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How to Spend the BEST 2 Days in Auckland: A Detailed Itinerary

How to Spend the BEST 2 Days in Auckland: A Detailed Itinerary

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Full of good food, incredible sights, and more boats than you could shake a sail at, Auckland is one of my favorite places to visit on the North Island of New Zealand. If you’ve read some of my blogs, you’ll know I’m a Queenstown girl at heart, but what you might not know is that I actually lived here when I first moved to the country!

Whether you’re organizing a weekend getaway or are planning an epic North Island road trip, the city of Auckland is a fantastic place to spend two days. It’s a great destination for a romantic holiday, a family vacation, or simply just somewhere new to discover on your travels.

There are so many amazing things to do in Auckland, so much so that putting together a 2-day itinerary was a bit of a challenge! That said, it’s a challenge I love, and so I’m thrilled to present this action-packed itinerary, showcasing the best of what Auckland has to offer.

With activity guides, tips on where to stay, the best tours in Auckland, day trip ideas, and much more, I hope you enjoy reading this just as much as I did writing it. So let’s dive into this two-day guide to visiting the City of Sails!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Two days in Auckland will give you just enough time to experience the highlights! Day one will take you to the Auckland Sky Tower, the famous Wētā Workshop, and on a sunset dinner cruise. On day two, you’ll check out the Auckland Domain, take a day trip to Piha Beach, and finish it off with dinner in Ponsonby!

Day 1 – Getting to Know Auckland

Kicking off our epic two days in Auckland, the first day is all about getting to know the city and what makes it so special. By the end of it, you’ll have seen the city from an all-new perspective, tucked into some tasty dishes, and might even know a thing or two about Auckland’s vibrant history!

Morning – Tasty breakfast and exploring downtown

Our busy first day in Auckland kicks off with the most important meal of the day at one of my favorite eateries, as well as a visit to two iconic downtown spots. Don’t forget to take photos!

Breakfast at Odette’s Eatery

Bailey at Odettes Eatery in Auckland
So good!
Meals at Odettes Eatery in Auckland, New Zealand
It’s time to dig in, yum!

Auckland is full to the brim with amazing places to eat out – seriously, you could try a new spot every day of the year and still not even scratch the surface! So to kick off our day, we’ll be visiting one of my all-time favorite spots, Odette’s Eatery.

This undeniably elegant restaurant was my go-to back when I used to live in the city, and I still make sure to stop by their location when I’m in town to enjoy their top-tier, Mediterranean-style breakfasts. I’m talking three-egg omelets, sweet crêpes, the most incredible bread, and smoothies that will have you coming back for another!

Odette’s uses fresh ingredients to craft their tasty dishes, and the combination of good food and a relaxing, stylish atmosphere gives this place 5 stars in my books. They serve breakfast until 12 pm, although I recommend getting here early if you can, as you have an action-packed day ahead of you!

With breakfast dishes starting from $16 NZD, Odette’s is open daily from 7 am on weekdays and 8 am on weekends and closes at slightly different hours depending on the day of the week. You can also find their opening hours over on their website.

Visit the Sky Tower

View from the Sky Tower in Auckland
Auckland City is beautiful!
Bailey enjoys the view from the Auckland SKy Tower, Auckland, New Zealand
The Sky Tower is a great spot to snap a photo or two.

After a delicious and filling breakfast, it’s time to tuck into our first main activity of the day – taking in the epic views from Auckland’s Sky Tower. Completed back in 1997, this is actually the tallest building in New Zealand, measuring in at a whopping 328 meters (1,076 feet) tall. So what could be better than enjoying a 360-degree view of the city you’re about to explore?

You’ll find the Sky Tower in Auckland’s CBD, and it’s actually part of the SkyCity Auckland casino complex. With that said, you don’t need any sort of membership to get in, just an admission ticket. You can actually purchase these online ahead of time, helping you skip the queues and save time!

There’s free Wi-Fi in the tower, and aside from taking in the views, you can actually go bungy jumping off the side of the building if you’re feeling adventurous (maybe not right after breakfast though!). There’s also the Sky Walk, which takes you around the edge of the tower’s pergola, 192 meters (630 feet) above ground – now that’s some palm-sweating stuff.

The Sky Tower is also open 365 days a year, with the hours changing depending on the time of day you visit. It’s open from 9:30 am every day of the week, but closes at 10 pm from Friday to Sunday and at 8 pm on every other day.

