Sitting on the highest point of the beautiful Auckland Domain, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a great place to start your cultural tour of the city. It’s set in a vast neoclassical building dating back to 1929, first erected as a memorial to the New Zealand soldiers who fought in World War I. Here you’ll find an impressive collection of artefacts that traces New Zealand’s history from the first Polynesian settlers to present day. This is the only venue in Auckland that offers daily Māori cultural performances, and you can learn about the area’s Māori history on a tour, available at Mangere Mountain, Maungawhau Mount Eden, Rangitoto, Orakei, Maungakiekie One Tree Hill, and more. Choose between walking, biking, and bus tours.
Another way to experience the city’s rich Pacific cultures is through the Pasifika Festival, held in March. The festival spans two days and features food, dancing, performances, activities, and more. We also recommend visiting Avondale and Otara markets on the weekends, where you’ll see Auckland’s diverse communities and have the chance to stock up on some of the freshest fruits and vegetables in New Zealand.
More cultural treasures are on show at Auckland Art Gallery Toi Tāmaki, in the central city. The gallery holds the most extensive collection of national and international art in the country, as well as visiting international exhibitions. It occupies a beautiful building in Albert Park, near Auckland University. And if that doesn’t satisfy your art cravings, you can visit the nearby galleries of Lorne Street and Wellesley.
Aotea Square is another must-visit destination, featuring food trucks, outdoor bars, and live performances. It’s worth checking what events are being held during your visit, whether it’s the International Film Festival (mid-winter), the Arts Festival (March-April), or the plethora of food festivals held throughout the year. The biggest music festivals usually take place in the summer, but there are plenty of concerts by visiting stars and local acts throughout the year. There’s also a rich theatre scene — make sure to check out the seasonal programmes at Q, the Basement, the Civic, the Classic Comedy Club, and the city’s other celebrated venues.