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Must-See-Museen in Auckland

Explore the different sides of Auckland with this guide to the city's great museums.

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Nicole R. Zimmerman, born in São Paulo, Brazil and raised (mostly) in Northern California, is a queer Bay Area–based travel journalist, copywriter, and essayist. Nicole has written for Viator/Tripadvisor, Hipcamp, TripSavvy, Grove Collaborative, Insider, and the Los Angeles Times. Her work appears in anthologies such as The Best Women’s Travel Writing and in numerous literary journals including Creative Nonfiction and The Rumpus.

Centered around two main harbors, the North Island’s largest city is punctuated by the Sky Tower. A sprinkling of diverse museums informs visitors about New Zealand’s seafaring history, transportation, and flora and fauna. Here are our top picks.

1. Auckland War Memorial Museum

The ornate exterior of Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand.
Learn about the Indigenous origins of Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand) at this museum.Bildquelle: mastapiece / Shutterstock

For a lesson about Indigenous origins and colonization.

Housed in a grand neoclassical building, the war memorial exhibits are located on three expansive levels of the Auckland Museum. Go to learn about the Indigenous origins of Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand), and its colonization by European settlers.

How to Visit: Join a city sightseeing tour, or go on your own and add on a Māori cultural performance.

2. Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)

Planes on display in a hangar-like space at the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland in New Zealand.
This museum showcases everything from 19th-century fire engines to a variety of aircraft.Bildquelle: krug_100 / Shutterstock

For a timeline of New Zealand's transportation systems.

MOTAT features a century’s worth of New Zealand’s transportation systems, from 19th-century fire engines and steam trains to a variety of aircraft. Ride the working tramway, and browse technological artifacts at the Victorian village.

How to Visit: Book a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour and make the museum one of your stops.

3. Wintergarden Pavilion

The outdoor green space of the Wintergarden Pavilion in Auckland in New Zealand.
Wintergarden Pavilion has two Victorian-style glass greenhouses.Bildquelle: trabantos / Shutterstock

For native and exotic plants.

Situated in Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, the Wintergardens showcase native and exotic tropical and temperate plants in two Victorian-style glass greenhouses established in 1913. The New Zealand ferns are a highlight.

How to Visit: Join a small-group city sightseeing tour.

4. Odyssey Sensory Maze

Visitors head into purple-hued Odyssey Sensory Maze in Auckland in New Zealand.
This sensory maze is fun for all ages.Bildquelle: Sean McDonald / Tripadvisor

For sensory mazes and optical illusions.

Meander through a dozen different rooms that make up this sensory maze. Fun for visitors of all ages, a variety of sound effects, optical illusions, and mysterious scents challenge your brain.

How to Visit: Save time and money by prebooking your admission.

5. SEA LIFE® Kelly Tarlton’s

Fish in a glass tunnel in SEA LIFE® Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland, New Zealand.
Explore nine themed zones at this massive aquarium.Bildquelle: NataliaCatalina.com / Shutterstock

For a large-scale aquarium.

Jellyfish, stingrays, and king penguins are all part of the magic at this aquarium. Explore nine themed zones, visit the Antarctic Encounter, wander under a shark tunnel, and touch starfish at the rock pool.

How to Visit: Upgrade your admission for a shark diving experience.

6. Sculptureum

A house sculpture at Sculptureum in Auckland and New Zealand, with green foliage behind it.
Witness plenty of remarkable sculptures at the Sculptureum.Bildquelle: Natalia Marshall / Shutterstock

For a sculpture's paradise.

Walk along the Garden of Creative Diversity at this inspiring sculpture museum, about an hour’s drive north of Auckland in Matakana. Indoors, you’ll see galleries mixed with plants, from glassworks to modern masterpieces.

How to Visit: On weekends, check out gallery highlights on a guided tour.

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