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Day trips

Our most recommended Auckland Day Trips

From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

1. From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

Join this tour to visit two of New Zealand's most iconic and famous attractions, the Hobbiton Movie Set and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, in a day trip from Auckland.  After pickup from your central Auckland hotel, travel south over the Bombay Hills for panoramic views of the Waikato Region and the scenic Hauraki Plains. Arrive at The Shire's Rest in Matamata, the home of the Hobbiton Movie Set. Your guide will help you skip the crowds so you can explore the Movie Set on an official 2-hour tour. Be escorted through the 10-acre site and learn fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created.  See Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, and The Mill. Savor a complimentary specially-brewed beverage at The Green Dragon Inn.  Afterwards, travel to the mesmerizing Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you'll enjoy a Kiwi-style lunch at The Homestead in Waitomo. On the way, share stories from Hobbiton and interact with your fellow travelers.  Glide silently by boat in the world famous caves and be amazed by the thousands of magical glowworms.  Your guide will likely be a descendant of the Maori Chief who originally explored the Caves and can share with you the remarkable history of the area. Walk through the majestic Cathedral Cove, famous for its acoustics. The return trip takes you through some of New Zealand's most beautiful countryside before following the majestic Waikato River northwards part of the way back to Auckland. You will pass Taupiri with its very sacred Maori burial ground. The day concludes with your return to your accommodation.

Waiheke Island: Zipline and Native Forest Adventure Trip

2. Waiheke Island: Zipline and Native Forest Adventure Trip

Hosted on Waiheke Island, just 30 minutes by fast ferry from central Auckland, this 3-hour zipline adventure offers nature lovers a thrilling, state-of-the-art dual zipline flight over native forest. Enjoy a mini-tour of Waiheke's beaches, million-dollar properties, and boutique wineries en route to the zipline site, where you'll be geared-up for one of New Zealand’s most exciting eco activities. Soar along 3 dual ziplines, each more than 650 feet (200 meters) long. Glide smoothly, side-by-side with a partner or friend, over a working vineyard and stunning tracts of original and regenerating native New Zealand bush. Catch views of Auckland, Rangitoto, and the Hauraki Gulf, as you zip. On completion of the 3rd line, enjoy a spectacular interpretive walk back to the visitor center, while guides share stories of the local flora and fauna, and Maori and European history of Waiheke.

From Auckland: Waiheke Island Wineries' Tour

3. From Auckland: Waiheke Island Wineries' Tour

Start by hopping on a morning boat to Waiheke Island from Auckland’s Downtown Ferry Terminal, enjoying a 35-minute boat ride with views of historical Devonport and Rangitoto Island on the way.  Meet your guide once you reach the island, and head on your way to 4 of the island’s finest wineries. Savor tastings at each of the 4 wineries, with an extended lunch break for your own free time at one of them. As a bonus, see why the island is famous for its beaches and see the rolling hills of vines, with your guide’s commentary accompanying.  At the end of the tour, either choose to take a transfer back to the port for an afternoon ferry back to Auckland, or choose to remain in the village and stroll back to the ferry on a 15-minute walk.

America’s Cup 2-Hour Sailing Experience Waitemata Harbour

4. America’s Cup 2-Hour Sailing Experience Waitemata Harbour

Join the crew on an America’s Cup yacht for a unique 2-hour tour from Auckland that gives you the chance to experience the sensation of competing in this world-famous racing meet. The America's Cup is the world's oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy and ultimate yachting regatta. Experience this first hand by sailing these remarkable vessels on the harbor that hosted the America's Cup in 2000 and 2003. Feel the thrill of the wind in your face as you tack and jibe. These powerful and highly engineered race vessels are usually the domain of billionaires and elite professional yacht owners, but this unique two-hour sailing experience offers everyone the opportunity to sail these grand prix racing machines. Set sail around Auckland’s stunning Waitemata Harbor and enjoy all the thrills of sailing in a proper racing yacht. Be transported to a world where the thrill of international sport meets the beauty of the sparkling sea. No sailing experience is required to participate. Take the helm and exert energy on the grinders, or simply sit back and enjoy the journey. Look back at the contrast of natural landscapes and city skyscrapers that line the harbour while you sail the seas.

Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

5. Auckland to Rotorua Small Group Tour & Activity Add-Ons

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Rotorua. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. As you drive, pass through the pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, Blue Baths, Thermal Springs and Polynesian Spa. From here enjoy the option to add on up to two of Rotorua's most popular activities and attractions (additional cost). Please add on the activities or attractions you would like to include during the booking process. Maybe head to the famous geothermal park and Maori cultural village of Te Puia, bathe in the geothermal waters of the Polynesian Spa, experience some farm culture at the Agrodome Sheep Show, or ride the gondola at Skyline! Or you can simply choose to explore the city at your own pace before your return to Auckland.

