With a variety of museums in Auckland to choose from, seven stand out as must-see destinations for both locals and visitors. These include cultural and historical overviews, hands-on science, classic and contemporary art, and our southern hemisphere night sky.
Auckland is the country’s largest city, so it should come as no surprise that it is home some of the best museums in New Zealand. However, Te Papa Tongarewa (the New Zealand National Museum) is located in the capital city of Wellington.
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Auckland map of museums
Getting to museums in Auckland
Auckland city has an excellent public transportation system in the central city, and there are buses or trains that can get you to all of the Auckland museums on this page. The easiest way to find your route is with the free AT Journey Planner.
Auckland Explorer: Hop-on-hop-off bus
While this is a great way to see the city, it will only get you to four of the museums listed above: Auckland Museum, MOTAT, Maritime Museum, and Auckland Art Gallery. Check price and discount options for the Auckland Hop-on-hop-off bus.
Taxi or Uber
Unless you are in the heart of the central business district (CBD), you will need to call for a taxi if you want one. Uber is also a popular option for getting around in New Zealand. Both are generally considered safe.
Honestly, this is my favourite way to see any city. There are so many lovely walks in Auckland, an isthmus built on the cones of 48 extinct volcanoes. From the city centre, it is an easy walk to the Maritime Museum or the Auckland Art Gallery. Longer walks include the Auckland Museum (2.7 km from Britomart) or MOTAT (5 km from Britomart). For the other three museums, you would need some sort of transportation.
Driving in Auckland is not much different than driving in any other major city around the world. Traffic is heavy, people drive less politely than they do in the suburban areas, and parking is both difficult to find and expensive. As a visitor, we recommend picking up a rental car when you are ready to leave the city. Within the city, use one of the methods above.
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. However, we recommend Spaceships Rentals NZ for campervans.
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.
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After visiting the museums in Auckland, don’t miss these 75 free or nearly free things to do in the city.
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