What to Do and What to See in Auckland in Two Days: 10 Essential Places
The largest city in New Zealand is usually the gateway to the “country of the great white cloud”. Auckland is the economic and financial heart of Kiwi and a good place to start exploring the wonders of Middle-earth. With a couple of days, there is more than enough to discover some of its most beautiful corners. So if you need ideas, read on and discover what to see in Auckland in two days.
My friend Antonio and I started our route through New Zealand for 19 days by car with a stop in Auckland. The plane landed at the airport of this city built on a volcanic field formed by 48 cones that make up a unique landscape and spectacular views. And from minute 0 I realized that I was going to like it.
Although it is not the capital of New Zealand (it is Wellington), Auckland is the largest city in the country and one of the most vibrant. Oriented facing the sea and with countless parks built on volcanic cones, it has a unique cultural offer and it is home to a diverse and vibrant community. Do not know where to start? Here are the 10 places to see in Auckland in two days.
What to see in Auckland: 10 essential things
1. Mount Eden
Climbing Mount Eden is one of the first things to do in Auckland … At least, it’s the first thing I did. It is the highest volcanic cone in Auckland, with its 196 meters and offers one of the best views of the entire city and the islands that surround it. Reaching the top is a walk through a park that looks like it’s out of The Lord of the Rings. Once up, be sure not to step on the crater, known as Te Ipu Kai to Mataaho, as it is sacred to the Maori.
2. Queen Street: Town Hall, Aotea Plaza and Civic Theater
The bustling street of Queen Street is the main artery that crosses Auckland. On either side, there are many interesting buildings full of history. Touring Queen Street is a good way to familiarize you with the surroundings. There is a lot to see and do, but I was particularly struck by the Civic Theater, one of the few survivors of the Golden Age of cinema. Even if you’re not going to see it inside, take a look at its lobby decorated with Indian motifs
3. Auckland Art Gallery Toi or Tamaki
The modern atrium of glass and wood adhered to the facade of a palace houses the best of kiwi art along with some interesting pieces by artists such as Bruegel, Picasso, Cézanne and Matisse. There are free tours twice a day (11:30 and 13:30).
4. Albert Park
Because of its greenery and its excellent location, Albert Park is one of the things to see in Auckland, without a doubt. This Victorian garden is attached to the University and is one of the many green lungs that the city has. As you are, come to the wonderful row of Victorian cottages on Princes Street, including the Old Government House.
5. University of Auckland
Even if you are not going to class (you’re on vacation for something), on your trip to New Zealand you should stop by the University of Auckland campus. The clock tower looks like it’s taken from “The Lord of the Rings ” and is a mix of Art Nouveau style and the Chicago School.
Britomart, which takes its name from the eponymous train station, is possibly the most fashionable neighborhood in all of Auckland. It is here, just behind the station, where the old renovated buildings house the best restaurants, bars, and shops in the city. If you’re hungry, stop to eat here.
7. Viaduct Harbor
Very close to the Britomart is the old commercial port of Auckland. Far from those days, today the Viaduct Harbor is a bustling area perfect for a walk, enjoy sculptures and take a look at the yachts of the millionaires.
8. Wynyard Quarter: graffiti and fish market
If you cross the drawbridge at the end of Viaduct Harbor, you will come across Wynyard Quarter, a neighborhood that was the result of the reforms for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Eclectic, modern and with an air of the most hipster, here abound the cute coffee shops, the libraries located in old containers and the creative graffiti. Take the opportunity to stop by the Fish Market and, as you are, take pictures of Auckland’s brand new skyline.
9. Sky Tower
With its 328 meters high it is impossible not to see the Sky Tower from anywhere in Auckland. This huge construction that rises in the center of the city is the highest structure in the southern hemisphere and despite its price ($ 28 per adult), it is worth climbing up to the observation platform if only to walk on the glass floor that will allow you to feel that the city is at your feet.
We went up at noon, after lunch, and despite the haze, we enjoyed a lot of the panoramic views that the Sky Tower offers. Maybe that’s why it’s one of the places to see in Auckland in one or two days. If you have time (and do not mind spending a little more money) go up to the Sky Lounge Café & Wall and have a cocktail. And if you are strong emotions and pasta is not a problem you can always dare to Skywalk (walk on the outside of the platform, subject only with a cable) or launch the vacuum with the Sky Jump.
10. Auckland Domain: Auckland Museum + Wintergarden
With about 80 hectares, the Auckland Domain is a huge green area perfect for sports, admire the views and breathe fresh air. At its highest point is the Auckland Museum, a neoclassical temple where you can see the most interesting exhibitions about the Maori culture and local history. If you can, take advantage of one of the guided tours organized three times a day.