Things to do in Auckland for 5 days

Travelling to Auckland and wondering what there is to do? Here are things to do in Auckland for 5 days! If you’re travelling with a little one, this is also toddler friendly. Auckland is one the biggest cities in New Zealand and you’ll probably end up here to catch a flight back home. It is also known to not be a big tourist city as it can be argued that it is just another metropolitan city. Albiet, true (it reminded me of Seattle), I was pleasantly surprised with all the unique things there were to do there!

Normally when visiting a new place, I would be on the go and fill the itinerary to the brim. However, travelling with the toddler, we did not want to move around hotels/citites often so we main Auckland our home base. This turned out well because it provided a relaxed pace (i.e. being able to sleep in a little longer and sitting down for breakfasts in the morning). Read on for things to do (with a toddler or not) in Auckland.

Day 1: Urban Hike around Auckland

Viaduct Harbour

This harbor was formerly an industrialized and commercial area and has been converted with upscale apartments and office spaces, high end hotels (such as the Park Hyatt) and trendy restaurants while still preserving some of its past relics. A past relic is the Tank Park. It is a playground incorporated amongst stainless steel silos. Take your toddler here for some outdoor play time!

If you’re in the area looking for food, the Fish Market is here. Check out Baduzzi for great Italian food. If you’re into beer, 16tun had an amazing selection of beer.

Little Queen Street

From Viaduct Harbor, walk over to Little Queen Street. It’s a pretty modern outdoor shopping mall but it has the best hand pie shop, Roti Bro, that I strongly urge you to stop by and get a hand pie from. The main Queen street is just east of Little Queen Street and is your typical street for shopping. I would skip this if you’re not into that and make your way to Britomart.

Britomart

Britomart is formerly dock warehouses turned into contemporary offices, restaurants, and shopping. Walk around and enjoy the architecture and landscape. There are cafes and dessert shops that you can hop into if you need a pickup.

Parnell

If you’re up for it, continue walking to the affluent suburb of Parnell or find a bus to catch. Note that from Britomart, you will be walking up a steep hill for about 100-200 meters. Here you’ll find a long street of restaurants, bookstore, shopping, and cafes in Victorian architecture.

Ponsonby

Ponsonby is a cute local area filled with shopping, cafes and restaurants. Start at Ponsoby Central ( a little shopping area) and walk north to catch all the above. Sol’s Place was recommended for brunch and the cute patio did not disappoint!

Day 2: Visit the charming Devonport

Take a 15 minute ferry to the harborside neighborhood of Devonport. There are restaurants, shops and hilltop points for water views (such as North Head and Mount Victoria) and There is also a fun playground for kids and toddlers. We ate at Cafe Hung Viet and my Vietnamese parents loved it!

Day 3: Book a tour to Hobbiton

The location of the tour is about 1 hour and 45 minute drive from Auckland. If you’re a fan of J.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world, I know you’re definitely in for this. If you know nothing about it and your travel mate wants to go, I highly recommend joining! My parents and sister came along and they never seen/read the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings and this ended up being one of their favorite things about the entire trip. That is because despite what you know, it is the New Zealand lush scenery that will captivate you.

Day 4: Waiheke – Wine Island

This island is filled with beaches and wineries with great views and/or atmosphere. Definitely plan a whole day on this fun island. Here are few wineries that are all right next to each other:

  • Wild Estate Vineyard: Modern building with all sorts of activities for the whole family! There is a playground (slide and swings), trampoline, and archery range.
  • Tantalus: A more upscale vibe winery with a long steep uphill driveway.
  • Stonyridge Vineyard: More laid back vibe, they have a patio facing a beautiful view of the hills.

Day 5: Tour to the Waiketeres Ranges

The Waitakere Ranges is the west coastal area of Auckland with mountainous ranges, native forest and black sand beaches. It is about a 30 minute drive (without traffic) from Auckland. As we were travelling without a car seat and didn’t want to embark on a long journey with public transportation, we booked a tour with Busch and Beach. Read more about the tour here.

Final Thoughts

If you’re visiting Auckland for two days or 6 days, this itinerary should give you some ideas on all the things you can do from there!

Are you passing Auckland on the way to Sydney? Check out things to do in Sydney here.

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