An Adventurous 3 Day Auckland Itinerary

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City buildings and an observation tower next to blue water
You can visit all of Auckland's top attractions in only a few days

Auckland, located on New Zealand's North Island, is one of the country's largest and most well-known cities. Visitors to Auckland will enjoy a beautiful waterfront city with great nightlife and exciting activities.

Even if you're not in the city for long, you can see a lot of Auckland in a few days. Following this 3 day Auckland itinerary will ensure you get the most out of your trip.

The city center is home to several shopping outlets, bars and restaurants, and museums and galleries. Auckland also has multiple waterfront complexes and cultural and historical sites. Adventurous travelers can even go bungee jumping off the Harbour Bridge or the iconic Sky Tower!

Additionally, Auckland has lots to offer in terms of island-hopping tours and nature trips. For example, you can hike Mount Eden or go a bit further north of Auckland to Waiheke Island.

With so many great neighborhoods to explore in Auckland, do some research as well before you arrive to choose where to stay in Auckland. If you're planning a trip to this unique city soon, keep reading for an activity-packed Auckland itinerary!

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🏨 Top accommodations in Auckland

☂️ Top tours and experiences in Auckland

3 Day Auckland Itinerary

Auckland 3-Day Itinerary Video

Check out our highlights video of the stops covered in this Auckland itinerary.

Auckland 3-Day Itinerary Map

A map of Auckland. Use the map to explore all the days and stops.

Auckland 3-Day Itinerary Map

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A Fun and Cultural Day in Central Auckland

A stone building with a tower next to a street with trees and steps
Queen Street is one of the exciting places to visit on your first day in Auckland

The first day of this Auckland 3 day itinerary will be spent exploring its downtown area, known locally as the central business district (CBD), and doing some cultural activities.

Start at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, a renowned art gallery. After thoroughly exploring the gallery, take a relaxing walk in Albert Park, where the gallery is located.

Next, you'll visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This important museum is a war memorial dedicated to New Zealand's soldiers that lost their lives in several wars. It includes a few exhibits on World War I and II as well.

Spend your afternoon and evening exploring Queen Street, the commercial hub of Auckland. Check out the many shops and stop for a drink at various bars.

Visiting the shops and eateries along Queen Street is also great indoor activity to do in Auckland on a rainy day, so heading to this attraction isn't weather-dependent. Finish your day with a great meal at the French restaurant The Grove.

Be sure to add the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki to your 3 day Auckland itinerary
Enjoy a treasure trove of art at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki

The CBD is one of the best places to stay in Auckland due to its proximity to renowned attractions like Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki, located in Albert Park. Visiting the gallery is a top thing to do in Auckland for art lovers, but even those that aren't art aficionados will enjoy viewing the works here.

The art gallery is the main public gallery in Auckland and has the most extensive art collection in New Zealand. You can revel in a vast array of national and international art during your visit.

The gallery also hosts a range of temporary exhibits throughout the year. Check their website before your visit to see which traveling exhibitions will be on display. Once you've seen all the gallery offers, wander around Albert Park. It's a relaxing oasis within the CBD with beautiful flower gardens and fountains.

🏨 Stay nearby the Auckland Art Gallery

☂️ Visit the Auckland Art Gallery with an excursion

A large building with columns and a tower-like structure next to a green lawn
You can learn about New Zealand military history at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum

The Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira (or just Auckland Museum) is an important museum and war memorial in the city. The museum houses artifacts from wars that New Zealand has been involved in. Most notably, you'll find exhibits on New Zealand's involvement in World War I and II.

Since 1929, the museum has also been a place of remembrance for those who have lost their lives serving New Zealand. Both the Rolls of Honour and Auckland Cenotaph are in place to remember those who have served. Additionally, the museum has exhibits on New Zealand's history outside of war, Maori culture, and natural history.

During the winter, the museum even holds an After Hours event. This fancy affair allows you to dress up and explore the museum at your leisure. Add winter-themed food and drinks, and you're sure to have a fun and sophisticated evening!

🏨 Accommodations close to the Auckland War Memorial Museum

A city street with trees, buildings, and an observation tower, and cars on the road
Shopping on Queen Street has to be on your 3 day Auckland itinerary

Queen Street

Queen Street is Auckland's main commercial center. The area is home to lots of well-known stores and local shops. It also has a wide range of restaurants offering all types of cuisine and top nightlife spots. Visiting this area at least once has to be on your Auckland itinerary!

