Leisure in Auckland
Discover the range of entertainment, sport and recreation possibilities Auckland has to offer.
There are plenty of live theatres in Auckland City and on the North Shore. Mainstream commercial plays and musicals are held in the large auditoriums of the Civic Theatre, Q Theatre and the Aotea Centre. For more fringe productions, check out smaller venues such as the Basement Theatre.
The University also has a well-established tradition of an outdoors Summer Shakespeare production.
Auckland’s many galleries display a range of visual arts. The largest, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, is based in the city centre. The Eastern suburbs is home to Te Tuhi, the public gallery for Manukau City, and the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre. Out west, you’ll find Waitākere City's Regional Art Gallery, Lopdell House and the newly restored Colin McCahon House Museum.
Sport and recreation
Auckland offers plenty of opportunities to get out on the water:
- To explore the inner harbour, you can hire boats or kayaks from the waterfront.
- Regular ferry services traverse the harbour to take passengers shopping in Devonport, or out into the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island with its popular wine trail, the bird sanctuary on Tiritiri Matangi, or Rangitoto with its spectacular summit views.
- The beaches of the North Shore offer safe swimming and those of the wilder west coast are ideal for surfing.
Away from the water, the city has venues for most major sporting events:
- Eden Park is famous for its national and international rugby matches, and is also used for international cricket.
- QBE Stadium on the North Shore hosts rugby and soccer games, as well as concerts and performances.
- Mount Smart Stadium hosts rugby union and rugby league games, concerts and performances.
- The Western Springs Speedway holds regular races for car enthusiasts.
For those seeking purely fun activities, Auckland offers attractions such as:
- The Sky Tower is the highest point in the city and offers rides to the top of the tower for magnificent views, and the option to bungy jump back down.
- Adventure theme park, Rainbow’s End invites you to experience the Fear Fall, rollercoasters and other attractions.
- The Harbour Bridge joins central Auckland to the North Shore, and offers adrenaline pumping activities such as bridge climbs and bungy-jumping.
Because it has New Zealand’s largest population, Auckland regularly hosts many major entertainment and cultural events.
- The St Jerome’s Laneway festival and the Auckland City Limits festival showcase New Zealand and international music.
- Western Springs Stadium, the Vector Arena and North Harbour Stadium host international concerts.
- Christmas in the Park and the Starlight Symphony are major outdoors events.
- The Devonport Wine and Food Festival is just one of the 'foodie' events that takes place.
- The Mission Bay jazz festival ensures fans get an annual treat.
With its nightclubs, bars, restaurants, cafes or pubs, Auckland offers many places to eat, drink and enjoy a full nightlife.
- The inner-city areas of Ponsonby, Parnell and Herne Bay, and Karangahape Road (known to many simply as ‘K Road’) offer alternative shopping and cafe culture by day, and club culture by night.
- There are upmarket eateries and bars at the Viaduct Harbour, in the Britomart precinct, at Wynyard Quarter and in Mission Bay.
- Waiheke Island and West Auckland vineyards produce some of Auckland's most notable wines, and wine trails give you a chance to sample the best of local food and wine.
- The Waitākere Ranges are one of New Zealand's finest natural reserves. They are only 30 minutes drive west of Auckland City.
- There are over 800 beaches, parks and walkways in the greater Auckland area to explore.
- The 65 islands of the Hauraki Gulf blend the natural and the cultural, from the wildlife sanctuary at Tiritiri Matangi to the panoramic views from the peak of volcanic Rangitoto.
Auckland is also in close proximity to plenty of other New Zealand attractions, so you can maximise your weekends and holidays.
Within a few hours drive you'll find:
- Whakapapa and Tῡroa ski fields.
- Rotorua's bubbling thermal pools and other attractions are popular favourites.
- Northland has great beaches and adventure activities, or go to the top and visit Cape Reinga where the oceans meet.
- Tourism New Zealand offers great information about things to do around the country.
Special Auckland attractions
In addition to hosting special events, Auckland is home to unique permanent attractions such as the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Zoo, Sky Tower and SkyCity and Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World.
Getting around Auckland
Getting around Auckland is made easy by the range of transport options available.
Find out more about Transport around Auckland