Guaranteed to be a memorable day out for everyone, Butterfly Creek is unique, fun, and educational! This family friendly Auckland attraction has a number of special exhibits and animal collections that will no doubt appeal to any wildlife lover.
Since opening in late 2003, Butterfly Creek has attracted many visitors from around the world with their immersive exhibits. This attraction can easily be crossed off of your ‘things to do in Auckland’ checklist with its convenient location right by the airport.
Highlights of Butterfly Creek
The Butterfly House
Inside the Butterfly House, your childhood dream of being immersed among living butterflies can be a dream come true. Watch in wonder as they flutter around you and, if you’re lucky enough, land on you! Here’s a tip, if you want to attract these beautiful insects – butterflies are attracted to bright colours such as red, blue and orange. Get in early if you want the best spot when they release the newly hatched butterflies, daily from 10am and 3pm!
Choo choo! All aboard! Ride around Butterfly Creek on the Red Admiral Express train as it makes it way to Dinosaur Kingdom and passes through the tunnel. Trains depart every half hour, starting at 10:15am on weekends and 10:45am on weekdays.
Please note that the train is not included in the ticket prices for Butterfly Creek, and is purchased separately.
Scar and Goldie enjoy having a great audience. These impressive Aussie Saltwater crocodiles weigh more than half a ton each. Catch them in action with their keepers at the croc talk, daily at 1:00pm.
Must See and Do
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Cotton-top Tamarin monkeys will steal your heart with their cuteness. These types of Tamarins were once found in several Central American countries, but are now found only in the rainforests of Northwestern Colombia. Luckily for you, four of these cheeky little animals can be found at Butterfly Creek. Miracle, Chaska, Merida and Ay were re-homed from Franklin Zoo after its recent closure, and have since enjoyed the limelight as visitors flock to see these rare creatures.
Catch them as they feed on insects, fruit, small invertebrates and other plant material daily at 2:00pm at the Monkey feedings.
Auckland’s own Jurassic Park – the Dinosaur Kingdom – will take you back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the land. With over 30 dinosaurs, this attraction features fossils, skeletons and lifelike dinosaur displays. Snap some great photos and give your friends dinosaur-envy.
Get up close with some of your favourite farm animals in this highly interactive farmyard – children are welcome to hold and pat the animals. The kids will love petting the soft coats of the rabbits, or feeding the goats as they eat right out of the palm of their hands! Say hello to Mila, the resident labrador farm dog who’s always looking for a good pat, and dance along with lorikeet Freddie. Don’t miss all the cute rabbits, guinea pigs, Angora and mixed breed goats, alpacas, sheep and pigs, as well as the chickens and other birds that like to roam around!
Do you have a child who loves animals and want to learn more about them? The Junior Keeper programme will give your kids the ultimate hands-on experience as they learn what it takes to be a zookeeper. From cleaning, feeding, monitoring, and of course caring and playing with the animals, your junior keeper will be buzzing around Butterfly Creek for the day. Make sure you book your child in early, as places can fill up quick!
Visiting Butterfly Creek
Butterfly Creek is a convenient and short 20km drive south of Auckland city, or a 2 minute drive from the domestic and international airports.
If you’re coming from Auckland city, the Airbus Express bus takes you to the airport terminals. From there, Butterfly Creek is a short 5 minute walk.
Butterfly Creek prices range from $10 to $27, depending on the options and age of attendee. If you’re bringing friends and family along, grab a 10% discount for groups of 10 or more. Children under 3 enter for free.
Butterfly Creek opening hours:
April – October
9:30 to 5:00pm, last entry 4:00pm
November – March
9:30 to 5:00pm, last entry at 4:00pm (Monday to Friday)
9:30 to 5:30pm, last entry at 4:30pm (Weekends, school & public holidays)
After a long day having fun immersed in Butterfly Creek’s attractions and exhibits, why not sit back, relax and take a much deserved break at one of Best Western’s Auckland accommodations?
Which suburb in Auckland houses one of the highest natural points in all of Auckland? If you answered “Mt Eden”, then you sure know your Auckland attractions. Visit Mount Eden (located in Mt Eden), and take in spectacular 360 degree views of the surrounding city from the dormant volcano.
