The best areas to stay in Auckland for first-time tourists are Auckland CBD, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, Ponsonby, Parnell, Mt Eden, Newmarket, and North Shore because they are the most popular and safe neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide range of attractions and amenities.
In this blog post, we will be looking at where to stay in Auckland, New Zealand for the first time, for families, and couples.
Auckland is the most populous city and largest port in New Zealand, situated in the northernmost part of the North Island of the country.
It is a vibrant city with a vibrant Maori community, a diverse mix of culture and landscapes such as beaches, harbors, rainforests, mountains, and rural areas.
Auckland is a dynamic hub in the Asia-Pacific region, with world-class universities, cultural events, museums, and history-rich urban villages.
Auckland International Airport is New Zealand’s largest and busiest airport, located around 45 minutes from the city center and easy to reach by public transport.
In general, Auckland CBD is the best area to stay in New Zealand for first-timers due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of the city, within walking distance to many tourist attractions, as well as restaurants, bars, and shops.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:||Auckland CBD|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||The Grand by SkyCity|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||Mercure Auckland Queen Street|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||LyLo Auckland|
12 Best areas to stay in Auckland for tourists
1. Auckland CBD, where to stay in Auckland for first-time tourists
Auckland CBD, or Auckland Central Business District, is the best area to stay in Auckland for the first time tourists because it has a super central location and it offers a wide range of tourist attractions and amenities.
Similar to the Sydney CBD, Auckland CBD is packed with skyscrapers such as Sky Tower, ANZ Centre, the Metropolis, and Vero Centre.
With two times greater than the CBDs of Christchurch and Wellington, it is a hub of urban delights and is surrounded by the city’s important motorways and the harbor.
There are plenty of things to do and see in the CBD, from famous landmarks such as the Sky Tower and Aotea Arts Quarter, to a great selection of lodging, shopping, dining, entertainment, and nightlife along the downtown’s main street, Queen Street.
The Sky Tower is a 328 meters high tower, making it the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building. It offers stunning views of the city center, as well as the Hauraki Gulf and Harbour Bridge. If you are an adventurous traveler, you can try bungee jumping from the Sky Tower.
If you love shopping, you must visit Queen Street, Karangahape Road (K Road), and High Street, which are filled with shops, as well as restaurants, cafes, and bars.
In the downtown area, you can also find Aotea Square, which is a popular place for outdoor activities. It has regular Friday and Saturday markets, as well as an ice rink for skating in winter, and music performances in summer.
Within walking distance from Aotea Square, you will find Albert Park, a popular place to relax for both Aucklanders and tourists. The park was built on the site of the Albert Barrack in the 19th century, but before British military installation, the park had been a Maori settlement.
The park is home to a large lake, Victorian fountain, and Queen Victoria statue, as well as Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Winter Gardens.
Located right next to the park is Auckland Art Gallery, which has a great collection of art pieces from both New Zealand and international artists.
In addition to its central location, the CBD is conveniently located close to the Britomart railway station, making it one of the best places to stay in Auckland without the car. You can easily explore many things on foot and public transportation such as buses and trains.
Auckland CBD offers the widest range of accommodation options from budget backpacker hostels to luxury five star hotels. It is an ideal area for all types of travelers including business travelers, families, couples, solo tourists, and those traveling without a car.
Best places to stay in Auckland CBD:
- Luxury ($$$): The Grand by SkyCity
- Mid-range ($$): Mercure Auckland Queen Street
- Budget ($): LyLo Auckland
2. Viaduct Harbour, beautiful waterfront area, with lively nightlife and dining
Viaduct Harbour is a beautiful waterfront area and a part of downtown Auckland. It is where you can find some of the best hotels in the city with the water views, as well as stylish restaurants and trendy bars.
You can dine in at a waterfront restaurant and watch superyachts and boats as you stroll along the Viaduct Harbour’s marina. The area also offers lively nightlife with lots of bars and pubs, including Danny Doolans, which offers tab beers and wines in a Irish pub setting.
In addition to the upscale atmosphere, Viaduct Harbour also offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities. You can visit the New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa at Hobson Wharf to learn about the history of maritime in the City of Sails.
If you walk across the Viaduct Harbour Bridge, you will be in the Wynyard Quarter, which is a great place to visit where you can find the family-friendly Silo Park and the Silo Cinema event in summer.
