Day Trips

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Our most recommended Auckland Day Trips

Waiheke Island Zipline & Native Forest Adventure

1. Waiheke Island Zipline & Native Forest Adventure

Hosted on Waiheke Island, just 30 minutes by fast ferry from central Auckland, this 3-hour zipline adventure offers nature lovers a thrilling, state-of-the-art dual zipline flight over native forest. Enjoy a mini-tour of Waiheke's beaches, million-dollar properties, and boutique wineries en route to the zipline site, where you'll be geared-up for one of New Zealand’s most exciting eco activities. Soar along 3 dual ziplines, each more than 650 feet (200 meters) long. Glide smoothly, side-by-side with a partner or friend, over a working vineyard and stunning tracts of original and regenerating native New Zealand bush. Catch views of Auckland, Rangitoto, and the Hauraki Gulf, as you zip. On completion of the 3rd line, enjoy a spectacular interpretive walk back to the visitor center, while guides share stories of the local flora and fauna, and Maori and European history of Waiheke.

Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip from Auckland

2. Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip from Auckland

Book your ticket to Tiritiri Matangi Island, a wildlife sanctuary for New Zealand’s native birds and an important conservation project. Visitor numbers are limited in order to protect the island’s wildlife. Begin this 8-hour excursion in Auckland city with a 75-minute ferry ride across the Hauraki Gulf to the island preserve. Explore the island at your leisure, walking along the trails and enjoying the coastline after a ranger orientation. Enjoy informative displays at the visitor center and a complimentary cup of coffee or tea during your visit. See the lighthouse, and in warmer months, head to Hobbs beach for a swim before the return ferry ride to Auckland.

Auckland Harbour 1.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

3. Auckland Harbour 1.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

Enjoy Auckland, the City of Sails, as you join the yachts on Waitemata Harbor and enjoy the relaxed pace of harbor sailing. Set sail on a 50-foot cruising yacht for a spectacular sailing experience on the sparkling harbor waters. Meet your captain at the Auckland waterfront and be welcomed by the crew, who will supply you with weather-proof jackets if required. After a brief introduction accompanied by a safety briefing, depart Viaduct Habor to sail past the Sky Tower and Auckland Harbor Bridge for a 1.5-hour sightseeing tour. Enjoy engaging commentary from your skipper on Auckland, the home of the Americas Cup. Enjoy light refreshments, including a hot drink and a sweet treat, in the sunshine or below deck. Afterwards, set sail to cruise Auckland's sparkling Waitemata Harbor. If you like, help the crew sail the vessel or simply sit back and relax as you take advantage of photo opportunities. Glide past the Auckland Bridge, Westhaven Marina, the charming suburb of Devonport and the city skyline before returning to Auckland.

From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

4. From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

Join this tour to visit two of New Zealand's most iconic and famous attractions, the Hobbiton Movie Set and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, in one easy small-group day trip from Auckland. After pickup from your central Auckland hotel, travel south over the Bombay Hills for panoramic views of the Waikato Region and the scenic Hauraki Plains. Arrive at The Shire's Rest in Matamata, the home of the Hobbiton Movie Set. Your guide will help you skip the crowds so you can explore the Movie Set on an official 2-hour tour. Be escorted through the 10-acre site and learn fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created. See Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, and The Mill. Savor a complimentary specially-brewed beverage at The Green Dragon Inn.  Afterwards, travel to the mesmerizing Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you'll enjoy a Kiwi-style lunch at The Homestead in Waitomo. On the way, share stories from Hobbiton and interact with your fellow travelers. Glide silently by boat in the world famous caves and be amazed by the thousands of magical glowworms. Your guide on the 45-minute tour will likely be a descendant of the Maori Chief who originally explored the Caves and can share with you the remarkable history of the area. Walk through the majestic Cathedral Cove, famous for its acoustics. The return trip takes you through some of New Zealand's most beautiful countryside before following the majestic Waikato River northwards part of the way back to Auckland. You will pass Taupiri with its very sacred Maori burial ground.  The day concludes with your return to your accommodation.