Auckland Harbour 1.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

6. Auckland Harbour 1.5-Hour Sailing Cruise

Enjoy Auckland, the City of Sails, as you join the yachts on Waitemata Harbor and enjoy the relaxed pace of harbor sailing. Set sail on a 50-foot cruising yacht for a spectacular sailing experience on the sparkling harbor waters. Meet your captain at the Auckland waterfront and be welcomed by the crew, who will supply you with weather-proof jackets if required. After a brief introduction accompanied by a safety briefing, depart Viaduct Habor to sail past the Sky Tower and Auckland Harbor Bridge for a 1.5-hour sightseeing tour. Enjoy engaging commentary from your skipper on Auckland, the home of the Americas Cup. Enjoy light refreshments, including a hot drink and a sweet treat, in the sunshine or below deck. Afterwards, set sail to cruise Auckland's sparkling Waitemata Harbor. If you like, help the crew sail the vessel or simply sit back and relax as you take advantage of photo opportunities. Glide past the Auckland Bridge, Westhaven Marina, the charming suburb of Devonport and the city skyline before returning to Auckland.

From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Full-Day Small-Group Trip

7. From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Full-Day Small-Group Trip

Make the most of your time in Auckland with a small-group tour to the magical and enchanting Hobbiton, Lord of the Rings Movie Set. You will have the movie set almost entirely to yourself. See how this beautiful piece of farmland has been transformed into the Shire from Middle Earth. Start off your adventure with pickup from your centrally located hotel or the Auckland Sky Tower. Travel south in an air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz. Look out the van's extra-large windows on the scenic drive to Matamata over the Bombay Hills and through the beautiful Hauraki Plains. Listen to facts and anecdotes from your guide clearly via a hi-tech audio system. When you arrive at Hobbiton, take a 2-hour tour with a knowledgeable guide. Take plenty of time to explore the locations you’ve seen at home. Pose for photos in front of your favorite places like the Hobbit Holes and The Mill. At the end of the tour, enjoy a specially brewed drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Afterward, visit the Shire Store, which features an extensive selection of souvenirs to remind you of your visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set. On the drive back home, follow the amazing Waikato river and drive past the Taupiri Maori burial ground. Finish your fun day trip from Auckland with convenient drop-off at your hotel or back at the Sky Tower in Auckland’s city center.

Waiheke Island: Beautiful Shared Wine Tour

8. Waiheke Island: Beautiful Shared Wine Tour

Catch the 10:00 AM ferry from Auckland City to Waiheke Island where you will be greeted by your tour guide. The first stop is for a lovely wine tasting at the Cable Bay Boutique Vineyard. Sample around 4 boutique wines grown on the island and Malborough. Visit Thomas's Batch Vineyard, where you'll have the option for lunch (at your own expense) and can admire incredible views and enjoy their wonderful food and wine within a great atmosphere. After lunch, make your way to Te Motu Vineyard for classic Bordeaux wines. The last stop is The Mudbrick Vineyard for rose, pinot gris, and more. Return to the wharf at 3:40 PM for the ferry back to Auckland. If you wish to stay on the island, you can be dropped off at Oneroa Village, where you'll find beautiful shops, eclectic Kiwiana gifts, plus good bars and restaurants. Or stay at Mudbrick and enjoy more wine and views.

Auckland: 9000, 13000, 16000, or 20000-Foot Tandem Skydive

9. Auckland: 9000, 13000, 16000, or 20000-Foot Tandem Skydive

Enjoy a scenic flight above Auckland as you reach altitude. When the plane gets to 9000, 13000, 16000, or 20000ft (depending on which altitude option you book), the door will open. Strapped to your tandem instructor, freefall for up to 85 seconds with New Zealand's stunning backdrop. Reach a speed of up to 200km/hr and it will feel like you are flying. Enjoy the serenity of a beautiful parachute with amazing views in every direction.  Take part in an exhilarating, fun and safe skydiving experience. Then, relive the entire experience over and over with your one on one photo and video package available to purchase on the day. Based in Parakai, it is an easy 45-minute drive from Auckland City. Free transport is provided, subject to availability. Want to bring a support crew? The viewing deck is perfectly positioned so your friends and family can watch you land!

Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

10. Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton.  Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your 2-hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to continue southwards towards the active geothermal area of Rotorua. During the drive, pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, the Blue Baths, Thermal Springs, and Polynesian Spa. Take some time to rest for lunch and then head to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland considered one of the most surreal places on earth.  Here, admire Champagne Lake, Devil’s Bath, local mud pools, geothermal craters, and other geothermal wonders before a fully guided trip back to Auckland and the end of your tour.

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5 best day trips from Auckland

Day trip to Rotorua

1. Day trip to Rotorua

Rotorua is one of the most popular destinations for travelers in New Zealand. The area is well-known for its geothermal activity, like the famous Pohutu Geyser and Lady Knox Geyser, as well as the numerous hot mud pools and springs. The area is rich in Maori heritage, which people can learn about at villages like Te Puia. Finally, take in gorgeous vistas of Lake Rotorua from the Skyline Rotorua gondola.

How far is Rotorua from Auckland?