There are also the busting eateries of North Wharf, as well as the fabulous Auckland Fish Market from some fresh fish and chips.
Viaduct Harbour is the departure point of cruises around Hauraki Gulf, as well as the dolphin and whale spotting cruises.
Viaduct Harbour is conveniently located close to Auckland CBD, Britomart metro station, and the ferry terminal, making it a great place to stay in Auckland for first-timers who enjoy lively nightlife, dining, shopping, and in a central location.
Best places to stay in Viaduct Harbour:
- Luxury ($$$): Hilton Auckland
- Luxury ($$$): QT Auckland
- Mid-range ($$): M Social Auckland
3. Britomart, a transportation hub of the Kiwi City
Britomart is an area located next to Viaduct Harbour and at the coastal end of Auckland CBD’s main street, Queen Street. Home to Auckland’s main metro station and ferry terminal, Britomart is a very well-connected area in downtown Auckland.
Britomart is home to the Britomart Transport Centre, a main public transport hub of the city with a combination of a bus interchange and a railway station.
Britomart is a fashionable district, where you can find heritage buildings, award-winning eateries, and designer shops and boutiques. It has some cool and quirky bars, offering great nightlife.
In the area, you can find Takutai Square, which is a popular meeting place, and the venue for music gigs and the Saturday markets. There is also Gore Street, one of the most beautiful streets in central Auckland.
You can also find the Ferry Building, Vector Arena, or Spark Arena, and Quay Street Waterfront.
There are all kinds of accommodations in Britomart, you can easily find luxury and mid-range hotels in the area. Due to its central location, Britomart is also one of the best areas to stay in Auckland for first-time visitors and for those traveling without a car.
Best places to stay in Britomart:
- Luxury ($$$): The Hotel Britomart
- Luxury ($$$): Mövenpick Hotel Auckland
- Mid-range ($$): Avani Metropolis Auckland Residences
4. Ponsonby, great area for nightlife
Ponsonby is an upscale suburb located west of the CBD of Auckland, only 20 minutes walk from the downtown area. It is packed with trendy restaurants, bars, boutique shops, and gift stores.
Home to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars, Ponsonby is famous for its food and drink. You can dine in at Cocoro, Sidart, Prego restaurants, as well as Harry, Chapel, and Win-Win bars.
The main street of Ponsonby is Ponsonby Road, which is packed with trendy shops, offering a great shopping experience. Ponsonby Road also has a great nightlife scene with many nightclubs, beer gardens, and cocktail lounges.
The neighborhood is also Ponsonby Central which offers both shopping and dining options with many cafes and restaurants.
At the south end of Ponsonby Road, you can visit the Western Park, one of Auckland’s most beautiful parks. You can relax, see artsy sculptures, and take a walk in the park.
You can also find Kelmarna Gardens, a city farm and organic community garden; Hukanui Reserve, and Herne Bay Beach on the southwestern shore of the Waitemata Harbour.
Ponsonby offers a few good accommodations such as 5-star hotels, and mid-range guest houses.
Best places to stay in Auckland in Ponsonby:
- Luxury ($$$): Hotel Fitzroy curated by Fable
- Mid-range ($$): The Great Ponsonby Arthotel
- Budget ($): Ponsonby Manor Guest House
5. Parnell, affluent and laid-back neighborhood
Parnell is a leafy neighborhood, located around Parnell Road, east of Auckland CBD. It is an affluent neighborhood and more residential than the upscale Ponsonby.
Parnell is one of New Zealand’s first suburbs settled by early Europeans in late 1841. You can find historic houses and Edwardian villas that still remain today.
Parnell Road is home to many world-class cafes, restaurants, and boutique stores where you can shop for quality crafts, fantastic fashions and exquisite jewelry.
You can take a stroll along Hobson Bay walkway, relax on Parnell Rose Garden, visit the beautiful Auckland Domain park and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Meanwhile, the Parnell Village provides a wide range of upper-end shops and restaurants.
Other places of interest are the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell Baths salt-water pools, St. Stephen’s Chapel, Chocolate Boutique, Ewelme Cottage, and Judges Bay.
