24 Hours In Auckland

Nothing is more challenging than trying to squeeze the essence of a town into a one day trip. Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand, is not excessively large when compared to other metropolitan cities. The challenge with Auckland is its public transportation system, it’s very limited. So there’s gonna be a fair amount of walking involved with this itinerary. But that shouldn’t be a problem, since you’ve must likely came to New Zealand for the hiking.

Lace up your walking shoes and lets start exploring.


8 am: Walking the Auckland Warf

Boats docked on Auckland Harbour
Boats docked on Auckland Harbour

For simplicity’s sake I’ll start the tour from Britomart station, which is the main subway station in Auckland. Starting from the Queen Street side of the building, turn right and walk towards Quay Street. This will bring you to Auckland’s bay side.

I can’t think of a better way to start your day than with a nice brisk walk against Auckland’s harbour. As you amble down this path you’ll get great views of the sparkling water, the city skyline and the boats arriving and leaving the harbour. This path will take you past the Ferry Station, the New Zealand Maritime Museum and Wynyard Crossing which will lead you to the Viaduct Harbour. From here you’ll have a nice view of Auckland Bridge.

Along your way make sure to grab a cup of coffee or a Kiwi brekkie (if you’re hungry).


9:30 am: Visit the Sky Tower

SkyCity and Sky Tower buildings
SkyCity and Sky Tower buildings

Walk back across Wynyard Crossing and turn right on Hobson Street. This street should take you to the Sky Tower. This is the most iconic building in Auckland. It offers its visitors 360 views of the city and it’s a great way to check out key landmarks and take in the wonderful landscapes that surround Auckland.

Feeling adventurous? The Sky Tower offers you the ability to walk on the outside perimeter of the building (630 feet in the air) on the “Sky Walk” adventure. Need something more extreme? You can try the “Sky Jump” where you can base jump off the building.

Don’t worry though, both activities will have you secured to a harness 🙂 .

10:45 am: Check out the Auckland Art Gallery

Art Installations in the Auckland Art Gallery
Art Installations in the Auckland Art Gallery

A short walk from the Sky Tower is the Auckland Art Gallery. This is our first cultural stop.

This is an incredible gallery and is New Zealand’s largest holding over 15,000 works of art for both local and international artists. The building hosting this gallery is also impressive. It was recently redesigned and it was recognized in 2011 by the World Architecture Festival as Building Of The Year.

Another great thing about this gallery, it’s free.

Noon: Lunch At Kang Nam Station

Kang Nam Station's Steamed Spicy Beef Rib
Kang Nam Station’s Steamed Spicy Beef Rib

After all that walking, you may start to feel yourself getting hungry. We’ll grab an early lunch at one of my favorite Korean restaurants, “Kang Nam Station”. This has some first rate Korean food. Not cheap, but it’s worth it. I’d recommend their steamed dumplings (which just melts in your mouth) and their steamed spicy beef rib. But really you can’t go wrong with anything you order.

1 pm : Head Off To Mission Bay

Mission Bay is great beach for family day out
Mission Bay is a great beach for a family day out

This was one of my favorite spots in Auckland. Mission Bay is a beautiful family beach with soft sand that’s lined by a nice promenade. It also has lots of great small cafes and restaurants. This is a great place to enjoy the sun, sand and sea. So make sure you bring your swimming shorts, beach towel and plenty of sun screen.


4pm: Cornwall Park & One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill

Cornwall Park is beautiful park and an oasis in the city. It also happens to be a working farm, with cattle and sheep doting the hillsides. The park’s most famous landmark is One Tree Hill which is perched on a 182 meter volcanic peak. The summit holds a large obelisk which was raised in tribute to the local Maori population and the park’s donor Sir John Campbell.

The hill was formed 30,000 years ago and is one of several inactive volcanoes that are spread across the Auckland area. This is a popular tourist attraction, once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll be treated to some nice views of the surrounding areas. Here is a link to a map with all the most important landmarks in the park.

I have to say sorry, but I mentioned earlier the public transport in Auckland sucks. It’s a painful schlep from Mission Beach to Cornwall on public transport. Alternatively, you can Uber to the park.

Night Out: K Road

K Road is an eclectic street where adult stores easily mix with bars, cafes and restaurants.
K Road is an eclectic street where adult stores easily mix with bars, cafes and restaurants.

After the park head back to your hotel for shower and maybe a quick rest before your night out. I’m gonna recommend you check out K Road. This is an interesting area and (just so you know) it’s Auckland’s “Red Light District”.

Before you get too excited, this is New Zealand sleazy, which is a polite sleazy.

This street has plenty of restaurants and bars (some offering live music) that mix easily with the sex shops, strip clubs, gay and drag bars that are spread across this street. You never walk away feeling threatened or overwhelmed by any of the alternative bars.

My personal favorite hangout on this street is Thirsty Dog. This bar has a great atmosphere and frequently has live bands or events that run throughout the week. If you’re interested in some alternative entertainment then there’s Caluzzi bar which is right next door. It offers dinner and with a drag show (you need to book a seat in advance). Definitely different way to end the night.