If you are trying to figure out where to stay in Auckland, take the time to discover some of the best neighbourhoods. While most tourists simply choose to stay near the harbours, other areas of Auckland have plenty to offer visitors.
As the largest & most diverse city in New Zealand, the greater Auckland area is multicultural, a fusion of people bringing their own tastes and styles. The Auckland region has everything a tourist would want. You’ll find sprawling beaches, high-end shopping, and more restaurants and bars than you’d visit in a lifetime along with adventurous activities like hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking.
Not sure where to search for the best hotels in Auckland? Begin comparing accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Auckland including the top neighbourhoods, areas & districts for travellers…
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Best places to stay in Auckland: Top areas & neighbourhoods
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 stay in the downtown area or near the waterfront. These are the main tourist areas, containing 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 and most of the city’s landmarks and historic sites including a few museums and old churches. Those interested in historic sightseeing should enjoy walking around the city looking for centuries-old buildings.
If you prefer to get away from the crowded tourist streets, a couple of neighbourhoods just outside of downtown Auckland 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:
- Auckland CBD
- North Shore
- Viaduct Harbour
✔ Top district for sightseeing & culture and first-time visitors
If your Auckland itinerary includes plenty of sightseeing, you’ll probably want to stay in the Auckland CBD (Central Business District).
The Auckland CBD is the central part of downtown Auckland. It’s the area that contains the most landmarks & attractions and 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. It’s the main street that runs through the centre of Auckland between the waterfront and the southern suburbs.
Along with access to many historic sites, Queen Street offers high-end fashion and shopping. It’s at the heart of the Auckland Central Business District, attracting all types of travellers and locals.
In recent years, the city has focused on making Queen Street and the surrounding area more pedestrian-friendly. Several streets are now wider, making it 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: Located at the northern end of Queen Street, this hotel places you near the waterfront and the best shopping in the city. The rooms feature contemporary décor while the hotel is inside a historic building, creating a unique atmosphere.
- Four Points by Sheraton Auckland: This five-star hotel has all the amenities you need to feel at home. Relax in your fully stocked room featuring a flat-screen TV, electric teapot, fridge, desk, and hairdryer.
- VR Queen Street Hotel & Suites: Just a two-minute walk from Myers Park, this boutique-style hotel offers access to nearby attractions and world-class service. The staff is incredibly helpful while the location is a short stroll from the shopping on Queen Street.
- SkyCity Grand Hotel Auckland: Located within the SkyCity entertainment complex, this 5-star hotel features some of the most luxurious rooms & amenities among the best Auckland hotels including a spa, fitness centre, and several award-winning restaurants.
- CityLife Auckland: This modern aparthotel overlooks Queen Street, offering spacious rooms that range between doubles and 3-bedroom apartments. Guests will love the added amenities including a fitness centre, indoor heated pool, restaurant, and bar.
✔ Top area 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 and is packed with some of the city’s trendiest restaurants & bars.
Staying here, you’ll discover a neighbourhood chock-loaded with plenty 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 the country’s 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 surprisingly lack of accommodation options in Ponsonby. They 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: Staying in this lovely 19th-century Victorian manor is a brilliant way to introduce a more local feel to your Auckland stay. 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. Besides the bright & well-equipped rooms, this hotel is located within walking distance of several great restaurants, bars & art galleries.
✔ Best district for experiencing Auckland’s seaside delights & active pursuits
Once a city separate from Auckland, North Shore is a large area to the north of the city centre, connected by the city’s famous Harbour Bridge.
Compared to areas in central Auckland, North Shore has distinctly more residential & suburban feel to it. It consists of several towns/neighbourhoods, each with their own feel, including 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 Auckland including 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, a historical site offering spectacular views of Waitemata Harbour and the Auckland skyline, and 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) and regular buses 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 with everything from hotels to guesthouses to homestays available for travellers. Unsurprisingly, the prices here tend to be more budget-friendly than in central Auckland.
- Aristotles North Shore: One of the top budget choices in the area, this motel offers guests self-catering studios equipped with kitchenettes and private bathrooms.
- Ramada Suites by Wyndham Albany: A superb aparthotel featuring fully self-catering units with full kitchenettes and washing machines. This clean and modern property is fantastic choice for families.
- FERNZ Motel & Apartments Birkenhead: Located in Birkenhead, the spacious and modern apartments here deliver excellent views of the surrounding area and are located within quick walking distance of cafes & restaurants serving up excellent local food.
- Devonport Loft on Buchanan Street: To get close to the beach, there’s hardly a better choice than this apartment in the heart of Devonport. Devonport Beach is within a stone’s throw from here and 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 for shopping & entertainment
Located south of Parnell, Newmarket is a trendy, sophisticated neighbourhood. It’s also the area with the most shops and malls, considered the main retail district in Auckland.
Newmarket is not the largest neighbourhood, but it’s packed with modern buildings containing 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.
Overall, Newmarket remains one of the most relaxed neighbourhoods. It offers a maze of cafes, shops, and malls where you can max out your credit cards.
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, so 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. It’s located in the northern part of Newmarket, making it a little easier to reach Parnell or the downtown area.
- Boulevard Hotel: A small business hotel with great rates, this option is a little further from everything. The rooms also lack some of the amenities you’d get at other locations. Luckily, the hotel has its own onsite Asian restaurant and the streets around the hotel provide a few 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 for nightlife & great food
The waterfront covers a large portion of northern Auckland, including several smaller neighbourhoods. If you’re looking for world-class restaurants or boat rides around the bay, choose to stay in Viaduct Harbour.
Viaduct Harbour contains a mixture of residential and entertainment blocks. It’s also near the water, so you’ll see plenty of boats and yachts coming and going.
This 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, but a fantastic choice for where to stay in Auckland for travellers looking to experience the city’s nightlife and food scene.
You could also look for accommodations in the waterfront area of Britomart, at the northern end of Queen Street. It’s another one of the the top shopping neighbourhoods in Auckland and a hotspot for nightlife, but tends to remain 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 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: Located across from Britomart, this hotel overlooks the harbour and the city, depending on which side of the building you stay. It 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 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 bustling of downtown Auckland should enjoy the laid back streets of Parnell.
It’s known for its variety of upscale restaurants and boutiques, but also offers additional attractions. You’ll find several footpaths and biking trails that 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: Located near the northwestern edge of Parnell, this hotel places you closer to Newmarket and the waterfront. You can spend your time travelling between neighbourhoods and come back to the hotel for food in the evening. Multiple cafes and restaurants are found within the surrounding blocks.
- Auckland Rose Park Hotel: This quaint little 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 where you’ll find numerous bars and small family-owned restaurants.
- Quality Hotel Parnell: A modern hotel with clean, spacious rooms, this option is 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.