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24 Hours in Auckland

Auckland City

Tamaki Makaurau or "the spouse desired by a hundred lovers" is the Maori name of Auckland, which perfectly encapsulates its seductive charm. Visitors to the city will find many reasons to love it. From natural attractions like Domain Park to cultural attractions like the Civic theatre, the city would put even Don Juan to shame. We've collected a list of activities and attractions to fill that 3 hour gap or plan an a la carte day of awe-inspiring Auckland.

Domain Park

Auckland Museum

Start off the day with a breath of fresh air at Domain Park, the oldest park in Auckland. The park has an extensive network of trails and hidden attractions like the Wintergarden - a well maintained heritage garden-within-a-garden. The star attraction is the iconic Auckland War Memorial museum atop Pukekawa hill. The museum is the most important archive of New Zealand history, with a large collection of historical artifacts and regular exhibits.

Coast-to-Coast Walkways

Auckland Sunrise

Where else can you walk from an ocean (the Pacific Ocean) to a sea (the Tasman sea) in one day? The 16km coast-to-coast walkway starts from the Viaduct Harbour and winds its way through the best sights of Auckland - from Albert Park to the heights of Mt. Eden to the historical Onehunga Blockhouses. Budget at least four hours to complete the walk - or less, if you cheat a little with public transport. Starting the trail is as easy as printing out the map and putting one foot in front of the other.

Alberton House

Alberton House is a well-preserved slice of 19th century Auckland. The house is the former residence of the well-to-do Taylors, a leading family who lived in Mount Albert. The 18 room house has carefully preserved the look and feel of the time - a must visit for a glimpse into Victorian Auckland.

Nikau Caves

A wonderful underworld awaits fearless explorers just south of Auckland. The one kilometer long Nikau caves is a series of spacious theatre-like rooms filled with stalactites, stalagmites and glow-worms. The beauty of the place will make you forget any fears you might have.

Zealandia Sculpture Gardens

New Zealand's most acclaimed artist, Terry Stringer, is the mind behind Zealandia Sculpture Garden - one of the finest outdoor art experiences anywhere of anywhere. Stringer's work, the Mountain Fountain, can also be seen outside the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell.

Auckland Bridge Climb & Bungy

New Zealanders are the past masters of extreme sports like bungy jumping - having first commercialised bungy jumping in the 80s. Auckland Bridge is an extreme sports centre with a range of activities to get the adrenaline flowing: from the more conservative bridge climb with rewarding views of the city, to the crazy Ocean Touch bungy. The jump includes a shallow dunking into Little Shoal Bay for a refreshing kickstart to the afternoon.

Glenbrook Vintage Railway Train

Thomas the Tank Engine has a few Kiwi relatives operating just south of Auckland. The Railway Enthusiast Society have revived a number of steam-powered trains that take you back to the romantic age of train travel. The highlight of the year is the 'Days out with Thomas', where Thomas makes a guest appearance - a delight for kids and adults alike.

  • Address: Glenbrook Station Road, Glenbrook
  • Tel: +64 9 236 3546
  • Website: railfan.org.nz

Pakiri Beach Horse Rides

Pakiri Horse Riding

Get out the city for a bit to enjoy a relaxing horse ride on a private beach with Pakiri Beach Horse Rides. The soothing lapping of the waves and the fresh country air make this a great outing to clear mental cobwebs. The horses are friendly enough for children and scared beginners. Remember to wear long trousers and just let the experience sweep you away.

  • Address: Taurere Park, Rahuikiri Road, Pakiri Beach, Wellsford
  • Tel: +64 9 422 6275
  • Website: horseride-nz.co.nz

Newmarket

The self proclaimed fashion capital of New Zealand offers a broad selection of haute couture. The streets are lined with talented local designers - like Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Anna Streton - as well as well known international brands.

SkyTower

Auckland SkyTower

The tallest freestanding building in the Southern hemisphere towers over Auckland and is a must visit - if only for the view, which extends to Great Barrier Island on clear days. Adrenaline junkies can jump off the tower with Skyjump or take a stroll around the rim at 192 metres up with SkyWalk. Those who prefer their views without the thrills will like the observation decks and the restaurants with ample views of the city.

Civic Theatre

The Civic theatre is one of the last remaining atmospheric theatres in the world. The painted ceiling depicts an outdoor night scene that makes you feel as if you're beneath the night sky. It was built when talking movies were all the buzz and going to the cinema was still a glamorous event. The theatre also serves up top class musical and theatrical shows.

  • Address: 269 Queen Street
  • Tel: +64 9 309 2677
  • Website: the-edge.co.nz

Karangahape Road

K'Road is the centre of Auckland's bohemian arts scene with hip and happening establishments like Artspace, the New Zealand Film Archive and the Te Karnaga Community Art Gallery in its neighbourhood - all within 5 minutes of one another. The street predates the formation of Auckland and is a treasure trove of hidden history and heritage. The best way to see the A to Z of K'Road is to take the free walking tours organised by Heritage Walk or print out their guide and do it yourself.

Snowplanet

You may not associate New Zealand with wintersports, but it does get a respectable blanket of snow on some of its mountains. Snowplanet offers more reliable snow cover at their indoor resort open all year round. Novices can learn to ski and snowboard with expert tuition from the in-house Snow Academy.

  • Address: 91 Small Road, Silverdale
  • Tel: +64 9 427 0044
  • Website: snowplanet.co.nz

Ananda Waiheke Tours

Waiheke island, in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, has become New Zealand's 'island of wine' - producing some of the county's top performing (and most exclusive) wines. Island conditions are well suited for growing the Syrah grapes that go into the making of award winning red wines. Ananda Tours offers tours of wineries (with wine tasting) and gourmet food tours - for the complete, wine-and-dine experience in some of New Zealand's finest settings.

Mecca Cafe

This chain of Turkish themed eateries is an institution in Auckland with branches in Chancery, Devonport, Mission Bay and Viaduct Basin. All the restaurants have a lovely atmosphere and are well placed to take advantage of Aucklands vistas.

Mission Bay

Mission Bay is the swanky dining hub of Auckland and offers an impressive range of international gourmet - from traditional Thai at Ruan Thai, authentic Indian at Masala, Belgian beer at De Fontein, sinful Swiss ice-cream at Movenpick or Asian infusion at Rickshaw Eddy's Bar.

Viaduct Harbour

Viaduct Basin

Viaduct is home to a port full of superyachts, but has recently become an entertainment district of excellent standards. With a choice of close to 30 bars and restaurants, there's plenty to taste, drink and enjoy. Restless sea legs can charter any number of good-looking boats for a turn around the bay.

Last Updated: September 2010