Once you pick up your rental car in Auckland, you will find the things to do here are endless. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and also known as ‘The City of Sails’. Here we have listed 15 must-visit attractions, most of these are family friendly activites and suitable for young children. Make a booking for your next Auckland Car Rental with Shore Rentals.

The Sky Tower

Drive your rental car towards the Auckland CBD and you’ll see the Sky Tower which is the Southern Hemispheres tallest structure, standing at 328 metres tall. Inside you find an observation deck, restaurants, as well as activites like Skywalk and Skyjump.

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the largest and most important museums in New Zealand. The museum displays concentrate on New Zealand History, Natural History and Military History as well as Maori and Pacific treasures. Next to the museum you will find the Auckland domain – the city’s oldest park and Wintergardens.

Auckland Museum, Auckland.  Photo credit: Chris McLennan
Auckland Museum, Auckland. Photo Credit: Chris McLennan

Auckland Botanic Gardens

Head south and explore 64 hectares of beautiful garden, native forest and over 10,000 plants from all over the world in the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa. The gardens contain a collection of natives and exotic plants as well as large outdoor sculptures. Entry to the gardens is free and you can enjoy a much deserved coffee at Cafe Miko afterwards.

Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki is the largest art insitiution in New Zealand and home to over 17000 works. It contains the most extensive national and international in the country and all displayed in a beautifully restored building, which orignally opened in 1888 with regularly changing exhibitions.

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, New Zealand

MOTAT – Museum of Transport and Technology

Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology is located in Western Springs, it is spread over 40 acres across two locations. The museum displays exhibitions on NZ transport, technology and kiwi ingenuity. It also holds regular family friendly events during the day and night. The Auckland Zoo is located nearby.

Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo in Western Springs (Not far from the CBD) is located on 16.35 hectares, and home to over 1400 animals and 144 different species. Since opening in 1922 the Zoo has evolved to become an active conservation organisation and hosts events, keeper talks and behind the scenes experiences.

Auckland Zoo, Auckland, New Zealand.  Photo Credit: Chris McLennan
Auckland Zoo. Photo Credit: Chris McLennan

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarltons Aquarium

Sea Life Kelly Tarltons on Tamaki Drive is one of Aucklands top attractions. Take a walk through oceanarium tunnels, learn about conservation, see King and Gentoo penguins in their icy habitat. You can also watch animal feeds and talks on this wonderful day out for families. Also if you drive your hire car a bit further round you will find Mission Bay which is a favourite city beach with Aucklanders.

New Zealand Maritime Museum

The New Zealand Maritime Museum is located on Hobson Wharf, adjacent to the Viaduct Harbour. Discover New Zealand’s love of the ocean through the stories of immigration, trade, design, innovation and leisure. The museum is also home to important heritage collections from the Great Pacific Migration thousands of years ago. Jump aboard a sailing or see an exhibition while you are here.

Manukau Heads Lighthouse

The historical Manukau Heads Lighthouse in the Awhitu Penninsula is one of the few in New Zealand open to the public. Admire the vast panoramic views and breath-taking coastal landscape or stop and have a picnic. On your way stop by Waiuku, Awhitu Regional Park or Karioitahi Beach.

Manukau Heads Light House


Take your rental car out to Piha on Auckland’s rugged West Coast, this popular black sand beach is known for surfing and stunning scenery and located about a 45 minute drive from here. While driving to Piha keep an eye for the Lookout on the side of the road to get an awesome photo of Lions rock and the beach. Take one of the nearby walking tracks, visit the nearby KiteKite Falls or if you are are going later in the day it’s a great place to watch the sunset.

Hunua Falls

The Hunua Falls is a beautiful 30m high waterfall which is part of the Wairoa river. The waterfall in the Hunua Ranges makes an excellent day out for nature lovers with plenty of walking tracks in native forest and wildlife. It is located about an hour south drive from the North Shore.

Hunua Falls, Auckland.  Photo Credit: Chris McLennan
Hunua Falls, Auckland. Photo Credit: Chris McLennan

Mount Eden

Mount Eden is Auckland’s highest volcanic cone (196m) tall with a symmetrical crater that is 50m deep. There are several different paths that lead up the mountain and at the top there are boardwalks to help protect the history and cultural significance of the site. While you are there don’t miss the close by Maungawhau vistior centre where you can learn about the geological and Maori history of Mt Eden.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) is another large volcano in Auckland which formerly was a large Maori Pa (Village settlements), and one of the largest pre-European archeological sites in New Zealand. The name One Tree Hill came from the lone Monterey Pine which once stood at the top but is now planted with native Totara and Pohutakawa. Sir John Logan Campbell is buried at the top and a 21 metre oblisk memorial bequeathed to him to the Maori.


The Tawharanui Regional Park is a picturesque park north of Auckland covers the end of the penninsula which extends to the Pacific Ocean north of Kawau Island, it is home to beaches, wetlands, forest and a wildlife habitat. The long sandy beach at Anchor Bay is a great spot for swimming, snorkelling and surfing or go diving in the protected area on the north coast, or pack a picnic and find a shady spot under Pohutakawa tree.

Muriwai Gannet Colony

Muriwai Gannet Colony is about an hour drive from the North Shore and a short walking track leads to viewing platform above the main colony area. About 1200 pairs of Gannets nest here from August to March each year. Once the young Gannets mature they cross the Tasman Sea to Australia and a few years surviors come and to lay a nest at the colony. The views at the colony are stunning with views of the rugged 60km black sand beach.