New Zealand’s primary reputation as a travel destination is as a place full of beauty and activity. It’s one of the most stunning and – in a good way – wildest places in the world, and as such it attracts many who are seeking adventure, new sights, and natural experiences. As much as nature is the main highlight, however, the country has its cities too, and Auckland, in particular, is a fairly stunning destination. Built on scattered land surrounding two harbors, it’s a fully modern city, and yet one that showcases and almost blends into the beauty of the surrounding land. And as with any modern city, it has its share of activities that will appeal to travelers.

Among those activities are these things you may not have realized you could do in Auckland or any city in New Zealand for that matter.

Mt Eden Auckland
Mt Eden Auckland

1. Hike a dormant volcano

Mount Eden is a beautiful, dormant volcano that lies on the outskirts of Auckland. Actually, strictly speaking, Mount Eden is a neighborhood (and a very nice one at that) dominated by the volcano, which is called Maungawhau – but many simply call it Mt. Eden, or the Mt. Eden Volcano. At any rate, it’s an easy hike, roughly 200m high, that results in an incredible view of Auckland and the surrounding waters. It doesn’t make for a whole lot of exertion, but the point here is that the wondrous nature of New Zealand doesn’t stop in the cities.

War Museum
War Museum


2. Visit a war museum

Perhaps this isn’t true of everyone, but many people fail to recognize how much the world wars affected Oceania. For this reason, you might not expect to see a war museum or any sort of global history in a place like Auckland. In reality however both Australia and New Zealand played active roles in the world wars, and as a result Auckland has a stunning museum that is a memorial to local soldiers who fought in World War I. The product of a worldwide architectural competition, it’s a striking building, and one that houses fascinating history worth learning.

Skycity Auckland
Skycity Auckland

3. Play games at a casino

Where casinos are concerned, New Zealand is actually a very active country online. There are plenty of sophisticated casino sites, and beyond that pretty much every brand offers a mobile product, putting the casino games in people’s pockets. For a traveler, however, none of this is a substitute for the likes of SkyCity Auckland, which is effectively a massive, striking skyscraper with a modern casino built into it. Live casinos in foreign places are always fun to check out if you’re just looking for a bit of entertainment, and SkyCity offers quite the venue.

4. Interact with penguins

This isn’t necessarily a guarantee. But there are blue penguins in and around Auckland, and they’re fairly common to see around the harbors. Specifically, many go kayaking in search of blue penguins, which can sometimes be swimming by just beneath the surface, or else hopping out on a shore somewhere. Needless to say, this is the sort of thing you can’t enjoy in most cities, and it’s another clear indication that the nature of New Zealand includes the city areas.

Waiheke Winery
Waiheke Winery

5. Sample wine on an island

Many people know that New Zealand is known for great wines, and some may even be aware that there’s an island in Auckland – Waiheke Island – that produces wine. But would you believe there are as many as seven wineries on this single island with strong reputations? It’s an amazing place to visit, where you’ll get to enjoy beautiful views, incredible tasting and dining experiences, and some of the finest wines in the world. What kind of city tourism experience is better than that?

Now is the best time to plan your trip to New Zealand.

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