Active Auckland Adventure Tours 2023 – Fishing, Hiking, Diving, Island-hopping and more

Had enough of standing in galleries? Ready to go do something in Auckland? From kayaking to zip-lining, on the water or under the sea, we have brought together the best Auckland adventure tours for you.

bush and rocky bay at tiritirimatangi island

We choose to split these up by location – Auckland CBD and its Harbour, the Waitemata; Waiheke Island, which is right there in the middle of the harbour; then North, South and West Auckland. Many tours have hotel pick-up included; but please check on the booking details page when you click through.

Each active tour and Auckland activity has been chosen using our local knowledge and ranking methodology. Clicking ‘read more’ opens to a detailed view where you can check availability and book in advance. Depending on the vendor, you can reserve now, and pay to confirm 2-3 days in advance of your tour.

Discover Auckland visits most places without warning the venue, and booking under a pseudonym where appropriate. We spend our own money, and make it back through advertising on the site. We may make a commission if you buy products through links on the site. When we accept invitations to events or venues, we disclose it. This means you get real-deal reviews and information.

Choose your favourite location from the table of contents below, or browse away…

Auckland Central and Waitemata Harbour

All these tours are close to Auckland’s Central Business District (CBD) – the heart of the city. Or, they’re water-based tours on the Waitemata, the harbour and bay that surrounds it.

Motukorea / Browns Island Sea Kayak Journey

Explore the Hauraki Gulf on this relaxing half-day kayaking tour. Private boats and kayaks are the only ways to access Browns Island (or Motukorea), which is one of the best-preserved volcanoes in the Auckland Volcanic Field. After arriving here, head to the summit to see picturesque views and learn about the island’s history.

kayaks at st heliers auckland - in preparation for Browns Island trip
Sea Kayaks at rest in St Heliers – in preparation for the author’s trip to Motukorea/Brown’s Island, Auckland
  • Plan ahead to visit this popular attraction in Auckland
  • No kayaking experience is necessary
  • Light refreshments are provided on the island
  • Pickup from the Auckland Ferry Building can be provided

Read more about Motukorea / Browns Island Sea Kayak Journey

Fishing charter – Hauraki Gulf

Keen fishers will love this six-hour fishing charter in the Hauraki Gulf. Start the day early to enjoy the cool of the day. Bring your own fishing gear or rent the company’s for an extra fee. Admire the views of Auckland Harbour and the islands in the Hauraki Gulf while fishing for snapper, kingfish, and other New Zealand varieties.

  • This private charter is customizable to suit your needs
  • Bring your own cooler to take your catch home
  • Benefit from expert local knowledge about fish and the best locations
  • You’ll need to bring a picnic, warm clothes, and appropriate footwear

Read more about Fishing charter – Hauraki Gulf

Private Group Fishing Charter: 1-8pax, Offshore

Keen fishers will love this exciting private fishing charter to the outer Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island, and the Coromandel Peninsula. You’ll have a full eight-hour day to focus on work-up fishing. Look out for dolphins and whales along the way as you chase snapper, kingfish, and more. Don’t waste time in the wrong places as your experienced skipper will keep things flexible and make sure you’re hitting the right spots.

  • All fishing gear is provided so you don’t need to travel with your own
  • Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy (alcohol isn’t permitted)
  • This private charter can be customized to suit your needs
  • A great way to see the marine sights while having fun

Read more about Private Group Fishing Charter: 1-8pax, Offshore

Enjoy cycling around Auckland without all the effort in the hilly city, on an electric bike tour.

Travelers with varying levels of fitness and cycling experience can ride together, making this a great family trip. You will be fitted with a headset so you can listen to your guide’s commentary as you cycle around the city and learn something new.

  • Use of electric mountain bike, helmets, and headsets is included
  • Suitable for cyclists of all levels of fitness – the electric bike does the work
  • Stay safe cycling in the city with an experienced guide
  • Receive souvenir photos to remember your tour by

Read more about The Classic: most popular electric bike tour of Auckland’s Highlights

Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

Cruise the waters of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in search of whales, dolphins and penguins on a half-day tour from Auckland. You’ll board a spacious catamaran at Viaduct Harbour and hear expert guides share informative commentary about New Zealand’s natural wonders.

During the whale and dolphin safari, keep an eye out for six types of whales that frequent these waters, as well as seabirds such as Australasian gannets, petrels and terns. 4.5-hour whale and dolphin watching cruise, from Auckland

  • Ride aboard a custom-built luxury catamaran for a superb viewing experience
  • Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and as many as six types of whales
  • Observe gannets that hunt by plunging into the water at speeds of up to 87 mph (140 kmh)
  • Listen to entertaining and informative commentary provided by your captain and crew
  • Departs from the Viaduct Harbour, conveniently located in downtown Auckland

Read more about Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

Sunset kayak tour to Rangitoto Island

auckland beach sunset 1
Rangitoto Island (background) at sunrise

Head out to the Auckland landmark of Rangitoto Island on this evening kayaking tour.

