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If you only have 48 hours or 2 days in Auckland, then this blog will tell you how to spend your time exploring New Zealand’s largest city including useful tips such as where to stay and some budget-saving tips!
As New Zealand’s biggest city and the largest airport, chances are that on your holiday in New Zealand you will start or finish (or both) in Auckland. There is a ton to do around Auckland and plenty of day trips from Auckland, but what is there to do in the actual city?
Unlike many touristic places in New Zealand, Auckland is a big city. Therefore, there is a lot to do and see and it can be overwhelming to know where to focus your time especially if you only have 48 hours in Auckland!
For me, I like getting out of the cities normally, but recently I was traveling in New Zealand with my mum and she wanted to see Auckland city – so we did!
Based on our 2 days in Auckland city I have come with an ideal two-day itinerary in Auckland. This itinerary will help you enjoy the city and get the most out of a short time in this vibrant city!
Hot tip: If you do want to get out of the city then you really should check out our things to do in Auckland blog. It was written by an Auckland local and its got some really amazing things to do both in and around the city. Or, check out our 10 best day trips from Auckland blog.
Day 1 in Auckland
1. Visit the Auckland Museum
For those who don’t know, I actually lived in Auckland and worked at the Auckland Museum for 6 weeks. While this was a short stint, I learned just how truly impressive the Auckland Museum is!
With several floors, multiple exhibits, and new and changing feature exhibits every couple of months, this museum is one of the most advanced (and impressive) museums I have ever been to.
You could easily spend an entire day at the museum, but most spend about half a day. There are plenty of interactive displays as well as a culture performance on at 11 am, 12 pm, and 1:30 pm each day.
The museum is located on top of a hill just outside the city center called “The Domain.” It can be reached by a 5-minute bus ride or you could even walk.
As a foreigner, you will pay $25 NZD entry fee, but locals get in for free!
On one of your 2 days in Auckland, be sure to make time for the Auckland museum! It will really give you some insight into the history of New Zealand and ensure you leave your holiday with lots of cultural knowledge.
2. Go Shopping on Queen St
When traveling in New Zealand you will find yourself in many small towns with not much to offer shopping wisely. But in Auckland, you have everything! From high-end designer stores to more budget-friendly clothing shops, there is something for everybody.
Auckland is the perfect place to stock up on anything you need (including souvenirs!)
I recommend heading to lower Queen Street where you can find a wide variety of shops all within a couple of blocks. There will also be buskers and plenty of places to stop for a coffee, snack, or lunch.
3. Enjoy Dinner at the Market
There are always markets on in Auckland city center. On most nights, you can choose from more than one. There are food truck markets or just normal markets which both offer a good variety of food at a reasonable price.
Every night of the week at the base of the sky tower there are markets featuring a variety of food.
4. Have Drinks at the Marina
After you finish at the markets, head over to the marina on the water’s edge for some drinks. While this isn’t the most budget-friendly place to have a drink, it is the most beautiful and is well worth sitting down and enjoying the sunset.
Some of the bars in the area can get quite rowdy if you are looking for a good night out. While others are a little more relaxed. If you want to see the best sunset be sure to set your sights on a rooftop place!
Day 2 in Auckland
5. Free Walking tour
Auckland has a free walking tour! Meeting every day at 10 am and 2 pm you can follow a local guide around the city and get some information about places only locals would know!
I love joining free walking tours in big cities especially when my time is limited. I find they ensure you cover the most ground in a short time while focusing on the highlights.
This free walking tour goes for about 3 hours and is completely free! The only catch is that you should tip your guide who is generously volunteering their time. If you only have 48 hours in Auckland then this is a must-do!
For more information about the free walking tour in Auckland, check out their website.
6. Head over to The My Eden Crater
Only a short 20-minute bus ride from the city will have you at Mt Eden, where you can go for a walk to see a large crater! This is easily one of the most popular things to do in Auckland because the crater is just so large, and there is an incredible view of the city from here!
Mt Eden itself is actually a volcano that has been dormant for many years. The crater is actually the cone of the volcano from its last eruption.
Hiking to the crater on Mt Eden is completely free and will only take a couple of hours including enjoying the few and getting there and back to the city center.
7. Sky Tower for sunset
The Sky Tower is the tallest building in Auckland. It stands at 328m high and offers a 360-degree panorama of the city.
You can go to the top of the Sky Tower for $29 Or, you can book in for dinner and drinks at the restaurant at the top. The only downside to the restaurant is that there is a minimum spend of $40 per person, but if you were planning on spending the entrance fee anyway, this could be the better option.
I recommend going up the Sky Tower just before sunset so you can see the views during the day, for sunset, and then the city at night.
Whether you choose to go to the restaurant or just the viewing deck, you are guaranteed to have some amazing views!
8. Skycity Casino
When you come down from the sky tower you are conveniently at the sky city casino. This casino always has a lot going on and you are bound to find a game to play, music to watch, or at the very least, a bar to hang out at.
Where to stay for your 2 days in Auckland
I have stayed at a few places in Auckland City and by far my favorite is City Lodge. This hotel is located in an ideal location, kept extremely clean, and offers hotel-style rooms with access to a pristine kitchen and common area. Not to mention, they make some great efforts to be eco-friendly!
Some other great rated places to stay in Auckland are:
Choice Backpackers – Great hostel located in the hear of Auckland CBD. Modern rooms with very budget-friendly privates and dorm beds!
YHA Auckland City – A slightly nicer hostel with amazing roof terrace and modern furnishings. Great location and very well priced for both dorms and double rooms!
Jucy Snooze Auckland – Jucy is a new hostel in Auckland however they have hotels in Christchurch and Queenstown too! They’re great places to stay for those on a budget and are very social!
Goodview Hotel – This hotel is the perfect option for those not on a tight budget but who still want great value. It’s located right downtown but rooms start at around $180 NZD.
Rydges Auckland – The Rydges Auckland is a beautiful hotel located near the Auckland mariner. It’s not a budget option and rooms ae over $400 NZD per night but its a beautiful choice for those who can afford it!
If you didnt find the right place for you thats ok! You can view all the hotels availible in Auckland here!
For their latest specials and availability, click here to check out City Lodge’s website!
Budget Saving Tips for 2 days in Auckland
Auckland, and New Zealand, in general, aren’t the cheapest of places. These are a few budget tips to help you while in Auckland so you don’t break the bank.
- Use the website First Table for lunch or dinner reservations – this website is one of my favorites because for just a $10 fee you get 50% off all food for your entire table (it’s a steal!)
- Stay at the City Lodge – here. you can do your own laundry, cook your own meals (or at least breakfast), and walk to most of the best locations in Auckland.
- Use the website Book Me for excursions and activities – if you want to do any day trips, tours, or activities while in Auckland this website will give you the best deals at discounts up to 70% off!
- Take public buses instead of taxis and Ubers – the public bus system in Auckland is easy to use and cheap!
Before you go…
Auckland is a beautiful city with lots to offer in 48 hours in and around the city. Hopefully, this itinerary is enough to get you started and you can continue to explore more (especially if you have more time than just 2 days in Auckland!)
If you found this blog helpful be sure to jump over and check out our official New Zealand page. You’ll find over 100 different articles from regions around New Zealand. Otherwise, check out these related articles: