Need to figure out where to stay in Auckland? As you roam the city’s best neighbourhoods you’ll discover there’s more to Auckland than meets the eye.
Most tourists choose to stay near the two harbours. But you shouldn’t stop your search there. Other areas in Auckland have plenty to please visitors, too!
Auckland is the largest & most diverse city in New Zealand. The region offers everything you’d imagine for your New Zealand getaway. You’ll find sprawling beaches, high-end shopping, and more restaurants & bars than you could visit in a lifetime. Plenty of adventurous activities also await in the Auckland area. You can enjoy exciting outdoor pursuits like hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking.
Searching for the best hotels in Auckland? Find the perfect Auckland accommodations with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Auckland. In it, we’ve included all the top neighbourhoods, areas & districts for travellers.
Best places to stay in Auckland
Auckland contains dozens of great neighbourhoods and suburbs. Unfortunately, you won’t find many hotels outside of the inner city.
During your trip to Auckland, you’ll likely want to stay in the downtown area or near the waterfront. These are the main tourist areas. The neighbourhoods contain the most shopping, dining, and entertainment options in the city. For adventurous travellers, downtown Auckland offers bungee jumping from the Sky Tower.
The central area is also home to many of the best things to do in Auckland. Most of the city’s main landmarks and historic sites, including museums and old churches, lie here. Interested in historic sightseeing? You’ll enjoy walking around Auckland in search of centuries-old buildings.
Want to get away from the crowded tourist streets? Outside of downtown Auckland you’ll find a couple neighbourhoods that offer quieter accommodations. These areas tend to be more laid back, but you’ll need to travel further to reach the waterfront and other top attractions in Auckland.
The best areas to stay in Auckland include:
✔ Top district to stay in Auckland for sightseeing & culture and first-time visitors
If your Auckland itinerary focuses on sightseeing, stay in the Auckland CBD (Central Business District).
The Auckland CBD is the central part of downtown Auckland. The area contains the most landmarks & attractions. The CBD is the best overall choice for where to stay in Auckland for first-time visitors.
Many of the top hotels are located along Queen Street. The main street in the CBD, Queen Street runs through the centre of Auckland between the waterfront and the southern suburbs.
Along with access to historic sites, Queen Street offers high-end fashion and shopping. It’s at the heart of the Auckland Central Business District. It attracts all types of travellers & locals.
In recent years, the city has focused on making the Queen Street area more pedestrian-friendly. Several streets are now wider. Today, it’s easier for cars, pedestrians, and cyclists to travel side by side.
While Queen Street is in downtown Auckland, it’s a safe place to stay and explore. Hundreds of wireless CCTV cameras monitor every movement on the streets. It’s become one of the safest big cities in the region.
Depending on when you visit, you may also get to witness one of the city’s many festivals. Queen Street often acts as the main parade route.
Recommended hotels in Auckland CBD
If you decide to stay in Auckland CBD, you’ll get your pick of the some of the best hotels in Auckland. This main tourist area offers the greatest selection of accommodations in Auckland.
- Hotel Grand Windsor MGallery by Sofitel: This hotel is located at the northern end of Queen Street. It places you near the waterfront and the best shopping in the city. The rooms feature contemporary décor. The hotel occupies a historic building, creating a unique atmosphere.
- Four Points by Sheraton Auckland: This 4-star hotel has all the amenities you need to feel at home. Relax in your fully stocked room. All the rooms feature a flat-screen TV, electric teapot, fridge, desk, and hairdryer.
- VR Queen Street Hotel & Suites: This boutique-style hotel is a two-minute walk from Myers Park. It offers access to nearby attractions and world-class service. The staff is incredibly helpful. The hotel is also only a short stroll from the shopping on Queen Street.
- SkyCity Grand Hotel Auckland: This 5-star hotel is located within the SkyCity entertainment complex. It features some of the most luxurious rooms & amenities among the best Auckland hotels. Extras include a spa, fitness centre, and several award-winning restaurants.
- CityLife Auckland: This modern aparthotel overlooks Queen Street. It offers spacious rooms that range between doubles and 3-bedroom apartments. Guests will love the added amenities. They include a fitness centre, indoor heated pool, restaurant, and bar.