Be sure to leave early, as it will take around 3 hours to drive the 228 kilometers (141 miles) from Auckland to Rotorua. The bus will usually take an average of four hours.

Day trip to Waiheke Island

2. Day trip to Waiheke Island

Head out into the Hauraki Gulf to discover the incredible Waiheke Island. Waiheke has been called one of the best islands in the world to visit for good reason. Wine tasting at one of the many vineyards like Cable Bay Vineyard and Mudbrick Vineyard is one of the favorite activities on the island. Aside from sampling the local wares, visitors also enjoy swimming at Oneroa Beach and the thrill of EcoZip Adventures ziplining. Make sure to admire the works of local artists in the island’s many art galleries.

How far is Waiheke Island from Auckland?

Passenger and vehicle ferries run the 16 kilometers (10 miles) directly from downtown Auckland to Matiatia and take around 35 minutes. A vehicle ferry also operates from Half Moon Bay to Waiheke Island.

3. Day trip to Matakana

Prepare for a feast of the senses on your day trip from Auckland to Matakana. The town is known for its market, surrounding vineyards, and artisanal food shops, making it a food lover’s dream. Travelers absolutely must visit the Matakana Farmers’ Market and sample the fresh produce and other delicious things to eat. Make sure to stroll along the Bricks Bay Sculpture Trail at the Bricks Bay Winery and hit the beach at Tawharanui Regional Park.

How far is Matakana from Auckland?

It only takes an hour to drive the 67 kilometers (41 miles) from Auckland to Matakana. There is no direct bus, with transfers taking place at Warkworth. The overall bus journey takes a bit over 90 minutes.

4. Day trip to the Coromandel Peninsula

If you’re looking to experience New Zealand’s famed natural beauty, spend a day on the Coromandel Peninsula. Karangahake Gorge is a must-see destination, while Coromandel Forest Park is the ideal place to explore the lush vegetation of the area. Take a ride up the mountain on the narrow-gauge Driving Creek Railway and be rewarded with incredible panoramic views.

How far is the Coromandel Peninsula from Auckland?

Taking the ferry from downtown Auckland, the 45-kilometer (28-mile) boat ride across the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula takes two hours. If you plan to drive around the firth, the distance increases to 190 kilometers (118 miles) and takes closer to three hours.

5. Day trip to Hamilton and Waitomo

A trip to Hamilton and Waitomo offers something for everybody. Hamilton is one of the largest cities in the country, with many things to do and see, like the formal Hamilton Gardens or the Waikato Museum, where visitors can learn about local art and history. Before heading back, make your way out of town to Waitomo and experience the enchanting illumination of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

How far are Hamilton and Waitomo from Auckland?

Hamilton is situated 125 kilometers (77 miles) south of Auckland, while Waitomo is a bit farther at 193 kilometers (120 kilometers). Driving takes about an hour and 40 minutes to Hamilton, and two and a half hours to Waitomo. If traveling by bus, the trip usually takes around two hours.

Auckland day trip FAQ

What transportation options are best for my day trip?

Whether you’re headed to the center of the North Island or another island entirely, figuring out how to get around New Zealand can be difficult without the right information.
  • • Auckland day trips by train

    Most train routes in New Zealand only run between major cities. The train is not the fastest way to get around, but the views of the country provide an amazing journey and experience of their own.

  • • Auckland day trips by bus

    If you don’t plan on renting a car, the bus is always your best option for traveling around New Zealand. Buses run to almost every town, though they may not be the fastest travel method. Most importantly, the bus is an affordable option for your transportation.

  • • Auckland day trips by car

    Traveling by car is the ideal way to take a day trip from Auckland. To get out into nature and away from the main towns, a car might be your only option.


Should I take a guided tour for my day trip?

With so much to do and see around Auckland, a guided tour is a fantastic option for most travelers. An expert guide can provide you with historical and cultural information that can transform your trip. In addition, guided tours often help you take care of the logistics and transportation so you don’t have to plan a thing.


What should I pack for my day trip?

No matter where you’re headed, always make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and probably a hat. The elements in New Zealand can be harsh, so make sure to check the weather before you head out.


Other Sightseeing Options in Auckland

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What people are saying about Auckland

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 839 reviews

Alex the guide was very friendly and helpful the whole time. Helped explain a lot of what we were doing and about near-by attractions along our route. Also helped me personally with advice as someone who had just moved to NZ when I asked questions about living here and apartment hunting, so way above and beyond the call of duty! Absolutely recommend this group for others wanting to experience these two incredible locations, both of which are absolutely worth the visit due to their beauty and of course for fans of the LOTR stories.

Was a wonderful tour and super exciting to see and immerse in this beautiful universe. The tour was friendly and informative and the story telling about the film making and history of the land and story was great! Recommend for any Tolkien/Peter Jackson fan or anyone who loves film and beautiful scenery.

John is the best tour guide I have ever had!!! He explained everything pretty good, I am 100% satisfy with his service.

Rain or shine, hobbiton is such a beautiful place to visit.

Great trip with a great guide! Highly recommended!