After crossing the Waitemata Harbour to Rangitoto, embark on a leisurely walk to the summit to catch the sunset over Auckland and the Waitakere Ranges. You’ll then paddle back in the dark with the help of your guide, taking in the city lights along the way.

  • Experience the sunset from the best location in Auckland
  • This tour is ideal for adventurous travelers
  • All kayaking equipment is provided New Zealand-style
  • BBQ dinner is served

Read more about Sunset kayak tour to Rangitoto Island

Guided North Head Fort Segway Tour in Devonport Auckland

Explore the North Head Historic Reserve via Segway on this comprehensive guided tour. Once a defense site, you’ll see military fortifications, bunkers, tunnels, and more. Listen as your guide points out places of historic significance and shares anecdotes about the area.

Dismount briefly for a hike on a volcanic cone, then finish up with a ride past beaches and through parks back into the heart of Auckland.

  • Segway tour of North Head Historic Reserve
  • Local guide Small group tour—no more than six passengers
  • Multiple departure times available

Read more about Guided North Head Fort Segway Tour in Devonport Auckland

Waiheke Island

Waiheke is a short ferry ride from Auckland, and is a very popular place to be! Experience the best of Waiheke’s adventure tours and activities.

boats at anchor behind beach
Oneroa Beach, Waiheke at low tide

Waiheke Island Vineyards and Bush Walk

Hike across Waiheke Island, stopping at vineyards on the way, without the risk of getting lost on this half-day guided walk. Your guide will help you spot native wildlife—which is notoriously shy in New Zealand—and lead you to the best lookout points on the island. Sample some of Waiheke Island’s famous wines and have lunch at a vineyard.

  • Enjoy a vineyard tour with a difference, on this walking tour
  • Admire the valley, vineyard, and sea views
  • Spend an active half-day amid nature
  • Taste some of New Zealand’s finest wines

Read more about Waiheke Island Vineyards and Bush Walk

Waiheke Island Double Headland Coastal Walk

Active travelers can enjoy a guided hike amid the beautiful nature of Waiheke Island without getting lost. The small-group tour ensures that hikes are personalized to your needs and interests. Your expert guide will meet you direct from the ferry terminal, brief you on the day, and tell you all about the nature and history of the island en route.

  • Have a leisurely and scenic lunch at Oneroa Village
  • Spot sea birds, native plants, orcas, and dolphins with your guide’s help
  • Hike at your own pace on a small-group tour
  • Make the most of a day on Waiheke with a local guide to show you around
  • Return ferry transfers are included

Read more about Waiheke Island Double Headland Coastal Walk

Waiheke Island Private Freedom Te Ara Hura Walk

Here’s the ultimate Waiheke experience, taking in the bustling villages of the western end, bush, beaches, birds and the remote eastern end of the island. Te Ara Hura is a 100km-long walking track that takes you right around Waiheke Island.

This all-inclusive package is available to groups of 4-10 people, so get some friends together and spend a few days on a unique adventure. Each day you will be transported to the start point for the day and you will be picked up at the end and returned to your accommodation.

  • Your accommodation is at the Onetangi Beach Apartments.
  • This package includes delicious catered meals plus ferry trip from Auckland and return.

Read more about Waiheke Island Private Freedom Te Ara Hura Walk

West Auckland Adventure Tours

The beaches and bush of West Auckland all take centre stage in these tours, which allow you to escape the city centre and go wild. (Check out Auckland’s best wine and food tours if you want to hit up the wineries, breweries, and farms.)

karekare west auckland - 2 people walking
Day walk at Karekare, West Auckland

Four Walks on a Full Day Piha Expedition

The aim of this tour is to promote health and wellbeing through a fun experience exploring nature. After breaking the ice before we board the Barefoot Tours bus, enjoy scenic transport through the Waitakere ranges native forest. Snacks and warm up stretches on arrival to Piha.

This adventure consists of four different walks in different areas of Piha ranging from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours to really get you familiar with the best spots you’d miss otherwise. Explore the many lookouts, caves, cliffs tunnels, native forest, rivers, hidden tracks, and waterfalls over the 7 hours.

Discover incredible birdlife and landscape all day! Professionally guided by your passionate, qualified and safety conscious tour guide.

  • Full transport between all locations
  • Healthy snacks, fresh fruit and cold water are included
  • Up to 10km total walking split up throughout the day. Some of which is Barefoot optional
  • The black sand can be hot during summer! Bring beach shoes if you have them

Read more about Full Day Piha Expedition

North Auckland

Head over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and you’ll find heaps to do. We’ve focused on the unique tour opportunities provided on and under the water, as you explore marine reserves (where schools of fish play in waist-high water), dive wrecks, surf or kayak.

Try Scuba Diving

Beginners wanting a fun introduction to diving in one of northern New Zealand’s most beautiful and accessible marine reserves will enjoy this half-day intro course at Goat Island. Start in a classroom to learn important theory and safety protocols, then don your scuba gear and head into the water.

