3 days in Auckland

3 Days in Auckland (Budget Itinerary)

3 days in Auckland is a short amount of time to see everything the city has to offer. However, you can still see a lot during this time.

Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand, but it’s not too big that you can’t get around it easily. Walking around you can get to most of the main sights in the city.

There are plenty of things to do in Auckland to keep you occupied such as hiking up Mt Eden, checking out Queen Street and visiting the incredible nearby beaches!

Auckland is a thriving metropolis, which means there is always something. Coupled with the number of day trips from Auckland you can take makes it a fantastic destination!

My 3-day itinerary of Auckland will provide you with everything you need to know on how to enjoy your short stay in the city!

Read on for more info!

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our full disclosure policy.

How to spend 3 days in Auckland

Quick 3 Days in Auckland itinerary
Day 1 – Free walking tour, Sky Tower, Rangitoto Island
Day 2 – Waiheke Island, Mission Bay, Auckland War Memorial Museum
Day 3 – Eden Park, Mt Eden, Queen Street

Some of the best things to do in Auckland

If you plan on backpacking New Zealand, Auckland is one place you will certainly visit. There are a lot of things to do in Auckland, especially as it’s the biggest city in the country.

You’ll find lots to do outside the centre of the city too, with walks on the North Shore, islands you can visit and day trips too! Auckland has a lot going for it!

With so many things to do, it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re wondering what to do in Auckland, you can’t go wrong with visiting these places!

Mt Eden

Auckland from Mt Eden

Mt Eden is one of the best places to visit in Auckland if you want a cracking view of the city’s skyline!

Mt Eden is an ancient volcano that overlooks the city. It’s located a few miles outside of the city, but it’s worth the trip for the view alone!

The mount itself is impressive and the ancient cone is gigantic as you walk around the top of it. If you clambered to the bottom, you would have a hard time making it out again!

The walk from the city centre to the mount and back is beautiful, and one I highly recommend you do during your 3 days in Auckland!

Mission Bay

There aren’t many beaches close to the city centre of Auckland, but Mission Bay is one of the best in the outer reaches of the city.

It’s a bit of a walk from the city centre. Depending on whether you like walking or not, it may be best to get a bus there. However, once you reach Mission Bay, you will be presented with a great place to relax.

There are numerous cafes and restaurants nearby if you get peckish, while the views out across the beach are spectacular.

I would advise walking there from the city centre. It’s a pleasant walk and will present you with some great photo opportunities along the way!

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland and is one of the most beautiful places you can visit close to the city.

There is a lot to do on the island, such as hike one of the numerous trails, or relax at some of the sandy beaches such as Oneroa or Palm Beach.

If you’re into history, you can head to the eastern side of the island to the Stony Batter walkway, which will lead you to World War II gun emplacements and underground tunnels.

You can even do a food and wine tour of Waiheke Island, which is a great way to check out this beautiful place while you’re in Auckland!

Auckland itinerary – Day 1

Free walking tour

The first thing I do when I arrive in a new city is to go for a wander. I feel it’s the best way to get acquainted with a city.

While this may not be to everyone’s taste, you should definitely do a walking tour of Auckland while you’re there!

Most hostels offer a free walking tour. It’s a great way to get a feel for the city and to learn more about the city’s past.

The tours are normally very informative and helpful, and you will leave them with a better idea of where to go during your 3 days in Auckland!

If you don’t fancy a walking tour, you can always get a ticket for the hop on and off bus, which is another way to get to grips with the city!

Sky Tower

Auckland skyline

The Sky Tower is an iconic image of Auckland, it dominates the city skyline. Aside from the tower, there is a lot to do in the complex it’s next to!

The building is the tallest in Australasia, and with this being New Zealand, that means you can do a bungee jump off it! If you’re brave enough that is!

Apart from the bungee jumping, the complex boasts a number of restaurants and bars. Plus, there is also a casino on the site, if you fancy a gamble.

It’s a place you definitely check out when you visit Auckland!

Book Your Ticket Now

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island is the most iconic of the islands close to Auckland. There is a shield volcano on the island, and there are plenty of things to do here.

It’s only a 25-minute ride from Auckland by ferry, and is well worth checking out while you’re in the city!

You can take a guided tour in a 4 wheel drive, or you can opt to hike to the summit on foot, which will take about an hour.

