Auckland Travel Guide

The city of Auckland is alive and full of adventure. From stunning scenery to delicious dinners and everything in-between, there's plenty to discover in this iconic New Zealand city.

Published Date

30 May 2024

If you're planning a trip to Auckland and you want to make the most of your time in the capital, you'll want to be sure to enjoy the best food, the best activities, the best accommodation, the best nightlife, and the best relaxation.

 

Our Auckland travel guide will help you make the most of your time in this amazing city.

When to Visit Auckland

If you're visiting Auckland as a fun getaway and you don't plan to attend any seasonal events while you're in New Zealand, the best time to visit could be in the off-season or shoulder periods.

 

These periods are most commonly from March to May and from September to November. Many tourists visit New Zealand in peak seasons to make the most of the setting.

 

In the summer, tourists visit to enjoy the wonderful beaches along the coast. In the winter, avid skiers and snowboarders visit to enjoy the winter sports scene in New Zealand.

 

Auckland tourism can be very affected by the seasons. If you aren't prioritising those two seasons, you could enjoy smaller crowds on your travels.

What to Eat in Auckland

If you're looking for a hearty dinner that the locals can't stop raving about, take a trip to the beloved Pasta & Cuore. Not only do they serve the most amazing pasta, they also make it fresh and by hand. The restaurant is in Mount Eden, a little out of the city centre, and a great option for a night of indulgence. Finish off the evening with a glass of wine and a decadent desert. 

 

If Italian pasta is not to your tastes, simply walk up the Mount Eden strip to Zool Zool, voted one of Auckland's best Japanese ramen joints. 

 

The cost atmosphere inside Zool Zool draws you in and immediately makes you feel at home. The chalkboard menu on one of the walls will help you decide within moments what kind of food and drink what you want.

 

Pop in for a warm lunch (the perfect option if you're visiting Auckland in the winter) or for dinner and enjoy Japanese beer on tap as well as a fine selection of wine, Japanese sake, and Japanese whisky. We recommend visiting between Tuesday to Thursday to try Zool Zool's Paitan noodle. Tori Paitan is a creamy chicken broth - based ramen that isn't as well-known as Tonkutsu is throughout the world.  Zool is far ahead of the trends and is truly something special. 

 

Another evening in Auckland might involve an evening stroll by the waterfront in the Britomart Precinct, popping into one of the many amazing eateries in the area. 

 

City favourite Amano uses only seasonal, sustainable, local produce making this restaurant authentic in everything. Hand-crafted pasta, fresh caught seafood, and house-churned sorbet make for a one-of-a-kind-experience, no matter how many times you visit.

 

From the minute, you walk in through those glass doors on Tyler St, you'll be wow-ed by architect Jack McKinney's stunning interior. The bakers which sits just next to the open kitchen area is a great option if you're on the go and wanting something quick, delicious and easy. 

 

Down the road from Amano, you'll find Ahi. Award-winning New Zealand chef Ben Bayly and Front of House professional Christ Martin have teamed up creating Ahi to deliver one of the best dining experiences in the country.

 

If a visit to Zool Zool didn't satisfy your cravings for intimate settings and delicious noodles, keep wandering through Britomart and discover Cafe Hanoi. Charcuterie featuring Vietnamese cold cuts, raw fish professionally prepared, fresh rice paper rools and pho that warms you from the inside are a staple at Cafe Hanoi. Consider indulging in the banquet and sampling your favourites of the menu if you can't decide what to pick.

 

The next morning, indulge in a decadent healthy breakfast. Pop down to your hotel's breakfast offering! Or if you have a sweet tooth and you're just in the mood for a coffee, the French Press Cafe delivers. Inspired by Parisian sidewalk cafes, the French Press is a great jump start to the day. 

What to Do in Auckland

When not eating your fill of the amazing Auckland food, you'll be able to spend the rest of your days discovering the best attractions the city has on offer.

 

Any animal lover visiting Auckland will want to visit the world's largest penguin colony exhibit. Take a trip to SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium and wonder among the fish. Travelling with friends, enjoying a romantic getaway with a loved one, or visiting the city with family and kids, any day at the aquarium is great day.

 

Don't forget to take a walk down Mission Bay if you're looking for some free fun, on a good day you'll find locals sitting on the beach benches tucking into fish and chips. 

 

For the fearless, the Auckland Sky Tower SkyWalk and SkyJump will be an essential Auckland activity. Auckland Sky Tower is the tallest building in New Zealand, and there's no better way to take in the whole city at once.

 

The SkyWalk takes you to the top of the tower where (secured in a harness) you'll be able to take in epic 360-degree views of the city. If that doesn't satisfy you, the SkyJump plunges you 192m towards the ground, where you'll safely land on your feet. 

 

Visitors with an eye for art will want to visit the Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, an unmissable Auckland attraction. The gallery houses installations and exhibitions from all kinds of artists and each time you visit there's something new to see. Plan ahead and you'll be able to book tickets to one of the hands-on workshops or limited-access talks. Admission to the gallery is free, but any special exhibitions will come with costs.

 

Finally, visit the gift shop on your way out to grab a memento to take home with you. If you're still craving more art and creativity, walk along Karangahape Road and Ponsonby Road for great galleries, stores, and a general artsy vibe. You'll also find good fare aplenty along Ponsonby Road. 

