How to spend a day in Auckland

I was recently asked by TripAdvisor to make some recommendations as to how to spend a day in Auckland.

(SIDE NOTE: Yup, I’m doing some ‘official’ work for TripAdvisor, wahoo! I’ll explain later)

I thought I’d share my one day itinerary here, to see if local readers agree with me, and also show those abroad what Auckland’s all about.




As the largest city in New Zealand, with our busiest international airport, Auckland is often the first stop for tourists as they enter our wonderful country.

Although it’s not usually the reason tourists come to New Zealand, it’s worth checking out, with a number of adrenaline pumping, culturally pleasing and down right amazing attractions.

Here’s my recommendations for an amazing day in Auckland:

(nice weather permitting – though certainly not promised)


1. Wake up properly

If you’re in Auckland for the first time, you’ll probably go up the Sky Tower – it’s kind of a no brainer. But what you might not know is that you can actually jump off the top of the tower or walk around the outside of the viewing deck with no handrails. I’d like to see people start their day here; taking in the 360° view to get a feel for Auckland, and then jumping down 192 metres to the ground. Good Morning.


2. See the main street

Queen Street is like Auckland’s answer to the Oxford Street or 5th Avenue. Except it’s the Auckland addition, so really it’s nothing like either of these. What you will find are all the mains chain-stores, food stores, souvenir stores and other random stores. It’s a busy street, and usually has a few street-performers too. It’s also home to the Comedy Club, Historic Civic Theater, Auckland Town Hall and Aotea Square which are all worth a quick nosey. To be honest, I only really put this on because you kind of have to see it, even if it’s just enroute to your next stop.


3. Morning art appreciation

I recently checked out the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. They’ve really done a great job in renovating this, it’s well-laid out and has some really unique and beautiful pieces. A mix of new and old, local and international. The gift shop also has some cool local jewellery in it.


4.  More culture & lunch

To double your culture, skip over (read: taxi, don’t skip) to the Auckland Museum. Visually stunning both inside and out, the Auckland Museum is the perfect place to learn about New Zealand’s history and unique Maori culture. There’s also a marae (Maori meeting house) onsite and they put on traditional Maori performances daily, which would be cool for visitors. After the Museum go for lunch in nearby Parnell. (I have been away from NZ too long to recommend a particular lunch place, but I will endeavour to choose one over the next few weeks)


5. Looking back in the afternoon

With all that culture out of the way, it’s time to do something fun again in the afternoon. This particular activity has been on my own to-do list for a while, as it looks pretty cool and there’s no free-falling involved (bonus). The Bridge Climb takes you above Auckland’s biggest and busiest bridge – the Harbour Bridge – rewarding you with tremendous views looking back to the city.


6. Dinner by the sea

Finally head to the Auckland Viaduct to finish off the day. Filled with beautiful bars and restaurants, situated around stunning, picturesque docks, it’s a fabulous place to head to anytime of the day – though especially at night for dinner and drinks. Also be sure to skip over the new moveable bridge, for easy pedestrian access to the nearby Wynyard Quarter area.



So what do you think? Locals, would you recommend anything else to add into this itinerary for a day Auckland? 



  1. Great suggestions! Oh, how I miss living in Auckland! I used to love visiting Albert Park. And also hiking to the top of Mount Eden for the good views of the city!

  2. Great post. I’d suggest bypassing Queen Street completely, only because when I moved here 7 years ago it was the first place I was taken and it left a sour first impression of Auckland in my mouth. That being said, if you stick around Britomart and High Street, it’s actually quite lovely down there now… I might suggest doing a couple day itineraries depending on what your tourist is looking for. Outdoorsy people, adventure people, cultural people? I always suggest taking the ferry over to Devonport, as it gives you a great view of the city, and then walking to North Head and climbing the volcano (another great view). And two great lunch places in Parnell are Rosie’s and Woodpecker Hill. Now my brain is thinking – I have family visiting at Christmas….!

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