big one Oakley Creek Falls. This six meter high natural waterfall is one of Auckland’s hidden gems and New Zealand’s only urban waterfall. Descend the steps for a closer look at this majestic wonder and enjoy the therapeutic gushing of water. Seeking out this secret attraction is definitely one of the best things to do in Auckland!
Urban Attractions for Auckland Sightseeing Experience
6. Take a Hobbiton Film Set Tour
Any movie buff would jump at the chance to visit the set of the greatest fantasy film of all time – The Lord of the Rings. 15 minutes by car from the Mata mata downtown is magic Hobbiton set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Take part in a guided tour that presents many hobbit holesthe party treeand the iconic End of the bag. This award-winning attraction is the perfect site to take plenty of Instagram-worthy photos!
At the end of the tour, enjoy a complimentary glass of beer, cider, or ginger beer at the chic Green Dragon Inn. You can enjoy your drink either in an armchair next to the atmospheric fireplace, or in the beer garden with stunning views of the village. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy the spectacular setting of Hobbiton!
7. Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum
If you want to learn more about New Zealand history or just want to visit the museums, the Auckland Tāmaki Paenga Hira War Memorial Museum is definitely one of the top things to do in Auckland. This large building sits atop a wide grassy base, making for a spectacular sight. The institution features New Zealand’s most significant war memorial, as well as extensive history collections.
The museum features the world’s largest collection of Maori artefacts as well as over 170 ancient artefacts from Greece. Be sure to attend the ever-changing plethora of local and international exhibits!
8. Drink wine on Waiheke Island
What better way to celebrate a trip to Auckland than with a good glass of wine? Waiheke Island is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine amidst the picturesque vineyards. Join a dedicated tour to show you how these locally produced wines work.
The vineyards themselves are truly spectacular, with colorful plants spreading over acres of land. Prepare your taste buds by indulging in the tasting of the best wine in Auckland!
9. Enjoy art at the Auckland Art Gallery
Don’t forget to check out the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki! Located in the heart of Auckland, this art gallery is New Zealand’s largest art exhibition. Immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of the gallery as you enjoy the huge collection of traditional and contemporary art spread over four floors!
Admire the many iconic works of art in the gallery’s permanent collection, as well as the various temporary exhibitions. For art connoisseurs, the Auckland Art Gallery is an attraction not to be missed!
10. Take photos on the Sky Tower
Finally, dominating downtown Auckland stands the magnificent sky tower. This iconic 328 meter high building is undoubtedly the star attraction. Luckily for us, the Sky Tower’s main observation deck (level 51) is open to the public. Be dazzled by 360° panoramic views of Auckland city from above the clouds at the best spot for sightseeing in Auckland.
The Sky Tower also offers many other exciting activities. Thrill seekers can try the 192 meters PARACHUTEa SkyWalk through the outer ring of the Sky Tower, or the state-of-the-art VR SkySlide. Not for the faint-hearted, a visit to this iconic building is one of the most exciting things to do in Auckland.
Read also : 10 fantastic reasons why you should visit New Zealand
And that concludes the top things to do in Auckland, now that the borders have reopened! It is a beautiful country with many natural wonders and urban collections. If you have any Auckland attractions or highlights to share, share your photos on Instagram and hashtag #TripZillaShare!
Featured image credit: rusn | CanvaPro