Mt Eden is a vibrant community, approximately five kilometres south of the Auckland CBD. The Mt Eden Village Centre at its heart boasts many cafés, small shops, and restaurants, cementing its popularity with locals and tourists, alike. Best of all, it’s easy to get to by public transport.
Exploring Mt Eden Village
Mt Eden is chock full of character and heritage. Many of the village’s original buildings remain today. It’s a pleasure to stroll around the tree-lined streets, admiring the leafy trees that border the Californian and English bungalows, built during the 1870s to 1930s.
If nature is more your cup of tea, the 5.5 acre award-winning Eden Gardens is a great way for some flora and fauna sightseeing. Enjoy the native New Zealand plants and birds with the sound of waterfalls in the background, while taking in the magnificent views of the city and harbour.
Mt Eden Restaurants and Shopping
Specialty food shops may be few and far between in many rural areas, but Mt Eden Village is well known for their long-standing gourmet stores.
The Mt Eden Village Fish Shop has been passed down for three generations and serves some of the best fish and chips in Auckland.
For some fresh meat and produce, Mt Eden Traditional Butchery has more than half a century’s worth of experience in selling quality cuts, while K.C Loo Fruit and Vegetables has been serving the village for almost the same amount of time!
Climb the summit to Mt Eden Domain
If you’re after the million dollar view, Mount Eden, or Mt Eden Domain, towers over the city at 196 metres high. It’s the perfect outlook for some truly breathtaking Auckland sightseeing. That in itself should be tempting enough to be on the top of your list of things to see in Auckland.
Incredible views aside, how many of your friends or family can claim that they stood on the edge of an old volcano crater? Well, here’s your chance to outshine everyone. Mount Eden’s main feature is its cone – a grass covered crater that is an impressive fifty metres deep.
While on your heritage walk around the area, or at the summit, keep your eye out for Tamki Hikoi hosts. Every day between 9am and 5pm, they share their knowledge about the maunga (mountain) with you.
Entrances to the park via Mt Eden Road and Tahaki Drive open at 7am each morning, and close at 11pm each night.
Getting to Mt Eden
Mt Eden Village is easy to get to with two available bus services – a fast commuter service, and a scenic route that takes you around key destinations and suburbs, in and around Auckland. Look for the 274 or 277 Metro bus, or the Bright Red or Green City LINK and Inner LINK services.
For drivers, Mt Eden Village is a short 15-minute drive from Auckland Airport, and 5 minutes from downtown Auckland.
After a long day of fun and sightseeing at Mt Eden, why not kick back and take a much deserved rest at one of Best Western’s hotels?
Plantation for Green Thumbs
Take a relaxing stroll through Auckland Botanic Gardens. It’s impressive 64 hectares are blooming with plants from all around the world, with over 10,000 of them waiting to be discovered, this really is one of the great free attractions in Auckland.
A close 20-minute drive from the city and 15 minutes from Auckland International Airport, Auckland Botanic Gardens is situated right next to the Southern Motorway in Manurewa.
The Botanic Gardens are open daily from 8am to 8pm during Daylight Saving Hours and 8am to 6pm during Non Daylight Saving Hours.
Must See and Do
A nirvana for every gardener, the Auckland Botanic Gardens in full bloom is a sight for sore eyes – if you have allergies, remember to come prepared!
Check out the different collections – from temperate to tropical – and grab some great tips and gardening advice for your own vegetation.
Start off at the edibles garden. You’ll be enticed by the tasty fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and edible flowers that are blossoming here. There’s also composting displays to provide you with some savvy gardening and cultivation ideas for your home garden.
Not to be missed in the Auckland Botanic Gardens are the New Zealand natives. This extensive collection includes four main areas, including an extensive list of threatened local species that can’t be seen in any other country.
If you’re searching for an explosion of colours, the magnolias, roses and camellia gardens in the Spring Blossom Valley are perfect for you. Then, change things up a bit by following the path to the African garden, populated with plants from one of the richest floral areas in the world – southern Africa.