There are numerous lava caves and fields to explore on the island. Plus, you’ll be blessed with some spectacular views of Auckland as well!

Rangitoto Island is one place you can’t leave off your 3 day Auckland itinerary!

Auckland itinerary – Day 2

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is a good place to start your second day in Auckland. You can hop on the ferry early in the morning and explore the island for a few hours before heading back.

You could spend the majority of the day there if you wish. There is a lot to see and the choice is entirely up to you. With so many things to do north of Auckland, Waiheke Island is one place you can’t miss out on!

The island is beautiful and has a lot of interesting and scenic hikes to do. You can also visit numerous beaches, and this would be an alternative to heading back to the mainland and going to Mission Beach.

Whether you decide to spend the whole day or a few hours there, Waiheke Island is somewhere you should go during your trip to Auckland.

Book You Tour Now

Mission Bay

If you’re visiting Auckland during the summer, a trip to Mission Bay should be on your list.

It’s one of the best places to visit in Auckland when the sun is shining. It’s a great place to hang out with numerous cafes, bars and restaurants, and there are some stunning views of Rangitoto Island too.

The beach here is brilliant, and it’s a lovely place to relax and enjoy your surroundings. There is a big field behind the beach too, should you feel like playing football or something similar!

There isn’t an awful lot to do in Mission Bay, but it’s a beautiful place and a great one to spend a few hours relaxing!

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Museum in Auckland

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the most interesting places to visit in the city.

Even if you don’t like history, it’s still worth a visit. You will learn a lot about New Zealand and its role in the wars of the 20th century. The building itself is beautiful, and reason alone to visit!

As the name suggests, a lot of the collections focus on military history. But, there are also exhibits about the history of New Zealand and natural history.

I enjoyed the museum, as I’m a history buff. But even if you don’t like history as much as me, I’m sure you’ll still enjoy the museum. You’ll learn a lot, and get some amazing pictures of a beautiful building in the process!

Book You Ticket Now

Auckland itinerary – Day 3

Eden Park

Eden Park

If you’re a sports fan, Eden Park is one place you have to visit during your 3 days in Auckland.

It’s the spiritual home of the All Blacks, New Zealand’s almost mythical national rugby team.

The stadium itself is an impressive sight, and is a lot bigger than I imagined it to be! If you get the chance to do a tour, you should. You will learn a lot about this special ground and its importance in New Zealand culture.

Even if you don’t like sport, it’s still worth visiting Eden Park. The area around the ground is beautiful, and you will understand why the country loves rugby so much once you visit!

Mt Eden

Mt Eden

Not far from Eden Park, a trip to Mt Eden is one thing you absolutely must do while you’re in Auckland.

As I mentioned before, Mt Eden is an extinct volcano cone that offers spectacular views of the city!

It’s a short hike to the top, and it’s well worth it! Walking around the cone is an experience as you take in the sheer scale of the mount. It is ginormous!

Mt Eden is one place you should visit in Auckland while you’re there! It’s arguably the best place to visit in the city, and the views will blow you away!

Queen Street

Queen Street is the main street in the city of Auckland and an ideal place to end your 3 days in the city.

As the main street, there are plenty of things to see. The street has a number of great shops, which you should check out while you’re there.

Queen Street also has a number of restaurants and cafes you can frequent too if you’re feeling a little peckish.

You could spend a few hours walking up and down Queen Street, seeing everything. Give yourself lots of time and enjoy your final activity in Auckland!

Other places to visit in Auckland

  • Hobbiton – Although Hobbiton isn’t in Auckland, it can be reached easily by car. A visit to Hobbiton is an ideal day trip from Auckland to do if you’re staying in the city for a bit longer. I’m a huge fan of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit and thoroughly enjoyed myself. If you’re not a fan, it may not be worth going, but the scenery is brilliant and you do get a free beer at the end of the tour too! Click here to book your ticket!
  • Auckland Harbour – Auckland has a huge harbour, and it was home to the America’s Cup on a few occasions. It’s worth checking out as you can see the old boats, and even go on an America’s Cup sailing boat or climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge! If you fancy, you can also go on a sailing tour, which will give you some background about sailing, Auckland and fantastic views of the city from the water! Click here to book your tour!
  • Hauraki Gulf – The Hauraki Gulf is close to Auckland its home to a variety of marine life. Unfortunately, you can’t access the gulf by yourself, but you can go as part of a tour. You’ll learn a lot about the diverse marine life that exists in Auckland’s waters and you’ll get fantastic views of the city, Rangitoto Island and the Gulf itself! Click here to book your tour!