Tickets for the Sky Tower cost $40 NZD per adult and can be booked online here. I like to book my tickets ahead of time, and I’m so glad I did the last time I got here, as I got to breeze past the groups that had already arrived!

Why I Book Tours on Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book all of my tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here

Discover the wacky and wonderful Weta Workshop

Weta workshop unleashed AUckland
Photo credit: Weta Workshop Unleashed
Gollum at Wētā Workshop Unleashed in Auckland
Photo credit: Wētā Workshop Unleashed

When it comes to unique things to do in Auckland, it really doesn’t get much more extraordinary than a visit to Wētā Workshop Unleashed, our next stop after the Sky Tower. It’s also just a two-minute walk down the road – now that’s what I call efficient!

So, what exactly is this place? Well, you may have heard of the Lord of the Rings films, but you might not know the name Wētā Workshop, which was actually the special effects company that helped bring the scenes from these movies to life!

Based in Wellington, the company opened its second interactive workshop (Wētā Workshop Unleashed) here in Auckland in 2020. The other interactive tour is offered at Wētā Workshop and Cave in Wellington. A visit to either of these spots gives you a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse into how this special effects company achieves mind-bendingly impressive feats. You’ll get to visit a range of movie sets covering lots of different genres, from fantasy to horror and sci-fi!

Wētā Workshop Unleashed is open from 10 am until 6 pm every day of the year (except Christmas Day), and when you go to book your ticket online, you’ll get to select your time slot in advance.

Tickets for the Wētā Workshop cost $59 NZD, which includes a guided tour, and you can visit the on-site Wētā Cave for free, which is full of merch, art pieces, and all kinds of fun goodies.

Related Read: If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, then you can’t miss out on a chance to check out one of the best tours to Hobbiton from Auckland!

Afternoon – Lunch, scenic walks, and more!

With the morning behind you, by now I’m sure you’re starting to see what makes Auckland such a special city. Of course, the fun isn’t over yet – we’re just getting started! Up next, it’s time to grab lunch before heading out on the Auckland Foreshore Heritage Trail and hitting the Maritime Museum.

Enjoy lunch at Hello Beasty

Beef dish at Hello Beasty in Auckland, NZ
I went for beef last time!
These cocktails were so good!

We’ve already seen so much, and I’m sure by now you might be feeling a little bit peckish! Another of my favorite restaurants in town is Hello Beasty, a trendy east-Asian fusion restaurant that serves up all kinds of delicious bites.

You’ll find this restaurant located by the Auckland Waterfront about a 12-minute walk or 4-minute drive from Wētā Workshop. The walk is nice and easy, and you’ll be rewarded with some pretty sweet views of the waterfront as you arrive.

Their lunch menu is one of the most creative I’ve seen, and I always have a hard choice picking what I want – there are so many great dishes to pick from! For lunch, I normally grab a small plate or two, which start at $22 NZD per person. The KFC Korean fried cauliflower really is to die for, but if you’re feeling a bit hungrier, then you can’t miss out on their delicious slow-cooked lamb.

If you’re traveling on the weekend, or simply fancy a little extra peace of mind, you can book your table for up to 7 guests online. They’re open from 12 pm to 10 pm daily, and every time I’ve visited the service has been fantastic.

Walk the Auckland Foreshore Heritage Trail

Bailey walks the Auckland Foreshore Heritage Walk 
Auckland harbor!

After a delicious meal, it’s time to get back on the road and see the sights – and by road I mean the famous Auckland Foreshore Heritage Walk! From the starting point, this 5-kilometer (3-mile) walk will take you on a journey past historical buildings and sites between Point Erin and Parnell Baths. By the end of it, you’ll be the resident history expert on all things Auckland!

It’s just over a 30-minute walk from Hello Beasty to the starting point, so I’d recommend grabbing a cab or cycling from the waterfront. You’ll actually be tracing a path back here before stopping at the Maritime Museum up next.

As you stroll through parks and nature reserves, and wander by beautiful homes and wharves, you’ll find informational signage and placards placed every few minutes along the route. Traveling at your own pace, you can leisurely learn about Auckland’s history and how it evolved from the original port in the 1840s to the modern-day city. 

