New Zealand is the place of unmatched natural beauty and adventure. While the rest of New Zealand has plenty of popular adventure activities, the Auckland Region is home to some of the best attractions and activities that don’t get as much attention among travelers.
5 Best Things To Do in the Auckland Region, New Zealand
For being one of smallest of the 16 regions that comprise the island nation, it’s a busy place with over a third of the population (thanks largely to the city of Auckland itself). And it’s a place visitors ought to consider devoting a little more time to explore and enjoy, even in the midst of all the far-flung adventures elsewhere in the country.
Here are some of our top picks for ways to spend your time in this region.
1. Kaipara Harbour
Kaipara Harbour is just northwest of the city of Auckland, and home to a few relaxing and pretty attractions worth stopping at. Perhaps most noteworthy for tourists are the Parakai Springs Hot Pools, which are heated naturally from underground sources. The pools are treated, but it’s still a treat to get to relax in natural thermal heat. There are also some more secluded springs at the facility, surrounded by rocks and garden features.
The Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens is another great place to relax in the Kaipara Harbour area, with its 1 km trail packed with outdoor art to observe. Then again, if you’d like a look at some larger and grander sculptures, you can also opt to explore the Alan Gibbs Farm.
2. See A Rugby Match
Catching a rugby match is a great way to spend some leisure time in the Auckland Region. Eden Park, in Auckland proper, is shared by a few clubs, including the Auckland Blues. But notably, the New Zealand national team, the famous All Blacks, also plays here for some of its home matches.
This is a huge deal locally, as Kiwis are well aware that their national team is among the most accomplished sports teams on Earth. The stands are packed for good matches, and many take advantage of New Zealand’s trusted betting sites to wager on live action as well. Whether or not you place a bet yourself is of course up to you entirely – but seeing a match one way or another should definitely be on your list. Even if you don’t know rugby well, you’ll find it to be a thrilling occasion.
3. Islands of Hauraki Gulf
One of the very best things about the Auckland Region is that you can have some miniature island adventures. You can get to most of the Hauraki Gulf islands east of Auckland via ferry ride, and between their natural landmarks, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, water sports, and more, they could keep you occupied for your entire trip.
On Rangitoto Island you can climb a volcano (the youngest of 48 of them in the area). Its shield shape means it’s not a very steep climb, and the lava flows fairly quickly compared to in other types of volcanoes. And it’s fairly easy to explore in depth given that the entire island is only 5 km across.
You can also opt for a calmer experience and go wine tasting on Waiheke Island, one of the best places in New Zealand to discover some of the country’s award-winning vintages. Waiheke also has the highest population of any of the Hauraki islands, and is one of the largest.
4. Waitakere Ranges
This region of New Zealand is full of places to explore nature and even hike trails through what are effectively rainforests. You can find natural waterfalls all along the Kitekite Tracks, or hike to the impressive Karekare Waterfall for a truly impressive sight.
You’ll see fascinating wildlife species all along the way, whether you’re in the forest or walking along the famous black-sand beaches. Gannets, local seabirds related to the blue-footed booby, catch fish for their food, and watching them swoop and dive is a truly majestic experience.
Do your part to preserve the forests when you hike by using the washing stations before you leave the trails. This is done so that you don’t spread dirt with the kauri dieback disease – a non-curable tree disease.
While the whole region has fun opportunities, the most well-known part of the region is the city itself. And even beyond heading into town for a rugby match, you should take the time to explore the city a little bit while you’re in the region.
You can do a lot of sightseeing in the city, whether through the views from the iconic Sky Tower, or as you browse the War Memorial Museum. Additionally, you’ll want to save some time to visit the bars and restaurants in the sophisticated downtown area, as well as to explore the city park and the historic Devonport neighborhood. Basically, there’s a lot to see!
Whatever parts of the Auckland Region you choose to explore, there will be plenty to see and do. From the islands to the relaxing seaside charm of the harbors, this part of the North Island is a beautiful place to spend part of your your vacation.
About the author:
Dave Helman is an avid tech enthusiast, traveler, and self described craft beer connoisseur. At any time you can find him sampling a new town’s cuisine, or huddled over a pint at the local favorite pub.