When the trans-Tasman bubble opens, and Jacinda Ardern opens the gates for Australians to visit New Zealand, the list of things to do around the North and South Islands is long.
Auckland will be the first cab off the rank. Australians make up nearly half of the total international market into the harbour city pre-virus. Here are some ideas of things you can only do in Auckland.
Discover more than 1000 taonga (treasures) at the Auckland War Memorial Museum – the largest collection in New Zealand (and the world). From small precious artefacts to an original full-size marae (meeting house) and waka (canoe), this is a fascinating glimpse into early Māori culture.
Not only is Great Barrier Island a place of incredible beauty, it’s also the first island in the world to be designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary – joining only ten other locations. The island is off the grid and with minimal outdoor lighting, it’s a dream destination for star-gazers to take in the stunning night skies.-
Catch these cuties at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, as well as the world’s only display of Spiny Sea Dragons, the biggest species of stingray on the globe, and an underwater aquarium of colourful fish. Watch the sharks at feeding time – or book your own shark dive.
Once a private rehabilitation centre, Rotoroa Island was re-opened to the public in 2005 after nearly 100 years. Wander through the exhibition centre and museum, visit the historic chapel and jailhouse, and walk along beautiful white-sand beaches and bush trails. –
The Coast to Coast Walkway crosses New Zealand’s narrowest neck of land. Start in Viaduct Harbour on Auckland’s east coast and travel west through urban landscapes, beautiful parklands and over dormant volcanoes to finish 16km later at Manukau Harbour.
Just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland and you’re in Waiheke Island, Auckland’s island of wine. This slice of paradise is a haven of beautiful island beaches and some 30 wineries. Join a wine tasting tour and linger over a vineyard lunch, with gorgeous views to match. –
Paddle to Rangitoto Island, a dormant volcano not far from downtown Auckland, on a Sunset Tour with Auckland Sea Kayaks. Walk up the old lava flows to the summit for 360-degree views of Auckland and, at the return to the water’s edge, enjoy a healthy Kiwi-style BBQ.
Jump onboard the ‘Shuckleferry’ for a guided cruise along the pristine waters of Mahurangi Harbour. Sit back and breathe in the fresh and salty air with a wine in hand and be treated to plump and juicy Pacific oysters plucked from the seabed. And if you’re game, have a go at shucking the oysters for yourself.
Standing at an impressive 328m high, the iconic Sky Tower is New Zealand’s tallest building. SkyWalk around the outside on a narrow platform 192m above the ground and take in the breath-taking views of the region or ‘SkyJump’ with nothing but a wire between you and the ground below.
Retrace the route of the early Māori settlers and New Zealand’s first pioneers by taking a ferry to The Riverhead, New Zealand’s oldest historic riverside tavern. Enjoy a delightful meal overlooking the water, under the oak trees in summer or cosy and warm by the fire during winter.