Auckland’s central location on New Zealand’s North Island makes it an extremely convenient spot for day trips.

And lucky for you, there are all kinds of tours from Auckland for solo travelers, families, couples, and groups of friends.

Venture south to Hobbiton or north to the Bay of Islands – no matter which direction you head, beauty awaits!

Continue reading to discover the 14 best day trips you can take from New Zealand’s largest city.

Table of Contents

1. Hobbiton Movie Set & Waitomo Caves Day Trip

This two-in-one tour will take you to two of New Zealand’s best attractions. 

Your first stop will be Hobbiton.

Fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are sure to love exploring this hobbit village.

After discovering hobbit houses and having a drink at the Green Dragon Inn, it’s time to head to the Waitomo Caves.

The world famous Waitomo Caves are filled with glow worms.

Here, you’ll head underground and take a guided tour of the caves, with includes a ride through Glowworm Grotto. 

Tour details

  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Departure Time: 8:00 am
  • Departure Point: 102 Hobson St, Auckland CBD, Auckland
  • Inclusions: Snack, transport, lunch, entry fees

Book Tour Hobbiton Waitomo Caves

2. Bay of Islands Day Tour

The Bay of Islands is one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the North Island.

And this full day trip will have you out on the water exploring the area for yourself.

This tour begins in Auckland and takes you straight to Paihia, the gateway to the Bay of Islands.

Before boarding a boat in Paihia, you’ll first get to visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Next, it’s time to hop aboard a ferry that ravels from Paihia to Russell.

Russell is a quaint oceanside town filled with cute shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Tour details

  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Departure Time: 7:15 am
  • Departure Point: 102 Hobson St, Auckland CBD, Auckland
  • Inclusions: Lunch, local driver/guide, live commentary, hotel pick up and drop off, WiFi on board, entry fees, round trip ferry

Book Tour

3. Rotorua Day Trip

Rotorua is a tourist hotspot – and for a reason!

This North Island city is famous around the world for its beauty, history, Maori culture, and of course, its thermal activity.

This full day tour will allow you to explore all that Rotorua has to offer, beginning with the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.

From there, you’ll visit Lake Rotorua and the surrounding redwood forests.

The trip will conclude in Te Puia.

Here, you’ll get to see Rotorua’s iconic geysers and enjoy a traditional Maori buffet lunch.

Tour details

  • Duration: 13 hours
  • Departure Time: 6:30 am
  • Inclusions: Lunch, local driver/guide, live commentary, hotel pick up and drop off, local taxes entry fees

Book Tour

4. Rangitoto Island Tour

Spending the afternoon on a volcanic island? Yes, please!

Rangitoto Island can be spotted from the Auckland Harbour but there is nothing quite like actually walking on it yourself.

This 4 hour tour is available in the mornings and afternoons and will allow you to explore this stunning uninhabitable island.

Enjoy a short ferry ride across the harbour and then hop into a 4WD tram.

The tram will take you almost to the top of Rangitoto’s summit.

A short walk will allow you to reach the top and see incredible views of Auckland and the water.

Tour details

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure Times: 9:15 am or 12:15 pm
  • Departure Point: Downtown Ferry Terminal, Quay St, Auckland CBD, Auckland
  • Inclusions: Live commentary, entry fees, round trip ferry ticket, 4WD tour on the island

Book Tour

5. Coromandel Day Trip

The Coromandel is pure paradise, and a must if you’re visiting Auckland.

The set of many Hollywood films owing to its impressive natural beauty, the Coromandel Peninsula is a serious bucket list destination.

As you wind your way to the area, you’ll be driving through Coromandel Forest Park.

Once at the coast, you’ll have plenty of time to check out Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.

You’ll also have the option of taking a short hike to the top of Mt. Paku, which boasts 360 degree views of the area.

Each day trip takes 11 hours and will transport you from downtown Auckland all the way to this picturesque peninsula. 

Tour details

  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Departure Point: Sky Tower, Victoria St W, Auckland CBD, Auckland
  • Inclusions: Entry fees, round trip transportation

Book Tour

6. Private Matakana Coast and Country Tour

Spend the day visiting the small seaside town of Matakana.

This coastal locale is not only beautiful, it’s a food, art, and history lover’s paradise.

The tour begins with a stop at the Honey Center in Warkworth.

You’ll then make your way to Matakana Village where you’ll stop at a renowned pottery studio.

Enjoy lunch at a local cafe before stopping once again at Parry Kauri Park and Warkworth’s Early Settlers Museum.

At the museum, you’ll be able to see 600 and 800 year old kauri trees in person.

Tour details

  • Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Departure Time: 9:30 am
  • Inclusions: Lunch, local guide, bottled water, hotel pick up and drop off

Book Tour

7. Piha Beach and Rainforest Day Tour

Escape from Auckland and hit the beach!

Piha Beach is one of the most famous beaches in New Zealand.

Known for its surfing, rugged rock formations, and scenic location next to the rainforest, it doesn’t get much better than Piha.

This tour begins with a stop in the Waitakere Ranges.

These ranges are home to incredible water falls, trees, birds, and of course, views of the coast.

The day will end on the black sands of Piha Beach, where you can swim, surf, or relax and have a picnic.