Your nose might start following the aroma of the nearby herbs when you pass over the narrow brick paths to the Herb Garden. Breathe in the fragrance of lavender, rosemary, thyme, mint while you walk past the range of herbal trees and shrugs of pomegranate and mulberry, to name a few!
If you see a gardener working on the plants, don’t be shy and feel free to pick their brains (or green thumbs!) for advice.
If you want to have a wander around with a guide, there are free hour-long walks on Wednesday from 1-2pm. Rock up at the visitor centre and learn about all the seasonal highlights. If Wednesday doesn’t work for you, there’s also the option to book a Group Guided Walk.
Auckland Botanic Gardens is a great attraction for kids too. Hop on the Wiri Rambler Train for a ride of a lifetime. It runs every Sunday from midday till 3pm, weather permitted of course.
Not to be missed is the award-winning Potter Children’s Garden. It’s the perfect place for kids to have fun and get their hands dirty in the garden. You can also book them a workshop here!
Conferences, Functions and Weddings
Step out of the norm and hold you next function at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Give your guests a unique experience at one of the beautiful facilities.
Searching for your Auckland wedding venue? Don’t miss out on one of the three outdoor wedding sites that can cater to up to 200 guests. There’s no better place to spend your special day than having immaculately cared for flora serving as a backdrop.
With the Gardens situated a close 15 minutes from the airport, it’s a breeze for guests to find Auckland accommodation and hotels close by.
Visiting Auckland Botanic Gardens
Begin your journey at the gardens at the Visitor Centre. Here you can refresh yourself with a coffee from Café Miko as you plan your journey through the beautiful and fascinating plants.
Visit the library if you have some challenging questions that need to be answered. It has over 2500 horticultural books, journals and magazines, so you can dig a little deeper to what you’ve been searching for.
The Visitor Centre is open daily from 8am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 8am to 5pm on weekends (Daylight Saving Hours). During Non Daylight Saving Hours, it’s open 8am to 4pm daily. The Centre is closed on Christmas Day.
You can head to the library on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11am to 3pm. It’s closed on Christmas Day.
Cafe Miko is open daily from 8am to 4pm and closed on Christmas Day.
After a long day at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, kick back and relax your feet at one of Best Western’s hotels.
Auckland Zoo Has It All
Home to New Zealand’s largest collection of native and exotic animals, Auckland Zoo is considered one of the most progressive zoos in the world.
Just minutes from central Auckland in Western Springs, you’ll find 17 hectares of wildlife and parkland, filled with hundreds of different species of animals and creatures. You’d be wild to think you can miss one of Auckland’s top ten tourist attractions!
Auckland Zoo is open every day of the year, except for Christmas, from 9:30am to 5:30pm in summer, and 9:30am to 5:00pm in winter.
Highlights of Auckland Zoo
If you have enough fingers and toes to count the 875 different animals that Auckland Zoo has to offer, you’ll agree that you have to see it to believe it.
Be transported to Africa and enjoy a mini safari when you step into the Pridelands. The kids will learn about the circle of life when they see animals such as the majestic lions lounging around, while the giraffes and southern white rhinoceros (the third largest land animal in the world) tower over them. Continue into the savannah with zebras, flamingos, cheetahs and more – there’s so much to discover.
When the desert habitats start to feel a bit barren, head over to the rainforest and tropical habitats and monkey around with the gibbons and baboons. If you’re feeling a bit daring, peer into the dense vegetation and see if you can spot the Bolivian blue-legged tarantula or Andean stripe-knee tarantulas.
Must See and Do
Taking up a fifth of Auckland Zoo’s 17 spectacular hectares is Te Wao Nui. In this precinct you’ll find six incredible habitats that will offer both locals and tourists an experience like no other.
Come high or low, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s animals, plants and culture. From New Zealand fur seals in The Coast to the famous residents of the High Country, the kea and the whio (blue duck), this attraction is a must.
If you’re searching for a truly unforgettable experience, give the kids (or yourself!) the chance to get up and personal with your favourite animals. Auckland Zoo offers behind-the-scene experiences, where you can come close to the eye of the tiger, wash down an elephant, feed some cheeky monkeys or meet one of the rhinos! Kids also have the chance to be a zookeeper for a day with the junior keeper experience.
