ARATAKI VISITOR CENTRE
Just a 40-minute drive from central Auckland, the Arataki Visitor Centre is the gateway to the Waitakere Rainforest. You’ll find all sorts of fascinating and educational displays and activities inside the centre. Once you’ve checked out the inside, head out and enjoy a walk through the native bush. There are 250km of walking and tramping tracks set among 16,000 hectares that provide access to beaches, breathtaking views, and spectacular rocky outcrops, and waterfalls and giant kauri trees. The visitor centre is located at 300 Scenic Drive, Oratia. Some tracks are now open again after closure to reduce the spread of kauri dieback.
Fancy a spot of shopping and a bite to eat? In the heart of central Auckland, Britomart is home to some of New Zealand’s best fashion designers and an array of cafes, restaurants and eateries. If you fancy something sweet, call into Miann on Galway Street and choose from the tasty selection of beautiful chocolates and desserts. If you’re in the area on a Saturday, check out the Britomart Saturday Market in Takutai Square. You may not want to drive your motorhome in the central city, but a great option is to park in Devonport, catch the ferry across, and walk the short distance. There’s lots more to see and do in the city while you’re there!
CLEVEDON FARMERS’ MARKET
Every Sunday from 8am-1pm at the Clevedon Showgrounds, the Clevedon Village Farmers’ Market draws visitors from far and wide. Take your pick of seasonal produce, freshly picked and locally sourced. Bring your shopping bags and a good appetite as there are lots of stalls with plenty to choose from – baking, artisan food, free range eggs, cheeses, preserves and more. There’s a lovely relaxed country vibe, and on fine days, there are even pony rides for the littlies.
This picturesque seaside village on Auckland’s North Shore is an idyllic spot to spend the day. Wander along the main street and peruse the boutique shops, enjoy lunch at one of the many great cafes and restaurants, or pick up some fish and chips and enjoy them by the water. There’s a terrific park right by the beach for the kids to play, or head up North Head and cycle or walk the Historic Reserve Trail that includes a military tunnel complex (bring a torch). Leave your motorhome parked in Devonport and catch the ferry across to the city – it’s a quick ride, about 12 minutes, and makes for a great day out.
Eden Park, in central Auckland, is New Zealand’s largest sports stadium. It offers some great experiences including a rooftop tour, stadium tour, and a zipline! You can even stay the night in a Staydium Glamping dome. The domes offer elevated views of the park and are kitted out with stylish furnishings to keep you comfy. Could be the perfect gift for the sports-mad, hard-to-buy-for person in your life? And of course, there are some great games lined up at the park over the coming months.
How does premium lobster in a buttered bun sound? Or fresh oysters, or amazing sushi? The Auckland Fish Market has been a part of the Auckland landscape for more than 100 years. And over the past few years it has transformed into a modern waterfront destination with a great selection of eateries, alongside the fresh fish market. There’s a relaxed outdoor dining area, or you can choose something yummy to take away and enjoy somewhere along the waterfront. The Fish Market is at 22 Jellicoe Street, Freemans Bay.
GREAT BARRIER ISLAND
We may not be able to travel overseas, but Aotea/Great Barrier Island comes pretty close. Treat yourself with a 30-minute scenic flight, or head over on the ferry. It’s a four-and-a-half-hour ride, so you really do feel like you’re getting away from it all! Plan an extended stay and walk the 25km Aotea Track, or discover some of Great Barrier’s history along the shorter walks. Great Barrier Island is a Dark Sky Sanctuary so if you stay over on a clear night, you’ll be able to see the sky come to life like never before.
Possibly Auckland’s most iconic landmark, the Harbour Bridge sparkles into life at night with more than 96,000 individual LED lights. The lights are powered by 248 solar panels at Wynyard Quarter. During special events, such as Christmas, Diwali, Pride Week, and Waitangi Day, the lights are customised with colours and patterns that reflect the event. Keep an eye out on 16 February for the Auckland Pride Festival light show.
Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf spans a million hectares and is home to more than 50 islands. Most Kiwis are familiar with the iconic Rangitoto Island, but there are many more worth a visit during your stay. Catch a ferry to Waiheke and spend a day shopping, swimming, and wine tasting. Or visit the bird sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi. Catch the mail run around Kawau Island, or discover fascinating history on Rotoroa Island.
JETTING AND JUMPING
For those who like a bit of an adrenaline rush, hop aboard the Auckland Adventure Jet and see the harbour at full speed. The jet is powered by twin V8, 500hp engines so you’re definitely in for a thrilling ride. The jet departs from Pier 3 on the waterfront (Quay Street) every 30 minutes. For a thrill of a different kind, try leaping off the Sky Tower! The Auckland Sky Jump will see you plummet 192 metres at 85km an hour – don’t worry, it only takes 11 seconds to get to the bottom. The Sky Tower is at 72 Victoria Street West in the city.
Karangahape Road (better known as K’ Road) is one of Auckland’s most vibrant areas. Going back a few decades, the road was perhaps best known as a red light district. And while its strip clubs are still there, more recently the road has evolved into an eclectic shopping destination with all sorts of cool boutique and second-hand stores, vintage homewares and art galleries. You’ll also find a great selection of eateries – from Pie Piper for American sweet treats, to Cotto, Coco’s Cantina and the famous Uncle Man’s Malaysian dishes.
LA CIGALE FRENCH MARKET
Voted Auckland’s Best Food Market by Metro magazine for the past eight years, La Cigale French Market is held every Saturday from 8am to 1.30pm and Sunday from 9am to 1.30pm at 69 St Georges Bay Road in Parnell. Shop for your fresh produce or treat yourself to one of the market’s famous croque monsieur sandwiches or mouthwatering beef bourguignon pies. There’s also a cafe onsite (open Tuesday to Sunday), plus the La Cigale shop (open Wednesday to Friday) where you can buy some beautiful items.
Enjoy a leisurely hour’s drive out of Auckland to the countryside village of Matakana. Surrounded by rolling green hills and vineyards, Matakana has lots to do and see, making for a great day trip. Visit on a Saturday so you don’t miss the bustling farmers’ market. Pick up some tasty treats and then head o to one of the nearby beaches – like the ones at beautiful Tawharanui Regional Park – visit the Sculptureum Gardens & Galleries, or call into the Morris & James showroom and factory at 48 Tongue Farm Road.
NZ WARBIRDS VISITOR CENTRE
Love Warbirds? Take a trip out to Harvard Lane in Ardmore to check out the NZ Warbirds hanger. Get up close to the operational and static aircraft of the NZ Warbirds Association including North American T-6 Harvards, a deHavilland Tiger Moth, a Supermarine Spitfire, and many others. Volunteer guides possess a wealth of knowledge and are enthusiastic about the aircraft and their fascinating histories. Pick up some merchandise from the gift shop while you’re there.
Looking for a beautiful spot to park up and enjoy some of Auckland’s most stunning scenery? Head to Omana Regional Park on the Pohutukawa Coast. The campground has excellent facilities, plus it’s a short drive down to Maraetai Beach. The park looks out over the Hauraki Gulf and is surrounded by native bush. It’s a great spot to visit, even if you’re not planning on staying over. Park up for a picnic then take a relaxing stroll on the Perimeter Walk that encircles the park, or take the shorter Farm Walk.
Part of the Nelson Street City Cycleway, the Pink Path (also known as the Lightpath, or Te Ara I Whiti), runs between Union Street and East Street in central Auckland. The path runs for about 1km and can be walked or cycled. Its vibrant pink hue makes it hard to miss, and at night it is even more eye-catching as it comes to life with a dazzling interactive light installation.
