The ultimate ten-day Auckland, New Zealand itinerary

Department of Conservation —  16/04/2019

Planning your holiday? This ten-day trip itinerary will help you discover some of the best day trips, hikes and nature experiences that the Auckland region has to offer.

Whether you’ve got 2 days or ten, we’ve got you covered with some of the best day trips, walks and nature experiences that Auckland has to offer.

Day 1: West Coast

Drive from Auckland City to Goldie Bush – 40 minutes

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head straight for Auckland’s west coast forests and beaches. Goldie Bush Scenic Reserve is home to beautiful kauri forests where you can choose between the stunning Mokoroa Falls Track (1 hr 20min return) or a longer loop walk by adding the Mokoroa Stream Track (4 hrs).

Need to cool down? The wild black sand surf beaches of Auckland’s stunning west coast are just a short drive away.

📷: Goldie Bush by Drew Divehall

Day 2: North Shore

Drive from Auckland City to Devonport – 30 minutes

A quick drive or ferry from the City gets you to the suburb of Devonport, known for its cafés, restaurants and one of Auckland’s most iconic destinations, Maungauika/North Head.

A short walk to the top of Maungauika offers sweeping views over Auckland city and the Hauraki Gulf. The rich Maori and military history here can be discovered through a range of self-guided loop walks. Maungauika and nearby Fort Takapuna are also part of the Toyota Kiwi Guardians kid’s activity programme, so Devonport offers perfect day out for the whole family.

North Head & Devonport

Day 3: Rangitoto Island

Ferry from Auckland City / Devonport to Rangitoto – 25 minutes

You cannot leave Auckland without a trip to Rangitoto Island, only a 25-minute ferry ride from the city. The 2-hour return Rangitoto Summit Track weaves it way across volcanic lava fields, through the world’s largest pohutakawa forest and up to the spectacular views from the summit / tihi.

Rangitoto is one of more than 40 pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf, so native bird species like the saddleback/tīeke and north island kākā thrive here. Help protect this island by checking you are pest-free before getting the ferry.

📷: View from Rangitoto by Drew Divehall

Day 4: Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Departs from Viaduct Harbour, Auckland City.

Forget Kaikoura. Right on Auckland’s doorstep is the 1.2 million-hectare Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, home to a range of whales, dolphins, seals, rare sea bird and even orca.

Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari (AWADS) offer the opportunity to see these amazing creatures up close on their daily sailings from downtown Auckland.

AWAD’s support marine researchers to conduct studies on the boat and their qualified marine biologist crew also collect scientific data during your trip, so you get the chance to learn even more about New Zealand’s only ‘national park of the sea’.

📷: Hauraki Gulf Marine Park by Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari

Day 5, 6 & 7: Great Barrier Island/Aotea

Fly from Auckland – 35 minutes
Car Ferry from Auckland – Approximately 4.5 hours

Put simply, Great Barrier Island/Aotea is a nature lovers paradise. Native wildlife, spectacular surf beaches, an international Dark Sky Sanctuary, the natural Kaitoke Hot Springs and a range of short walks are all on offer.   

For hikers, look no further than the epic 25km, 2-night Aotea Track or a range of shorter walks. You’ll be captivated by this rugged and remote island, just a 30-minute flight from Auckland.

If you need some preparation advice, visitor or contact our Auckland Visitor Centre before you go.

📷: Great Barrier Island by Andris Apse

Day 8: Tiritiri Matangi Island

Ferry from Auckland – 1 hour 15 minutes
Ferry from Gulf Harbour – 20 minutes

Tiritiri Matangi is a world-renowned wildlife sanctuary and the ultimate day trip from Auckland. The island is home to lush native forest, beautiful beaches and a range of endangered native species.

Start your day with the Wattle Track, check out the visitor centre, then after lunch enjoy exquisite views across the Hauraki Gulf from New Zealand’s oldest working lighthouse.

Tiritiri offers the chance to see wildlife such as giant wētā/wētāpunga, takahe, saddleback/tieke, stitchbird/hihi and kokako. Remember, you should always give wildlife space and not feed birds as this can do serious harm.

Tiritiri Matangi Island view

Day 9: Kawau Island

Ferry from Sandspit (near Warkworth) – 45 minutes

Kawau Island Historic Reserve offers a step back in time, rich in Maori history, and home to the iconic Mansion House and gardens of Sir George Grey, Governor of New Zealand in the mid-1800s.

A day trip to Kawau provides the chance to see a unique array of exotic and native wildlife. There is a variety of a short and longer walks to explore on this beautiful and unique island and great beaches to chill out with a picnic.

📷: Kawau Island by

Day 10: Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island)

Commonly known as Goat Island (Te Hāwere-a-Maki), New Zealand’s first marine reserve is a haven for local marine species and offers some of the best swimming, snorkelling and diving in the region.  

Goat Island Walkway (1hr 30min return) traverses a beautiful part of the coast and offers incredible views over the marine reserve and Hauraki Gulf islands.

Remember, marine reserves mean no fishing/harvesting, feeding fish or taking anything, so please help protect us this special place and always take your rubbish with you.