The City of Sails was a beautiful place of quiet seaside towns, bustling streets, gorgeous views and the lingering smell of the ocean. Despite the fact that people told me I had booked too many days in the city, I never got bored or ran out of things to do. Here is my list of top 10 things to do in Auckland:
1. Visit Devonport
Just a 12 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland is the charming seaside village of Devonport. This little village captured my heart in an instant. With bustling cafes, white-picket fences, sandy beaches and two volcanic heights offering breath-taking views, Devonport is the place to be.
2. Take in the View from Mount Eden
Mount Eden is easy to get to from anywhere on Queen Street – I walked there, but you can also take the bus. The climb to the top does not require a high level or fitness or hiking boots – I did it in a skirt and tennis shoes. It is 100% gorgeous. There is no better feeling than sitting on the green grass with the wind blowing in your hair gazing out at the 360-degree view of the city. (Auckland’s highest natural point!) Just remember to bring sunscreen because the sun feels extra strong up there!
3. Bungey Jump from the Harbour Bridge
If you plan on going bungey jumping at least once in your life, you might as well do the AJ Hackett Bungey Jump from the Harbour Bridge. At a 40m drop, you’ll get the adventure you’re looking for – and if you want to, you can even choose to dip into the ocean! If you are staying at a hostel, check to see if they offer any discounts before you book. Still not sure that this is for you? Read about my experience here.
4. Spend a Day in Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island felt like retreating to some sort of island paradise. A 35 minute ferry ride from the bustling city, the island offers lazy strolls along the beach, vineyards and kayaking. There are also some pretty cool art galleries and the oldest music museum. The white sand and blue water at Oneroa Beach took my breath away. It was so relaxing to sit in the sand, collect sea shells and watch the seagulls. Basically, it’s the perfect escape.
5. Go to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
One of the best ways to spend a rainy morning is to pop in the local art gallery and appreciate some art. The Auckland Art Gallery features some pretty neat exhibits and guess what – it’s free! Plus it just so happens to be the largest art gallery in New Zealand. Worth a visit!
6. Read in Albert Park
Albert Park is a beautiful and grand park with lots of space to run wild. Or if you’re feeling tame, it’s also the perfect place to sit on a park bench and read a book. Located in the heart of the CBD – right by the art gallery – Albert Park is a place of quiet reflection. it also has some of the most stunning trees I have ever seen – I’d be very surprised if you were NOT tempted to climb one.
7. Parnell’s La Cigale French Market
Parnell is a wonderful area to stroll through because of its quaint cafes and shops. While you are there, a stop at La Cigale French Market is a must-do. The market is held every Saturday from 8am-1pm and Sunday from 9am-2pm. With a variety of delicious home-made preserves, freshly baked goods, homemade chocolates, fresh fruit and vegetables, French cheeses and so much more, you definitely won’t leave hungry.
8. Relax at Wynyard Quarter
If you really want to appreciate the meaning behind the “city of sails,” then head down to Wynyard Quarter and never look back. This waterfront precinct offers a fantastic view of the harbour – all from the comfort of a long, wooden chair. Plus there’s a constant stream of people walking back and forth, so you’ll always have something interesting to see if yachts are not your thing.
9. Events at Silo Park
Located in the Wynard Quater, Silo Park is a hub of activity – especially in the summer when it hosts 50+ events, activities and exhibitions! Enjoy an outdoor movie projected onto the side of one of the cement silos, browse through the different booths set up at a nightly market (it was here that I bought a copy of Winnie the Pooh from 1942!), try some new food, listen to live music or simply sit in a beanbag chair and gaze at the harbour bridge.
10. Explore Queen Street
Queen Street is the type of street you can walk up and down over and over again without tiring of – and I am not referring to your fitness level. This is the main strip of the CBD – lined with an abundance of shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes, your head will be spinning every which way to take everything in. For a quieter walk, turn onto the cobbled stones of Lorne Street which features bookshops and galleries.
What did I miss? What would you add?