 

If the views on the horizon are tempting you, jump in a kayak and paddle over to Rangitoto Island. Walk up the old lava flows of a dormant volcano. From the summit you'll be blown away by the amazing views of both Auckand and the serene ocean. Some of the best tourist attractions in Auckland, and in all of New Zealand, are the natural elements and formations of the land. It's well worth a visit to one of these stunning land formations. Finally, head back in your kayak to relax in the city. 

 

If there's something on your must see in Auckland list that isn't covered by the bus routes, Auckland has plenty of pedestrian space if your destination is in walking distance. If you're looking to get a little further away, there is plenty of taxi services in the city. Your hotel concierge will be able to help you call a taxi if you need one. 

Where to Stay in Auckland

There are a lot of options when it comes to Auckland accommodation. Like any city, you can choose between budget-friendly hotels, mid-range hotels, and luxurious hotels. 

 

For the price conscious, the ibis hotel in Auckland Central keeps you near the excitement of the city and keeps you on budget. Modern interiors and natural lighting are key features of the rooms, with the options of higher-floor rooms available for anyone who loves a view. The city centre location keeps you close to some of the best Auckland attractions - walk out of the front door and to any local cafe or bar in minutes. 

 

For a best of both worlds stay in Auckland, a hotel like The Sebel Quay West might be more to your tastes. Here you'll find 4.5 star apartment-style rooms as well as great views from any perspective. On one side of the hotel you'll be able to look out over the iconic Viaduct Harbour and on the other you'll be taking in the splendour of the city. Classic glamour meets modern simplicity styling makes up the interiors for an aesthetic to put you at ease. 

 

Finally, for anyone visiting Auckland who doesn't compromise, luxury Auckland hotels like the Fable Auckland MGallery will appeal to you. Walking in the front doors, you'll be greeted by warm lighting and romantic, vintage styling. Inside your room, you'll find decadent finishes and textures that make you want to sit down with a cup of tea and let the world roll on. 

 

While relaxing in your room sounds like a perfect evening for some, you might be interested in discovering what the city of Auckland looks like at night. 

What to do in Auckland at Night

Sampling a city's nightlife is a quintessential part of travelling. Like any city worth its merit Auckland doesn't disappoint when it comes to partying the night away. 

 

Start the evening in the sky by enjoying one of Auckland's rooftop bars. Head up to Dr Rudi's Rooftop Brewing Co. for cocktails, food, and even a game or two of ten-pin bowling. If the Auckland Sky Tower didn't satisfy your craving for city views, or if you'd prefer a more secure city view than the TowerWalk rooftop bars are some of the best places to enjoy Auckland on a night out. 

 

On the other hand, if heights are not your style, maybe you're looking for the best Auckland underground bars. Caretaker is a cocktail bar modelled after classic New York cocktail lounges. Their menu is always changing, so even if you've made your way to this out-of-the-way bar before, it's worth a second visit.

 

For a casual evening with friendly staff, My Bar on Durham Street East is the place to be. Try their craft beer, unique cocktails, and generous sleection of wine. If you're unsure what to order, the knowledgeable staff will be able to help you out with a few suggestions. My Bar's warm atmosphere draws in locals and passers-by. Keen to see for yourself? You'll find My Bar in a small lane inspired by the bars in Melbourne, Amsterdam, and Prague and its . 

 

You never know what kind of live event will be appearing in the city. Consider downloading and keeping an eye on the Event Finda app to discover a range of events in the city. Or you can simply wander through the city and pop into whichever bar takes your fancy for the evening.

How to Unwind When Visiting Auckland

When it comes to relaxing, a spa treatment in Auckland tops the list. It's possible that your hotel already has an amazing day spa. For example, the Sofitel and the Pullman of Auckland both have great day spa packages that you can enjoy.

 

Sofitel in particular, home to Biologique Recherche, is the perfect spot for French luxury to combat the demands of modern life. If your hotel doesn't have a day spa available there's no need to worry, because Auckland's day spas have you covered.

 

If you're looking for the best day spa in Auckland, you'll have to consider Massage Eden. Book a spa package to completely pamper, invigorate, or detox yourself or simply indulge in your ideal massage - choose from a range of techniques and the length (45-180 minutes). If you're travelling with a partner, choose a couple's massage session and relax together. The endota spa is another great choice for spa treatments in Auckland. 

 

If a visit to an Auckland day spa isn't your preferred way to relax, consider a trip to the beach. Splashing about in the sun and the surf is a great activity in the day, and an afternoon on the sand or soaking in the sea water is a great way to leave any worries behind.

 

Mission Bay Beach, St. Helier's Bay Beach, and Kohimarama Beach are all accessible from the city and all offer serene views out into the ocean. Bring your sunscreen, towel, and your favourite beach read to unwind in Auckland.

 

If you're looking for something more picturesque and away from the city centre, head west and you'll find beaches like Piha and Te Henga waiting for you to come and relax.

Plan Your Auckland Visit

Have you planned out your dream Auckland holiday yet? With so much to see and do, you'll want a personalised holiday experience and Accor is ready to be there every step of the way. Accor offers hotel bookings and restaurant reservations at spectacular locations as well as unforgettable experiences to help you make your next adventure the best one yet. Book your Accor accommodation in Auckland now.