Destinations, New Zealand, Oceania 20

Parks, Museums, Beaches and Volcanoes – Fun Things to do in Auckland City, New Zealand

Usually when we visit a new country, we tend to gravitate towards national parks, coasts, forests and do more nature-based rather than city travel. The beauty of slow travel and living in a new city means we have the luxury of doing it all – our fill of all things outdoors and the cool and cultural aspects of city life. Here I highlight why we think Auckland is such a great city to visit, for adults and families with children. This is just a glimpse of all one can do here based on what we have been upto the past two months in Auckland.

View of Auckland Harbour from Sky Tower

View of Auckland city from Sky Tower


Abundance of urban greenspaces 

Auckland has several parks ranging in all sizes, some with lovely play areas for kids to enjoy, others with lakes and botanical gardens, some with native bush and old forest patches. To find out more in details of all the parks, see here.  Albert Park is the first urban park we visited in Auckland.  Located in the heart of the city right by Princes street, it is a very distinctive park with a long history. At one corner of the park there is the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and flower gardens. The park features a range of statuary and memorials, as well as a Victorian fountain and several mature trees. The weather was pretty erratic that day, alternating between blazing sunshine and tropical thunder showers. It is the end of Autumn and beginning of winter at the moment, so it was to be expected. The good thing was the fact that the Museum was right here so we dashed in when the weather got worse.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Lovely art gallery with a wide range of display – from modern art, nature based art, using laser technology and various other exhibitions. Best part was that it was free, as opposed to most other museums and galleries here where you pay. There are different displays throughout the year and it is fairly large where you can spend a good couple of hours exploring and enjoying.

Sky Tower Views and the opportunity to go on the sky walk and sky jump!

Expensive but definitely a must do if the weather is nice. Tickets were $28 for adults, free for kids under 5. We were lucky to have gone here on a sunny day and enjoyed gorgeous panoramic views of the city all around. If you have a meal here the price of the ticket is waived. There are always discount coupons for visiting Sky Tower in various booklets and Auckland tourist magazines.




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Downtown Shopping

We are not big fans of shopping and tend to buy things only when we need to.  But I love browsing through book stores and little boutique shops and we have found several of these all over Auckland. We find prices here more expensive than in England and definitely more than the United States! There are few areas here that are famous for shopping – Queen street for high street shops and there are some retails parks around as well. I love all the local Maori art products, makes perfect souvenirs and gifts.

Museums and galleries

I have already written a detailed post on why we think Auckland Warm Memorial Museum is a perfect day trip for the family. There are a few others we have yet to explore and I have only heard good things about them – Maritime Museum and Kura Gallery. We look forward to visiting these over the next few months.

Visiting Mount Eden – highest natural point in Auckland

Mt Eden (Maungawhau) is one of the most prominent volcanic cones remaining in the Auckland region. You can climb to the top (or drive up) have a picnic or just walk around and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Vieweing sunset here is supposed to be spectacular. We have been here twice now and both times have been great trips.11163947_10155472656130696_5718089877244308845_n

Abundance of amazing international cuisine!

One of the things we have been LOVING the most about living in a city and living in Auckland especially, is the FOOD! Amazing cuisine, lot of Asian influence – Thai, Japanese, Malaysian and Chinese, but also really good Italian and Spanish food. I am sure there is good Indian restaurants as well but we tend to make that at home. We are still discovering new places and at some point I am going to write about our favourite restaurants around Auckland. We have also been enjoying fresh pies, trying new fruits local to New Zealand and relishing the gourmet coffee.


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Beaches right around the corner from the city – you are never far from the coast, whichever direction you go from Auckland. It is aptly called the City of Sails and you can see by the number of boats and yatches docked at the piers how popular sailing, kayaking and other water sports is here.

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Photo Credit to Shahaar Selim our budding travel photographer 🙂


Several of my travel posts in New Zealand have been about the amazing pristine beaches we have had the pleasure of visiting around the Northland region. The best part of living in Auckland is the fact that you don’t even have to travel far or be on a holiday to enjoy the seaside. Half hour Bus ride or less than 20 minute car ride and you can enjoy several sandy beaches in Mission Bay, Kohimaramara and of course our personal favourite – St Heliers Bay 🙂

It’s great knowing you can get away here in the evenings or weekends, just a stone throw away from the city!