The entire experience takes about 3 hours, and there is plenty of parking for bikes and cars on both ends of the route.

Related Read: Fancy checking out some more of the best trails on the North Island of New Zealand? I’ve got you covered!

Stop by the New Zealand Maritime Museum

View of the New Zealand Maritime Museum building in Auckland, New Zealand
The Maritime Museum is such a fun spot to visit!

The New Zealand Maritime Museum is home to one of the country’s most important heritage collections and is the perfect place to cool down after walking the Heritage Trail. Their impressive collection is a fantastic window into New Zealand’s relationship with the ocean, recounting the story of the Great Pacific Migration that took place thousands of years ago!

The Maritime Museum also hosts sailings down the Viaduct Harbour on heritage vessels and steamboats. Not only do you get to learn about New Zealand’s long and important maritime history, but you really get to experience it!

The museum is located in the Viaduct Basin in the CBD and is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 10 am – 5 pm. There’s also a lovely café on-site, which serves up great coffee and snacks. Admission is free for Auckland residents and $24 NZD for non-residents (one more reason to move here, wink wink!). You can also get involved in their sailings for $63 NZD per person, which includes museum entry.

Evening – Watch the sunset aboard a dinner cruise

Auckland Harbour, New Zealand
The evening rolls in on another perfect day.

We’ve seen a lot today, from peering out over the city in the Sky Tower to walking the streets of the city and learning all about its amazing history. And when it comes to ending this action-packed day on a high note, there’s nothing better than a sunset cruise!

Serving a complete three-course meal aboard a comfortable yacht, this 2.5-hour sunset cruise is the ultimate way to wrap up the day in style. I’ve been on this tour and had such an amazing time getting to know the crew, who are so easy to talk to and are full of humor!

Of course, you could sit down at one of Auckland’s many restaurants and enjoy a meal, but there’s something special about floating away in the harbor and listening to the sound of the lapping waves as you eat. I found that there were enough guests on board to have a bit of ambiance, but not enough to make the experience feel overcrowded!

Ideal for a romantic date night or evening meal with the kids, I highly recommend you give this one a shot. It costs just $150 NZD per person, which includes food (additional drinks are extra), and I think it’s pretty good value! This experience does book up, though, so it’s best to check online and book your slot in advance to avoid missing out.

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Day 2 – Exploring Auckland Domain and Piha Beach

Wow, what an adventure day 1 was! However, the party is just getting started as we move into day 2, which has a special emphasis on all things natural. I’m talking about exploring the green heart of Auckland, the Auckland Domain, as well as the gorgeous Piha Beach, and much more. Let’s get to it!

Morning – Explore the Auckland Domain

Taking one step into this sprawling and green Auckland Domain, it’s easy to forget that we’re in the same city that we saw from the Sky Tower yesterday. But before we start exploring, it’s time for breakfast!

Breakfast at Wintergarden Café

A café sitting atop a hill with outdoor seating.
I love sitting outside when it’s nice out! Photo Credit: Wintergarden Café

What better way to kick off our second day in Auckland than with a delicious breakfast in the city’s very own green oasis, the Auckland Domain. I love visiting the elegant Wintergarden Café, with its flower beds dotted around the outside of the café and a cute little duck pond too. It’s the perfect way to wake up in the morning, away from the hustle and bustle of the morning commute.

This little slice of Auckland is so pretty, it’s also often used as a wedding venue and for other private events! It was originally built as a show home back in 1913 and has evolved into the café where you’ll be enjoying a delicious breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, they serve breakfast dishes all day from their cafe menu, including my favorite, eggs benedict, as well as other popular dishes too (I’ve heard their French toast is especially good!). Breakfast dishes start from around $9.50 NZD for toast and spread and average around $20 NZD for a large breakfast.

The Wintergarden Café is open from 8 am to 4 pm on weekdays and from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on weekends. I recommend getting here earlier as it does tend to get pretty popular towards the late afternoon, plus you’ll want to have plenty of time exploring the next activity on our list!

Wander through the Auckland Domain and visit the Auckland Museum

War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand

After that delicious breakfast, it’s time to learn a little more about this neat corner of Auckland! The Auckland Domain is actually the oldest park in the city, measuring in at 75 hectares (190 acres). It’s located in the remains of an old explosion crater from the Pukekawa volcano, a site gifted by the Maori for the new town of Auckland back in 1840.

