Committed visitors can pack in the best of Auckland into one exhausting day of the most outstanding viewpoints, diverting museums and lively neighbourhoods. Of course, spreading it over a couple of days is better and gives you a chance to also take in some of the highlights from our Auckland’s Islands, Beaches and Bush itinerary.
If you’re an early riser, or your body clock is disrupted by timezone travel, join the joggers and dog walkers for a stroll up Maungawhau / Mt Eden to catch the morning sun lighting up the city. By now you’ll be ready for breakfast at Olaf’s Artisan Bakery Café, which served reliably good coffee and some of the best pastries in the city. Pick up one of their excellent loaves if you’re thinking of a picnic later in the day.
The only museum you really must see is the Auckland Museum, primarily for its superb Maori and Pacific island collection. The museum holds a commanding position in the city’s principal green space, The Domain, where the Domain Wintergardens & Fernz Fernery present plants from around the world and a primer on New Zealand’s wonderful ferns.
After making your way into the centre of city you’ll probably want to choose between the architecturally-impressive Auckland Art Gallery showcasing some of the best New Zealand art, and the waterfront’s New Zealand Maritime Museum.
The country’s most lauded fashion designers showcase their wares in the Britomart district where there are plenty of great eating options. Either lunch here or board the ferry to pretty Devonport, where a stroll along King Edward Parade brings you to Maungauika / North Head, a great spot for a picnic overlooking the harbour and Rangitoto Island.
Head back to the city for a sundowner at one of the restaurant/bars of the Wynyard Quarter before heading to Ponsonby for dinner. You could easily spend the rest of the evening here, but the committed will want to head to Karangahape Road, or back to Britomart where most of the late bars and clubbing action takes place.