10 July 2019

48 Hours in Auckland

View of Auckland from Mount Eden
View of Auckland from Mount Eden

When we arrived in New Zealand two years ago, we found ourselves emerging bleary-eyed from Auckland airport at about 5am. We had 48 hours planned in this wonderful city, and so despite the long haul flight, as soon as we got to our Airbnb we had a 2-hour nap and then ventured out into the city to soak up as much as we could. 

I think our nap was so short because we were both too excited - we had just flown halfway around the world to a brand new country, and we couldn't wait to get out and explore. 

Many people fly either into Auckland and Christchurch, so if you find yourself in either of these two cities when you arrive in New Zealand then definitely put aside a couple of days to get your bearings, have an explore and get over your jetlag. 

If you need an idea of how much you'll be spending while in New Zealand then I've done a full budget break down here, but for reference £1 = just under New Zealand $2, so just be aware that things can get a bit pricey in case you're travelling on a budget. However, there is such a huge variety of things to do in Auckland for different budgets that you won't run out of things to do. 


I'm counting this day as the day you fly in or arrive in the city, so part of the day will be taken up with checking into your accommodation and recovering from your journey there. 

Like any city, Auckland has such a variety of things to do, from big tourist attractions to mooching about shopping malls and cafe, I suggest taking your first day easy and just get to know the city you're staying in. 

We stayed in the suburb of Epsom which is about a 10-minute drive from the centre, which was easy to get back to via Ubers while we waited to pick up our car. As well as driving, there are buses that go out to the suburbs if you're staying further out to save money. 

Auckland Harbour
Auckland Harbour


After our power nap after flying into Auckland, we booked an Uber and headed out into the city. As we were tired and a little dazed from the time jump we'd just experienced, we decided to just take in the city. 

The harbour is a great place to start as everything in the centre is pretty near here, and if you're getting a bus into the city there are a lot of bus stops situated around here. 

As well as the beautiful waterfront, you also have a huge variety of shops and cafe's to explore (some with beautiful architecture), and if you can take in any information after your long flight, then check out one of the many museums and galleries around the city like the Auckland Art Gallery or the War Memorial Museum

Auckland Sky Tower
Auckland Sky Tower


I'm no longer a stranger to a sky tower, as it feels like every city I've travelled to, wherever in the world, has some form of a sky tower!

Standing at 328 metres tall, this looks over the city with breathtaking views which you can take in from 220 metres up. As well as the viewing level, there are also a number of cafe's and restaurants, and for the adrenaline junkies, you can go for a bungee jump or walk around the tower's pergola strapped to a harness.  

I warn you now- like many sky towers around the world, this is not a cheap attraction and if you're travelling on a budget you may want to give this one a miss. 

Tickets cost £17 to go up the tower, but if you feel like you'd be missing out if you didn't do this then go for it!

Albert Park, Auckland
Albert Park


Eating out in New Zealand can get very expensive, so if you're looking for a cheaper alternative then grab some food from Countdown (Pack'n'Save is cheaper but they don't have any in Auckland city centre) and head to one of the many parks around the city.

Our favourite was Albert Park, a patch of quiet in the middle of the bustling city. This has many tiered levels with plenty of open spaces as well as shady spots, so just find a spot and settle down for a while. 

One Tree Hill Monument, Auckland
One Tree Hill Monument


I always say this when putting together an itinerary, but it's probably one of the best things you can do on your first day. You can slot this is in whenever you want, in the morning or the evening, but getting to know your surroundings will help you settle into your time there a lot quicker. 

We decided to take in Epsom in the evening and headed to a fantastic Indian restaurant called Chaahat where we enjoyed an amazing first-night feast for around £20. You can find cheaper alternatives around Epsom, but our jet-lagged selves needed some comfort food!

We were also staying a stone's throw from Cornwall Park, which is home to the famous One Tree Hill. This volcanic peak is an important place for the Maori, and on the summit of the hill sits an obelisk. From here you can experience an amazing view of the city, and I seriously recommend seeing this at night. Our host from our Airbnb took us up after dinner and getting to see this part of Auckland all lit up was a pretty special moment. 


Dedicating at least one full day to a city like Auckland is always a good idea, as then you can at least explore at your own pace, and hopefully not be in too much of a super tired/jetlagged state. 

Eden Gardens, Auckland
Eden Gardens


Mount Eden was one of the places that I really wanted to make time for in Auckland, as I had heard so much about the stunning views from the top. But Mount Eden isn't just a volcanic peak with a pretty view...

Along with this being the main attraction you also have the beautiful Eden Gardens that stretches 5.5 acres along the side of Mount Eden, along with the suburb of Mount Eden itself, which I'll talk about in a minute. 

The gardens are another little oasis in this city, as you find yourself surrounded by beautiful fauna and huge trees that block out any views of suburbia. 

Take a wander around the gardens for £6

View of Auckland from Mount Eden
View of Auckland from Mount Eden


The main attraction of this area is undoubtedly Mount Eden peak itself. You can hike up to the top from an entrance just up the road from the gardens, and when you get to the top you get to experience the beautiful view over the Hauraki Gulf. 

The viewing point from the summit can get very busy, but we found that the stretch of land on the other side, closer to the city, gives amazing views of not just the city but of the surrounding areas. 

As well as hiking to the very top, there are also some great hike trails around Mount Eden, and you can even take a Maori walking tour to learn all about the mountain's history as a Maori stronghold. 

Find out more about the Maori walking tour here

Mount Eden suburb, Auckland
Mount Eden suburb
Circus Circus, Mount Eden
Circus Circus


Once you have climbed down Mount Eden, you won't be far away from the village of Mount Eden. The main stretch of the high street is filled with trendy cafe's and wine bars to give you sustenance after a long hike up and down the mountain, as well as lots of bookshops and vintage clothing stores for a bit of retail therapy. 

Walking down the picturesque streets with the beautiful buildings lining them was a great way to finish our day around Mount Eden, and is definitely Instagram heaven with so many murals on the walls along the streets. 

A couple of really cool places to check out are Bakers Delight, a tiny little bakery doing amazing pastries that you can grab and go for lunch, or if you feel like having a sit-down then Circus Circus has food all day long, whether you want a big cooked lunch or grab a dessert to gorge on. 


The next day we got our hire car and headed north for more adventures! I really hope you enjoyed this post, and do let me know if you'd like more itineraries like this one. 


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