Auckland City Tour – Study Abroad New Zealand

Auckland is the largest urban area in New Zealand, with a population well over a million people. It hosts activities that are suitable for all needs; from designer shopping to hiking on a dormant volcano. Auckland encompasses a wide region of suburbs, each with their own specialties and is home to the world’s largest Polynesian population. The diverse activities, landscape and cultures make Auckland an exciting place to visit every time! If you’re heading for a study abroad in Auckland, here’s a little Auckland city tour to get you started.

How to Get Around

Auckland has developed the fabulous AT Hop bus system, which will take you just about anywhere in the Auckland area! The stops in downtown Auckland are conveniently placed outside of popular destinations, such as Britomart and Fanshawe Street, which have smaller routes attached. Using the AT Hop app will help you become more familiar with the system, allowing you to take more advanced trips to the Auckland Zoo and other isolated destinations. Ubers are a popular choice of transportation in the evening and early morning hours, as the bus does not run.

A USAC student at the Auckland Zoo pretending to touch an Emu
Hanging out with the Emus at the Auckland Zoo


On occasion, the weather in New Zealand will let you experience all four seasons in one day! On these rare days, be ready to have multiple changes of clothes and a pair of rain boots on hand. Being an island, the summers are more mild with a nice, cool breeze in the air. But be aware! New Zealand lies underneath the ozone hole in the atmosphere, making the sun’s rays even more intense, so pack your sunscreen. Winter on the other hand is chilly enough to wear long sleeves and pants, with a chance of a “sun shower” at any possible moment. Thankfully, the weather never gets too humid, leaving you comfortable throughout the day.

Students on a hike in Auckland, New Zealand
Hiking is a popular activity for students

Places to Go

No Auckland city tour would be complete without some tips on where to go! One of my favorite places that I visited in Auckland was the art museum! They had some really awesome exhibits going on. There was one dedicated to Maori ceremonial wear, and another interactive cardboard exhibit which was my favorite. The museum was FREE for students to enter with our Massey student ID card.

Mt. Eden is a dormant volcano just outside of the city. It’s a short hike to the top where you can stand on the viewing deck. It provides you with a panoramic view of downtown Auckland and the surrounding area. I visited it on a super sunny day and had the best time taking pictures with friends. 

The Wharf is a popular destination for people to go to in the city. There are lots of restaurants and bars lining the water, and in the evenings you can sometimes find live music! My friends and I went out one night and took this beautiful picture with the sunset behind us. After, we sat outside and ate dinner.

Study abroad students take a picture at the wharf in Auckland, New Zealand
Catching the sunset at the wharf

The sky tower is an obvious destination for tourists in Auckland. I didn’t have the desire to go up, but I did witness a few brave souls bungee jump from the top and do a suspended walk around the top! There is a restaurant at the top with some of the best panoramic views of Auckland. The sky tower is truly a symbol of downtown Auckland and can be found on plenty of merchandise.

Abby Priest is a USAC New Zealand alumna. During her time abroad she served as a USAC Digital Documenter