Parnell doesn’t have lots of hotels, but you can find great quality 4-star hotels that offer everything you need for your stay.
Best places to stay in Parnell:
- Mid-range ($$): The Parnell Hotel & Conference Centre
- Mid-range ($$): Quest Carlaw Park Serviced Apartments
- Mid-range ($$): Quest Parnell Serviced Apartments
6. Newmarket, a shopping district of Auckland
Newmarket is a shopping district located just south of the CBD and next to the upmarket Parnell. It is well-connected with the rest of the city via its train station and many bus stops throughout the neighborhood.
You can do your shopping along Broadway, Nuffield Street, and Teed Street, which is home to high-end fashion stores. You can find almost everything from the neighborhood, from shoes and clothes to home-ware stores and gift shops.
It is also home to the Westfield Newmarket, a shopping and dining complex, stretching over four and half hectares of land. It is home to Auckland’s first David Jones department store, Farmers, and Countdown supermarket.
You can find cinemas, Olympic size pools, as well as manu chic cafes, restaurants, bars, and pubs. There is also a Chinatown near Golden Gate and the Rialto cinema.
If you are staying in this neighborhood, you can find a few good 4-star and budget apartments to book a room.
Best places to stay in Newmarket:
- Mid-range ($$): Ramada by Wyndham Newmarket Auckland
- Mid-range ($$): Quest Newmarket Serviced Apartments
- Budget ($): One Bedroom Apartment, Heart of Newmarket Auckland
7. Mt Eden, where to stay in Auckland nature lovers
Mt Eden is home to the Maungawhau, one of New Zealand’s most prominent volcanoes. You can trek up to its summit and enjoy the city and the harbor.
Mt Eden neighborhood is home to Dominion Road, stretching from Mount Eden to Mount Roskill, and packed with Asian eateries such as dumpling restaurants, as well as many cafes, bookshops, and vintage clothes shops.
You can find Eden Park, which is New Zealand’s national stadium and the largest in the country. It has hosted the Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket.
There is also Eden Garden, and events such as the Mt Eden Wellbeing Market, and the Central Flea Market in front of Potters Park, held monthly.
Families and kids can have fun at Potters Park, which offers a water splash-pad, and playground for children of all ages, as well as picnic tables and benches.
Mt Eden is an ideal place to stay in Auckland for nature lovers. The area has no luxury 5 star hotels, but you can find mid-range and budget hotels.
Best places to stay in Mt Eden:
- Mid-range ($$): Eden Park Bed And Breakfast Inn
- Mid-range ($$): Bavaria Bed & Breakfast Boutique Hotel
- Budget ($): ASURE At Eden Park
8. North Shore, where to stay in Auckland for beaches
North Shore is one of the best places to stay in Auckland for beach lovers due to its beautiful sandy beaches. It is home to many suburbs including Takapuna, Devonport, Rosedale, and Albany.
North Shore is easy to reach from Auckland CBD by direct buses and ferries depending which suburb you are staying.
In Devonport, you can visit Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve where you can find underground tunnels and fortifications.
There are also many art galleries, boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as the family-friendly Cheltenham Beach and Narrow Neck Beach for enjoyment.
You can find Takapuna, often referred to as the unofficial capital of North Shore. You can shop along the Hurstmere Road, visit the beautiful Lake Pupuke for canoeing, rowing, and sailing. There are also beautiful sandy Takapuna Beach and Milford Beach.
Further to the North, you can find Waiake Beach, Browns Bay Beach Reserve, Long Bay Beach, and Long Bay Regional Park.
North Shore is a big area where you can find a wide range of accommodations that offer stunning sea views.
Best places to stay in Auckland in North Shore:
- Mid-range ($$): Quest Takapuna
- Mid-range ($$): Ocean Breeze Hotel
- Budget ($): Takapuna International Motor Lodge
9. Sylvia Park, Auckland’s largest shopping center
Sylvia Park is the largest shopping center in Auckland and the 3rd largest shopping center in New Zealand, offering plenty of opportunities for shopping. There are many choices from iconic international and local brands.
You can shop for clothes, jewelers, sports equipment, among other things. It is also a selection of restaurants and a cinema, providing a break while shopping.
Sylvia Park has couples of budget motels nearby, offering basic amenities to all travelers. It is best to stay in this area if you travel with a car.