Nowadays, the park is home to beautiful gardens, as well as the Auckland Museum. Spread over three floors, you can easily spend a couple of hours here learning about New Zealand’s unique culture and rich history. Believe me, I actually worked at the museum for a few months before I moved to Queenstown!

You’ll find all sorts of exhibitions here, with some telling the story of the country’s first inhabitants, the Polynesian voyagers who made landfall on the island all the way back in 950 A.D. It’s a fantastic way to learn about the indigenous Maori’s way of life, with displays of Maori carvings, as well as canoes and examples of the homes they lived in.

I recommend spending at least two hours at this Auckland attraction, and you can book tickets in advance to skip the line for just $28 NZD per person.

Try a New Zealand pie (early lunch)

They’re the perfect on-the-go snack.
A pie from the Sheffield Pie Shop in New Zealand
So simple but so tasty!

Before we head off on our epic half-day tour to Piha, there’s one more quick stop we have to make, and it’s an important one! You might not know it, but New Zealanders are MAD about our meat pies … we just love them. So it wouldn’t be a trip to a New Zealand city if I didn’t include at least one chance to try out one of our famous local bites.

A meat pie is a handheld pastry, just like a normal pie, filled with a combination of meat and gravy. Common flavors include steak and cheese, butter chicken, lamb, and a whole bunch more! You’ll find meat pies offered at most bakeries and corner stores across New Zealand.

You can expect to pay around $7 NZD for one, which will feed one person as a snack or small lunch.

So before you head off on your afternoon adventure, I recommend stopping by a bakery near your hotel to give this New Zealand classic a go. Our upcoming tour also includes Auckland hotel pick-up, so you won’t have to worry about rushing around if you stop by a local bakery.

Related Read: Trying a delicious meat pie is also one of my favorite things to do in Queenstown!

Afternoon – Head to Piha and the West Coast

Waves crash at Piha Beach, New Zealand
Piha Beach is gorgeous!
Bailey climbs Lion Rock at Piha Beach
Up Lion Rock I go!

Piha Beach is one of the best beaches in New Zealand, and it’s also one of the prettiest, with its black sand in contrast to the bright blue water! Many people come here to swim (stay between the flags as the current can be strong!), and it’s also one of the most popular surf spots in New Zealand.

It’s a 45-minute drive (40 km/25 mi) from Auckland and is a common day trip option with both locals and tourists. However, for the best experience (especially if you don’t have your own transport), I recommend going as part of an organized tour such as this 5-hour afternoon Piha Beach experience.

Not only will it cut out all of the driving involved, but it also includes a fully guided walk of the beach and through a native rainforest, where your knowledgeable and friendly guide will point out all the New Zealand flora and fauna. It’s the best way to learn about the area in my eyes!

As the top-rated Piha Beach tour on Viator (which is saying something as this area can be popular!), these guys know the very best photo spots too, perfect for grabbing a few shots to show family and friends. I really loved learning all about the Maori history of the area and getting to visit the educational Arataki Center was super cool!

This is a very popular tour, so it’s a good idea to book your spot in advance to avoid missing out. Tickets cost just $185 NZD per person, which I think is a pretty good deal considering they include round-trip transport and your guide!

Note: If you’ve been to Piha before, or fancy looking at some more options to spend your afternoon, read on! I’ve included some more of my favorite day tours a little later in this blog, and I’m sure you’ll find one you love.

Evening – Enjoy dinner in Ponsonby

Bailey walks the cute streets of Ponsonby, Auckland on a beautiful summers day
The cute streets of Ponsonby, Auckland on a beautiful summer day
Bailey at Olas Arepas in Ponsonby, Auckland
Yum!

Wow, what a day we’ve had so far! From the flower-filled Auckland Domain to the sandy shores of Piha Beach, I bet you’re feeling hungry after all that outdoorsy goodness. So let’s end off day 2 with a bang by visiting the hip Auckland neighborhood of Ponsonby! This area is super walkable and full of fantastic places to eat.

One of my all-time favorite restaurants in Ponsonby is Prego, an Italian restaurant famous in the Auckland region, and I’m not the only one who thinks so! It is a popular spot to eat, so you can expect to queue a little (they don’t do advanced dinner bookings). Another great spot is The Blue Breeze Inn, an authentic Chinese restaurant that has some really unique and flavorful dishes. 