✔ Top area to stay in Auckland for food, nightlife & a youthful vibe
Located just west of the Central Business District, Ponsonby is one of the most vibrant & exciting areas in Auckland. The upscale neighbourhood has a vibrant youthful vibe. It’s packed with some of the city’s trendiest restaurants & bars.
Staying here, you’ll discover a neighbourhood chock-loaded with things to do. It’s full of great boutique shops for your browsing & shopping pleasure.
The food & drink game is equally strong in Ponsonby.
As you wander about the ‘hood, your tastebuds will be greeted with everything from gourmet food trucks to trendy bistros. Ponsonby is also one of the best places in New Zealand to experience its burgeoning craft beer scene.
Along with its gifts for foodies, the neighbourhood is an interesting place to stay for art lovers. There’s a handful of small galleries here that offer a glimpse at the Kiwi modern art scene.
The downtown area is just 20 minutes away by foot.
Recommended hotels in Ponsonby
Considering its popularity with locals, there’s a surprising lack of accommodation in Ponsonby. The few choices, however, are generally high-quality and in high demand. Be sure to book well ahead if you want to stay here.
- Nadia’s Ponsonby Central B & B: This cozy bed & breakfast offers a home-away-from-home feel while visiting Auckland. It’s located close to beaches and has a large yard and patio for its guests to unwind.
- Ponsonby Manor Guest House: Want to introduce a more local feel to your Auckland stay? Staying in this lovely 19th-century Victorian manor is a brilliant option. Shared amenities include a guest lounge and outdoor BBQ area.
- The Great Ponsonby Arthotel: Built in an 1890s heritage villa, this colourful boutique hotel is the top mid-range luxury pick in Ponsonby. The property features bright & well-equipped rooms. This hotel is also within walking distance of several great restaurants, bars & art galleries.
✔ Best district to stay in Auckland for seaside delights & active pursuits
Once a city separate from Auckland, North Shore is a large area to the north of the city centre. It’s connected to downtown by the city’s famous Harbour Bridge.
Compared to areas in central Auckland, North Shore has more residential & suburban feel. It consists of several towns/neighbourhoods. Each offers their own vibe. The towns around North Shore include Devonport, Takapuna, Milford, and Albany.
As you might have guessed from its name, one of the top reasons to stay here is to experience Auckland’s seaside delights. The area features some of the best beaches in & around Auckland . Beaches here include Devonport, Cheltenham, Takapuna, and Milford.
Besides the beaches, the district is one of the top destinations in Auckland for active pursuits. There’s a whole host of parks and nature reserves to explore here.
Among the most popular is Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve. This historical site offers spectacular views of Waitemata Harbour and the Auckland skyline. The area is also home to Takarunga/Mount Victoria, one of the best places to go hiking in Auckland.
To get into the city centre, there are regular ferries from Devonport to Britomart (12 minutes). Regular buses also scoot between Takapuna and Auckland CBD.
Recommended hotels in North Shore
Given how far and wide North Shore sprawls, there’s a varied selection of accommodations here. Travellers will find everything from hotels to guesthouses to homestays. Unsurprisingly, the prices here tend to be more budget-friendly than in central Auckland.
- Aristotles North Shore: This motel is one of the top budget choices in the area. It offers guests self-catering studios equipped with kitchenettes and private bathrooms.
- Ramada Suites by Wyndham Albany: This superb aparthotel features fully self-catering units. They’re beset with full kitchenettes and washing machines. This clean and modern property is fantastic choice for families.
- FERNZ Motel & Apartments Birkenhead: These spacious & modern apartments are located in Birkenhead. They deliver excellent views of the surrounding area. The property is also within quick walking distance of cafes & restaurants serving up excellent local food.
- Devonport Loft on Buchanan Street: To get close to the beach, nothing beats this apartment in the heart of Devonport. Devonport Beach is within a stone’s throw. North Head Historic Reserve is just over a kilometre away by foot. This accommodation books up fast; get in early if you want your shot.
✔ Best neighbourhood to stay in Auckland for shopping & entertainment
Located south of Parnell, Newmarket is a trendy, sophisticated neighbourhood. It’s also the area with the most shops and malls. Newmarket is considered the main retail district in Auckland.