You can begin your time on Queen Street with some shopping. Queen Street has high-end, chain, and independent stores. Start your shopping spree at Commercial Bay. Smith & Caughey's, a high-end department store, is also recommended.

If you want to take a break from shopping for a snack and drink, Queen Street has everything, from cute cafes to trendy bars. Vultures' Lane Craft Bar and The Churchill, a rooftop bar, are recommended. However, by simply exploring Queen Street, you can find a great bar or cafe to try!

Finish your time on Queen Street with dinner. If you don't feel like trying the recommended The Grove, there are many other options.

🏨 Stay near Queen Street

☂️ Experience Queen Street with a tour

The Grove Restaurant

The Grove is a local favorite, offering refined New Zealand cuisine with a French twist. This award-winning restaurant is a little more expensive than other restaurants around Queen Street, but it's definitely worth it!

You can choose from a four, five, or six-course menu. They also have vegetarian and vegan menus. You're guaranteed to enjoy a perfectly created menu of dishes using local and unique ingredients.

Complete your meal with professionally chosen wine pairings. The eatery is especially bustling on Friday and Saturday evenings, making it a must-visit for those spending a weekend in Auckland.

🏨 Accommodations nearby The Grove Restaurant

Island Hopping and Adrenaline Rushes

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Boats on the turquoise water next to a greenery-covered hill under a blue sky
You can explore beautiful Waiheke Island during your second day in Auckland

Your second day in Auckland will be a busy one! If you're an adrenaline junky, start the day with a bungee jump or bridge walk on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Next, hop on a ferry to go to Rangitoto Island. During a visit, you can explore the volcanic island's crater and black lava caves. Finally, finish your morning hiking in the Pohutukawa forest.

You'll then take the ferry to Waiheke Island. If you want another adventurous activity, try zip lining here. You can also go on a wine tour and stop for lunch and wine tasting at one of the many vineyards.

Finally, head back to Auckland to check out the Viaduct Harbour. This waterfront complex has several restaurants and bars; getting drinks and dinner in this area is one of the best things to do in Auckland, NZ!

A long steel bridge over water with houses on a greenery-covered hill behind it
Auckland Harbour Bridge is a must-see landmark that you can bungee jump of off

Auckland Harbour Bridge

The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a landmark and a major motorway in the city. When deciding what to see in Auckland, Harbour Bridge has to be on your list of can't-miss attractions.

The bridge is well known by adventurous tourists as a place to bungee jump. The exhilarating jump will take you 40 meters down from the bridge.

If you want to enjoy magnificent views but don't want to try bungee jumping, a bridge climb is also possible. Bungee jumping and bridge climbing are popular activities, so be sure to book your spot in advance.

🏨 Accommodations close to the Auckland Harbour Bridge

☂️ Visit the Auckland Harbour Bridge with an experience

A rocky area with plants and pools of water next to the blue ocean
You can see black lava caves and go hiking on the volcanic island of Rangitoto

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto is Auckland's youngest and largest volcano. Visiting this volcanic island is a must if you have 72 hours in Auckland. Rangitoto is just a short ferry ride from Auckland, and ferries operate regularly.

Visitors can take guided tours to see the volcano's crater and black lava caves. You can even take a kayak trip around the island. Guided kayak trips are offered during the day and at night, allowing visitors to enjoy the sunset from the water.

You'll also find many scenic hiking trails on Rangitoto Island and can also bird-watch. Notably, Rangitoto is home to the most extensive Pohutukawa forest in the world. Explore the forest to see the vibrantly-colored Pohutukawa trees, plus other flora and wildlife.

☂️ Explore Rangitoto Island on a tour

Rows of grapevines next to trees and green mountains under a partly cloudy sky
Visiting wineries is one of many activities to enjoy on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is New Zealand's second-largest island after the Great Barrier Island. The area has many beautiful beaches, olive groves, and vineyards, and is just 40 minutes from Auckland. Planning a trip here can't be missed as Waiheke Island is one of the best destinations north of Auckland.

Visitors can head to Oneroa Beach for sunbathing and beach activities. There is also a myriad of water activities to do on Waiheke Island, like swimming, boating, kayaking, and more!