Not amazing enough for you? Not a problem – the animals aren’t the only things to see and do! If you’re a night owl, why not explore Auckland Zoo after dark on a night safari? Or put your camera to good use and snap up a challenge by taking a photography workshop, where a pro will offer you another perspective to see all those species.
Visiting Auckland Zoo
Auckland Zoo is a winner when it comes to naturalistic habitats and environments.
The kids will love the KidZone with all the domestic animals. From chickens, frogs, guinea pigs to bearded dragons, they’ll be fascinated by this area. Plus the outdoor area is a great place for them to run and climb around!
On Wednesdays at 11am, Friday at 2pm and Sunday’s at 11am, the zoo offers informative guided walks. The 1-hour tour is great for taking in all the highlights of the Zoo. At the same time you’ll also learn a thing or two about the Zoo’s long history.
Be sure to book ahead for Experience products so you don’t miss out!
Auckland Zoo prices range from $12 for kids to $28 for adults. Kids under 4 enter for free. Get a good deal when you take the whole family with a family pass.
The Zoo’s impressive layout makes it an attraction that is a must see on your list of things to do in Auckland. Keep in mind that it can get quite busy during school holidays around Christmas time, and on public holidays.
After a long and fun day at the zoo, kick back and relax at one of Best Western’s Auckland accommodations.
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, Auckland Museum is quite possibly one the best ways to get a true sense of New Zealand’s culture. As one of the best museums in the Southern Hemisphere, it is renowned for passionately exhibiting the culture, artistic legacy and military bravery of the Pacific People.
Housed in one of New Zealand’s finest neo-classicist style heritage buildings, the museum is located in the grounds of the Domain, a beautiful garden in the city centre and sits on a grassed plinth. The museum provides an ever-changing banquet of local and international exhibitions that excite and delight the visitor.
A central part of the Auckland Museum and a favourite among visitors is the Maori exhibition which delves into the culture and legacy of the people. It is home to the largest and most valuable collection of Maori taonga treasures in the world. These have been collected diligently over time. It is also the only place in Auckland where visitors can experience a Maori cultural performance daily. The performance gives an engaging, vibrant and entertaining glimpse at Tamaki Paenga Hira with the world-famous haka. As part of the experience, you also get the opportunity to interact with and take photos with the performers. This cultural display is considered one of the best in New Zealand.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
The museum is often referred to as the Auckland War Memorial Museum as it is one of New Zealand’s most important war memorials. The Scars of the Heart exhibition covers the New Zealand civil wars and Anglo-Boer War of the 19th century, the first and second world wars and the Asian conflicts. There are two main galleries, the World War I Sanctuary and the World War II Hall of Memories. The Hall of Memories is home to the permanent roll of honour which is carved into marble and holds the names of men and women from the Auckland Province who lost their lives in war. The building was extended to allow for war memorials for over 4,000 Aucklanders who lost their lives in World War II.
What is particularly special about the exhibition is that it was created using the personal experiences of those who served in the armed forces and also New Zealanders who stayed at home. Many of the items on display are of a personal nature including photographs and letters to and from home. It even has interactive computers, allowing visitors to browse through photo albums and diaries, and handsets giving oral histories of soldier’s experiences. The personal pieces make a very strong impact to the collection as you get a first-hand sense of the experiences and emotions of the soldiers.
Auckland Museum Cenotaph
The Auckland Museum Cenotaph (empty tomb) is located in the building’s consecrated foreground, along with the Court of Honour. The Cenotaph is inscribed to “The Glorious Dead” and is purposely without decoration or religious symbolism as it was designed by Luytens to capture the grief of an Empire unable to bring those who died at war home. Constructed in 1929, the Auckland War Memorial Museum still remains a place of remembrance for families and comrades.
Auckland Museum Opening Hours
Galleries and Exhibitions are open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.
Auckland Museum Prices
General Admission is $25 for an adult, $10 for a child and $60 for a family of two adults and four children. Extra charges apply for tours and performances.