Best places to stay in Sylvia Park:
- Budget ($): Sylvia Park Motel
- Budget ($): Ellerslie Palms Motel
10. Mission Bay, a seaside suburb on the Hauraki Gulf coast
Mission Bay is a beautiful seaside village located only a short drive from Auckland’ CBD. It has a stretch of sandy beaches and stunning views over Rangitoto Island.
It is a popular place for outdoor activities such as running, rollerblading, cycling, as well as for eating fish and chips, and enjoying the breathtaking views of the ocean.
Mission Bay’s beach is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, relaxing, and enjoying the views of Rangitoto Island. You can try watersports such as kayaking and paddle boarding.
The area of Mission Bay is also home to numerous restaurants and bars, as well as ice-cream shops such as Kiwi-Yo for the hot summer days.
You can visit Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium with numerous marine animals. There are also a lot of reserves, native Pohutukawa trees, and parks such as M J Savage Memorial Park. For some great photo shots, check out Bastion Point.
Accommodations are mostly budget friendly hotels and B&B. It is a great place to enjoy the beaches and also close to central Auckland.
Best places to stay in Mission Bay:
- Mid-range ($$): Stay Mission Bay
- Budget ($): The Bays Bed & Breakfast
- Budget ($): Kohi Beach Bed & Breakfast
11. Piha, New Zealand’s most famous surf beach
Piha is a beautiful black-sand surf beach and is a part of Waitākere Ranges Regional Park
Marine Parade, located on the west coast of Auckland.
It is located around one hour drive from the city center. It is a popular summer holiday for local kiwis.
It has strong waves, making it a popular place for surfing, and it has surf lifesavers patrol in summer. You can take surfing lessons here.
In addition to surfing and swimming, you can visit the Piha Beach Lookout, Kitekite Falls, watch the sunset from Piha Beach, climb a huge rock in the middle of Piha Beach called Lion Rock, and hike the North Piha Walks.
If you are planning to stay in Piha, you should book accommodations in advance as it has very limited hotels.
Best places to stay in Auckland in Piha:
- Mid-range ($$): Romantic Piha
- Budget ($): Piha Beachstay Accommodation
12. Auckland Airport, where to stay in Auckland to catch flights
If you have an early flight or arrive late, you can consider booking a hotel at the Auckland International Airport. It is the country’s airline hub and New Zealand’s gateway, serving both domestic and international flights.
Mangere suburb is also a good option to book a hotel near the airport. You can visit the Mangere Mountain where you can explore Maori settlements.
You can also see the archaeological remains of Māori and European stone structures at the Ōtuataua Stonefields, as well as visit the Ambury Regional Park and Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku.
You will be able to find all kinds of budget accommodations around Auckland Airport from budget to luxury hotels.
Best places to stay in Auckland Airport:
- Luxury ($$$): Novotel Auckland Airport
- Mid-range ($$): Sudima Auckland Airport
- Budget ($): Jet Park Airport Hotel
What are the best areas to stay in Auckland?
The best areas to stay in Auckland for tourists are Auckland CBD, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, Ponsonby, Parnell, Mt Eden, Newmarket, and North Shore due to its popularity and its wide range of attractions and amenities for visitors.
Where should I stay in Auckland for the first time?
In general, Auckland CBD is the best area to stay in Auckland for first-timers because it is the most convenient location for tourists and it offers the widest range of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and tourist attractions.
Where to stay in Auckland without a car?
The best place to stay in Auckland without a car is the central neighborhoods such as the CBD, Viaduct Harbor, and Britomart. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of the city, and you can explore everything on foot or by public transports.
What is the safest part of Auckland?
Auckland is generally a safe city in New Zealand, but as you travel to any big city, you should always practice common sense and be aware of your surroundings. Tourists looking for the safest areas to stay in Auckland, I suggest staying in Auckland CBD.
How many days should you stay in Auckland?
It depends on your interests and the amount of time you have, but most travelers recommend staying in Auckland for at least 3-4 days to fully experience the city.
So you have it, the 12 best areas where to stay in Auckland for tourists. Overall, Auckland CBD is the best area to stay in Auckland for first-timers due to its prime location. Viaduct Harbour and Britomart are small sections of the CBD and great places for first-timers.