one tree hill, Auckland - peak of hill with monument and tree

10 of the best day trips in and around Auckland NZ

Are you planning a trip to Auckland, New Zealand? We’ve got you covered! Auckland is not only a bustling city with plenty to see and do, but it’s also surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

From clear waters to lush forests, hobbit holes and majestic caves, there’s something for everyone to explore.

In this post, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best day trips in Auckland, NZ, so you can get out there and experience it all for yourself.

To make sure we’re showing you the best experiences, this is a mix of full and part days – and for the craft beer aficionados, it’s an evening. I’m sure you’ll forgive us.

Whether you’re into wine-tasting, caving, or beach-hopping, we’ve got a day trip for you. So, let’s get started!

Sightseeing Tours

If you want that sweet introduction to Auckland’s highlights, this is the place to start. Tour by e-bike or in the comfort of a small minibus – these are interesting and action-packed.

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 Scenic Day Tour – A Full 8 Hours

Discover Auckland’s Take: An action-packed, quick-selling tour that consistently ranks well.

Make the most of your time in Auckland with a small-group tour that crams all the city’s best bits into just one day. Snap photos of Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower and One Tree Hill; take in the views from Tamaki Drive and Mission Bay; explore vibrant neighborhoods like Ponsonby; and visit off-the-beaten-track attractions like Muriwai Beach, the Auckland Domain and Parnell.

  • Enjoy wine tasting at a local winery
  • Great-value tour includes hotel pick-up and round-trip transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • See Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower and One Tree Hill
  • This tour is limited to a maximum of 11 or 14 persons

Read more about Auckland Scenic Day Full-Day Tour

For the foodies

The cream of the crop – but we have more Auckland food tours & winery tours if that’s your fancy.

Auckland Insider Tour: Food Tour with Local Expert

Discover Auckland’s food and wine on a half-day tour with a local insider who shares the region’s freshest seafood, baked goods and other delectable treats. Enjoy morning tea, a light lunch and wine tasting of superb varietals. Guide and minivan transport around landmarks and markets included.

Visit the Auckland Fish Market and meet the talented artisan producers at a farmers’ market; and travel by minivan to key landmarks including Ponsonby Road, Mt Eden and the Auckland Domain.

  • Half-day food tour of Auckland with an expert guide
  • Travel by minivan around the city to visit a variety of excellent shops, markets and landmarks
  • Learn about the vibrant food and wine scene in Auckland from a passionate foodie
  • Enjoy a guided tasting of great New Zealand wines
  • Get an insider’s tour of the Auckland Fish Market with special behind-the-scenes access and a light lunch
  • Drive past landmarks including the Auckland Domain, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Mt Eden and Ponsonby Road
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of six people ensures personalized attention from your guide

Read more about Auckland Insider Tour: Food Tour with Local Expert

Private Auckland Wine & Dine Matakana Country & Cuisine

Enjoy a special tour from Auckland to the beautiful Matakana region just an hour north of the city, showcasing stunning scenery including golden sand beaches, huge Kauri trees, as well as a vibrant food & wine selection with among other things honey, cheeses, yoghurts, wine, chocolate, ice cream and organic blueberries to choose from.

  • Lovers of good food and drink will enjoy this tour
  • Get out of Auckland city for the day and explore the countryside
  • Lunch and wine tastings at local stores & wineries are included
  • Pick-up from Auckland city locations are included

Read more about Private Auckland Wine & Dine Matakana Country & Cuisine

Auckland Urban Craft Beer Tour

Auckland’s craft brew scene is booming, as you’ll experience first-hand on this afternoon beer-focused tour. Start with a filling lunch so you’re well prepared for beer sampling all afternoon. Visit three breweries or venues where you’ll see beer being made, hear from the brewers and, of course, taste a variety of delicious and unique beers.

  • Make new friends on a fun group tour
  • Travel between venues by comfortable air-conditioned bus
  • Hotel transfers can be provided
  • Lunch, snacks, water, and alcoholic drinks are included
  • Your guide can recommend places to go to continue the party into the night.

Read more about Auckland Urban Craft Beer Tour

On the water

Auckland – the city of sails – wouldn’t be complete without getting out on the water. We’ve chosen the comfort of a whale watching safari, or the work of a kayak trip – complete with eco-island visit and a hot lunch!

There’s plenty more active Auckland tours, if you want to get the muscles going.

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

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

To get out of the city

Head south, my friend! Within a few hours of Auckland CBD, you can experience the Hobbiton movie set, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, amazing forest canopy walks, ziplines, and more.

Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland

Visit a pair of New Zealand’s must-see attractions with this combo tour from Auckland to the Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Peek into Hobbit Holes, frolic in the Shire, and get a drink at the Green Dragon Inn on a guided tour of Middle-earth, followed by a Kiwi-style lunch.

In the afternoon, explore Maori myths and history on a boat ride through mesmerizing caves lit by thousands of glowworms, and finish with a drive through some of the North Island’s most majestic scenery.

  • Full-day combo tour to the Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves from Auckland
  • Enjoy a Kiwi-style lunch
  • Includes round-trip transport from Auckland CBD hotels
  • Small group limited to 14 ensures personal service

Read more about Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland

Rotorua Highlights – Small Group Tour In a day from Auckland

The lakeside resort town of Rotorua is renowned for its geothermal wonders and rich Maori heritage. On this full-day tour from Auckland, benefit from the personal touch of a small-group excursion and customize your itinerary with a choice of different tour options. Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city, followed by free time to explore independently, or up to two extra activities, such as the Te Puia Maori Village, Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, the Polynesian Spa, or the Agrodome.

  • Comprehensive guided tour of Rotorua for first-time visitors
  • Visit up to two top Rotorua attractions or opt for free time in the city
  • Hassle-free hotel pickup and round-trip transport from Auckland
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 16 people

Read more about Rotorua Highlights Small Group Tour with Optional Extra Activities from Auckland.

The Ultimate Canopy Experience Small Group Adventure Zipline Tour From Auckland

Get your adrenaline fix at one of Auckland’s most thrilling zip-line adventure courses, including round-trip transfers from the city. Explore the ancient forest landscape as you fly along ziplines, cross daring swing bridges, and tackle a 50-meter (164-foot) cliff walk and 18-meter (59-foot) abseil. Finally, pair up with a friend or go solo for the thrilling 400-meter (1,300-foot) long zipline.

  • Tackle a zip-line course with swing bridges, a cliff walk, and an abseil!
  • Receive included photos to remember your ziplining experience
  • Hassle-free pickup and drop-off at your Auckland CBD hotel
  • Personalized small-group tour with a maximum of 11 people

Read more about The Ultimate Canopy Experience Small Group Adventure Zipline Tour From Auckland

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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