Newmarket is not the largest neighbourhood, but it’s packed with modern buildings. Inside them, you’ll find all types of shops and restaurants. In fact, you’ll discover over 400 stores in a radius covering no more than a few kilometres. Newmarket is a shopper’s paradise and the best spot in the city for dinner and a movie.
One drawback to Newmarket is the traffic. It’s the main thoroughfare, taking people from the suburbs to the inner city. On the main streets, you’ll need to watch for traffic.
Despite occasional traffic congestion, Newmarket is an easy neighbourhood to get around. This is good, as it doesn’t have a lot to offer besides shopping and entertainment. If you want to see historic attractions or spend time on the beach, you’ll need to travel west to the downtown area.
Recommended hotels in Newmarket
Newmarket doesn’t offer a lot of options for accommodations. In fact, there are less than six hotels in the entire neighbourhood. They’re also spread across the area. Pay attention to the location if you plan to travel to the downtown area frequently.
- Quest Newmarket Serviced Apartments: This hotel/condo/apartment has a wide variety of rooms to choose from. Whether you plan to stay for one day or an entire month, you’ll find accommodations to suit your needs. It’s located in the northern part of Newmarket. From here, it’s easier to reach Parnell or the downtown area.
- Boulevard Hotel: This small business hotel offers great rates for travellers. It is, however, a little further from the action. The rooms also lack some of the amenities you’d get at other Auckland hotels. Luckily, the hotel has its own onsite Asian restaurant. The streets around the hotel also provide more dining options.
- Haka Hotel Newmarket: This three-star hotel is a unique place to stay. It’s another business hotel with shared facilities. You can access the in-house coffee hub or shared workspaces during your stay or retreat to your small, comfortable room.
✔ Recommended area to stay in Auckland for nightlife & great food
The waterfront covers a large part of northern Auckland, including several smaller neighbourhoods. If you’re looking for world-class restaurants or boat rides around the bay, stay in Viaduct Harbour.
Viaduct Harbour contains a mixture of residential and entertainment blocks near the water. You’ll see plenty of boats and yachts coming and going as you stare onto the harbour.
The Viaduct is one of the busiest areas of Auckland. It’s not the best spot for those wanting peace and relaxation or families that want a quiet place to rest. It’s a fantastic choice, though, for travellers looking to experience the city’s nightlife & food scene.
You could also look for accommodations in the waterfront area of Britomart. It’s at the northern end of Queen Street. Britomart is another one of the the top shopping neighbourhoods in Auckland. It’s also a hotspot for nightlife, but remains a little more low-key during the day.
Most of the Auckland waterfront and Viaduct Harbour area comes alive at night. If you’re looking for a good time, you’ll want to take a stroll down to the strip of bars and clubs that face the bay.
If you decide to stay around the Auckland waterfront, you can also easily reach Queen Street and the rest of downtown Auckland. They’re located just a couple of blocks behind Viaduct Harbour and Britomart.
Recommended hotels in Viaduct Harbour
Viaduct Harbour isn’t the largest part of the city, but it’s packed with hotels and resorts. Accommodations near the water tend to cost more compared to other areas. You’re mostly paying to stay near the best restaurants and nightlife Auckland has to offer.
- Hilton Auckland: Built at the end of Princes Wharf, this hotel has a true waterfront location. You get a sweeping view of the harbour from your room and walk to the city centre in just five minutes. It’s a stylish, nautical-themed hotel with one of the best locations in the city.
- M Social Auckland: This hotel is right near Viaduct Harbour, located on Quay Street. All rooms provide a view of the wharf, but part of your view is obstructed by other hotels, including the previous option. It’s another convenient place to stay if you want to visit the waterfront.
- Grand Mercure Auckland: This luxury hotel is located across from Britomart. It hotel overlooks the harbour and the city, depending on which side of the building you stay. The Grand Mercure also features elegant, sophisticated décor and spacious rooms that help you feel at home. In the evening, enjoy views of the waterfront from the hotel’s onsite restaurant.
✔ Top neighbourhood to stay in Auckland for families and a quieter vibe
Located east of downtown, Parnell is an affluent neighbourhood with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s more of a sleepy suburb, despite its close distance to the main harbour. Families and those wanting to escape the bustle of downtown Auckland will enjoy the chilled-out streets of Parnell.
Parnell is known for its variety of upscale restaurants and boutiques. You’ll also discover several footpaths and biking trails here. The trails will take you across the parks and into Auckland Domain.