Auckland: Whale and Dolphin Watching Half-Day Eco Cruise

5. Auckland: Whale and Dolphin Watching Half-Day Eco Cruise

Climb aboard a 65-foot luxury catamaran conveniently docked in the heart of Auckland. Set sail on the "Dolphin Explorer" to take in the sights and sounds of the city from the water. Enjoy a quick tour past impressive landmarks, such as the Auckland Harbour Bridge, North Head/Devonport, and Rangitoto Island. Keep a close look out for Orca and Bottlenose Dolphins that regularly visit the waters close to the city. Then explore the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Get up-close viewings of whales, dolphins, and sea birds. The "Dolphin Explorer" is able to get much closer than whale watching operations in other locations. Learn about the fauna via expert commentary from the ship's skipper, gained from 15 years of running trips daily in the area.

From Auckland: Waiheke Island Wineries' Tour

6. From Auckland: Waiheke Island Wineries' Tour

Start by hopping on a morning boat to Waiheke Island from Auckland’s Downtown Ferry Terminal, enjoying a 35-minute boat ride with views of historical Devonport and Rangitoto Island on the way.  Meet your guide once you reach the island, and head on your way to 4 of the island’s finest wineries. Savor tastings at each of the 4 wineries, with an extended lunch break for your own free time at one of them. As a bonus, see why the island is famous for its beaches and see the rolling hills of vines, with your guide’s commentary accompanying.  At the end of the tour, either choose to take a transfer back to the port for an afternoon ferry back to Auckland, or choose to remain in the village and stroll back to the ferry on a 15-minute walk.

Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

7. Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your two hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to head west towards the stunning Waitomo region. Along the way admire the incredible hydro dams, beautiful farmland, race horses and the Kiwiana capital of New Zealand. Before arriving at the caves, stop by Waitomo homestead for lunch, and a little surprise too. Once in Waitomo, explore the ancient and amazing caves and marvel at the many cave formations including Stalactites, Stalagmites, and Lime Columns before descending even further underground for your Glowworm Grotto experience. Board your glow-worm boat for a cruise on the grotto river with thousands of glowworms sparkling above you. Unique to New Zealand for over 120 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveler. On the guided trip back to Auckland the sights continue with New Zealand's longest river, Huntly power station and the Maori Queens’ burial site.

Auckland: 9000, 13000, 16000, or 20000-Foot Tandem Skydive

8. Auckland: 9000, 13000, 16000, or 20000-Foot Tandem Skydive

Enjoy a scenic flight above Auckland as you reach altitude. When the plane gets to 9000, 13000, 16000, or 20000ft (depending on which altitude option you book), the door will open. Strapped to your tandem instructor, freefall for up to 85 seconds with New Zealand's stunning backdrop. Reach a speed of up to 200km/hr and it will feel like you are flying. Enjoy the serenity of a beautiful parachute with amazing views in every direction.  Take part in an exhilarating, fun and safe skydiving experience. Then, relive the entire experience over and over with your one on one photo and video package available to purchase on the day. Based in Parakai, it is an easy 45-minute drive from Auckland City. Free transport is provided, subject to availability. Want to bring a support crew? The viewing deck is perfectly positioned so your friends and family can watch you land!

