- Visit the boutiques and restaurants in Ponsonby, Parnell, and New Market
- Embark on a day-to-night kiwi-spotting tour
- Enjoy a wine tasting excursion to Waiheke Island
- Discover the volcanic Rangitoto Island and its lava tunnels
|Day 1||Arrival in Auckland and Self-Guided Tour||Auckland|
|Day 2||Auckland - All-Day Kiwi Spotting Excursion||Auckland|
|Day 3||Auckland - Wine Tour on Waiheke Island||Auckland|
|Day 4||Auckland - Rangitoto Island Day Trip||Auckland|
|Day 5||Departure From Auckland|
Day 1: Arrival in Auckland and self-guided tour
Welcome to New Zealand! There is much to do and see in Auckland, also known as the Big Little City. Check in to your hotel, and then begin your tour of the town:
- Stroll Ponsonby, which is the city’s trendiest street; enjoy a good lunch and some high-end shopping
- Visit Parnell, New Zealand's oldest suburb famous for its galleries, cafés, restaurants, and boutique-style stores; there is also a charming French market on weekends
- Go to Newmarket, which is ideal for classic, everyday shopping
- Make a trip to Wynyard Quarter, a newer area with a daily fish market—try the huge mussels, or the famous oysters—then, check out one of the restored tramways, and go for a ride
- Visit the new area known as Britomart (which is also the name of the railway station) with bars, restaurants, designer shops, and a little local market open on Saturdays
- Go to Mt. Eden, the highest point of the city at 645 feet, where you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea and all of the volcanic cones that make up Auckland
- Stroll Albert Park, which is right in the middle of the city and perfect for a lunch break—the Modern Art Museum is next to it, likely with free exhibits to peruse
- Visit Mission Bay, which is a busy beach in the summertime, and also a residential area with great views
Additionally, make sure to visit the Auckland National Museum. The museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific, and its people. The museum is a war memorial for the province of Auckland and holds one of New Zealand’s top three heritage libraries. It has pre-eminent Maori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.
The Sky Tower is a truly captivating experience, as well. At 1,076 feet high, it is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers breathtaking views for up to 50 miles in every direction. Travel up in the glass-fronted lifts to one of the three, spectacular viewing platforms. For more thrills and excitement, SkyWalk around the outside of the pergola, which is 630 feet up, or do the SkyJump off the tower.
The historic seaside village of Devonport has a charming and relaxed atmosphere, too. Stroll around the village at your leisure and visit some of its attractions, including the many art galleries, historic points of interest, and lookouts.
Day 2: Auckland - All-day kiwi spotting excursion
Today, enjoy an adventure in nature. Go kiwi spotting from Auckland on a guided tour with a small group (a maximum of seven people). Discover local history, and learn what shaped the natural environment of New Zealand to how it is today. This day-into-night tour spans an afternoon and evening, returning you to your hotel at approximately 10:30 pm—a delicious picnic dinner with views of the beach and ocean over sunset is included.
This is your best opportunity to see a kiwi in the wild. After sunset, the bush environment changes. Tawharanui is home to the New Zealand brown kiwi, (few locals have seen this bird in the wild), morepork (a native owl), and weta. Much of the insect life, marine life, and some bird species are nocturnal. Since the tour continues after sundown, experience what goes on in nature in the dark. A guide will lead you through the native forest, in search of nocturnal wildlife. Note that while kiwi is very elusive, this tour projects sightings about 70 percent of the time.
Day 3: Auckland - Wine tour on Waiheke Island
Today, go on a wine tour on Waiheke Island via a ferry ride from Auckland. This deluxe vineyard tour combines world-class wine with beautiful island surroundings.
Upon arrival at the island, your tour bus will transport you to the picturesque Mudbrick Vineyard to enjoy premium wine tastings. Next, travel to The Goldie Room, Waiheke’s first—and most well-established—vineyard. Here, experience tastings and a mouthwatering plate of bites. The final stop allows you to try five-star-quality wines at Te Whau vineyard, which is acclaimed for its restaurant, as well as stunning views and outstanding architecture.
At the end of the tour, take advantage of the complimentary all-day bus pass, which allows you to discover the island further by scheduled public bus. Then, take the ferry back to Auckland, and enjoy the evening at your leisure.
Day 4: Auckland - Rangitoto Island day trip
Today, explore Rangitoto Island, which is only a 20-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Choose between taking a guided tour and exploring the volcanic island at your leisure. Discover lava tunnels you can walk through, climb to the summit for amazing views, and learn of the protected archaeological and historic sites, including the site of a prisoners' camp from the early 1900s. At Christmas time, the Pōhutukawa trees with their red flowers are in full bloom; the contrast with the hardened lava is an incredible visual.
For the day trip, don’t forget your lunch and swimwear, so you can enjoy a dip in the water. Following your island exploration, take the ferry back to Auckland. Enjoy the rest of the day on your own, and indulge in a special farewell dinner on your last night in New Zealand.
Day 5: Departure from Auckland
Depending on your departure flight, you may have some time to enjoy a few final moments exploring Auckland today. Check out of your hotel, commute to the airport, and catch your flight home with memories of your scenic and adventurous getaway to New Zealand.