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My ultimate Auckland travel guide includes the best things to do, the top day trips, where to stay and more.
After writing a few different blog posts about my visit to Auckland, I thought it would make life easier to have them all in the one place. So here’s my ultimate Auckland travel guide. It includes links to those posts, as well as additional information on when to visit Auckland, how to get around and what to pack. Basically everything you need to know before you go to Auckland.
When to visit Auckland
I visited at the beginning of March and was rewarded with perfect weather. It was in the low to mid-20s every day, with no rain in sight. The experts also recommend visiting in the shoulder seasons, which are March to May and September to November. The shoulder seasons equal mostly sunny days, fewer tourists and pleasant temperatures.
Peak season in Auckland is summer, so December to February. Although you’ll have to contend with more tourists, the beautiful weather may tempt you. Winter is a no-go in my books, as it’s both cold and rainy. No thanks.
Auckland travel tips
• The easiest (and probably most affordable) way to get to the city from the airport is with SkyBus. It’s the same company that operates the airport bus service in Melbourne. It isn’t cheap, but unlike the Melbourne service, the SkyBus in Auckland does several drop-offs and pick-ups. I got off along Queen Street and was conveniently picked up outside my hostel. It does take roughly 40 minutes to get to the airport, so don’t leave your transfer to the last minute.
• Like most major cities these days, Auckland does have a public transport fare card, called the AT HOP card. However, it costs $10. Seeing as I only took two public buses during my time in Auckland, this wasn’t a feasible option for me. But if you’re going to be relying on public transport, I’d recommend purchasing the card, as the fares are heavily discounted. For example, a 1 zone fare is $3.50 or $1.95 with the AT HOP card. Here’s more information about fares, but if you buy singular tickets like me, remember you need cash and small/exact change is appreciated.
• Contrary to my last point, cards are readily accepted everywhere in Auckland. But having cash on hand is helpful for markets and public transport.
• Finally, can I just say that Auckland (and New Zealand in general) is totally more expensive than Australia.
What to pack for Auckland
For my visit in March, I wore t-shirts and shorts every day. I also relied on my faithful Allbirds, which have travelled to quite a few countries now. In Auckland, I ended up walking a lot, which is why I always pack comfortable shoes. I’d recommend packing a lightweight jacket for the cooler mornings and evenings too. What I wished I packed was a hat. Although I always slather my skin in sunscreen, my scalp actually got burnt the day the below photo was taken. And I thought the sun in Australia was no joke!
In winter, you will definitely need a thicker jacket and jeans. I’d recommend packing a waterproof jacket that can double as a raincoat, as it does rain frequently.
Where to stay in Auckland
I told you this Auckland travel guide covers all bases 😉. Here are recommendations for budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation in Auckland.
Budget accommodation in Auckland
I stayed at Attic Backpackers in a private room. This hostel ticked all the boxes: it was in a central location, had good free WiFi, and was very clean and comfortable. At $65 for a private room, I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Attic Backpackers. Another hostel option I looked at was Haka Lodge. It also has good reviews and reasonably-priced private rooms.
Mid-range accommodation in Auckland
Quest on Queen Serviced Apartments is a great mid-range accommodation option in Auckland. Firstly, they’re one-bedroom apartments. Secondly, it’s located on Queen Street in the heart of the city – you can’t get more central than that. Finally, in the low season, I found prices for under $150 a night.
Luxury accommodation in Auckland
There are plenty of luxury hotels in Auckland. But if I had to choose, I would go for either the Hilton Auckland or SKYCITY Grand Hotel. The Hilton Auckland is pictured above and right on the water. Meanwhile, SKYCITY Grand Hotel is located at the Sky Tower and has rave reviews. It has three dining options, a swimming pool, and a spa and wellness centre as well.
Things to do in Auckland
Click here for my guide to over 15 things to do in Auckland. But if I had to recommend just three things to do: climb Mount Eden, go for a walk along the waterfront and head to the ‘burbs. Just outside the city, you’ll find suburbs like Ponsonby, Newmarket and Parnell, where there are shops and plenty of food options.
Day trips from Auckland
Click here for my post on the best day trips from Auckland. Don’t worry, there are options listed for people with cars, and travellers like myself who usually stick to organised tours.
Where to eat in Auckland
Who knew Auckland was such a foodie city? Click here for my guide, which features over 20 places to eat in Auckland. I stumbled upon some great places and had others bookmarked on my Google Maps, but I just couldn’t get to them all. My quick top three: ice cream from Giapo (worth the hype and price), Orleans and Bacon Brothers.
Can we take a moment to appreciate how the Sky Tower is in nearly every single photo in this guide 😂 Clearly I only took photos of the tower and my food #priorities. I hope this Auckland travel guide helps you plan your trip to Auckland. Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions.