Things To Do

51 Of The Best Things To Do In Auckland This Winter

By Alice Rich
11th Aug 2022

Friends walk along Karekare beach.

Hello darkness, our old friend. The days are shorter and the temperature has plummeted but it’s not all bad news. Whether you’re all about hibernation or giving your winter boots a workout, there are loads of activities to get amongst, from dreamy self-care and carbilicious goodness to epic adventures and getaways. 

Here are 51 things to do in Auckland this winter that will (almost) distract you from missing summer.

  1. Embrace It | Winter turns into a true wonderland when it snows… but Auckland winter didn’t get that memo (awkward) so your best bet is to hop to SnowPlanet for a ski sesh. While you’re at it, put Frozen on loop, because the cold never bothered you anyway. 

  2. Live Your Mulled Wine Fantasy | We’ve been sitting on this scrumptious mulled wine recipe for years now and there simply isn’t anything better. Remember, practice makes perfect. 

  3. Choose Shaken, Not Stirred, With A Kick | In the mood for something stronger than mulled wine? Grab a coffee. And a cocktail. In the same glass.

  4. Build A Sandman | Who says snow is better than sand anyway? Rock up to one of the best beaches in Tāmaki Makaurau and whip up a sandperson, using seaweed and seashells for its nose, buttons and scarf. Just be ready to run if the wind whips your new pal into a sandstorm.

  5. Treat Yo’self | Keep warm beneath hot stones at one of Auckland’s best day spas. It’s cosy self-care and one of our favourite things to do in winter. 

  6. Celebrate Midwinter Christmas | What screams Christmas more than a ride in a sleigh? Last we checked Auckland’s out of sleighs (something about delayed shipping from the North Pole…) but a tuk-tuk tour of the city is your next best thing. And, if you ask really nicely, your driver might be down to don reindeer antlers. 

  7. Tell Seasonal Affective Disorder To Suck It | If winter tends to bring you down, try these six tips for beating the blues through the colder months. 

  8. Hail The Return Of The Mac | Nope, we’re not talking about Mark Morrison, but once you’ve wrapped your lips around Auckland’s best mac ‘n’ cheese you will 100% be putting your hands up like the ceiling can’t hold you. 

  9. Take The Plunge | From Wim Hoff to Art Green, everybody seems to be into ice baths these days and, in winter, just about any body of water qualifies. Lucky you. 

  10. Go Full Disney | Speaking of ice, winter is the perfect time to hit the rink. Dress up as your favourite Disney Princess and show off your ice skating tricks, from axels and toe loops to lunges and spins, or, still more impressive, your ability to not fall flat on your face (or butt). 

    A narrow pathway through a cave is lit with blue light.

  11. Take Shelter Underground | Raincheck the weather and explore these caves instead—but if you see a ring, don’t pick it up (if you know, you know).

  12. Shop Savvy | Threadbare clothing got you needing new duds? A brand new coat could set you back but a day of fun spent scouring Auckland’s best op shops will mean you leave with a bunch of new gems, and a whole lot of dollars still in your pocket. After some eco-friendly knits? We've got you covered. 

  13. Crack The Code | Prove your crew’s the ultimate team by beating an escape room before the time runs out. Bonus points if you dress up as Scooby-Doo’s mystery-hunting gang. 

  14. Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow | Whether you like to break it down to house, electro, live jazz, Top50, metal, bossa nova or something else entirely, cut some serious shapes on the dancefloor at Tāmaki Makaurau’s best nightclubs and you’ll be warm in no time. Winter who? 

  15. Winter-Proof Your Skincare Routine | A new season brings new challenges for your skin. Glow all winter long with these winter skincare essentials

  16. Manifest Your Way To Warmth | Kid yourself you’re in Indonesia with a culinary trip to Bali Nights. Stare into that steaming plate of rendang and do your best to channel hot weather and a beautiful beach. 

  17. Challenge Your Mates To Hot Ones | Heat up without boosting your power bill by staging your own game of chilli sauce-tasting YouTube sensation Hot Ones. Several sauces in and you’ll have 99 problems but the winter cold won’t be one of them.  

  18. Level Up Your Hibernation Game | Now if you are going to hibernate this winter, you best do it right. Build a fort, whip up a batch of Disney World’s cookie fries, then watch everything on Netflix from within said fort, cookies fries in hand. Could hibernation be more perfect? 

  19. Kick Back In Front Of The Biggest Screen Of All | If you’re in denial about being in hibernation, you can keep the illusion alive with a trip to the cinema. Eat all the popcorn because, winter. 

  20. Appreciate The Unconventional | Pitchblack Playback may be in a cinema but it’s not your usual cinematic experience at all. Settle into your chair, don the complimentary blindfold and experience upcoming and classic album releases as you bathe in darkness. A massive golden statue of a person emerges from rock at Wētā Workshop Unleashed.

  21. Have A Wild Time With Wētā | Rain-proof your plans with a tour of Wētā Workshop Unleashed. Mind-blowing for little kids and big kids alike, stormy weather is the perfect primer for plunging into Wētā’s world of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. 

  22. Leave | Some would argue this should have been first on the list but one of the best things you can do in Auckland in winter is to leave. Jump on a plane, stat. In no time at all, you’ll be sipping margaritas on a beach in Fiji or The Cook Islands. Winter done right.

  23. Have A Boujee Night Out | Dress to impress and head along to the stunning rooftop bar, Sunset. The crummy winter weather might mean you can’t actually see the sun go down but with eats and treats this good, you won’t even care. 

  24. Get Steamy | When the temperature plummets saunas and steam rooms are where it’s at. The Tepid Baths has both, plus an Olympic-style pool if you’re wanting to get some laps in. If you're in the mood for some infrared action, HANA will see you right.

  25. Strike A Pose | If you prefer your steam (mostly) upright skip along to your local hot yoga class and experience the added value that comes with trying to hold your foot against an impressively sweaty leg. That moment when your tree pose becomes a slippery elm... 

  26. New Do, New You | Tame your mane, or—better yet—channel your winter avatar, reinventing yourself at one of these hair salons. 

  27. Go On An Adventure | Wrap up warm, brave the elements and be your own heater (#empowered) as you stride it out along Auckland’s best walks and hikes

  28. Eat Your Weight In Doughnuts | Everything you need to fulfil this glorious mission is right here

  29. Get Your Steps In While Staring Quizzically At Art | You might not feel like going for a walk outdoors but spend an hour or two at one of Tāmaki Makaurau’s art-adorned galleries and you’ll hit your 10k before you know it. 

  30. Pick Up A New Hobby | Make use of all the forced time indoors by learning a new skill or three. From the fun and the frivolous to the deeply creative, Auckland’s home to a bunch of exciting workshops

  31. Hang Out In The Basement | Auckland’s iconic theatre in a car park, Basement Theatre’s epic lineups never disappoint. Packed with shows to make you ponder, laugh and scratch your head in wonder, a night at Basement is always well spent. A big bowl of steaming hot ramen in an orange soup topped with thin ribbons of radish and half a bulb of bok choy.

  32. Order A Hug In A Bowl | Piping hot and packed full of flavour, who needs mittens when you can hug a bowl of ramen

  33. Battle Winter… With A Book (Or Fifty) | Read all the books on your bedside table. When you’re done, read these too. 

  34. Discover Tāmaki Makaurau’s Hidden Gems | Work your way around Auckland’s hidden restaurants, cafes and bars. Need a hint? We’ve spilled all the secrets here.

  35. Start The Day Like You Mean It | Grey skies and endless rain can be a bit of a dampener on motivation but tuck into an epic morning burger from Egg and Spoon and you’ll be firing on all cylinders. 

  36. Help Those In Need | Winter is often the hardest time for vulnerable people and communities. If you’d like to pitch in you could knit some beanies or blankets for Auckland City Mission to share with our street whānau. 

  37. Go On A Hot Chocolate Crawl | The hot chocolate game is strong in Auckland city which begs the question—which mug of choc is the mightiest? Plan a crawl and find out, for the sake of science. 

  38. Hit The Road | Bundle into the car and escape the city for a weekend (or longer if you’ve got a kickass WFH situation going) taking a road trip to a cosy Airbnb, cabin or tiny home

  39. Puzzle Over A Jigsaw | Puzzlers unite, no season is more perfect for puzzling than winter. Consider yourself a puzzle pro? Flex your skills with this 2,000 piece rainbow gradient jigsaw by Colourboom

  40. Pop A Plate Of Dumplings | Warm your belly with delicious doughy bundles of joy a.k.a. dumplings. Find the 10 best damn dumpling spots in town, here

  41. When The Weather Gets Tough, The Tough Go Bowling | Bowl away the winter blues with Tāmaki Makaurau’s best spots to go ten-pin bowling.A swanky platter of crackers, dip, olives, bread and cheese sits beside a fire in an oil drum.

  42. Build A Fire | There’s something primal about being around a fire (and something delectable about freshly melted s’mores). Step one for building a fire? Learning to wield an axe. Sounds like it’s time for a trip to Sweet Axe Throwing

  43. Win Flat Masterchef | Tired of eating the same old thing every week? Challenge your flatties to Masterchef. To make sure you secure the win, level up your cooking skills first with a class at Sachie’s Kitchen

  44. Get To Know Your Local | Explore Auckland’s precincts and get the lowdown on the coolest places around. PonsonbyTakapunaParnellNewmarketDevonport and Onehunga have got it going onnnn.

  45. Adopt A Fluffy Friend | Aren’t dogs the greatest? The colder months are sure to be a whole lot better with a fluffy pal in tow, but this pup isn’t just for winter—it’s for life—so make sure you’re in it for the long haul before signing those papers

  46. Soak In A Bubble Bath | Realtalk, there’s never a bad time for a bubble bath, but winter is one of the best times to kick back and relax, with a cheeky vino in hand. For the best bath bombs, look no further than Lush

  47. Call In The Professionals | Don’t have a bath? No problem. Head along to a top float tank and float your way to happiness and warmth. 

  48. Host A Games Night | Bust out your favourite board games—we suggest classics like Cards Against Humanity, Monopoly Deal and Throw Throw Burrito—invite some mates around and settle in for some friendly yet cut-throat competition. 

  49. Go All In On Fondu | Melted cheesy goodness is a party any day of the week, especially when it’s cold out. From time to time Wander Cafe & Bistro in Wynyard Quarter hosts a mean Raclette night so keep an eye on their socials and when the next event pops up, nab yourself a ticket. You don't want to end up sitting at home wishing you fon-did. 

  50. Warm Up With Hot Laps | Take to the race track and live Mario Kart IRL at one of Tāmaki Makaurau’s best places to Go Kart.

  51. Make The Most | Weather forecast predicting lashings of rain? Tempt fate and head to a park with your boo and if it starts pelting down, re-enact The Notebook’s famous kissing scene because let’s be real, it’s on our bucket list. 

Keen to winter in the capital instead? Check out these 50 things to do in Wellington. 

Image credit: Karekare Beach by Scottespie, Waitomo Caves, Wētā Workshop Unleashed, Ramen Takara, Rachel Claire.

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

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