Being without a doubt one of the best Auckland attractions, make sure you include a visit to the Auckland Museum in your itinerary.
After all the excitement of discovering the treasures of the museum, why not sit back and relax at one of Best Western’s Auckland accommodations.
A Rangitoto Island tour is an absolute must when exploring Auckland’s attractions. Rangitoto volcano is the youngest and largest of Auckland’s volcanic field and has something very special to offer.
Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland. It was formed about 600 years ago. It has a distinctive, symmetrical cone shape and can be seen from most of Auckland. It’s the youngest and largest of the 48 volcanoes of Auckland’s volcanic field. Cooling lava has formed a moat-like ring around the crater summit which can be viewed from the paths leading to the summit. The island is considered particularly different from the others in the field because of the sparse forests covering much of the island which formed from raw lava.
Getting there is easy. The Rangitoto ferry runs daily from either downtown Auckland or Devonport Wharf. It takes approximately 25 minutes to be transported to the majestic lava-covered island.
The famous Rangitoto walk to the summit is steep but only takes an hour at an easy pace and is manageable to most. The scenery along the way is simply stunning as you take in your surroundings of luscious greenery, sandy coves and lava fields, not to mention the world’s largest pohutukawa forest. Pohutukawa is one of the first plants to take hold on fresh lava with a fascinating succession from bare lava directly to forest. These unusual, large coastal trees now cover about 80% of the island creating an exceptionally distinctive landscape. Take a slight diversion off the track for a 30 minute round trip to the lava caves. The caves are natural tunnels formed by lava and really add to the adventure. Be mindful that they are very dark – bring a torch to explore!
If you prefer a more challenging walk, there are plenty of other tracks to cover. The Lighthouse Walk to McKenzie Bay is a longer walk taking approximately two and half hours along the coast and will lead you to one of the two natural beaches on the island, McKenzie Bay. Another option would be the coastal track from Rangitoto Wharf to Islington Bay Wharf which takes around the same time and displays some historical structures such as Yankee Wharf which was built during World War II, old quarry sites and ruins of storage bases for mines from war times.
Walking not for you? No problem! You can take the guided tour option on the 4WD road train which will give you a commentary about the history and geology of the island as you take in the scenery.
Another way to see Rangitoto Island is by kayak which takes approximately two hours. Several kayak operators offer kayak rentals and guided tours. The tours typically start at Waitemata Harbor and take you across to the island, taking in the panoramic views from the water. It’s not uncommon to see wildlife along the way such as Cooks Petrels and Little Blue Penguins.
If you’re the adventurous type, you may be interested in the night kayak trip which takes you out across the water in the evening to see a spectacular sunset from the summit of the volcano. Some tours include an evening dinner. You’ll then get to kayak back under the stars with the city lights as your backdrop. What a treat!
What you need to know
There are no shops or restaurants on Rangitoto Island so be sure to take enough food with you to last your trip. Bring plenty of water, especially if you’re planning on doing a walk. If you want to take an adventure through the caves it’s advised to bring a torch as the caves are dark and the ground is uneven underfoot. Be sure to time the ferry trips well as you don’t want to miss the last ferry and not get back to your Auckland accommodation. Proper walking shoes/hiking boots are recommended, especially if taking a longer track. Sun screen and hats are also advisable to make your trip as pleasant and safe as possible
After an adventurous and awe-inspiring day on Rangitoto Island, take your boots off and put your feet up at one of Best Western’s Auckland accommodations. When it comes to things to do in Auckland, Rangitoto Island must not be missed! If you’re interested in Island tours then you might also enjoy a visit to Waiheke Island.
One of the best things to do in Auckland is to visit Waiheke Island which offers visitors so much fun and adventure. It is an island jam-packed with attractions. Boasting 92 square kilometres filled with charming beaches, olive groves, native bushes and vineyards, it is easy to see why this is such a popular tourist attraction in Auckland. You can do a full day or a half day trip with easy access to the island from Auckland CBD. So let us show you some of the highlights of the island so you get the most out of your trip.
