Going hand in hand in Auckland is a vibrant, bustling city and breathtaking natural landscapes. Hence why there is no surprise for its popularity with tourists and adventurers to visit and do a range of private custom tours!
Situated in the North Island of New Zealand, Auckland is also known as the ‘City of Sails’ due to it being located around two large harbours, Manukau Harbour and Waitemata Harbour. This is the place to come to see the super yachts of this world.
There are more than 50 volcanoes in Auckland, however, no need to panic, they are not expected ever to erupt again. Without these volcanoes, the landscape would not be as spectacular nor would there be as many adrenaline fueled adventure tours and sightseeing tours.
Auckland is the first point of arrival to New Zealand for many travellers before venturing to other locations and everyone should take a few days to soak up all that this city has to offer. You may not want to leave. Within the city, there are must see attractions and thrilling activities. Read More...
Auckland Sky Tower for Amazing Views on a Sightseeing Tour
One of the highly recommended places to visit in the city of Auckland to see on sightseeing tours is the Auckland Sky Tower. This tower has been an icon to the city for nearly 20 years and stands 328 meters high. The panoramic views are exceptional from the observation deck.
There are excellent places to do some extreme tours such as a sky jump or sky walk from the Sky tower, bungee jump from Auckland Bridge, canyoning adventure tours or river rafting.
The nightlife is an added bonus to all that Auckland already has to over new visitors. The restaurants provide delicious food in fabulous atmospheric locations while the bars and clubs offer entertainment till the early hours!
Top 10 Things to Do in Auckland
Sky Tower - Auckland
Among the tallest buildings in the Southern Hemisphere, a sightseeing tour of Sky Tower is a must. It stands 328 meters high and the panoramic views are magnificent. There are also adventure tours to do from here such as a sky jump and sky walk. These are not for the fainthearted. The views from observation deck are beautiful all day long but stunning at night with the lights of the city beneath you.
One Tree Hill / Maungakiekie
The volcanic cone, One Tree Hill or Maungakiekie is the symbol, for some Aucklanders, of the city. For Maori and other New Zealanders, it is an important memorial place. The hill is 182 meters high and is found sitting in the lush Cornwall Park. On a sightseeing tour, witness the stunning views from the summit of the hill and admire the series of flower beds and trees as you continue the walking trail.
Visit Waiheke Island either on a private boat tour or by the ferry and you are arriving into a haven of beaches, olive groves and vineyards. It has been voted the’ best day out’ destination when in Auckland. Taste some world class wine when on guided tours of vineyards, have your taste buds tingle with delicious cuisine or relax on the pristine beaches. There are also watersports activities if the mood hits you.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Located on the highest point of Auckland is the imposing building which houses the Auckland War Memorial Museum and a great place to take a guided tour. The building itself dates back to 1929 and its Neoclassical design is magnificent. It was built as a memorial for soldiers who fought in World War I from New Zealand and now it has collections that trace New Zealand's history from Polynesian settlers to present day.
An iconic and unique location of Auckland is the Rangitoto Island. There is a ferry to bring you from the mainland or take a private boat tour. It is a volcanic island with a vast range of activities for all the family including fishing, sea kayaking, walking tours or camping. On the walking tours, traverse the volcanic landscape, see the native birds and plants. On kayaking tours explore the coastline of the Island.
On a sightseeing tour, it is hard to miss the Waitemata Harbour as it splits Auckland in two. It is the most prominent natural feature of the city. Auckland Harbour Bridge dominates the central harbour being one kilometre long and 43 meters high. There is a wide range of water activities such as kayaking, cruises, a traditional Maori waka canoe or jet boat tours. There plenty of trendy cafes and restaurants on the promenade too.
Auckland Art Gallery
With a private tour guide experience the Auckland Art Gallery. Housed in a stunning French Renaissance-style building from 1887 this is the most impressive cultural site in the city. Here you find New Zealand’s most extensive collection of art with over 15,000 pieces on display. There are art and sculpture from all over the world and a central New Zealand Collection highlighting Maori artists and Pacific Island artists.
Auckland Domain is the oldest park found in the city as well as being one of the largest with 75 hectares. The park was once an active volcano and has been a public garden since 1860. The ‘tuff rings’ created from the activity of the volcano thousands of years ago form a natural amphitheatre. There are formal gardens, artworks/monuments, a band rotunda, a drinking fountain and so much more to see on a sightseeing tour.
Whale and Dolphin Safari Tours Auckland
To witness the Whales and dolphins in action on safari tours in Auckland is a highlight of anyone’s trip. On a purpose built catamaran, you are brought to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. It is here you watch out for activity in the sea from Whales Dolphins and penguins. There is no guarantee of sightings but rarely has a safari come back without seeing some mammals. The boat tour alone is great fun and a pleasure.
West Coast Beaches and Waterfalls
Not far from the city of Auckland are the wild west coast beaches. It is here the Tasman Sea meets black sand and rainforests not to mention waterfalls. This is a great sightseeing tour with views from clifftops and views of impressive waterfalls. One of the beaches is a popular surf beach and another was the movie “The Piano” backdrop. With hiking tours, biking trails and water activities, there is plenty to keep you amused here.
Travel Tips for Auckland
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the city of Auckland is May at the end of Autumn/ Fall and September the start of Spring. There are fewer people visiting, prices are lower and the sightseeing tours are done under much more comfortable conditions thanks to the pleasant temperatures. Remember that the seasons are reversed in this part of the hemisphere. Summer in New Zealand is Winter in the USA for example.
The costs for a tourist can be a bit volatile depending on the strength or weakness of the New Zealand Dollar against other currencies. Having said that, here is a range of average prices for things. A breakfast starts from US$4-US$6.50, a light lunch US$5-US$8 and a basic evening meal US$8-US$12 per person. Accommodation tends to start from US$22 for a 1-star hotel per night up to US$220 for 5-stars.
Know Before Visiting
If you are only staying in Auckland for a short stopover, you should pre book all the sightseeing tours and guided tours you want to do in your limited time. Tipping is optional when anywhere in New Zealand but if you are happy with the service, a tip of 5-10% of the bill is much appreciated. When on tours, for your own safety, do not stray away from the group. In crowded areas beware of pickpockets.
Auckland and its surroundings have warm coastal climate and there are rarely extreme temperatures. The summer, on average, is warm with a high humidity, winters are mild and damp with plenty of rain. However, due to its location, Auckland’s climate is influenced by cold fronts and weakening cyclones. As a result, there may be days that have all four seasons in one. It is worth knowing and to be prepared.