1. Maritime Museum
Ok, so you’ve been to the Auckland Museum, you’ve probably check out the Auckland Art Gallery, but what about the New Zealand Maritime Museum. This museum at the Viaduct Harbour, Auckland City, is surprisingly huge and you could lose yourself for hours in this museum or even sailing in the harbour on a heritage boat. Dive into New Zealand’s history from a maritime perspective.
2. Clear kayaking at Goat Island
You thought we were gonna just cover the city centre, didn’t ya? Organise a day trip out to the Goat Island Marine Reserve near Leigh where you can do the unique activity of kayaking in clear kayaks. No need to get wet and no need to get cold, just watch the fish underneath your kayak!
Kayaks are available to hire at the Goat Island Marine Reserve. Alternatively, book your tour and transfer from Auckland city.
3. Tiritiri Matangi Island
You’ve probably visited Rangitoto Island, but have you checked out the bird sanctuary that is Tiritiri Matangi Island? This alternative island ferry trip from the Auckland City Downtown Ferry Building might take a little longer to get to (45 minutes-ish) but to hear the birds chorus echoing across the island makes it well worth it. Pick up a map and follow the hiking tracks where you’re guaranteed to see native birds here there and everywhere.
Book your Tiritiri Matangi Island ferry ticket here.
4. Go on a food tour
We’re switching things up now with experiencing Auckland’s culinary side. But we’re not talking about just going out for a meal. Let an expert guide show you the secret foodie spots of Auckland, from supermarkets where the chef’s shop to coffee roasters to fresh fish markets and more!
Book your tour with The Big Foody.
5. Go black sand beach hunting
Did you know there are more black sand beaches than Piha? Arguably they are more beautiful too, so it’s worth hopping in the car (or organising a trip with others in the backpacker Facebook Groups) or booking a shuttle, and taking a day trip to see them! Find out more in Where to Find Black Sand Beaches in Auckland.
Book your shuttle to Piha Beach with Trippys Shuttle Bus.
6. Go on a whale-watching cruise
You don’t have to travel to Kaikoura to see whales and dolphins. See them right here in Auckland! Whale watching cruises depart right from the city centre in the Viaduct Harbour, taking you on trips to see whales, dolphins, gannets and whoever else decides to show up that day!
Book your whale watching cruise with Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safaris.
7. Hunua Falls
North Shore and the Waitakere Ranges often takes the limelight for day trips in Auckland but how about heading south to the Hunua Ranges. Check out the 30m Hunua Falls which makes the perfect photo opportunity. Plus, there are a number of awesome bushwalks in the Hunua Ranges which we outline in more detail in our Auckland Suburbs Guide for Backpackers.
8. Visit the Onetangi Reserve
When people visit Waiheke Island, they thing wineries and beaches. Well, there are some pretty cool bush walks there too. Take a hike in the Onetangi Reserve to see Kauri and Nikau forests and a great deal of birdlife! It’s a wild side of Waiheke that you’ll be stoked to discover.
9. Do an escape room
It’s the craze that’s sweeping the world: Escape Rooms. And yes, you can do it in Auckland too! Beat the clock to escape a themed room while solving puzzles along the way. It’s a great team game so grab some friends or some randoms in your hostels and give it a go!
Try the Escape Hunt escape room in Takapuna.
10. Get a tattoo!
If that alternative enough for you?! Auckland is one of the best places in New Zealand to get a tattoo with prestigious tattoo artists from all over New Zealand. As most people leave New Zealand from Auckland, it’s actually super convenient considering as you can give it time to heal when you get home. Find out more in Where to Get a Tattoo in New Zealand?