Things to do in Auckland, New Zealand

Things to do in Auckland- Climb Mt Eden

Climb a Volcano

Where else can you climb a volcano in the middle of a city, Mt Eden is the highest natural point and is high on our list of things to do in Auckland. Located around 10 minutes from the CBD the steep(ish) climb to the top will reward you with 360-degree views of the city, seemingly endless on a clear day. This volcano last erupted around 15,000 years ago and its 50-meter crater was until the 1700’s was used by the Maoris as a village. You can see the remains of terracing and food pits in the sides of the crater. There are half a dozen paths that head up to the top from different directions – some only taking around 10 minutes to reach the summit (dependent on your fitness level). Previously cars could drive all the way to the top but a vehicle ban was put in place in 2017 out of respect for the historical importance of the area and over fears of erosion. Those not physically able to walk to the top can request special permissions to use the road. Once you have admired the view, take some time to explore the 5.5 acres Eden Garden on the side of Mt Eden or if the weather isn’t that great head down into the village/suburb and warm up in one of the many cafes.

Silo Park

As the name states this park has been built around a huge old silo in recognition of the areas industrial past. This waterfront oasis in the city comes alive in the summer with regular music and community events – and the best part is its free to just wander around. Silo Night Markets (5.00pm onwards on Friday) is a great place to grab a bite to eat, you will find a range of street-food style eats as well as some pretty cool pop-up clothes shops. If you would prefer to hit it up for lunch a day market runs from 12-6pm on Saturdays, street performers will keep you entertained while you tuck in. Fridays also play host to the open air cinema, playing a variety of films from different genres – if you grab yourself some popcorn all the proceeds go to charity. Keep an eye out on their Silo Park Facebook  for updates on events. A great place for adults and children alike!

Waiheke Island

About 35 minutes on the ferry from Auckland, this blissful paradise is the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf famous for its vineyards and white sand beaches. Now a playground for Auckland’s elite it is not the cheapest place to spend time but if you know where to go you can still enjoy this picturesque island on a budget. A world away from Auckland CBD you could easily while away a couple of days here. Although the wineries can be expensive you should definitely try a tour and tasting if you can – some of the top choices include Man O’ War and Wild on Waiheke. The latter even has its own microbrewery for those who may appreciate the beer more than the wine. It is becoming a bit of a foodie-heaven but that has come with the price tag. For a cheap eat grab a pizza from Dragonfired and eat it on the beach or if you fancy a sit-down meal try out The Boathouse Café and Bar. If wine isn’t really your thing then try one of the many walking tracks and explore the island’s bays stopping a while to admire the views.

Explore Parnell

Parnell is the oldest and one of the more upmarket suburbs of Auckland, dating back to around 1841 with the first European settlers. Spend a few hours here on a Saturday or Sunday and catch the La Cigale French Market for a tasty pastry and a coffee before window-shopping in some of the local designer boutiques. You can take in the history of the area in this short walk described on Newzealand.com. If you fancy an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city head to Parnell Rose Gardens or Judges Bay where you can laze on the stretch of sand and even go for a swim. Feeling peckish? Grab a bite to eat from one of the many top-notch eateries in the area. At lunchtime, we would recommend Best Ugly Bagels.

Rangitoto Island

Emerging from the sea only 600 years ago, Rangitoto is the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf and home to the world’s largest pohutukawa forest. Grab a ferry over from Auckland that takes around 25 minutes, or if you are feeling a bit more adventurous get booked on to a sea-kayaking trip across from Auckland (they even do night excursions to watch the sunset across the gulf. Once on the island, you can walk up to the summit of Rangitoto, it takes about an hour each way. If you’re not up for the walk you can join one of the 4WD road train tours that take you up. While you’re there try and hop over to Motutapu (Rangitoto’s much flatter neighbour), a causeway links the two islands. Over there you can explore some of the WWII bunkers and gun posts.