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The largest city in New Zealand, Auckland is an urban hub of shopping and dining, yet it’s scattered with gorgeous parklands, boasts a stunning harbour and is within easy reach of some of the country’s best beaches. With so many highlights within easy reach, the following are just a few examples of what you can do in the 'City of Sails'. For more ideas, talk to one of our Travel Experts today.

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A sail boat on Waitemata Harbour

Take to the water

Wherever you look, water is everywhere in Auckland. The city is surrounded by two harbours – Waitemata Harbour and Manukau Harbour – leading to the Tasman Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Such expansive harbours mean that Auckland offers fantastic sightseeing opportunities in the form of cruises, yacht rentals and even kayaking.

How to do it: We can pre-arrange cruises or sailing tours around Auckland's harbours for you. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s also possible to arrange a spot on the America’s Cup racing yacht. For a closer and more leisurely journey, you can join a kayaking tour out to Rangitoto Island.

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Couple tasting wine in a vineyard on Waiheke Island

Sip wine on Waiheke Island

Once a humble hippie getaway, Waiheke Island has developed in recent years to become a Bohemian but sophisticated holiday island, complete with quiet beaches, a thriving art scene and award-winning vineyards. The food and wine on the island is a particular standout; popular vineyards to visit including Cable Bay and Mudbrick Vineyards, both of which are famed for their Shiraz.

How to do it: As Waikheke Island is only a half-hour ferry ride from Auckland, it’s easy to visit the island as a day trip. If you’d like to stay a little longer, the island is home to a great range of accommodation options, most notably the 5-star Delamore Lodge which is a luxurious boutique hotel offering sweeping views of the harbour and complimentary transfers.

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An  aerial view of Pina Beach near Auckland

Visit one of the beaches

Auckland’s serendipitous location between two harbours means it is a practical haven for beach lovers. Within the city’s limits you’ll find everything from quiet golden bays to black-sand surf beaches. In terms of location, there are beaches located on the east coast, west coast, around the harbour’s islands and then right nearby the city as well.

How to do it: While there are beaches nearby Auckland, you’ll still need to drive to get to them. Luckily all of our holidays to Auckland include car hire. For a beach that’s only a short drive, we recommend visiting the nearby Mission Bay or Saint Heliers, or you could take a 12-minute ferry ride from Auckland to Devonport.   

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A park bench overlooking Rangitoto Island

Tour the volcanos

Auckland wasn’t always this green and serene. The city is located on a volcanic field spanning 48 volcanic cones. While the area is considered dormant, the rugged landscape still makes for fantastic exploring.

How to do it: The best way to see the volcanos is on the Fullers Rangitoto Volcanic Explorer tour. The tour starts in Auckland where you’ll enjoy a ferry cruise across the harbour to Rangitoto Island then board a 4X4 and drive through rugged lava crops around the base of the summit. You’ll then walk to the summit along a wooden boardwalk with steps to take in the panoramic views from the top. 

The historic Sydney suburb - the Rocks

See the skyline

It wouldn’t be a New Zealand destination without a multitude of adventure activities on offer. If you love thrills and aren’t afraid of heights, Auckland has plenty of activities to help you see the city’s skyline.

How to do it: If you’re keen to get your adrenaline pumping, then you’re best to head to Auckland’s Sky Tower. Not only will you enjoy panoramic views 220 metres above street level, but you can do so via the SkyJump or SkyWalk. The SkyJump will see your fall 192 metres while connected to a wire, while the SkyWalk will see you walk around the outdoor platform of the tower while connected to a harness. Want to see the sights without the thrills? We can book you a scenic helicopter ride of the city instead. 

For more ideas on things to do in Auckland, be inspired by our tailor-made Auckland holiday itineraries