Those after an adrenaline rush can try ziplining, offered by EcoZip Adventures. Flying-fox ziplines will take you over the lush forest with views of Waiheke's vineyards and beaches, as well as Auckland's CBD in the distance. EcoZip offers a forest walk too.

Waiheke Island is also called Wine Island, as it has a lot of vineyards. Visitors can taste a selection of locally-grown wines, including the award-winning Syrah, with a good deal of vineyards offering dining options as well.

Stonyridge Vineyard and Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant are two highly-recommended wineries to visit. To see multiple vineyards, try a wine tour with Waiheke Wine Tours. Don't forget to purchase a few bottles to take home with you!

🏨 Accommodations close to Waiheke Island

☂️ Visit Waiheke Island with an excursion

A pier with several boats parked alongside it and some buildings across the water
Wine and dine with friends at the bars and restaurants at Viaduct Harbour

Viaduct Harbour

Viaduct Harbour (also known as Viaduct Basin) is a modern harbor-side complex on the edge of the central business district. Head here to enjoy the marina views before stopping at one (or more!) of its over 30 bars and restaurants.

The bars and restaurants at Viaduct Harbour are modern and each very unique. Their harbor location means you can find some of the best seafood dishes in the city. There is also a selection of rooftop bars. Enjoy 360-degree views of Auckland City and the harbor while relaxing with a craft cocktail and snacks.

Additionally, you can enjoy fun and unique bar activities at some locations. Dr. Rudi's Rooftop Brewing Company has ten-pin bowling along with craft beers and incredible views. Or, stop by Holey Moley. This fun hangout has a mini-golf course, a cocktail bar, and karaoke. It's a recommended spot to visit if you're looking for fun things to do at night in Auckland.

🏨 Accommodations close to the Viaduct Harbour

☂️ Experience the Viaduct Harbour with a tour

Sharks, Parks, and Amazing Views

A green hill with a view of the Auckland skyline under a blue sky with clouds
You can enjoy views of Auckland from Mount Eden on your last day in the city

Your last day in Auckland will feature a range of activities. Start the day by going up the iconic Sky Tower. You can enjoy the view, grab something to eat, and even bungee jump again. To experience Auckland's sunset from up high, move this activity to later in the day.

You'll then have a relaxing morning exploring Auckland's parks. One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park combine to make a 670-acre outdoor attraction with lots to see and do. You can always pack a picnic to have on the lawn here, surrounded by wildlife, including sheep and cows! Next, hike up Mount Eden for panoramic views. Explore the surrounding village if time permits.

Spend the afternoon at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton Aquarium, accessible from the parks by public transport. This well-known conservation aquarium has many exciting aquatic exhibits. You can even swim with sharks under Gulf Harbour.

End your day watching the sunset with dinner and drinks at Mission Bay. You can choose from a wide range of bars and restaurants to dine at or have fish and chips on the beach.

A long, needle-like tower surrounded by buildings next to a harbor with many boats
Take a walk on the wild side along the outside platform of the Sky Tower

The Sky Tower

The Sky Tower has been an iconic landmark in Auckland for over 20 years. It's also New Zealand's largest human-made skyscraper, standing at 328 meters high. While you can't go all the way to the top of the structure, you can go up 220 meters. On the observation deck, you'll experience 360-degree views of the city.

If you feel like dining with a view, Sky Tower has three eateries. Visit Orbit 360˚Dining or The Sugar Club for fine dining or stop by the Sky Cafe for a snack.

Adventurers can take their visit to Sky Tower to a whole new level by bungee jumping off the building! Alternatively, Sky Tower's SkyWalk, at 192 meters above the ground, allows you to walk around the Sky Tower's outdoor platform.

🏨 Places to stay close to the Sky Tower

☂️ Discover the Sky Tower on a tour

A hill full of greenery with roads, a tree, and an obelisk on top on a nice day
The obelisk on top of One Tree Hill commemorates the Maori people

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is a well-loved local park and a great place to relax away from the hustle of the city center. It is also known as Maungakiekie and was considered the most important Maori village before colonialism.

One Tree Hill also has the second-highest volcanic peak in Auckland. The peak's most notable feature is its obelisk, which serves as a memorial to the Maori. Before you reach the obelisk, you'll come across the park's bronze statue of a Maori warrior. In addition, One Tree Hill Domain, on which the hill stands, has an observatory, restaurants, and gardens to explore and enjoy.

