The hills surrounding it are covered in rainforest, and there are 53 dormant volcanic cones. Auckland is such a picturesque city and one that offers so much to locals and tourists alike.

If you are thinking about visiting New Zealand sometime soon, these are the best places you shouldn't miss in Auckland and the surrounding areas.


Auckland City Centre Main Attractions

If you are flying into New Zealand or visiting the capital, the chances are you will be staying in accommodation in the city centre. Here are some places to see whilst here.


1. Sky Tower

Built-in 1997, the Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in New Zealand (1,076 feet). The famous landmark has multiple functions. It is an observation center, telecommunications tower, and tourist attraction.

Visitors can go up the tower to get a full panorama of the city. The building is also famous for its hotels, restaurants, and casino. Those who are not planning to go inside can take a picture in front of the tower.

One tip, if you make an online booking for the Sky Tower's Orbit restaurant and spend just $30, your entrance to the observation decks is covered for free - not something known by everyone, but a great deal. Enjoy!


2. One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill, also known as Maungakiekie, is a historically significant volcanic peak. It is an important memorial place for Maori and other New Zealanders. One Tree Hill merges with Cornwall Park to form the vastest parkland in Auckland city and is a popular walking route for locals.

After descending from One Tree Hill summit, visitors, and especially animal lovers, can drop by the latter to see cattle up close. This is one of the many Auckland hidden gems, that offers views from the mountain top and peaceful moments in Cornwall Park. 


3. Auckland Domain

Auckland's oldest park offers 75 hectares of breathtaking attractions. Visitors can see modern art installations, the plant showcase at the Wintergardens, and unmissable historical collections at the War Memorial Museum. One could spend a whole day exploring every corner of this beautiful place and taking photos, of course. 


4. Viaduct Harbour

The Viaduct Harbour is a picturesque harbour with ocean views and lots of luxury yachts and boats. Surrounded by restaurants, bars, and cafes, this is a popular location for both locals and tourists. Nightlife spots here are amongst the best in the city, whilst in the surrounding streets you can find lots of non-touristy things to do in Auckland


Best Day Trips and Places to Visit Near Auckland

You can't travel all the way to Auckland without seeing the nearby areas which are spectacular. From beaches


5. Piha Beach

Auckland is famous for its beautiful beaches, but if we need to pick the most beautiful one, we will go with Piha Beach. Aside from being popular among surfers, Piha is also attractive as a filming location.

The beach was one of the main locations used for the 1993 blockbuster, The Piano. On the other hand, photographers often visit Piha's Lion Rock — the volcanic monolith surrounded by historical and war memorials, suitable for making meaningful shots.


6. Tawharanui Regional Park

Just 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of Auckland City is heaven on earth — Tawharanui Regional Park. This dreamy place offers coastal forests, rolling pastures, shingled bays, and white-sand beaches. While there, don't forget to take a few short walks, enjoy the scenery, and take stunning photos at every turn. 


7. Waiheke Island

If you are looking for a place ideal for unusual outdoor activities, we suggest Waiheke Island. Just a 40-minute ferry ride from central Auckland separates you from spending a day exploring the island's white-sand beaches, vineyards, artsy township, and lush and abundant flora and fauna. When it comes to your Instagram snaps, the photogenic Waiheke will deliver in spades. 


8. Tongariro National Park

When you ask people from New Zealand what you should visit in their country, most of them will probably tell you — the Tongariro National Park. Named as one of the best day hikes in the world, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is also known as the best day hike in New Zealand.

On the 19 kilometers hike, you'll discover stunning spots for taking photos, including the mesmerizing Emerald Lake. Lots of local and international travel operators offer New Zealand tours which include Tonhariro National Park in the itinerary. 


9. Cathedral Cove

Placed East on the Coromandel Peninsula, Cathedral Cove can only be reached by foot, kayak, or boat. Thousands of nature (and Instagram) lovers visit it every year, so if you want to get your perfect shot, avoid it around the holidays and weekends — it gets crowded!


10. Kitekite Falls

Once you start making a plan for your epic New Zealand adventure, don't forget to make a note to visit the Kitekite Falls. You'll have the chance to abseil down the rocks and swim under the 40m multi-tiered waterfall. Can you imagine a better scenario for your Instagram photo session? Just make sure your device is appropriately waterproofed.


11. Rangitoto Island

Six centuries-old Rangitoto Island is Auckland's youngest volcano. This pest-free reserve is quite popular among local hikers. It is pretty much visible throughout the city. Those who can't cross the Hauraki Gulf can make an ideal Instagram photo of the island by pointing their cameras towards the ocean. 


12. Roys Peak, South Island

One location a bit further away, but if you plan on overlanding New Zealand you really need to go here. Located between Wanaka and Glendhu Bay, Roys Peak has become quite famous thanks to social media. Travelers usually do a one day hike through tussock grassland and alpine meadows up to the top. The 1578m summit offers views across Lake Wanaka up to Mount Aspiring, ideal for taking epic Instagram photos.


Whether you are planning a dream holiday, or you want to work in New Zealand, you really need to visit Auckland.

This is such a scenic and seductive city it seems like every nook of it is Instagram-worthy. We guarantee you, with so many sights on offer and places to see, you’ll be struggling for storage by the end of your trip.

Be prepared to take lots of pictures, and keep your charger close. You'll need it! Also if you want to see more of this stunning country, view our guide to New Zealand's most spectacular tourist attractions.