Parnell also has its own waterfront. Unfortunately, it’s mostly residential. If you want to spend time on the beach or near a waterfront filled with restaurants and bars, you’ll need to venture into the inner city.
The only waterside attractions in this neighbourhood include Parnell Baths and the Hobson Bay walkway. The walkway offers the chance of a quiet stroll near the water, while the baths feature a large salt pool.
It’s also easy to reach the inner city. As with other neighbourhoods in Auckland, Parnell is connected via various public transport links. You’ll never need to wait for more than a few minutes for a bus, taxi, or shuttle.
Recommended hotels in Parnell
Parnell only has a few hotels, making your decision a little easier. The only problem is deciding whether you want to stay closer to the action in the inner city or further away. A couple of these options are on quiet side streets, several kilometres from downtown Auckland.
- Quest Parnell Serviced Apartments: This apart-hotel is located near the northwestern edge of Parnell. Staying here places you closer to Newmarket and the waterfront. You can spend your time travelling between neighbourhoods and return to the hotel for food in the evening. You’ll enjoy several cafes and restaurants within the surrounding blocks.
- Auckland Rose Park Hotel: This quaint boutique-style hotel is located across the street from the Dove Myer Robinson Park and Parnell Rose Garden. It’s a short drive from the city centre and a quick stroll to the centre of Parnell. In the area, you’ll find numerous bars and small family-owned restaurants.
- Quality Hotel Parnell: This modern hotel offers clean, spacious rooms in the centre of Parnell. You can spend your time exploring the shops and cafes that make Parnell a pleasant place to stay. The hotel also has its own restaurant with a great selection of dishes.
Other areas to stay in Auckland
- Mount Eden: This affluent suburb is located south of Auckland’s CBD. Mount Eden is a great choice for hikers and sports fans. The area is home to Eden Park where New Zealand’s world-famous All Blacks rugby team tackle their opponents. The pleasant neighbourhood’s namesake volcanic peak is an excellent place to go hiking. Power up to the summit to enjoy epic views over the Hauraki Gulf and the city. Elsewhere in Mount Eden, you’ll find a wealth of cool bookshops, vintage boutique shops, trendy wine bars & cafés.
- Grey Lynn: The residential neighbourhood of Grey Lynn is located south of Ponsonby. Grey Lynn is a good option for bohemian travellers seeking a more local experience on their visit to Auckland. The district teems with cool cafés, brewpubs, bistros, and eclectic boutique shops.
- Mission Bay: The seaside suburb of Mission Bay is perched on the Hauraki Gulf coast. It’s about 20 minutes east of central Auckland via Tamaki Drive. Mission Bay is one of the best places to stay to experience Auckland’s seaside charms. The chilled-out beach town has a super laid-back vibe. There’s also an excellent selection of restaurants, cafés, and bars close to the beachfront.
- St Heliers: Like its westerly neighbour Mission Bay, upscale St Heliers is a relaxed beach town within a quick reach of downtown Auckland. The beach here is fantastic. In St Heliers, you’ll also enjoy a great selection of international fine-dining restaurants.
- Waiheke Island: For wine lovers, staying on Waiheke Island on your trip to Auckland is an obligatory rite of passage. This dazzling Hauraki Gulf island is just 35 minutes from central Auckland by ferry. Waiheke Island is home to Auckland’s best wineries & vineyards. Extend your perfect day exploring Waiheke Island with a relaxing and luxurious night in one of the island’s sleekest places to stay.
- Piha: The small seaside village of Pihai is nestled on the west coast of North Island less than an hour from the city. Piha is a well-known destination to Kiwi surfers. The black-sand Piha Beach offers the region’s best surfing opportunities. You’ll also enjoy its beautiful rugged coastal scenery and Tasman Sea views. The village is also well placed for hikers. You’ll love wandering through the subtropical native rainforest at Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.
- Mangere: If you’ve got an early flight or are arriving late in Auckland, you may want to lay down your head in Mangere. The South Auckland suburb is one of the city’s biggest and is home to Auckland Airport. There’s a handful of historical sites worth checking out here, too. Explore the Maori settlements on Mangere Mountain. You’ll also be entranced by the unique archeological discoveries at the Ōtuataua Stonefields.