If you have time, no visit to Ponsonby is complete without stopping by the market! Ponsonby Central has a great atmosphere and a ton of awesome food stalls that showcase cuisines from all over the world and also closes late at 11 pm daily.

Come nighttime, Bedford Soda & Liquor on Ponsonby Road is my go-to joint for cocktails in Auckland. My top tip is to try their alcoholic caramel shake, made up of salted caramel, Maltesers, whiskey, and Maltesers sprinkled on top – super tasty! Afterward, you can head to the late-night bar – Ponsonby Social Club, where some excellent local and international DJs perform from Wednesday through Sunday. 

Other Day Tours to Try in Auckland

A humback whale tail on a whale watching tour in Auckland, NZ
So cool!

Auckland is a major hotspot when it comes to epic New Zealand tours – seriously, there are so many great tours in Auckland! I always try to go on a tour or two whenever I’m exploring someplace new, as I find learning from a local helps me connect a lot more with the place I’m in, plus it makes things easier when I don’t have to drive.

So whether you don’t quite fancy the Piha Beach tour I mentioned earlier, or maybe even want to extend your visit and are searching for other options, here are a few more of my favorite Auckland-based tours:

Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

With the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park just off the coast of Auckland, you can bet that this area is teeming with all kinds of amazing marine life! From dolphins to whales and everything in between, the best way to get up close and personal with these incredible creatures is as part of a guided tour like this 4.5-hour eco-safari cruise.

Boarding a custom-built luxury catamaran, you’ll join local wildlife experts in the search for no less than 6 different types of whale (as per the season!). Dolphins are quite common in these parts and often come right up beside the boat. All the while, you’ll be provided with informative commentary and come away with a few neat photos too.

Tickets for this experience cost $199 NZD per person, with tours departing from Auckland city’s Viaduct Harbour. With over 1,000 5-star reviews, you definitely can’t go wrong with this one! You can check out availability and book your spot on the tour online here.

Waitomo and Hobbiton Guided Tour departing Auckland

Are you a Lord of the Rings fan, or have someone in your family who is? Auckland is a great point from which you can go on a full-day tour to the iconic movie set of Hobbiton. This full-day tour to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Hobbiton is a blast for families, couples – pretty much everyone, really!

With transport included, visiting the Waitomo Caves is one of my favorite adventure activities, and Hobbiton is a really neat experience too if you’ve never been. If you’re looking for one of those trip-defining experiences, this is definitely worth considering.

You can book your place on the tour online here for $379 NZD per person, which I think is pretty good value considering admission for both spots is included in the ticket.

Auckland City Highlights Day Tour

Fancy a shorter tour that visits iconic spots we didn’t have time to cover in this itinerary? This half-day Auckland City highlights tour is perfect for you if you’re looking for a bit more in-the-city action. From Auckland’s impressive Harbour Bridge to the MJ Savage Memorial Park, new adventures are waiting around every corner!

I had Sean as my guide, and he did such a great job pointing out all the details you can easily miss without a little history knowledge. Plus, he also knows the city like the back of his hand, and I came away with some new restaurant recommendations!

This tour costs $160-$170 NZD depending on the day of the week you book, so if you’re craving some more Auckland exploration, don’t forget to reserve your spot.

Flavors of our City Food Walk

Last, but certainly not least, if you’re a foodie like me, you won’t want to miss out on this 3-hour Auckland food tour! Visiting some of the best artisan food shops in the city, you’ll treat your taste buds to new sweet treats, local delicacies, and maybe even a glass of wine or beer here in central Auckland.

This is a great tour to do rain or shine, and I always find that one of the best ways to get to know a city (and a country!) quickly is through its food. If you’ve never been to Auckland, or New Zealand for that matter, then this is a fantastic experience to start with.

You can book your place on this tour for $185 NZD per person. Although this is a popular tour that can book out days in advance, so make sure to check availability ahead of time.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around Auckland?

Bailey with her car on her way to Rotorua from Auckland
My little rental car!

If it’s your first time in Auckland (or New Zealand in general!), you’re probably asking yourself how you’ll be getting around. Auckland is actually a super accessible city, and having personally lived there, I can easily say that there are many options available to choose from, depending on your needs.