Auckland Travel Tips

Where to stay in Auckland

Auckland Harbour
As the biggest city in New Zealand, there are plenty of places to stay in Auckland. This can make it daunting when deciding where to stay.

Choosing the best hostels in Auckland is difficult, as there are so many! The good thing is that most of them are located centrally. You’re never too far from the action!

I have detailed a few of the best cheap accommodation for backpackers in Auckland below.

If you’re not a fan of staying in hostels, there are plenty of hotels in Auckland to choose from too!

Oaklands LodgeA warm and friendly hostel located in the suburb of Mt Eden.Book Now!
YHA AucklandClean and comfortable hostel located near to the centre of the city.Book Now!
The Attic BackpackersModern and swanky hostel located in the centre of Auckland!Book Now!
Waiheke BackpackersBeautiful hostel located on Waiheke Island away from the centre of Auckland.Book Now!

Cost of travel in Auckland

As the biggest city in New Zealand, Auckland can be an expensive place if you don’t adhere to a budget. Prices are a few dollars higher than elsewhere in the country.

However, if you’re sensible with your spending and don’t go overboard, you won’t have any issues.

Eating out, tours and accommodation will be your biggest expenses. It’s important to factor these into your costs before you set off.

Below are the average prices for the essential services you will use during your three days in Auckland.

They take into account what you need to visit the city comfortably and don’t include take extras such as tours, nights out, souvenirs/clothing. They are deemed as ‘non-essential’ extras!

Prices are in NZD dollars. Check out XE.com for the latest exchange rates.

Bed icon

Accommodation

Hostel: Dorm – $15-25; Private – $40-60
Hotels: $40-100
Rental Apartment: $50-120

Restaurant Icon

Food and Drink

Breakfast: Free-$6
Dinner: $5-9
Takeaway meal: $2.50-5
Pint of beer: $4-6

 

Transport icon

Transport

Single Metro/Bus ticket: $1.00
Unlimited 5 zone Day Pass: $10.50
Bus from airport to city centre: $11

 

Best time to visit Auckland

Beach Auckland
As New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is from November to February, while winter is from June to August.

If you want to make the most out of your trip, the best time to visit Auckland may be from October to March. This is when the weather will be at its best.

I visited during January and the weather was beautiful. It barely rained during the two weeks I was in the city! If you visit during the winter, this will not be the case.

Winter in New Zealand can be brutal, even if you visit the North Island! There can be a lot of rain and storm. You won’t get to enjoy the best of the city if you go during winter.

Planning your trip to Auckland to coincide with the New Zealand weather is the best thing to do. It may be busier during this period, but you will be able to enjoy the city much more than you would in the wet and windy winter!

Travelling around Auckland

Auckland city
Travelling around Auckland isn’t too much of a chore. Despite being the biggest city in New Zealand, it’s not that big.

Compared to spending 3 days in Melbourne, where you need to use public transport to get around, you could easily spend 3 days in Auckland without using it!

During my time in Auckland, I didn’t use public transport once. It was easy getting everywhere on foot!

That said if you want to go somewhere like Mt Eden, you might need to take a bus. It is a fair walk from the city centre, but it’s not overly excessive.

I would advise walking around Auckland as much as you can, and using buses only when necessary. You can get to most places on foot which will save you money

Is 3 Days in Auckland Enough?

3 days in Auckland is a good amount of time to enjoy the city. New Zealand’s biggest city has a lot to offer, and you can see most of it in three days. But if you choose to stay for longer, you’ll be able to uncover everything there is to see!

Auckland is one place you will almost definitely visit while you’re in New Zealand. Hopefully, this 3-day itinerary of Auckland will help you discover the best of what the city has to offer during a short stay!

Have you been to Auckland? Did you do most of the things on my itinerary? Is there anything I have missed out, that you did while in Auckland? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

For more in-depth information on visiting Auckland, check out Auckland Uncovered!

Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

world nomads insurance

Pin for later Auckland in 3 days