Things to do in Auckland (including on a long layover)

I often get asked about things to do in Auckland, particularly as it has become a bit of a stopover location for Australians for good flights to the US and South America.

Here is a very brief summary. I need to go back to Auckland to see all these areas again – unfortunately my last few trips to Auckland have just been inside the airport.

Nice neighbourhoods to check out:

  • Ponsonby (Ponsonby Rd and generally walk around for architecture)
  • Herne Bay
  • Federal St (centre of town)
  • Devonport (across ferry)
  • Parnell (older style)
  • Mission Bay

Things to do:

  • Sky tower, touristy but most people enjoy it. Only worth it on a clear day.
  • Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life if you like aquariums – pretty cool, made in the 80s from disused industrial materials
  • Museum in Wellington is better, but Auckland Maritime Museum is cool
  • Walk around the marinas and see the “million” sails
  • Jump on a ferry to Waiheke (wineries), Rangitoto (volcano walk), or even just across the harbour, the ferries are in a good location near downtown so you can do this before or after seeing the sights, most ferry rides are 30 mins.
  • Walk from “one side of NZ to the other”.
  • Omanawanui Track, Whatipu.


  • Near the airport: Villa Maria winery
  • Waiheke Island has plenty
  • North side – Babich
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