This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure
Discover 10 of the best Auckland day trips and weekend trips to take, whether you have 1 day or many, to spend seeing beyond the Auckland city centre! These day trips from Auckland will take you to the most breathtaking places in New Zealand’s North Island.
While Auckland may not be the top of your New Zealand bucket list, you will find some of the best day trips and weekend getaways within easy distance from Auckland city!
The Best Auckland Day Trips & Weekend Trips
We have put together a list of the best Auckland day trips and mini-breaks to get you exploring well beyond the city centre, and wishing you had many more days to see it all!
You don’t need to be a Lord of the Rings fanatic to enjoy a visit to Middle Earth. The Hobbiton Movie Set is the most visited attraction in all of the New Zealand and by far one of the most popular day trips from Auckland!
If you love J.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books and the more recent Hollywood blockbusters, Hobbiton is a must-visit!
Wander through Hobbit holes built for the films and Bagshot Row. You can even order yourself a themed beverage at the Green Dragon Inn or dine on signature New Zealand cuisine at Rest Café.
Entry to Hobbiton Movie Set must be pre-booked prior to arrival.
Getting to Hobbiton Movie Set From Auckland
The drive to Hobbiton from Auckland takes just over 2 hours each way, making this a full-day trip from Auckland, but well worth the distance!
It is a simple drive, heading south of Auckland to Matamata. Alternatively, book a coach tour from Auckland and sit back and enjoy the views along the way.
A perfect option is a combined Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Caves full day excursion.
There are many ways to experience the famous Waitomo Caves, although the most popular choice is to take a gentle boat ride through the large cave system.
You will see the cave walls light up with glow worms as you make your way through the caves with your tour guide. This is perfect for visiting Waitomo caves with children.
Alternatively, if you’re up for a bit of an adrenaline rush, black water rafting may be exactly the experience you are looking for. Raft your way through pitch black caves, with nothing but the soft glow of worms to guide you.
After all, New Zealand prides itself on adventure experiences!
Getting to Waitomo Caves from Auckland
You can visit Waitomo Caves by car, taking approximately 2.5 hours each way.
Alternatively, there are buses and guided tours that will take you to Waitomo, many incorporating a visit to Hobbiton too, if you’d like to make the most of your day tour experience.
Breathtaking scenery isn’t rare in New Zealand, but you won’t regret the chance to experience the landscapes of Bay of Islands. Comprised of 144 islands, situated off the far north of the North Island region.
The area is popular for fishing, sailing, and Maori culture. You can enjoy a daily cruise around the islands, or get up close with kayaking or snorkelling.
Just as Milford Sound is a must-do South Island experience, Bay of Islands should definitely be on your North Island must-do list.
Getting to Bay of Islands From Auckland
Bay of Islands is approximately a 3.5 hour drive or a 35 minute flight from Auckland. If you prefer to take a guided tour day trip package, there are many options available.
Cathedral Cove is an iconic North Island natural attraction and you will find that and many other points of interest along the Coromandel Peninsula. The limestone arch looks like a cathedral.
With mountains covered in ancient forest and coastlines that are better enjoyed while on the water, you can spend the day enjoying the area by boat, diving or simply exploring one of the many Coromandel beaches in the area.
Don’t miss the chance to stop at Hot Water Beach along the way… if it’s not too cold outdoors. During low tide, you can dig your own mini hot pools.
Getting to Coromandel From Auckland
Coromandel Peninsula is around 2.5 hours from Auckland city by car. As with each of the other popular day trips from Auckland, you can easily catch a bus or hire a car to make your way there.
Auckland city is gateway to some beautiful islands and one of the most popular boat trips from Auckland is Waiheke Island. In recent years, it has been named one of the world’s top island destinations by both Conde Nast Travel and Lonely Planet.
In warmer weather, enjoy the beautiful beaches and scenery as you explore the island.
It is also a popular spot for wine tasting, with several wineries located on the island. And what a beautiful place to sip wine!
Waiheke Oysters are another must when on the island, with several cafes and restaurants on the island serving them up for your culinary enjoyment.
Getting to Waiheke Island From Auckland
Get to Waiheke Island via boat from Auckland Downtown Ferry Terminal. Several different ferry services offer this route throughout the day. The scenic boat trip takes around 40 minutes.
Upon arriving at Waiheke Island, there are bus and taxi services available to get around to the different sights and attractions you wish to see.
Rangitoto is one of New Zealand’s most iconic islands – the youngest and largest of Auckland’s 48 volcanic cones. It is also home to the largest pohutukawa forest in the world.
Situated just a short ferry ride from Auckland, Rangitoto Island is a popular short day trip option.
While on the Island, the whole family will love the adventure of exploring the black lava caves (Don’t forget your torch!) or the 4WD road train. If the weather is good, a kayak tour is another great option.
If you are feeling energetic, the walk up the summit is approximately 1 hour by foot and you will be able to see some incredible views of the Hauraki Gulf, the Waitakere Ranges and Hunua Ranges.
Getting to Rangitoto Island From Auckland
To get to Rangitoto from Auckland, catch a ferry from downtown Auckland. The ferry trip takes around 35 minutes.