Auckland, New Zealand is only one of the MANY amazing cities in New Zealand. I plan to visit all of the big ones one day, but for now, I want to share all my secrets for having the best time possible in Auckland! As many of you know, I actually lived in Auckland for a month while interning in 2017 so I did a lot more of the local traveling and ate at local restaurants. This actually helped me when I came back because I knew all the tricks to travelling around the city cheaper. I feel like I’ve spent quite some time in Auckland now and I want to share everything I can about this amazing city.
So first things first, Andrew and I snagged our tickets for $424 round trip on American Airlines through Scott’s Cheap Flights. They send you emails pretty much everyday about cheap flights to AMAZING countries and cities. When we received the email for New Zealand at those prices, we couldn’t say no!
Once we had our flights booked, we had to figure out a place to stay that was reasonably priced and generally close to where we wanted to go. Our Airbnb was about $400 for 5 nights total, which was extremely reasonable. We ended up staying in an Airbnb right next to the University of Auckland so people were out at all times.
Almost everyone walks or takes the buses in Auckland. They’re really nice and not sketchy at all. I took the buses everyday while I lived in New Zealand and they’re WAY cheaper than an Uber or Lyft and significantly easier too. You can pay cash to ride the bus or get a hop card from Britomart. The card is $10 NZ plus whatever amount you want to put on it, but it ends up being cheaper using your hop card for the bus and ferry too!
Rangitoto is a MUST! It’s is a big volcano right off the coast of Auckland. I wanted to see it so bad the first time I was in Auckland, but didn’t have enough free time on the weekends. This time we made sure to see it. Read the full post here.
Devonport is an adorable little town off the coast of Auckland. It’s only a short ferry ride away PLUS Devonport Chocolates is there and it’s AMAZING. Y’all. Like I saved money to buy tons of chocolate from this specific chocolate shop. It’s that good. Read the full post here.
Piha is a black sand beach on the west coast of Auckland. It’s absolutely stunning. Exactly what you see in magazines of New Zealand. This beach’s beauty took my breath away. See more photos and read the full post here.
Kelly Tarltons is the cutest underground aquarium/museum! When you arrive, all you see is this tiny little building in a parking lot. Once inside, you’re guided below the ground to the front desk where you purchase tickets. I really enjoyed this aquarium over others because of how interactive it was. There were tons of little things to do while looking at penguins or gorgeous fish. At one point Andrew and I were holding our hands in ice water to feel what the ocean is like near Antarctica because Antarctica is actually pretty close to New Zealand! Bonus about this place is that the gift shop is LEGIT!
The Auckland Museum is one of the BEST museums I’ve been to 1) because it’s HUGE and 2) because it educates you on the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori. They have an entire floor all about their culture and lifestyle. It was truly amazing to see. If you love history, then the Auckland museum is for you. I spent about 3 hours in the museum absolutely fascinated by everything New Zealand!
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
The Waitomo glow worm caves aren’t technically in Auckland, but thankfully Bush and Beach has an amazing tour package to Waitomo + a stop at an adorable cafe + a bush walk through the rainforest + a trip to the Kiwi house to see real kiwi birds! I ended up on the cave walking tour, which was amazing, but next time I go I’ll be doing the black water rafting tour through the bottom of the caves! We were able to hear the rafters as we walked through and saw the beautiful glow worms.
Oh mama! Were there plenty of delicious places to eat in Auckland! I felt like all I did in Auckland was eat because everything was SO tasty *insert drool emoji here* Read my full post on food in Auckland here.
New Zealand pretty much has everything: sites, snacks, and coffee but what truly makes New Zealand so special are the people. The kiwi’s are some of the most genuinely kind people I’ve ever met which is what draws me to this amazing country.
If you have any questions about Auckland or traveling on a budget, feel free to drop them in the comments. I’m always happy to help! Especially if it involves travelling!