Waiheke Island ferries
First off, getting to Waiheke Island is fairly easy and is about a 30 minute trip via ferry from downtown Auckland. Other options include a 45-minute trip from Half Moon Bay to the Kennedy Point by car and passenger ferries. Fullers Ferries provide regular services to the island and depart from Auckland or via Devonport to Matiatia, Waiheke. Another option is Sealink which you can also book online. You can expect to pay around the following prices for a return trip on one of the ferries – Adult $40, Child $20 and family $100.
Waiheke Island Tours
One of the best ways to enjoy your visit to the island is to book a tour package. There are various companies offering tours. One of the most well-known companies offering tours are fullers.co.nz. There are plenty of tour packages available including wine tours, hop on hop off tours where you can see the whole island at your own pace, hiking and bike packages, fishing tours and many more to suit your needs and budget. If you’re not interested in a tour you can hire a car, motorbike or a scooter on the island so you really do have plenty of options.
Waiheke offers several beaches, including Onetangi and Oneroa. Oneroa is situated close to the terminal while Onetangi is only about 20 minutes ride away from the island’s main town. These beaches offer impressive coastlines with enchanting views of the Coromandel and the surrounding islands. You can also discover scenic walkways along the historic sites, native bushes and coastal vistas. So be sure to pack your towel, especially in the summer months, for a relaxing swim on one of the many beaches the island has to offer.
Waiheke Island Restaurants
If you don’t want to pack a lunch for the day, not to worry, as there are plenty of places to eat including world class restaurants and cafés. If you are searching for mouth-watering pastries, deli goodies, gourmet meals, and aromatic coffee you can head on over to Island Thyme Eating House. For Italian cuisine lovers Poderi Crisci is the best place to dine on Waiheke Island. It has gained a sterling reputation for its delicious food.
Waiheke Island Wineries
For the wine lovers, Waiheke has more than 30 vineyards to explore. Mudbrick Vineyard, The Goldie Room, and Te Whau Vineyard are some of the most visited vineyards on the Island. Also vineyard restaurants are available to enjoy the different taste of wines with mouth-watering food. Tour companies often include a winery visit or two in the itinerary so if you’re visiting the island in search of the perfect bottle of wine, then a tour package may be for you.
There is so much to do on Waiheke Island you may need an extra day to fit it all in. Some of the other popular activities include ocean kayaking, zip lining and mountain biking. Once you have had your adventure fill, sit back and watch the enchanting sunset from one of the many beautiful places on the island.
Auckland, the largest and most populated city in New Zealand is a remarkable city to explore. Auckland offers visitors a wide variety of things to experience and best of all there are plenty of free things to do in Auckland. We have come up with our top list of things to do in Auckland that won’t break your budget and will give you a vacation you will never forget. You will discover the best things in life really are free as you explore Auckland using our guide.
Mount Eden – Maungawhau
Mount Eden (Maungawhau) is the highest natural point in Auckland City. Located just 4km south of the CBD, it is easily accessible to visitors staying in any of the Auckland Best Western hotels and offers visitors a great view in all directions over the entire city of Auckland. You can drive to the top or if you’re feeling energetic, you can put on your running shoes and make your way to the top with other fitness fanatics.
You will be amazed by the stunning bowl-like crater that is around 50 metres deep. This was caused by an eruption over 28,000 years ago… don’t worry the volcano is not likely to erupt any time soon as it is dormant. If you’re interested in more volcanoes around Auckland you may want to explore One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie).
Cheltenham Beach, Devonport
Cheltenham Beach is located in the historic seaside village of Devonport and is one of the more popular beaches that the city has to offer. Devonport is definitely worth exploring on foot and is a great way to spend some time with family or friends. However if you fancy a dip in the water, then Cheltenham beach is the perfect place to visit. Generally offering calm water, it is an ideal place to take kids for a swim or even just to play on the beach.
There are many nice cafés and restaurants close to the beach. If you are up to it, a quick walk up Mt Victoria, at the top of the main street of Devonport, will give you amazing views over the harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. While it can sometimes be difficult to find parking, especially on a sunny day, it is worth the effort to visit Devonport and Cheltenham Beach. The most popular way to Devonport is via the Devonport Ferry which leaves regularly from the Auckland Ferry Terminal. This is a pleasant 15 minute trip across Auckland Harbour.