By car

You might be thinking – “But Bailey, surely getting around in a city by car can’t be any fun?!” And while it’s true that rush hour doesn’t have me jumping for joy, I’ve found Auckland to be one of the best cities that I’ve ever driven in when it comes to infrastructure and parking.

Also, if you’re planning a road trip or two, or fancy visiting some nearby attractions outside of the Auckland CBD (like Hobbiton!), then by far the most flexible way to get around is by car.

If you don’t have your own set of wheels, you can easily rent a car in Auckland that’s suitable for your needs. You’ll be flying around in no time! Plus, renting a car with Discover Cars is so easy, it’s the most hassle-free way to explore Auckland!

On foot

I’ve designed this itinerary to be easily accessible by foot, but in general, Auckland is a pretty great city to get around the old-fashioned way! If you bring a pair of comfortable shoes, you can visit the main attractions in Auckland on foot with no worries at all.

Public transport

Public transport in Auckland is pretty good too! There are over 30 train stations in the city with four lines, as well as a reliable bus system (and don’t forget the ferries!). You can easily grab an AT HOP card which you can load money on for use on public transport either online, at an AT HOP retailer, or at the Britomart customer service center.

This card costs just $5 NZD, and all you need to do is tap your card whenever you get on and off public transport – now that’s what I call convenient!

By bike

While I wouldn’t call Auckland a city that’s gone cycling-crazy, it’s definitely getting there, and it’s already lots of fun (and safe) to get around by bike. One of my favorite ways to get around is by e-bike, and you can rent one online from Power to the Pedal! Rentals start at $90 NZD for a half-day.

Taxi

Taxis are still a good way to get around, with ride-share apps like Uber being very popular. YourRide is another great option that sometimes has cheaper rates, so it’s a good idea to have these on your phone in advance, in case you need them!

Where to Stay in Auckland

Elegant room with a great view of the city at The Grand by SkyCity in Auckland, New Zealand
Photo credit: The Grand by SkyCity

Auckland is a huge city, so deciding where to stay in Auckland can be a challenge. Luckily, I’ve stayed in Auckland countless times (and even lived there for a few months), so I know the best areas. Below are my favorite hotels/hostels in Auckland to suit all budgets and travel styles:

$ – The Attic Backpackers

The Attic is one of my favorite budget-friendly accommodations in the heart of Auckland city. Although The Attic isn’t as high-end as the other hotels in the area, you can still call it your home away from home, and it’s actually pretty cozy. You have some chill-out areas a few steps away from the room for chatting with friends and watching TV.

There’s also a spacious outdoor covered deck to enjoy the sun in. Dorm rooms start around $50 NZD nightly and private rooms are available for $120 NZD. You can book The Attic online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

$$ – CityLife Auckland

CityLife Auckland is conveniently located in central Auckland. This mid-budget accommodation feels more luxurious than your wallet would say with an indoor saltwater lap pool, on-site restaurant and bar, and a fully-equipped gym. Rooms range from one-bedroom suites all the way to a rooftop Penthouse Suite, and some are apartment-style with a kitchen.

Prices start around $250 NZD and can be booked on Booking.com!

$$$ – The Grand by SkyCity

The Grand by SkyCity is an Auckland accommodation unlike any other. Treating you to a lavish stay right in the heart of the city, this five-star hotel is exactly where you want to be if you’re after luxurious rooms and city views. There’s also a fully equipped fitness studio, a 25-meter heated pool, and don’t forget the day spa!

Rooms are typically $400 NZD and up, but can dip as low as $275 NZD in the low season. I’ve found some stellar deals on Booking.com, so it’s worth checking before you book!

For more detailed info on the best areas to stay in Auckland and the best hotels, check out my blog!

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey poses for a photo on a park bench in Hamilton, NZ
Thanks for reading!

After two days in Auckland, you’ll be feeling like an expert in no time! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this itinerary and have a wonderful time exploring the city. If you’re thinking about going on a road trip after this stay, what about renting out a campervan from Auckland?

I also have a pretty large collection of blogs put together on the North Island, including destinations like Taupo and Rotorua, so if there are any more locations you’d like to visit, chances are I’ve covered it! Here are three more blogs I think you’ll find useful:

13 BEST Stops on the Drive from Auckland to Rotorua

12 Best Places for Helicopter Tours in New Zealand

19 Best Things to do in Whangarei