Leigh: Goat Island Guided Snorkeling Tour for Beginners

9. Leigh: Goat Island Guided Snorkeling Tour for Beginners

Begin your tour by meeting the team at the Goat Island Dive and Snorkel Center. Here, your friendly staff will get you kitted up with a mask, snorkel, fins, and a wetsuit. You will then drive in your own vehicle 2 miles (3km) to the Goat Island Marine Reserve, where you will meet with your snorkel instructor. Learn about the history of Goat Island and the marine life you are likely to meet at New Zealand's first marine reserve. The experience starts with an introduction to using the equipment and some snorkeling and swimming techniques. Before jumping in you'll receive a full, thorough safety briefing. Everyone will make their way to the water.  The group will stay in shallow waters while getting used to the equipment and the strange sensation of breathing while looking around underwater. Once everyone is feeling confident and comfortable, the group will make their way out to sea to continue the adventure. After the tour, you will be able to use the equipment for the remainder of the day to carry on exploring at your own pace. You will be part of a natural aquarium, with many varieties of colorful fish and marine life including Blue Maomao, Snapper, Eagle and Sting Rays, Blue Cod, Octopus, Kahawai, as well as Crayfish. Sometimes Dolphins or Orca visit the reserve and will often play with the snorkelers.

From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Half-Day Trip with Tour

10. From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Half-Day Trip with Tour

Travel in comfort in a luxury Mercedes van from Auckland to the famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Your trip begins with a pick-up at your preferred location in Auckland. Enjoy a scenic 2-hour drive into Waikato with stops for photos en route.  On arrival, spend 30-45 minutes at the official Hobbiton Gift Shop and have a chance to grab a drink or a bite at the famous Shire's Rest Café. Next, embark on a 2-hour guided tour of the 1,250-acre sheep farm with amazing views of the Kaimai Ranges. Your guide will then lead the way through the 12-acre site that’s home to Hobbit Holes, the Old Mill and the Double-Arched Bridge. Stop for a complimentary drink at The Green Dragon Inn. At the end of the Hobbiton Movie Set visit, head back to Auckland along the scenic roads of Waikato, arriving at approximately 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM.


5 best day trips from Auckland

Day trip to Rotorua

1. Day trip to Rotorua

Rotorua is one of the most popular destinations for travelers in New Zealand. The area is well-known for its geothermal activity, like the famous Pohutu Geyser and Lady Knox Geyser, as well as the numerous hot mud pools and springs. The area is rich in Maori heritage, which people can learn about at villages like Te Puia. Finally, take in gorgeous vistas of Lake Rotorua from the Skyline Rotorua gondola.

How far is Rotorua from Auckland?

Be sure to leave early, as it will take around 3 hours to drive the 228 kilometers (141 miles) from Auckland to Rotorua. The bus will usually take an average of four hours.

Day trip to Waiheke Island

2. Day trip to Waiheke Island

Head out into the Hauraki Gulf to discover the incredible Waiheke Island. Waiheke has been called one of the best islands in the world to visit for good reason. Wine tasting at one of the many vineyards like Cable Bay Vineyard and Mudbrick Vineyard is one of the favorite activities on the island. Aside from sampling the local wares, visitors also enjoy swimming at Oneroa Beach and the thrill of EcoZip Adventures ziplining. Make sure to admire the works of local artists in the island’s many art galleries.

How far is Waiheke Island from Auckland?

Passenger and vehicle ferries run the 16 kilometers (10 miles) directly from downtown Auckland to Matiatia and take around 35 minutes. A vehicle ferry also operates from Half Moon Bay to Waiheke Island.

3. Day trip to Matakana

Prepare for a feast of the senses on your day trip from Auckland to Matakana. The town is known for its market, surrounding vineyards, and artisanal food shops, making it a food lover’s dream. Travelers absolutely must visit the Matakana Farmers’ Market and sample the fresh produce and other delicious things to eat. Make sure to stroll along the Bricks Bay Sculpture Trail at the Bricks Bay Winery and hit the beach at Tawharanui Regional Park.

How far is Matakana from Auckland?

It only takes an hour to drive the 67 kilometers (41 miles) from Auckland to Matakana. There is no direct bus, with transfers taking place at Warkworth. The overall bus journey takes a bit over 90 minutes.

4. Day trip to the Coromandel Peninsula

If you’re looking to experience New Zealand’s famed natural beauty, spend a day on the Coromandel Peninsula. Karangahake Gorge is a must-see destination, while Coromandel Forest Park is the ideal place to explore the lush vegetation of the area. Take a ride up the mountain on the narrow-gauge Driving Creek Railway and be rewarded with incredible panoramic views.