The Viaduct Harbour is a wonderful place to hang out and chill in Auckland. Offering over 30 bars and restaurants, it is one of the more vibrant places to visit in the city. Here you can see upscale apartments in one of the best developed areas in Auckland city. Located right on the harbour front, you will be able to see some of the city’s best yachts. It is also the perfect place for a night out if you feel like dancing the night away, or the perfect place to enjoy a coffee in the morning while you sit and watch the world go by.
Queen Street – Downtown
Queen Street is the main street of Auckland city. It is around 3 kilometres in length, starting at Queens Wharf on the waterfront and continuing all the way to Karangahape Road. Queen Street is home to some of the best shopping in Auckland and the perfect place to find yourself some kiwi souvenirs. You will find most national franchises and banks in Queen Street. If you’re lucky enough, you might be in town for one of the numerous parades or events that are held in the street or surrounding areas. Here you will also find some great nightlife spots and entertainment. If you’re interested in exploring the city of Auckland, and in particular the CBD, then Queen Street is worth a visit.
Auckland Art Gallery
Auckland Art Gallery has a collection of over 15,000 artworks and is one of the best free things to do while in Auckland. The art gallery offers free admission but you can always leave a donation. The gallery has many special events and different exhibitions so be sure to check out the gallery’s website here. The art gallery is located in Albert Park which is a wonderful place for a picnic or walk. Located around a 15 minute walk from downtown, you could fit this free attraction into your itinerary with ease. Open 7 days a week, 10am– 5pm, be sure to visit what is the largest collection of New Zealand art in world class exhibitions.
One of the most amazing free things to do in Auckland is Kitekite Falls. If you’re looking to get out of the city then why not head west to Waitakere Regional Park where Kitekite Falls are located. You will find this wonderful attraction located around a 50 minute drive from Auckland. As well as the Kitekite Falls you will find many other natural attractions including the famous Piha Beach.
Be sure to take the Kitekite track which takes around 45 minutes and also links up to other coastal tracks. Make sure you stop at the lookout along the way to enjoy the breathtaking views. If you’re lucky, when you get to the base of the falls you might see a New Zealand longfin eel close to the rocks. Pack a towel as you may want to take a dip in the crystal clear waters.
Explore Napier New Zealand
Just 20 minutes out of Hastings, Napier is one of New Zealand’s most attractive cities. It can be found at the south of the Hawkes Bay.
Napier is a unique city, admired by tourists. Featuring a comprehensive offering of 1930s Art Deco architecture comparable to that of Miami’s, Napier has become a highly photographed attraction and event hub. In 1931, most of Napier was levelled by an earthquake. The city was given the opportunity to rebuild, favouring an Art Deco style popular at the time. Now it is one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world.
Things to do in Napier
There are a multitude of things to do in Napier. If architecture and photography are right up your street, take the walking trail along the city streets of Napier taking in the zig zags, speed lines and fountains, not to mention the interesting melding of Maori art into the Art Deco. This can be enjoyed either by guided tour or on a self-guided walk.
Napier is home to many established wineries and vineyards and is considered a wine hub in New Zealand. Hawkes Bay is the oldest wine region in New Zealand and the main producer of full bodied-red wine in the country. The region is an important producer of grapes and other exports such as sheep’s wool, frozen meat, wood pulp and timber. Feast your taste buds with a food and wine tour around Hawkes bay, guided by a local expert. Tours can be organised on an individual basis or in groups and can be enjoyed by bike ride, car, or if you’re feeling particularly extravagant, by helicopter!
The MTG Napier is one of the most popular Napier attractions and not to be missed. The MTG encompasses three buildings with distinct character – a modernist gem, an art deco masterpiece and a light-filled gallery with spectacular views of Hawkes Bay. The collections types span from art to history to Taonga Maori and technology. The stories of New Zealand are exhibited with such style and assurance, including the story of the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. Aside from the significant collections of objects and art, there is also a lively programme of performing arts and film to keep you entertained throughout your exploration.