St Heliers Beach


Mission Bay Beach


Rainbow at St Heliers beach by our home

People here are really friendly and laid back, even in such a big city. Not too sure what the night life is like, we have yet to get babysitters and have a night out in town. Will update this once we get a chance to do so!

Linked to #MondayEscapes Our World Tuesday and Sundays in my City and  Weekly Photo Challenge:Roy G. Biv


Our World Tuesday


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  • theworldonmynecklace says: May 26, 2015 at 2:05 am

    Make sure you guys visit Albert Park in spring for beautiful cherry blossoms and lots of colourful flower beds. I am from Auckland and heading back home for a visit next week – can’t wait 🙂

    • samselim says: May 26, 2015 at 2:08 am

      Thanks for the useful tip! Will be sure to return on spring, cherry blossom trees sounds lovely..enjoy your week back at home 🙂

  • mytravelmonkey says: May 26, 2015 at 10:46 am

    What a fantastic and insightful post about Auckland. I never got to go to New Zealand on my travels, a big regret of mine. But it’s on my list particularly as my sister-in-law (who lives in Melbourne) is from Wellington. She’s always sung Auckland’s praises and the fact that there’s so much to see and do – particularly the beaches and that view on Mt Eden. I love the fact the culture is so outdoors based. Thanks so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • samselim says: May 26, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks for the positive feedback 🙂 We are really enjoying our time in Auckland and I really hope you guys get a chance to visit! I am sure you will love it!

  • MummyTravels says: May 27, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Great post – I spent a very jetlagged 24 hours in Auckland years ago en route to somewhere else so never feel like I got to explore properly. #MondayEscapes

    • samselim says: May 27, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Thanks 🙂 There are some lovely places to explore, hope you get a chance to visit again!

  • Maaike (@TravellousWorld) says: May 27, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I haven’t heard much about Auckland, so thank you for posting this! It looks like a varied city, with the perfect mix of city bustle, culture, beach and nature? And are prices really higher than in England? :O I can’t even begin to imagine that haha!

    Maaike (

    • samselim says: May 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      It definitely has something for everyone! We found prices of somethings like food and clothing items more expensive, more like grocery shopping as opposed to eating it. In general similar to London, for us coming from the north of England, it seems expensive!

  • Sarah says: May 28, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    What gorgeous pictures. I love all your explorations – I’d love to go up Mount Eden and see those views for myself!

  • Jolanta aka Casual Traveler says: May 31, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Wow, I have GOT TO get our family to Auckland some time! I don’t know when, but it will happen some day! Sounds fabulous! Thank you for sharing all those wonderful photos! Looks like your whole family had a great time.

  • lesleycarter says: June 2, 2015 at 3:42 am

    These photos all make me want to go to NZ even more. Beautiful.

  • katja - globetotting says: June 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve been to the South Island but never to the North, I must go back! We had the most wonderful family holiday in New Zealand, it really is a fantastic place. Wonderful photos!

    • samselim says: June 2, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you 🙂 We look forward to visiting South Island ourselves later on in the year. Loving North Island so far!

  • Robin says: June 3, 2015 at 12:04 am

    I’ve been to Aukland but have no memory of it. I was just too wiped out by the travel and too tired. That means I must return!

  • Dana says: June 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Mt Eden looks like the perfect place for a picnic!

  • Allison says: June 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    It’s fun to see the cosmopolitan side of New Zealand in this post!

  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family says: June 3, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Great guide! I’m a NZer and lived in Auckland for a couple of years. Have you been elsewhere in NZ or just Auckland?

    • samselim says: June 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks! Been to northlands twice and rotorua twice. Plus waitamo caves. Plan to head to lake taupo and onwards to south island next 🙂 we have a year here to discover so many beautiful places in new zealand 🙂

  • Kids Are A Trip says: June 4, 2015 at 4:17 am

    We have been wanting to go to New Zealand for awhile and are waiting for our kids to be a bit older (long flight from the States). The pictures look amazing and it looks like there is a ton to do for families. What fun!

    • samselim says: June 4, 2015 at 4:25 am

      My sister was just here from the states with her 5 and 2 year old. She loves in pa and found it easiest to do a flight to la (6 hours) and then a long haul 13 hour flight if which most of it was night time so kids slept 9 hours of it! She said it wasn’t bad at all and they all loved it here 🙂 plenty of kid friendly things to do!

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