The Top Auckland Museums and Art Galleries to Educate and Culture Yourself
Whether it’s a rainy day in Auckland and you’re looking for something to do or you simply want to experience the art, history and culture of New Zealand’s largest city, this list of the best art galleries and museums in Auckland will point you in the right direction. From popular city centre museums to delightful free art galleries on the outskirts, there’s something for everyone in this list of Auckland’s museums and art galleries.
For more Auckland planning, be sure to check out The Complete Travel Guide to Auckland, as well as the 10 Best Things to Do in Auckland. Plus, find a place to stay using The 50 Best Accommodations in Auckland.
1. Auckland Museum
Officially called the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Auckland Museum is how most know this attraction set in a grand heritage building. With a prime position on the hilltop of the Auckland Domain, the Auckland Museum holds an impressive collection of Maori art and relics, while telling the story of Auckland’s flora, fauna and people. Visit the top floor to see the museum’s dedication to the New Zealand military. Note that there is a fee for visitors (tickets available on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook); Auckland residents get in free with proof of address.
Location: Auckland Domain, Parnell.
2. New Zealand Maritime Museum
Discover New Zealand’s connection with the ocean at the New Zealand Maritime Museum. With interesting displays of Polynesian canoe replicas to America’s Cup sailing yachts, there’s plenty to be in awe of at this museum. For an additional fee, enjoy a sailing trip in a heritage vessel on the Auckland Harbour. Note that there is an entry fee to this museum (tickets available on Klook); Auckland residents get in free.
Location: Corner of Quay and Hobson Street, Viaduct Harbour.
3. MOTAT (The Museum of Transport and Technology)
See New Zealand’s technological and scientific journey over the past 150+ years at MOTAT. The Museum of Transport and Technology is one of the most family-friendly museums in Auckland, offering interactive displays and hands-on workshops that the kids will love. Note that there is an admission fee for all visitors. For more activities like this, see the 10 Things to Do in Auckland with Kids.
Location: 805 Great North Road, Western Springs.
4. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
With more than 15,000 artworks, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is New Zealand’s largest art gallery. From traditional portraits to multimedia contemporary art, there’s a huge range of work to admire across multiple floors. Admission to the art gallery is free. Discover more free things to do in the city using the 17 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Auckland.
Location: Corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, Auckland Central.
5. Wallace Arts Centre
Enjoy the contemporary art housed in the magnificent Pah Homestead, built in 1879. The Wallace Arts Centre‘s collection changes every four to six weeks, while the on-site Homestead Cafe gives more reasons for a return trip.
Location: 72 Hillsborough Road, Hillsborough.
6. Stardome Observatory and Planetarium
One of the cheaper museums in Auckland, the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium is just a couple of dollars entry to see the space exhibitions. It will cost you a little more for one of the planetarium shows. Night shows are followed by an outdoor telescope viewing.
Location: 670 Manukau Road, One Tree Hill.
7. Howick Historical Village
More like an open-air museum, Howick Historical Village is a glimpse into life during Auckland’s colonial days (the mid to late 1800s). Potter around historical cottages, homesteads, churches, courthouses and school buildings, as well as a very early settler’s sod village. There is an admission fee for all visitors. See more experiences nearby in the 6 Best Things to Do in Howick & Half Moon Bay.
Location: Lloyd Elsmore Park, Bells Road, Pakuranga.
8. Te Uru, Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery
Situated on the bush-clad outskirts of West Auckland, the Te Uru, Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery is a free art gallery worth popping into. Enjoy an array of locally inspired art across several floors of a modern and endearing space.
Location: 420 Titirangi Road, Titirangi.
9. Mangere Mountain Education Centre (MMEC)
Enjoy and educate yourself at the indoor and outdoor attractions of the Mangere Mountain Education Centre (MMEC). The mountain features a lava dome, crater and archaeological sites that can be discovered on guided tours. Admission to the visitor centre is free, which houses various displays, audio-visual materials and Maori artefacts.
Location: 100 Coronation Road, Mangere.
10. Te Toi Uku – Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum
Finally, locals may remember and know pieces from the old ceramics manufacturer, Crown Lynn. See these iconic dinner sets, vases, porcelains, nursery ware and more in all their glory at Te Toi Uku – Crown Lynn & Clayworks Museum. What’s more, it’s one of the few museums in Auckland where admission is free!
Location: 8 Ambrico Place, New Lynn.