New Zealand’s largest city makes a strategic starting point for taking in the highlights of the North Island. Once you’ve explored Auckland City’s sights, here are your options for day tours, from Hobbits and wine tasting to rafting through caves.
Waiheke Island — about 40 minutes by ferry from Auckland
With its scenic vineyards, olive groves, and sandy beaches, Waiheke Island is a natural playground, just minutes from Auckland. Cruise out to indulge in a wine tasting lunch, zoom through the trees on a thrilling zipline course, go bush walking, and enjoy spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf.
Hobbiton — 105 miles (170 km) southeast of Auckland
Journey to Middle Earth on a tour of the Hobbiton movie set, one of the most famous filming locations from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Peek inside the hobbit holes, see actual props and sets from the movies, then grab a drink at the Shire’s Rest café or the Green Dragon Inn.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves — 122 miles (196 km) south of Auckland
The Waitomo Caves are one of New Zealand’s most visited attractions, and the natural wonder makes a memorable addition to any day trip. Cruise through the glowworm grotto, admire the dramatic limestone formations, or get your adrenaline pumping by rafting along the subterranean river.
Rotorua — 142 miles (228 km) southeast of Auckland
Rotorua is home to some of the North Island’s most impressive geothermal landscapes, and it’s easy to take in the top attractions on a day trip. Marvel at the bubbling mud pools, geysers, and hot springs at the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, or the Whakarewarewa geothermal valley; spot Kiwi birds in the Rainbow Springs wildlife park; and learn about the region’s Maori heritage at the Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.