Auckland is a major city near two of New Zealand’s largest harbours and is a great destination for all types of adventures. Even with a weekend trip, you can enjoy some of the best nature and urban experiences in Auckland. Take a look at this suggested itinerary and ideas for spending 2 or 3 days in Auckland and how you can see all the best attractions.

Harbor with ships and buildings in Auckland


Friday Evening

When you arrive on Friday, you’ll have 72 hours in Auckland. Start with dinner at Cotto, a K’ Road restaurant with premium pasta dishes such as gnocchi and ravioli that feature high-quality ingredients. Cotto also has an excellent selection of cocktails, so you can get your night started right.

Auckland has a spectacular nightlife, so you can hit the town after dinner to visit some of the area’s best clubs. There are plenty of fun bars in the city centre, but you can also venture into the suburbs for trendy spots. If you want to experience the culture and meet new people, join a bar crawl and make some friends along the way.

If you prefer something more low-key, visit Mount Eden, Auckland’s highest natural vantage point and an excellent place for sunset viewing. You can walk to the summit from the base in under 10 minutes, which gives you spectacular views of the landscape and the massive crater.

Saturday Morning

On Saturday morning, you’ll have 48 hours remaining in Auckland. For breakfast, visit Major Sprout, a Graham Street cafe with healthy, flavour-packed foods like green eggs Benedict and acai bowls. They also serve excellent morning beverages like iced lattes and an array of smoothie options.

After breakfast, spend some time exploring the Auckland War Memorial Museum, a vast museum with artefacts and memorabilia related to the army and the region’s history. You could also see SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium with the kids to enjoy a diverse array of marine animals and underwater viewing tunnels for up-close observation of the colourful creatures.

For lunch, stop in the Blue Breeze Inn, a well-known restaurant in Ponsonby Central with modern Chinese cuisine and famous pork buns. The atmosphere of the restaurant is fun as well, with all the waiters wearing quirky Hawaiian shirts and tiki designs.

Front entrance to the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, take the kids to Auckland Zoo to enjoy some animals in the sunshine. The zoo is home to many native and exotic species, such as cheetahs and elephants. Kids will also like Rainbow’s End, a massive amusement park with thrill rides, kiddie rides and food stands.

On Saturday night in Auckland, things really get exciting. Begin with a great dinner at Apéro, a sophisticated restaurant with an array of simple but exquisitely prepared dishes featuring quality ingredients. Apéro also has a wide selection of wines by the glass or bottle.

You can choose between wilderness adventures and urban delights for more evening enjoyment. For fun in nature, try an evening kayaking trip to Rangitoto Island, the area’s youngest volcano. Once there, you can hike to the volcano summit and see the sunset. There’s also night paintball, a fun excursion in the darkness with black lights and some friendly competition.

Sunday Morning

On Sunday morning in Auckland, you’ll have 24 hours left. Have breakfast at Odettes, a delicious eatery in the City Works Depot of Auckland City. The extensive breakfast menu includes dishes like wild mushrooms rice crepe with basil and poached eggs, burnt eggplant with almond tahini and espresso, banana, coconut and maple smoothies. They also serve fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and some of Auckland’s best desserts.

After eating, you can work off your breakfast with a stroll down Queen Street, a vibrant shopping area with many unique boutiques selling all types of products. You could also spend some time at the New Zealand Maritime Museum, a fascinating seafaring museum with nautical memorabilia and tours of replica ships.

For lunch, head to the harbour for Harbourside, a stunning waterfront restaurant on the first floor of a historic ferry building. The upscale bistro has water views, cocktails and a diverse menu of seafood dishes like sushi, oysters and other fresh-caught fare.

Skyline of Viaduct Harbour in evening

Viaduct Harbour

Sunday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, get out into nature with a hike to Kitekite Falls, a towering waterfall with a swimming hole deep in the forest. You could also visit Piha, a black-sand beach with beautiful scenery and great swells for surfing and water sports.

On Sunday night in Auckland, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights of the city. Have dinner at Cibo, a restaurant in an old chocolate factory with a-la-carte and degustation menus, as well as alfresco courtyards for dining.

After dining, visit the Sky Tower, the city’s highest observation deck, to see the city’s landmarks illuminated. You could also visit the Auckland Night Markets to pick up some souvenirs to take home and try some unique street food. For a little healthy competition among you and your travel buddies, try an escape room to solve puzzles to get out of a closed room.

Ready for the perfect weekend getaway?

Whether you want to explore the outdoors or enjoy culture and dining in the city, Auckland has something for everyone. If you’re planning a trip, take a look at deals on Auckland holidays on Expedia to get ready for your trip!