Tour details

  • Duration: 7 hours 
  • Departure Time: 10:00 am
  • Inclusions: Entry fees, local guide, hotel pick up and drop off

Book Tour

8. Waiheke Island Exploration and Zipline Day Trip

Auckland has multiple surrounding islands, but few are as extraordinary as Waiheke.

Waiheke has it all – relaxation, adventure, and beauty.

This tour allows you to see all sides of the island by combining sightseeing with ziplining.

After arriving on the island by ferry, you’ll enjoy a 25-minute tour of the island from a local guide.

Once you arrive at the visitor centre, you’ll start getting into your ziplining gear.

Each zipline flight will send you soaring through the air, allowing you to experience gorgeous views of the island and bay.

Tour details

  • Duration: 7 hours 
  • Departure Time: 10:00 am
  • Inclusions: Entry fees, local guide, hotel pick up and drop off

Book Tour

9. Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip

If you’re a bird lover, this is the tour for you!

Tiritiri Matangi is a bird sanctuary, home to some of the country’s rarest birds.

This tour will begin with a ferry ride across the Hauraki Gulf.

A ranger will greet you on the island and your 1.5 hour walking tour will begin.

Along the way, you’ll not only get to see birds, but also learn about the island’s history, bird life, and environment.

Some birds you can expect to see include the stitchbird, saddleback, bellbird, brown teal, whitehead, kakariki, kokako, and New Zealand robin.

Tour details

  • Duration: 8 hours 
  • Departure Time: 9:00 am
  • Departure Point: Downtown Ferry Terminal, Quay St, Auckland CBD, Auckland
  • Inclusions: Entry fees, guided walk

Book Tour

10. Waitakere Ranges Wilderness Experience Eco-Tour

The Waitakere Ranges are a place of unspoiled beauty only a short drive from downtown Auckland.

These stunning rainforested hills are filled with native wildlife, picturesque water falls, and gorgeous views of the water down below.

This 5 hour tour will allow you to explore Auckland’s largest regional park in the span of one day.

The walk will begin at the Arataki Visitor Centre, which boasts a lookout point with panoramic views.

Take a walk through the bush with your experienced guide and see all kinds of flora and fauna.

The grand finale will consist of relaxing on a black sand beach.

Tour details

  • Duration: 8 hours 
  • Departure Time: 9am
  • Inclusions: Hotel pick up and drop off, local guide, refreshments, taxes

Book Tour

11. Private Full-Day Tour to Tawharanui Regional Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of Auckland and head north to Tawharanui Regional Park.

This spectacular setting is a true hidden gem.

This park is the perfect spot for relaxing on the beach or enjoying a walk in nature.

As this is a private tour, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do.

In addition to the area’s natural beauty, you’ll have the option of stopping at the honey center, a local market, or even a boutique chocolatier. 

The day is yours!

Tour details

  • Inclusions: Private tour, hotel pick up and drop off, local taxes, bottled water, driver/guide, entry fees

Book Tour

12. Full-Day Wild West Coast Photo and Discovery Tour

Are you a photography addict?

Or perhaps you’re just looking for a new Instagram pic?

This is the tour for you!

Combining natural beauty and photography, this full day tour leaves out of central Auckland and heads to the city’s rugged west coast.

Ancient rainforest and black sand beaches await only 40 minutes away.

You’ll get to walk along Piha and Karekare beaches and pristine rainforest, all while a professional photographer/guide is snapping incredible photos and teaching you tricks of the trade. 

Tour details

  • Duration: 8 hours 
  • Departure Time: 9:00 am
  • Inclusions: Hotel pick up and drop off, lunch, driver/guide, live commentary, professional photographer

Book Tour

13. Adventure Day Trip to West Coast Beaches

When in New Zealand, it’s time to hit the beaches!

As a country made up of islands, there’s no better way to spend a day than on the coast.

This West Coast Beaches tour leaves from central Auckland and takes you on an outdoor adventure that includes ocean and mountains. 

Over the course of six hours, you’ll discover the Waitakere ranges, Piha Beach, Kitekite Falls, Bethells, Lake Wainamou, Whatipu, and Anawhata or Karekare.

You can expect swimming, river crossings, hiking, sand dune running, and rock scrambles.

You can bet it will be an adventure!

Tour details

  • Duration: 6 hours 
  • Departure Time: 10:00 am
  • Inclusions: Guide, transport, entry fees

Book Tour

14. Cape Brett Hole in the Rock Cruise & Waitangi Tour

Head north to the Bay of Islands and experience the most popular cruise in the area.

This Hole in the Rock cruise will have you travelling to just that – a famous hole in a rock located on Motukokako Island.

Passengers will board a state of the art catamaran before making their way out on the water.

In addition to the Hole in the Rock, the vessel will also pass by Cape Brett Lighthouse.

After the boat ride, you’ll stop at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a one hour guided tour.

This tour offers history and nature all in one!

Tour details

  • Duration: 10 hours 
  • Departure Time: 7:15 am
  • Inclusions: Hotel pick up and drop off, entry fees, picnic lunch, air-conditioned vehicle with WiFi

Book Tour

Due to Auckland’s central location on the North Island, it is a great jumping off point for exploring other parts of the country.

Whether you prefer to relax on a black sand beach like Piha or see Rotorua’s geothermal activity in person, there are no shortage of exciting day trips from Auckland.

More reading:

Find more Day Trips from Auckland

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!