Love it or hate it, the city of sails has some pretty spectacular sights, combining urban city with natural reserves and ocean landscapes. If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of all the best places to see beautiful views of Auckland, this is it.
Free views of Auckland
Auckland is built on an active volcanic field, which might sound scary, but it is actually good news for those of us who need to see a good view every now and then, as it means the city is full of mountains, lagoons, lakes and craters. All of the national parks and domains are free, so there are plenty of spots to get an epic view of the city at absolutely no cost! Here I’ve named my favourites.
Distance from CBD: 5km (10 minutes)
What you see: leafy suburbia, Sky Tower, Mission Bay beach
Height above sea level: 147m
Mount Hobson is the closest mountain to the city centre, and is located in the upmarket suburb of Remuera. With fantastic sprawling views of the posh suburbia and the nearby city centre and iconic Sky Tower, its an awesome place to have a picnic or watch the sun set. Depending on your fitness level and which path you take, it is a 10-20 minute climb to the top.
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What you see: Viaduct, sky tower, city scape, Auckland Harbour, Rangitoto Island
Distance from CBD: 14km (25 minutes)
Height above sea level: 87m
Located on Auckland’s North Shore, Mt Victoria can easily be reached by ferry (which is, of course, the best way to get there). This mountain offers southern facing views across the harbour, which means you get an awesome view of the sky scrapers and the skyline across the water! Similar to the ferry view but a bit higher, so you can see more. Best enjoyed at night to see the city lights on the water!
Mount Eden Reserve
What you see: suburbia, Sky Tower, crater
Suburb: Mt Eden
Distance from CBD: 5km (20 minutes)
Height above sea level: 196m
Mount Eden is another centrally-located volcano. Much vaster and higher than Mount Hobson, most people take a car to the top (although there is nothing stopping you from making the climb, which will take you roughly 45 minutes). Mount Eden is fascinating because of the huge crater it boasts, and of course the amazing views of central Auckland city and surrounding suburbs. Best enjoyed at dawn to see the sun rising over Auckland city and the Sky Tower.
One Tree Hill (Cornwall Park)
What you see: monument, 360 view of Auckland, CBD & Sky Tower, goats & sheep, Cornwall park
Distance from CBD: 9km (20 minutes)
Height above sea level: 182m
One tree hill, despite its name, actually has no trees at all at the top. The hill represents a history of conflict between native Maori and European settlers. Initially, there was one single tree right at the top of the hill, which was a native Totara tree. This was cut down by a European for development. A pine tree was planted to replace it by a European named Logan Campbell. However, this was met with protest by the Maoris and was eventually removed in 2001. To this day, no tree stands at the top of One Tree Hill.
Apart from the stunning views it offers, One Tree Hill is a culturally and historically significant site. It is located in Cornwall Park, which is a huge reserve that many Aucklanders go to to relax. It is a fairly easy walk to the summit, but you can take a car there too. Cornwall park is a natural reserve hosting goats and sheep who graze on the land and keep the grass down.
Mt Wellington Domain
What you see: Rangitoto Island, CBD, Sky Tower, Panmure Basin, crater
Suburb: Mt Wellington
Distance from CBD: 13km (20 minutes)
Height above sea level: 135m
Mt Wellington is a bit further away from the city which means you get to see a lot more. Beware that it is an incredibly windy walk around the deep crater. Because it is so steep, it is better to drive up and there is easy access for cars.
Paid views of Auckland
There are really very few views of Auckland city that you need to pay for, but those that you do offer other activities as well. Whether or not its worth it to go for it is up to you.
Ferry from Viaduct Harbour
What you see: Auckland city skyline, ocean, Auckland islands
Distance from CBD: 0km
Height above sea level: 0m
Price: depending on where you go, fares range from $5-$40NZD for an adult fare. You can find more information about the Auckland ferries on the Auckland Transport website.
The ferry from Auckland city can take you to a number of awesome places for road trips… Waiheke Island, Motutapu Island, Rangitoto Island, Devonport and Half Moon Bay just to name a few. Apart from being an incredible experience in itself, it doubles up as an awesome chance to see a spectacular view of Auckland city’s skyline.
What you see: Viaduct, Harbour Bridge, CBD buildings and skyscrapers, Albert Park, Auckland Domain, inner-city suburbs and more
Suburb: City Centre
Distance from CBD: 0km
Price: $29 entry fee for an adult
Height above sea level: 328m
It is the icon of Auckland and the tallest building in New Zealand. There are very good views of the whole city from this height, so it is a really good place to be able to observe the city of sales from any angle. Walk around the observation deck for a 360-degree view of the city. The down sides for this option are that you (obviously) don’t see the sky tower from here, which is the main focus for most views of Auckland. It is also the most expensive way to see Auckland, and it can only be seen through a looking glass. Nevertheless, the sky tower is a good place to visit if you are in Auckland anyway, so make sure if you do go that you check out the sight!
Well, if you’re anything like me, squeezing in a chance to see a good view of the city you’re visiting is never a bad idea. Luckily in Auckland you’re not short on options! But if you’re looking for ideas of more things to do aside from seeing great views of Auckland, you can see my post about the best things to do in Auckland in summer here.
Have you ever visited Auckland city? What’s your favourite place to see the views of Auckland?~