Auckland, the city of sails, is a starting point for many visitors as well as being home to nearly one-third of New Zealand’s population. While there are plenty of things to keep one busy in the city, an Auckland day trip to a nearby destination offers both a change of scenery and a lot of fun.
We are amongst the nearly 1.7 million people who call Auckland home. And while we love the city, Auckland day trips are often the quick getaway that we need. Whether it’s a beach, a cave, a hike, or an island, we make our Auckland getaways exciting.
While there are plenty of options, this page focuses on those within a two-hour drive from the city. It’s the area highlighted in this map:
First, let us tempt you with some Auckland fun
We often have affiliate partnerships with companies that we trust and recommend. We receive a small compensation if you make a purchase using these links. In some cases, the links can save you up to 70%.
Want to see more in your limited time?
Whether you have limited time, or you just prefer to have someone do the driving, there are a couple of Auckland day tours we recommend:
Auckland day trip to Hobbiton & Hamilton Gardens
This all-day tour will head first to Hobbiton for a guided exploration of the shire where both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed. Then, enjoy lunch just outside the farm at the Shire’s Rest Café (lunch is an additional cost). Next, drive to Hamilton and spend time exploring the lovely Hamilton Gardens. Click here to check for discount options.
Auckland day trip to Hobbiton & Waitomo caves
This one is ideal for people who prefer fully escorted tours, really want to see both Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves, and have only one day for the adventure. It travels first to the Hobbiton Movie Set, then enjoys lunch at The Shire’s Rest Café (a Kiwi-style cafe), before driving to the Glowworm caves in Waitomo. Both destinations are seen with guided tours. Please note the travel times. You will spend nearly 2/3 of this trip in transit. Check the prices and reviews here.
Where are our favourite Auckland day trips?
Here is our list of the best day trips by location.
- Head North for Waiheke Island, Tiritiri Matangi Island, and other islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Also to the north, you will find Waipu caves and beaches, Shakespear regional park, and Orewa Beach.
- To the west find Riverhead, Muriwai Beach, and Piha Beach.
- Head South for Hamilton and the Karangahake Gorge.
- And, East will bring you to Ngatea Water Gardens or to Hobbiton from Auckland.
Still want more?
If you are looking to go a bit farther, (Waitomo Caves, Rotorua, Bay of Islands, Coromandel, or Hobbiton) yet still only have one day, we can show you how to do this here. Or, if you want to find something new, but barely want to travel at all, check out our favourite things to do in Auckland.
Planning tips for Auckland
First-time visitors start here: New Zealand travel guide.
Rental Vehicles: For cars, we always use RentalCars.com, a rental car search engine with no hidden costs. For campervans, note that Spaceships Rentals NZ offers free one-way drop-off between Auckland and Christchurch.
Accommodations: We typically stay in 4-star accommodations. We live in Auckland and recommend either Hotel DeBrett or SkyCity Grand Hotel (if you’re on a tight budget, check out the backpacker options on Booking.com)
Activity Discounts: We use Bookme.co.nz to find discounts on entry tickets and tours in New Zealand.
Travel Insurance: We always start with World Nomads.
What to bring: Get a free copy of our New Zealand packing list when you sign up for our mailing list.
**Find more money-saving resources on our Travel Resources page.
Join our virtual community and explore New Zealand with us!
At Explore New Zealand, a Facebook group, members share photos, stories, itineraries, and more.
Save for later
If you enjoyed this article, please share it on social media and save it for later on Pinterest.
Which of these Auckland day trips will you try?
You might also like:
Disclaimer: We are frequently provided with complimentary entrances, tour, or sample items to aid in the writing of Albom Adventures and have worked in the past with ATEED. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly our own.