Planning a short break to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland? Here are some of the best places to visit in the region.

Whether you have an interest in art and culture, are seeking an adventure, or are just looking to savour some delectable food and drink, this five-day itinerary in Auckland has you covered. Enjoy!

DAY 1: EXPLORE CENTRAL AUCKLAND AND THE HAURAKI GULF & ISLANDS

Auckland city skyline from Viaduct Harbour at dusk

Auckland Museum Tour  

Start your day with a cup of coffee surrounded by the history of Tāmaki Makaurau. Take part in a guided tour of Auckland War Memorial Museum and check out the galleries, learn about Māori culture and the unique nature of New Zealand. After your tour why not take a walk around Auckland Domain, or stop by the Winter Gardens? 

Lunch in the CBD 

Head back into the city centre, and if you’re after a spot of shopping check out Commercial Bay, with over 100 stores there’s sure to be something for you! While you’re there you can grab lunch at one of the iconic eateries around the city’s waterfront.  

Head up to Skycity and check out some of the incredible activities 

Jump up to the SkyCity complex and take your pick of activity to fill your afternoon! Whether you’re a cinephile wanting to learn more about the magic of movies at Weta Workshop Unleashed, a sports fanatic ready to learn about the mighty All Blacks through an immersive experience or looking for a different way to see the city from above you’ll be well taken care of.  

DAY 2: GO WEST - TAKE AN AWE-INSPIRING TRIP OUT TO WEST AUCKLAND

People walking up the sand dunes at Te Henga

Nature Time

Start your day immersed in nature and adventure! Bush & Beach offers tours (with pick up from central Auckland), and can take you to explore waterfalls, rainforests and cliff tops. If you drive why not pack a picnic and take a breather at an iconic black sand beach?

Walk it out

The Waitākere Ranges have some of the best walks on offer – as well as the chance to get some amazing shots for the ‘gram. Te Henga Walkway, Ōmanawanui Track and Mercer Bay Loop Walk have varying difficulty levels, while the villages at Karekare and Piha are both good places to pick up snacks and supplies, with local cafes for fish and chips or coffee.

Older kids and adults with a lust for adventure and adrenaline activities might be keen on canyoning at Piha Beach.

Dinner time!

If you’ve kept exploring at Muriwai Beach and the gannet colony (the gannets nest from August to March each year) or for rope courses and flying foxes at Tree Adventures, stop in Kumeū for a late lunch or dinner. Home to brewery-eateries like Hallertau and the Tasting Shed, Kumeū is also Auckland’s oldest wine region. Then again, you may like to savour your Auckland vineyards experience and make a day of it by heading to Matakana on Day 3...

DAY 3: MAKE YOUR WAY TO MATAKANA FOR WINE AND DINING

Two friends holding hands and smiling at a vineyard in Auckland

Country roads…

Just a 50-minute drive north from Central Auckland, a trip to Matakana gets you out in the country air. Start your day at the Matakana Farmers' Market, open Saturdays 8am-1pm, rain or shine. Satisfy your tastebuds and curiosity as you explore stalls selling fresh local artisan goods – it’s a foodie’s heaven. Wander through Matakana Village to discover the local shops and art galleries. Honest Chocolat is a crowd-pleaser, especially if there’s a chocoholic in your party!

Time for a tipple 

Famous for its vineyards and wineries, you’re quite literally spoiled for choice for a long lunch, romantic dinner or family feast in Matakana. Ascension Wine Estate is on the way in from Central Auckland, while Brick Bay Wines and Sculptureum offer sea views, sculpture trails, and cellar doors just a few steps off the beaten track. Sculptureum is an art and culture experience, with Rothko restaurant and bar, three sculpture-filled gardens, six art galleries and a vineyard.

Take to the water

If an afternoon amongst vines isn’t for you, head up to Goat Island Marine Reserve and get out on the water on a Clearyak (a see-through kayak), or the Glass Bottom Boat. There are great walks out this way too, Ti Point Coastal Walk is a charming short walk, and Matheson Bay walk takes you through grasslands and bush.

Dinner time!

After a relaxing dinner at Matakana Estate, why not stay the night, or Takatu Lodge on Whitmore Road is another beautiful vineyard experience that offers lovely accommodation. If dinner and a movie takes your fancy, head to Matakana Village and The Vintry for an elegant taste of wine from a number of local vineyards, then see what’s on at the Matakana Cinema.

DAY 4: SWITCH ONTO ISLAND TIME

Ferry and boats around Waiheke Island

Ferry

It’s anchors away on your trip to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland! Jump on the ferry and head over to Waiheke Island for an action packed day.

Ecozip or walking tour

Want to see the sights? Whether you want to soar above it all with an epic ecozip experience, or take a slightly slower journey by foot with a guided tour and some Forest Therapy with Terra and Tide.

Winery lunch

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite head along to any one of the incredible vineyards on the island for a cheeky drop and incredible meal. If you need help choosing check out some options here.

Ferry back

Once you’ve wined, dined and explored to your hearts content it’s time to jump back on the ferry and head into the city. For dinner why not check out some of the incredible Iconic Auckland Eats?

DAY 5: EAST MODE ACTIVATED

Waterfall at Hunua Ranges

Hit the road, and take in some culture

It’s back in the car for your last day in the region! Head out to East Auckland, just a 40 minute drive away. When you arrive you can turn back time and visit the Howick Historical Village, discovering how fencibles would have lived and experience history for yourself. If you’re more interested in seeing contemporary kiwi art then you could head over to Te Tuhi Contemporary Art Gallery, which is one of the country’s largest contemporary art spaces and supports experimental art practices.

Lunch by the water

Enjoy stunning views of the Tāmaki river, and grab a bite at Half Moon Bay Marina. From Mexican to Japanese and Thai to a classic Tap House you’re spoilt for choice.

A range of adventures 

Jump in the car and drive out to the Hunua Ranges regional park. This is the largest area of native forest in Auckland and there are walking trails available to cater to all fitness levels, with tracks ranging from 20 minutes to 3 hours.

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Piha Beach

Auckland's wild west offers up rugged black-sand coastline with a forest backdrop and charming beachside cafes.

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Matakana

Famous for its wine, fabulous food, markets, sculpture tracks, restaurants and vineyards and less than an hours drive from Central Auckland.

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Rangitoto Island

Explore lava fields, pōhutukawa forests and watch the sunset over Central Auckland at this iconic landmark.

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Tiritiri Matangi Island

A wildlife haven, pristine beaches and a network of walking trails through native forest are just a ferry ride away from Central Auckland.

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Waiheke Island

Feeling a world away, but only a 40-minute ferry ride from Central Auckland is the impressive Waiheke Island. Known for its notable wines, laid-back vibes, and beautiful scenery, it’s an Auckland must-do.

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Rotoroa Island

A unique island of arts, heritage and conservation. See and learn about endangered species, explore the walking trails or take a swim at one of the many beaches.

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Wynyard Quarter

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Commercial Bay

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Britomart

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Viaduct Basin

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Sky Tower

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Goat Island Marine Reserve

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Te Henga (Bethells Beach)

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Muriwai Beach

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Kumeū