🏨 Accommodations near One Tree Hill

☂️ Explore One Tree Hill on a tour

A park filled with many trees, people, and some buildings in the far distance
After a busy few days exploring, you can unwind in the lush greenery of Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park prides itself on being an oasis within the city, and it's easy to see why. With lush greenery all around, it's an excellent place to rest, play, and people-watch. If you're wondering what to do in Auckland to unwind a little, going to Cornwall Park is the activity for you!

At the park, you can explore one of many on-road or off-road trails or just relax on the lawns. This urban attraction has over 350 types of trees, is home to 30 species of birds, and also has a range of other wildlife and flora to enjoy.

Cornwall Park is even home to a working farm with 600 sheep and 60 cows. You'll see the animals grazing around the park. If you visit between June and September, you can also see newborn lambs and calves.

🏨 Places to stay near Cornwall Park

☂️ See Cornwall Park on a tour

Grass on top of a mountain with a few trees and a view of a city in the distance
Mount Eden is a dormant volcano that offers a stunning view of Auckland

Mount Eden

A hike up Mount Eden is a short but scenic one. The scoria cone (Mount Eden proper) is called Maungawhau, which translates to "Mountain of the Whau tree." Its second name, Mount Eden, is after Earl George Eden.

This dormant volcano is the highest natural point in Auckland. It is, therefore, a popular tourist spot due to its fantastic views of central Auckland and the harbor. Take a short hike to the peak to take advantage of these views.

If you have some extra time, wander around Mount Eden Village. Here, you'll discover small galleries and lots of great eateries. Best of all, exploring Mount Eden is one of the free things to do in Auckland, making it an excellent activity for those on a budget.

🏨 Accommodations nearby Mount Eden

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton Aquarium

Visiting the Sea Life Kelly Tarlton Aquarium is a fun thing to do in Auckland for kids and adults. It's New Zealand's most famous aquarium and was founded in 1985 by marine conservationist Kelly Tarlton.

Sea Life is home to many marine animals, including New Zealand's only sub-Antarctic penguins. Start your visit by getting up close with these Gentoo and King penguins. You can view them from afar or even get on the ice to explore their habitat.

Next, head to the shark tunnel. You can walk through the transparent tunnel to view over 14 sharks swimming around you. Finally, stop by the Turtle Rescue Centre to see the seven kinds of turtles the aquarium has in rehabilitation. You'll also be able to view a range of colorful fish, seahorses, starfish, and more.

If you're feeling super adventurous, you can try their Shark Cage Adventure. Snorkel (in the safety of a mesh cage) under Gulf Harbour with sharks, stingrays, and lots of other aquatic life. No diving experience is required, and you'll receive a video and pictures of your adventurous shark meet!

Finish your trip at Scott's Hut exhibit, a replica of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic Hut from his early 1900s exploration.

🏨 Stay nearby SEA LIFE Kelly Tarltons Aquarium
Green grass with a fountain in the middle and trees around it under a blue sky
Mission Bay has many attractions and is a scenic place to end your Auckland trip

Mission Bay

The Promenade at Mission Bay is just a short walk from the Sea Life Aquarium or a short drive or bus ride from central Auckland. This waterfront promenade has a selection of shops, bars, and restaurants, plus an adjacent beach to relax on.

You'll find a range of casual to high-end shopping and eating options here. You can also be able to catch amazing views of Rangitoto Island. You can also go kayaking or paddleboarding if you have extra time at Mission Bay.

If planning to eat at Mission Bay, Lupino Italian eatery is recommended. Before you leave the area, stop by the Trevor Davis Memorial Fountain. This recently-restored fountain has been a local landmark since 1950.

🏨 Accommodation nearby Mission Bay

In Conclusion

Auckland is the perfect place for a weekend or 3-day trip. If you've been wondering what things to see and do in Auckland, NZ, in 72 hours, this list should have given you many ideas!

You can enjoy the usual city activities, like shopping, dining, and visiting museums. Or, you can try some fun and unique activities, such as bungee jumping, swimming with sharks, and exploring scenic islands. Even with a short amount of time, using this Auckland itinerary means you'll experience it all.

While in Auckland, you could also plan a trip to Waitomo Caves. Alternatively, take a bus tour or free walking tour around the city. For longer stays in the country, then road trips around the North Island or South Island in New Zealand are a must!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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