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Auckland One-Day Itinerary: An Epic Sightseeing Day

  • Wednesday 1st January 2020

A volcano adventure, historic tunnels and magical underwater worlds. All that, in this action-packed one-day itinerary. Here are some of the best Auckland sightseeing ideas from morning to evening.


Morning : Above the Land

First epic destination: North Head.


Behold, one of Auckland’s oldest volcanic cones! Formed over 50,000 years ago, North Head is rich in geological and cultural history. The North Head Historical Reserve, located at Waitematā Harbour, was first used by Maori as a coastal defence site. It’s considered to be the most significant defence site in the whole country.


Over the next 1-1.5 hours, step back in time on a self-guided sightseeing walk. You’ll venture through a military tunnel complex, gun emplacements and old fortifications that were built in the late 1800s to fend off Russian invasion. With ample signs showing background descriptions, there are many more fascinating stories to discover.


Right before your eyes is the glittering Hauraki Gulf. Bring some munchies, plop yourself down and take it all in.


Afternoon: Under the Water

Next stop: SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s.


You’ve traversed the land; now you’re ready to explore the mysterious worlds below New Zealand’s ocean surfaces. SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s, Auckland’s famous aquarium and conservation centre, has million-dollar displays that represent the island country’s rich biodiversity. Also by the Hauraki Gulf, here you can easily spend two hours.


Voyage through Seahorse Kingdom where Spiny Sea Dragons lurk – the only creatures of their kind able to be seen in any aquarium in the world. Journey through Antarctic Ice to come up close to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest penguin colony. Step into the Fish Gallery, nature’s live canvas filled with stripy, spotty, swirling patterned-fish.


Up for serious thrills? Take the plunge and snorkel with sharks. Rescue a native sea turtle. Meet New Zealand’s living ‘dinosaur,’ a cultural treasure that SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s was granted permission from the Maori to display. With so much to see and do here, it’s no wonder this attraction is an all-time favourite for locals and visitors alike.


Book your tickets to SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s online to enjoy significant savings and skip entrance queues. Plus, check out the daily feed and talk times before you go, so you don’t miss out on seeing your favourite animals.


Travel Tip

Want an easy, yummy lunch? Kelly’s Cafe at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s is a sweet-as place to relax. Down hot pies, toasted sandwiches, healthy snacks, and so much more. There’s also organic fair-trade coffee. Oh, the unique views of the Gulf from here aren’t bad either!


Evening: Where the Sky Meets the Sea

Wrap up the day with a stunning sunset. Just a two-minute drive or 10-minute walk from SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s is Bastion Point, where you can look out over mighty Rangitoto Island. What’s more, the buzzing beachside hub of Mission Bay is around the corner. Take a tiki-tour through the whole area, then get super stoked for great food and drinks.


With this one-day itinerary, you’re sure to make the most of Auckland sightseeing and beyond.