• Sarah Preston

Top 10 Things to Do in Auckland

Auckland is a huge place and is only getting bigger each and every year. There are so many different things to see and do, however, I don’t believe many of these attractions are highlighted to others visiting our city.

So I recently did some research into a couple of phrases, ‘Top 10 things to do in Auckland’ and ‘Top 10 attractions in Auckland’ and you know what I found…


I found that they ALL mention the same darn things! Skytower this, Waiheke Island that. So I’m going to highlight parts of Auckland that are not normally written about or mentioned so frequently, so if you are after the lesser mentioned ‘secrets’ of Auckland keep reading.

1. Ferry to Riverhead Tavern

Jump aboard a ferry from Auckland City, and enjoy a cruise travelling along the route of Maori and early pioneers, to grab lunch at one of New Zealand's oldest taverns being over 160 years old! There are two ferry operators that provide these cruises at $43 per adult and $22 per child.

2. Horse Trekking

Enjoy Auckland's West Coast via horseback. Rides are between 1 - 2 hours and range from beginner to advanced. You’ll be paired with a horse that suits your capability. Many of these horses have been hired out for movies or other film projects, so they have a wee story to tell too. You’ll be trekking over rolling farmland, native forest and Muriwai Beach, a beautiful rugged west coast beach. Prices range from $50 - $200 per person.

Tasman Rides | Muriwai Beach Horse Treks

3. Manukau Heads Lighthouse

A gorgeous replica lighthouse set atop a cliff right above the famous Manukau Bar. Famous for dragging sailors out to sea, and for one of the worst maritime disasters in our history, the sinking of HMS Orpheus in 1863. This place is rich in history and is truly an Instagram worthy location. You can learn more about the history of HMS Orpheus at the Huia Settlers Museum.

4. Huia Settlers Museum

Learn more about the history of early settler locations in the area such as Huia, Cornwallis, Whatipu, and the Manukau Harbour to name a few. You’ll learn more about the aforementioned HMS Orpheus disaster here. The location is quiet, scenic and conveniently placed right beside the beach so once you’re done here you can take a quick dip at my favourite secluded beach, Hinge Bay.

5. Spookers

Are you a fan of an adrenaline-pumping scare? Then you should visit Spookers, New Zealand’s scariest attraction. To add to the scary vibe, this place is located in what was once a psychiatric hospital in Kingseat, south of Auckland City. There are scares designed for the whole family here, over many different scenarios.

6. Howick Historical Village

This is a living museum recreated from the 1800s using historical buildings from nearby surrounding suburbs, telling the story of fencibles who were given free passage to New Zealand. Howick Historical Village put on live days which are fantastic to get amongst learning how to make traditional arts and crafts, churning butter etc. Pricing from $16 per adult and $8 per child.

7. Auckland Botanic Gardens

Covering an expanse of 64 acres in the suburb of Manurewa, filled with different themed gardens from African plants, to herb gardens, to native plants, rose gardens and everything in between. Auckland Botanic Gardens is home to over 10,000 plants! There are loads of activities for the kids and you can even bring your pooch. An onsite café means you can take a well-deserved coffee or lunch break as well.

8. Butterfly Creek

A great experience for those young and old. Take a stroll through the large butterfly house, enjoy hand feeding and patting the various farm animals (even the babies!), and view the Salt Water Crocodile feeding encounter during your visit. There are so many more things to see and do here at Butterfly Creek. Grab lunch at the café or grab a souvenir at the gift shop before you go. Pricing from $26 per adult, $24 per senior or student and $16 per child.

9. NZ Warbirds at Ardmore

Get up close and personal with over 20 of New Zealand’s operational and static warbirds showcased in two hangars. If you are here during any of the airshows scheduled throughout the year, you’ll see how truly spectacular these aircraft and their pilots are.

Open Saturdays and Sundays. Adults $15, Children 5+ $5.

10. Hunua Falls

Located in Hunua, roughly 45 minutes from the city centre is one of Auckland’s stunning waterfalls. Just an easy 15-minute walk from the car park to the falls. Swimming is not recommended here as there are many safety risks. Take a picnic and a camera as this is an Instagram worthy location.

These attractions and activities above are many that are not always mentioned, and are worth the mention! There is more to Auckland than the Skytower and Waiheke Island.

I challenge you to visit one or more of these on your next trip to Auckland and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Do you have any others to suggest that aren’t normally featured? Let us know in the comments below, I’d love to know.

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