How far is the Coromandel Peninsula from Auckland?

Taking the ferry from downtown Auckland, the 45-kilometer (28-mile) boat ride across the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula takes two hours. If you plan to drive around the firth, the distance increases to 190 kilometers (118 miles) and takes closer to three hours.

5. Day trip to Hamilton and Waitomo

A trip to Hamilton and Waitomo offers something for everybody. Hamilton is one of the largest cities in the country, with many things to do and see, like the formal Hamilton Gardens or the Waikato Museum, where visitors can learn about local art and history. Before heading back, make your way out of town to Waitomo and experience the enchanting illumination of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

How far are Hamilton and Waitomo from Auckland?

Hamilton is situated 125 kilometers (77 miles) south of Auckland, while Waitomo is a bit farther at 193 kilometers (120 kilometers). Driving takes about an hour and 40 minutes to Hamilton, and two and a half hours to Waitomo. If traveling by bus, the trip usually takes around two hours.

Auckland day trip FAQ

What transportation options are best for my day trip?

Whether you’re headed to the center of the North Island or another island entirely, figuring out how to get around New Zealand can be difficult without the right information.
  • • Auckland day trips by train

    Most train routes in New Zealand only run between major cities. The train is not the fastest way to get around, but the views of the country provide an amazing journey and experience of their own.

  • • Auckland day trips by bus

    If you don’t plan on renting a car, the bus is always your best option for traveling around New Zealand. Buses run to almost every town, though they may not be the fastest travel method. Most importantly, the bus is an affordable option for your transportation.

  • • Auckland day trips by car

    Traveling by car is the ideal way to take a day trip from Auckland. To get out into nature and away from the main towns, a car might be your only option.

Should I take a guided tour for my day trip?

With so much to do and see around Auckland, a guided tour is a fantastic option for most travelers. An expert guide can provide you with historical and cultural information that can transform your trip. In addition, guided tours often help you take care of the logistics and transportation so you don’t have to plan a thing.

What should I pack for my day trip?

No matter where you’re headed, always make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and probably a hat. The elements in New Zealand can be harsh, so make sure to check the weather before you head out.

Other Sightseeing Options in Auckland

Want to discover all there is to do in Auckland? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Auckland

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 839 reviews

Tam was an amazing guide, and all the wineries were absolutely beautiful. Even though it's winter it wasn't too cold and the views were still stunning. We took some great photos, found some new favourite wine, tried oyster shots, and learned a lot about wine and Waiheke (but not so much that it was overwhelming, just the right amount of lighthearted storytelling). If you're not looking to take photos of the vines (they're dormant in winter) then winter is a great time to visit and feel like you have the wineries all to yourself, it's a real experience! Thanks again to Tam and Enjoi, we had a great time

Everything was so well organized. Highly recommend taking a guided walk, you get so much information from the guides. The birdlife is incredible. The bell birds were deafening! The island is just a wonderful experience for young and old. Average fitness will suffice, tracks can be a bit steep, and there are steps, but the pace is leisurely, as you stop for a talk every few minutes. The guides are enthusiastic volunteers, and are full of knowledge. Tip: do put your back pack on the trailer and pick it up after your guided walk. Saves your back!

This was a fabulous trip. The bird life is all around, visible and audible. It is such a treat to be able to see so much wild life. The ferry ride is very well organised, in this covid time, and very quick from Gulf Harbour. To see what volunteers have achieved on Tiri Tiri Matangi over the years and still on going, is to be very impressed. Also there is a good souviner shop. A day to be recommended.

Driver from Akl to Hobbiton is very friendly & personable. As an added bonus, he is an expert at taking good pics lol. The staff are also friendly and knowledgeable. The tour itself is so magical, if your a Tolkien geek you will love it!!! A++++++++ service

Guide David was knowledgeable and shared many info with us