The best outdoor adventures in Auckland

From sea and sky to bush and bike, there are all sorts of outdoor adventures in Auckland waiting for you.

  • Author

    Discover Auckland
  • Last updated

    Apr 2024
  • Time to read

    5 mins

We know Auckland is celebrated for its vibrant nightlife, cultural diversity and foodie accomplishments, but it’s also a region boasting a plethora of amazing outdoor experiences. Are you ready to see the best of this beautiful metropolis by land, sea and air? Read on to discover our must-do outdoor adventures in Auckland.

Sail away

Auckland's Waitematā Harbour is not only a stunning place to admire from land, but it’s a magical place to explore by boat. Start at Viaduct Harbour, where an abundance of sailing journeys await for every level of experience. 

For the ultimate seafaring adventure, take a tour with Explore Group to one of the islands scattered across the Hauraki Gulf. If you're a seasoned sailor, why not become part of the crew on one of their America’s Cup sailing experiences? Or for something a little more low key, set sail for a dinner cruise

A great family option is hopping aboard one of the beautiful heritage vessels from the New Zealand Maritime Museum. The cruises head right underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and you’ll be able to appreciate a new perspective of the city. 

If it's a group booking you’re after, chartered sailing trips from Terra & Tide offer exquisite marine destinations to the outer gulf taking punters to idyllic places to snorkel, swim, paddle board and have a catered lunch.

Soar over the city

These sky-high adventures are sure to lift your spirits. Why not start your aerial journey at the Sky Tower? Simply take in the stunning 360-degree views of the city, or get your adrenaline pumping with a SkyJump – leap off New Zealand’s tallest building on the and experience what it’s like to fall 192m back down to earth. If that’s not high enough for you, SkyDive Auckland offers the country’s highest dive at 18,000ft (approximately 5.5km).

How about conquering the skies by taking to the air, literally. Head about an hour south of central Auckland and you can enjoy a memorable moment floating over Karioitahi Beach in Waiuku, where HighSide Paragliding operates tandem flights seven days a week. 

With a Heletranz Helicopters tour, you can witness Auckland's landscape from above, with harbour, volcano and city flight options, or a scenic coast-to-coast trip over west coast beaches and the Waitākere Ranges

Fine wine and a flight take your fancy? Then the Island Aviation Fly and Dine experience is for you. Following a three-hour scenic flight, you’ll tuck into a three-course meal and wine tasting at Waiheke Island’s Batch Winery vineyard. 

Nature’s embrace

Tree-lovers rejoice! There's plenty of lush forest to explore in Auckland, with the best enveloping experience found in Waitākere Ranges Regional Park. It’s here that the beautiful Kitekite Falls Path will lead you through stunning greenery to an unforgettable waterfall.The Beveridge to Arataki Track is another excellent option for nature enthusiasts. Starting at Arataki Visitor Centre – a great spot to learn about cultural and ecological landscapes in the region – the track leads you through mature bush where the sounds of tūī and bellbirds ring out. Those who want to see ancient and giant kauri trees should head to the recently reopened Cascade Kauri walk.

Head 40 minutes east of the central city to Hunua Ranges Regional Park, where the 8.3km Cossey-Massey Loop track is sure to appeal. It winds through mature native forest and ascends 335m to incredible views across the Hunua Ranges and Cossey Dam.

No car? No worries. Catch a ferry from downtown Auckland or historic Devonport and head to Rangitoto Island. Climb to the top of this iconic volcanic island’s summit and walk through the world’s largest pōhutakawa forest.
Not all forest adventures in Auckland require a day trip. A dip into nature is just a 13-minute drive north, where Kauri Point Centennial Path has a scenic bush walk down to child-friendly and swimmable Kendall Bay. 

Please note that access to Arataki Visitor Centre is currently only open from the Titirangi end of Scenic Drive.

On your bike

For those who prefer to adventure on two wheels, Auckland’s diverse terrain has an array of fun biking experiences. Ride along Tāmaki Drive waterfront cycleway and enjoy views of the harbour and easy access to cafes and beaches, providing the perfect route for a relaxing day out. For something a bit different, hop on a Power to the Pedal electric bike night tour to take in the city’s great light installations.

If kids are in tow, a gentle ride can be had along Westhaven Path to Wynyard Quarter. Cool down at the end with some water play, ice cream and a cold beverage. Fit and fast peddlers will revel in the steep terrain and panoramas from the dormant central volcanic peaks, Maungawhau Mt Eden and Maungakiekie One Tree Hill. Looping paths and roads take riders around these majestic cones.

A little further out of the city, the more adventurous (and fit) will love the mountain bike trails in Woodhill and Riverhead Forests, while the Matakana Bike Trail – starting at Matakana Village and ending at Point Wells – offers cyclists culture, beach and beverage stops throughout.

Written by Discover Auckland

Last updated 10 Apr 2024

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