Considered Auckland’s main street, Queen Street is named after Queen Victoria and dates back to the mid 1800s. The 3km road is home to some of the most well-known brands, both international and local. One of the newest additions is Commercial Bay. Located at the bottom of Queen Street, Commercial Bay is made up of laneways reminiscent of those in Melbourne. You will find a great selection of shops, from fashion to homewares, as well as some fabulous eateries and bars.
Get aboard the Riverhead Tavern Cruise and visit New Zealand’s oldest riverside tavern. This relaxing cruise is a beautiful way to enjoy a day out on the water – away from the busy city. Cruise for about 90 minutes before arriving at the Riverhead Tavern, enjoy a relaxing meal and a drink or two before heading back. The total trip time, including lunch is 5.5 hours. Find out more at riverheadferry.co.nz
SHAKESPEAR REGIONAL PARK
Settle yourself at Shakespear Regional Park for a day and two and you’ll never want to leave. Located at the tip of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, on Auckland’s North Shore, this beautiful park is also an open sanctuary, surrounded by a 1.7km pest-proof fence. There are loads of great walking tracks, from short 15-minute walks to a two-hour 4km walk. Certified self-contained RV travellers can stay in the campground for up to three nights, and there’s an additional seven-night campground at the eastern end. As a sanctuary, the park is home to a variety of birdlife as well as working farm.
TORPEDO BAY NAVY MUSEUM
Learn about the fascinating history of New Zealand’s Navy with a wander through the Navy Museum. The museum site, on the shores of the Waitemata Harbour in Devonport, is itself of exceptional significance, developed as a torpedo station in the 19th century as part of Auckland’s coastal defence network. Uncover the story of HMNZS Leander, hit by a torpedo in World War Two. Try on a naval uniform or two and have a go at creating a Morse code message. There’s a great cafe on site too that overlooks the magnificent Auckland Harbour.
UXBRIDGE ARTS AND CULTURE CENTRE
Head along to Howick and immerse yourself in some art and culture at the Uxbridge Arts and Culture Centre. Peruse the latest art exhibitions, take a class in leadlighting or pottery, catch a theatre performance, or try out one of the other great workshops on offer. The centre has a great cafe for a relaxing coffee and a bite to eat while you’re there.
Unless you have visited the Auckland Viaduct in the past few months, chances are there’s something new and exciting to discover. Wander through Wynyard Quarter, choose from one of the great restaurants at North Wharf for lunch or dinner, enjoy a gelato, and soak up the great vibe of the waterfront.
This pretty park is home to a variety of water birds and provides a great spot to enjoy a walk, a picnic, and for the children to play. The playground is located next door to the zoo, so don’t be surprised if you hear the occasional roar or strange squawk! Near the entrance to the park is the award-winning Fukuoka Garden, a traditional Japanese garden with a waterfall, pond, and tea pavilion. Spend a morning wandering around the lake then head next door to the zoo.
EXPLORE COAST TO COAST
Walk the width of the country in one day (technically!). The Auckland Coast to Coast Walkway is a wonderful way to see some of Auckland’s highlights and to enjoy a bit of exercise while you’re at it. Start off in the city centre by the harbour, head through town and then turn inland to Albert Park and the university. Next, head to Auckland Domain, then onto the summit of Mount Eden before walking to One Tree Hill, through Onehunga, and finishing at Manukau Harbour. The walk spans some 16km and takes around four to five hours.
Love a little yum char? Who doesn’t! Auckland has loads of delicious yum char restaurants, but Grand Harbour is possibly the best known. It’s located near the viaduct, on the corner of Pakenham Street and Customs Street West. Top dishes to look out for are the oysters with salted egg sauce, the pork shu mai, and the fried squid.
Auckland Zoo has transformed over recent years, with its 16 hectares of grounds having undergone quite a facelift to provide its guests with habitats – all 1400 of them – that are as natural to each species as possible. The zoo has a strong focus on conservation, with staff and volunteers who are dedicated to making a difference to wildlife. The zoo is located on Motions Road in Western Springs. Plan your visit by checking out their website at aucklandzoo.co.nz