From the coolness of Karangahape Road to the liveliness of Wynyard Quarter with its harbourside buzz, Auckland’s city centre is jam-packed with destinations you’ll want to check out. But if you only have a couple of hours up your sleeve, don’t fret. This easy guide to traversing the city will ensure you get your fill of arts, history, culture and kai all within a few hours.
Push play on Karangahape Road
Start your adventure by experiencing one of the hippest parts of the city: Karangahape Road, famed for its cafes, restaurants, bars, galleries, thrift stores, underground music venues and nightclubs. It also holds pride of place as a hub for the LGBTQIA+ community – as demonstrated by not one, but two colourful rainbow crossings, one of which leads to iconic St Kevins Arcade. Once Auckland’s premier retail destination when it opened in 1924, today it's a mecca of vintage stores, eateries and cute boutiques with oodles of Bohemian character.
Take a delightful detour
Making St Kevins Arcade even cooler is the fact that it leads down into historic Myers Park. Follow the path past the statue of Moses and through the avenue of phoenix palms, and exit via Greys Ave or Upper Queen Street. Fifteen free family fun events are coming to Myers Park between now and April. Learn more here.
Make an art stop
Just minutes from Queen Street, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki houses the most extensive collection of international and national art in the country, so you’re bound to find something that moves you. The sculpture terrace on Level 2 overlooks Albert Park and is said to be one of the best free views in the city. Meander through our laneways once you have your art fix. Learn more here.
Get yourself some wheels
Tired of walking or pressed for time? Lime or Beam scooters are available for hire all over the city. Queen Street’s new Waihorotiu path is named for the historic river that still flows underneath. This shared path for pedestrians, cyclists and scooters features wayfinding patterns that double as visual safety cues, making it an interactive pleasure to zoom down. Reflect on the colourful history of Queen Street here.
Welcome to Lower Queen Street
At the bottom of Queen Street you’ll find Te Komititanga, a public square where 37,000 individual basalt pavers have been laid out to look like a whāriki (welcome mat), following a design by mana whenua weavers. Drop into neighbouring Commercial Bay for a spot of shopping.
Picture-perfect Wynyard Quarter
Head along Quay Street, past the historic ferry terminal, the new Te Wānanga coastal shelf, and over the Viaduct Basin bridge (definitely the most fun on wheels!), and you’ll arrive in Wynyard Quarter – a buzzing waterside neighbourhood that’s brimming with eateries serving up world-class kai, attractive seating spots and vibrant public art. Silo Park, with its seven silos which once stored cement, is a dynamic art and exhibition space and the perfect spot for a selfie, especially when the silos are lit up neon at night.
Check out Michio Ihara’s Wind Tree sculpture, or show your love for our native birds by taking in the 12m-high native bird mural by mana whenua artists Janine (Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara) and Charles Williams (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāpuhi) at Amey Daldy Park.
To find more public art all over the city, use the helpful map on the Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi website.