What Would You Do With Five Nights in Auckland, New Zealand?

If you were only spending five nights in the Auckland area, what would you prioritize?  Would you stay in the city the whole time, or would you venture out?  Is it worth heading out to Waiheke Island for a couple of the days?

I ask because–surprise, surprise–I’m headed to Auckland for five nights and I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the options.

auckland, new zealand

I’ve already decided against heading down to the Hobbit town, as awesome as that would be.  Adventure travel is probably out too, unless there’s an option for one person to hang out while the other one adventure-ers.

But there’s so many beautiful things to see right outside of Auckland, and so many cool things to do in Auckland itself.

What would you prioritize?  Has anyone visited Waiheke and the wineries out there?  Was it worth the time?

Also, what food places would you list as your must-haves?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. pretend to be a hobbit, obv

  2. I would take a flight down to Queenstown, rent a car and drive to Milford Sound. Stop for a night at beautiful and scenic Te Anau along the way. There is even a human maze in a nearby town to Queenstown. If you are into sports, Queenstown is the place to be.

  3. If you are looking for adventure close to the city, Skytower offers a skywalk and skyjump (bungy) right in the center of town (http://skywalk.co.nz/) and your partner can stay wrapped up inside with a coffee and food and watch you. Waiheke is nice but decide on the day as if the weather is not nice (NZ winter can be a little sharp) you are better off exploring the city. If you are into boats you can sail the Americas Cup yachts around Auckland harbour which was awesome (http://www.exploregroup.co.nz/en/unique-experiences/americas-cup-sailing-auckland/) also the jetboats on the harbour are a pretty cool way to get a different perspective.

    For food jump on this website (http://www.metroeats.co.nz/tag/best-auckland-restaurants/) and find your favorite style of food, keep an eye out for Atomic coffee as well. Auckland has one of the best coffee cultures in the world.

  4. 5 days is way too much to stay in Auckland, it’s like other metropolitan cities, nothing “middle earth” about it. Either fly down to the South Island to Queenstown, but that’ll be a bit of a rush to really enjoy what the South Island has to offer. Or take a short trip to Rotorua, the colorful geothermal area with hot springs! I have complete trip reports and photos at my travel blog: https://missvacation.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/south-pacific-part-6-colorful-geothermal-valley-of-rotorua/

  5. Waiheke island is a short ferry ride away from Aukland. So much nicer than the city itself. There are wineries, galleries, beaches and nature to enjoy. Accomodation is available on the island, so I would stay there a couple of day.
    NZ is amazing, but Aukland is best experienced looking back at it from over the water IMO.

  6. My husband and I spent 5 days of our honeymoon in the Auckland area before heading down to Queenstown for another 5 days. I would highly recommend doing an organized wine tour of Waiheke Island. That part of the trip was a major highlight and would be good if the weather is cooperative or not. We even had dinner at one of the wineries, Mud Brick, and watched the sunset over the Auckland skyline. I would also suggest checking out the Auckland Zoo for a few hours. We took Uber there and back at a reasonable price and we liked it better than the Sydney zoo. There is an ice bar by the Hilton that was fun as well. You could also rent a car or go on one of the day tours to Rotorua and see the hot springs / sulfur springs and Maori art center. It can be a bit touristy but is a good managed adventure.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      Do you have a wine tour company you’d recommend? Thanks for the advice!

      • We booked the tour through viator.com before we went on the trip, so I don’t remember the actual tour company. The tour started after we got off the ferry from Auckland and had the minibus waiting for us there. There were probably 10 others present on the tour. Our guide was a local living on Waiheke and gave great commentary along the way. I think you can also buy the tickets at the ferry terminal on the quay. Several of the wineries do ship back to the US so we ended up buying 16 bottles and had them shipped back. The price of the shipping was about $250 USD – about as much as the wine cost to buy but worth it.

        One other excursion we did (can’t believe I forgot it since it was a great time) was a guided eco-hike through the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland. We stopped at three of four different places on the beach, cliffs, rain forests, and waterfalls and did a little hiking – nothing too difficult or dangerous, mainly walking trails. But, we did get to see some of the large kauri trees that still remain and a great waterfall back in the hillside. We were the only two on the guided hike which made it even better.

  7. I’d recommend – waiheke island – you can do wine tours there, and its a nice boat ride. Also, right close to the Auckland Airport, there is the Villa Maria vineward, that does wine tastings.

    We also enjoyed just walking down by the waterfront.

  8. FIrst thing I would do on day one in Auckland, is leave. No offense to its residents but compared to the rest of New Zealand – which I found amazing – AUckland left me cold…just another boring western city that may as well have been anywhere. I found many New Zealand residents in the rural areas of the country had similar comments, FWIW. There are a few mildly interesting sites but not worth staying more than perhaps a day.

    IIRC Hobbiton is only about 2 hours’ drive from Auckland, and I made it a stop along the way to elsewhere in the north island. One could even do it as a day trip if you’re set on remaining based in Auckland.

  9. Day one. Explore downtown Auckland. See the sky tower views. Explore the marina. Eat good food. Find one of the many great coffee shops and discover the amazing flat white.
    Day two. Take the ferry to Waiheke island. It’s beautiful. Great restaurants. Great views. Wonderful wine.
    Day three. Head up to northland. See the beaches. Drink wine. Awesome views.
    Day four. Hobbiton. Really. You’ll be mad at yourself if you don’t go. See that and the glow worm caves.
    Day five. More coffee. Take a walking tour. There is a trail that takes you coast to coast through Auckland.

  10. 5 days just in Auckland would be a waste.
    Take a night up at the Bay of Islands. Go dolphin watching, sailing or lazing.
    Take 2 days around Rotorua. See the thermals and the amazing glow worm caves. Hobbiton is really fun…

    So many wonderful places to visit in the North Island, no need to race down to the South if you only have 5 days.

  11. Thanks for this thread – my husband and I are going for 7 nights in September. I’m guessing you got in on the AA deal too! ($212/person RT was our deal!)

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