Receive personalized attention from your experienced instructor as this is a small-group experience (max. 4). Includes use of all necessary diving equipment

  • Be amazed at the underwater life at this marine reserve
  • An easy day trip from Auckland
  • Learn diving skills that you can practice again later

Read more about Try Scuba Diving

Half day Guided Dive Tour, Goat Island Marine Reserve (or Guided Snorkel Experience, Advanced)

Experienced divers and snorkelers will love the opportunity to dive at the Goat Island Marine Reserve north of Auckland, which is a busy and diverse marine environment.

snorkel tour goat island leigh auckland

Spot a huge range of fish, including snapper, red moki, and different types of rays. Dive safely with a guide, who will point interesting things out to you. The water is shallow so you can stay underwater for longer.

  • Receive personalized attention on a small-group dive (max. 6)
  • All necessary equipment will be provided
  • Enjoy diving in the warm waters of northern New Zealand
  • This tour includes one long dive

Read more about Half day Guided Dive Tour, Goat Island Marine Reserve or the Advanced Guided Snorkel Experience.

Clearyak hire at Goat Island Marine Reserve

In your unique clearyak, marvel at the teeming marine life and striking underwater habitats of Goat Island Marine Reserve without leaving the comfort of your kayak. Look through your kayak floor as you paddle to see the residents of this historic reserve, everything from snapper to stingrays, swimming around beneath you. With this private hire package, enjoy an intimate ocean adventure without being surrounded by a group full of strangers.

  • No hidden hire fees: all kayaking equipment provided during your hire
  • No experience, no problem: instructors on the water to help out where you need it
  • Two seats to a kayak: enjoy a romantic paddle or join your child on the water
  • Flexible times: schedule your adventure for any time in the morning or afternoon

Read more about Clearyak hire at Goat Island Marine Reserve

Beginner Surf Lesson at Te Arai Beach

If you’ve always wanted to surf, Omaha Beach is a great place to do it. It’s not far from central Auckland, so makes a great day trip for visitors to the city. Small groups (max. 12) mean instructors can tailor the lesson to your needs. Start with beach-based activities before taking your board into the ocean. Learn a range of essential skills, including safety, board use, and paddling techniques.

  • Lesson times are timed around the tides
  • Includes use of wetsuits and surfboards
  • Souvenir photos and videos of your lesson will be provided
  • Learn new skills that you can practice again later

Read more about Beginner Surf Lesson at Te Arai Beach

3-Day Open Water Dive Course in Warkworth, Auckland

Take your Open Water certification in the beautiful waters of New Zealand. Gain an international recognized certification that will allow you to dive anywhere in the world. Take advantage of the opportunity to dive in some of the most spectacular diving areas anywhere.

scuba dive course warkworth auckland

The course is fully inclusive of all of the gear hire, all certification fees & 4 open water dive, 2 of which are from our boat charter to our marine reserves. Theory is taken online at your own convenience. All you have to do is turn up!

We are able to offer you both the highly acclaimed SSI and SDI certifications. Courses are also available as evening schedules as well as the standard three day schedule

  • Excellent value for money
  • All necessary equipment included
  • Likely to Sell Out
  • Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Read more about 3-Day Open Water Dive Course in Auckland

South Auckland

In the farmland hills of South Auckland, you’ll find some interesting experiences! Get the kids out into a wild adventure course, or get behind the handlebars of a dirt bike and blast around the track.

Adrenalin Forest Auckland

Active, adventure-seeking travelers will love this forest obstacle course south of Auckland. Don the provided safety gear and launch yourself into the course, which includes a series of obstacles including barrels and a flying fox, some as high as 100 feet (30 meters) in the air. You can even hire a camera to attach to your helmet to capture your adventure.

  • Entrance to the park is for three hours
  • A fun activity to enjoy with your friends or family
  • Enjoy an active outdoor adventure close to the city
  • Safety gear and a full briefing will be provided

Read more about Adrenalin Forest Auckland

South Auckland Dirt Bike Hire

Get your adrenaline pumping with this thrilling dirt bike experience. With an experienced instructor and special Learners’ tracks, master the basics of braking, changing gear, and stopping, or hone your skills as you learn to corner, stand up, and even start jumping. Morning and afternoon sessions are tailored to your level, whether you are a complete beginner or a more advanced rider.

  • Adrenaline-fuelled tour: explore the countryside by dirt bike
  • Progress faster with morning and afternoon instruction
  • Personalized dirt bike lesson tailored to your experience level
  • Intimate small-group experience for a maximum three of people

Read more about Dirt Bike Hire

How we choose the Best Auckland Activities (Ranking methodology)

Firstly, we’re Auckland locals who have spent years travelling around the world – we’ve even won awards for our travel writing. So we know what’s good here, and what’s good around the world. We ‘travel’ this city and take part in as many opportunities as possible. But we can’t do every experience.

We also use travel reviews from other people, and look for the best reliable reviews, fast-selling tours, and cross-reference online recommendations from several sources.

Finally, we get direct feedback from travellers, friends, industry folks, and readers who help us discover new options, remove options that are no longer as good as they were, and generally make Discover Auckland a better resource for you.

We may earn income if you book through links on our site, but we never recommend things that are poor value. It’s really important to us that you enjoy your trip, recommend us to friends, and come back to Discover Auckland to plan your next adventure.

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