The Summer City!
When is the best time to be in Auckland? Other than when you first arrive in New Zealand, it’s summertime! Auckland has the best of both worlds: urban adventures and wilderness exploration. We can’t think of many places in the world where you can be enjoying the atmosphere of a free gig in the park one day, then the next day you could be hiking on an ocean volcano. It’s crazy! And we love it! Oh, and not forgetting to mention all the beaches you can surf at or relax on the mainland or on one of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.
Auckland covers a vast region including: Auckland Central, Auckland Suburbs, Auckland North Shore, and the Hauraki Gulf, so make sure you check out our complete travel guides on those awesome locations.
1. Discover Waiheke Island
Long white-sand beaches backed by stunning ranges make the perfect setting for a long summer day indulging away from the busy city centre. Explore the island by following tracks of the Te Ara Hura, that offer more than 100km of walking tracks around Waiheke. Otherwise, stick to the well-beaten path from one vineyard to another to sample some of New Zealand’s best wines. For a complete guide to Waiheke, give our Waiheke Island backpacker guide article a read.
2. Explore the Regional Parks
The Auckland area is filled with local parks and 26 regional parks. Refer to our extensive guides on Auckland to find the one that you’ll love. Better yet, pack up some barbecue food to make use of more than 180 electric, gas or wood barbecues available to across the parks.
3. Go Camping
Another great thing about the Auckland regional parks is that they are home to more than 40 campsites, most of which are on the coastline. They are the perfect spot to unwind from the crazy city and sleep under the stars. Remember to book your campsite by phone (09 301 0101) as you cannot pay onsite. Find out more on Where to Camp in Auckland.
4. Go for a Hike
Like every city in New Zealand, the Auckland area encompasses more hikes that you’ll have time to do. Need inspiration? Look into the historic Motutapu Island tracks, a well off the beaten path island linked to the famous Rangitoto Island.
5. Get to Work
We have tons of jobs listings live at the moment looking for staff this summer. It may be the best time ever for you to land a fun job that will pay the bills and help you save enough to travel around the country. If you’re a kind-hearted individual looking for something rewarding to do, there are also many conservation volunteer positions taking you to remote parts of the region to help preserve New Zealand’s natural beauty and unique wildlife.
6. Go to the Beach
The Auckland region harbours more islands than you could possibly visit in one gap year! From hidden jewels to wild west coast surf spots, you won’t be disappointed. One of the beaches that stands out is Piha. The black sand beach sheltered in the Waitakere Ranges is famous for its incredible surf and Lion Rock. If you are into paradise-looking beach, try Anchor Bay Beach in the Tawharanui Regional Park.
7. Go Fishing on the Rocks
The Rugged Auckland coastline is the perfect spot for rock fishing. It makes for a great homemade meal at the end of the day and stunning pictures like this to bring back home. Play it safe though: wear a life jacket, good shoes (no rain boots) and never turn your back to the ocean! We recommend Muriwai since the incredible Gannet colony is nearby to comfort you if you feel bad for failing to catch dinner.
8. Treat Yourself at the Wynyard Quarter
The newly-built area on the Auckland waterfront located only a short stroll away from the city centre features a fish market, stunning art installations and bars that makes it for a perfect relaxing afternoon. And like every summer, the Silo Cinema is a free event showcasing classic movies projected onto giant silo buildings.
9. Watch More Movies… and Live Gigs
The Movies in Parks and Music in Parks event offers 50 free events scattered across all suburbs of Auckland with outdoor movies in some parks and live bands in others. Take your pick, you are in for a fun evening or a crazy night out.
10. Kayak to the Islands
Did you know that you could kayak to many islands of the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland city? What other major city offers that? There is no better way to discover the gulf than navigating through it. Check out our article on the subject for destinations ideas and plenty of tips on this unique “city” thing to do!