If you are visiting New Zealand, chances are Auckland will be your first stop!
The Greater Auckland area is made up of four cities: Auckland, North Shore, Manukau, and Waitakere. Each of these regions has some cool neighborhoods, but we understand how stressful it can be when picking where to stay in Auckland!
Plus, there are some areas that are more appealing than others when it comes to your city base!
In this guide, we’ll cover these areas and our top picks for the best places to stay in Auckland to give you a bit of clarity.
- Take a boat trip to spot whales and dolphins
- See the statues in Aotea Square
- Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum
Table of Contents
- Quick Answers: These are the Best Places to Stay in Auckland
- Auckland Neighborhood Guide
- Auckland’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- 1. CBD Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Auckland for First-timers
- 2. Grey Lynn Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Auckland on a Budget
- 3. Ponsonby Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Auckland for Nightlife
- 4. Parnell Neighborhood – The Coolest Place to Stay in Auckland
- 5. Devonport Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Auckland for Families
- Review of Where to Stay in Auckland
Quick Answers: These are the Best Places to Stay in Auckland
CBD – Where to stay in Auckland first time
Grey Lynn – Where to stay in Auckland on a budget
Ponsonby – Best area to stay in Auckland for nightlife
Parnell – Coolest place to stay in Auckland
Devonport – Best neighbourhood in Auckland for families
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Auckland
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Backpacking Auckland can be very confusing when looking at the different areas. The Greater Auckland area is made up of four cities: Auckland, North Shore, Manukau, and Waitakere. Auckland is home to the major inner city areas, North Shore is modern and cool, Manukau has large ethnic populations, and Waitakere is a major wine-growing region. These four cities are well connected by road networks and public transportation systems.
You’ll find many accommodations, restaurants, bars, and attractions in the bustling CBD. Remuera is the most affluent area of Auckland and the seaside neighbourhood of Mission Bay is another wealthy part of Auckland.
Parnell is another well-to-do suburb, with nice residential areas and within easy reach of the heart of the city. It’s trendy, calm, and has plenty to do and see. Nearby Newmarket is a shopper’s paradise.
Ponsonby and Herne Bay are cool, bohemian, and popular. They have unusual boutiques, cute cafes, a terrific live music scene, and heaps of interesting art galleries.
Devonport offers easy access to lovely beaches and it’s just a short boat ride from the CBD. Takapuna offers even more seaside fun. Mount Eden has a countryside vibe and there are many mansions dotting the streets.
On the edges of the city, Grey Lynn is a relatively cheap base, with hip little spots springing up as a result of gentrification. It still manages to hold on to its hippie roots, though.
The peaceful suburb of Birkenhead is affordable too. Youthful Kingsland has many traditional wooden villas and a good range of amenities.
Outer suburbs are great for day trips, but not really as a handy base for exploring Auckland. Accommodation prices may be lower in places like Howick, Panmure, and Pakuranga, but more effort is required to get to major places of interest.
Auckland’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
If you’re visiting the city, you’ll realize quite fast that there’s a lot to see and do in Auckland. Moving between Auckland’s different neighbourhoods is generally a breeze, meaning that you’re within easy reach of everything no matter where you choose to stay.
That said, there are some areas that are more appealing than others when it comes to your city base. Here are Auckland’s best neighbourhoods to stay in.
On a side note, if you’re travelling on a budget, we’d highly recommend staying at one of Auckland’s hostels. That will keep the accommodation costs low but you’ll still be able to rest your head in a comfy and safe place.
Auckland’s CBD is the busiest part of the cosmopolitan city and there’s always plenty going on. With many of the city’s major sights, a wide selection of places to eat, drink, and shop, and a good choice of hotels, hostels, and apartments, the CBD is the overall best Auckland neighbourhood for a first-time visitor.
Top Things to Do in CBD
– Shop till you drop along Queens Street and discover quaint boutiques on the nearby Vulcan Lane.
– Admire the diverse works in the popular Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
– Learn more about Auckland’s seafaring heritage at the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum.
– Snap a photo of the looming Auckland Sky Tower from afar before heading to the observation deck for awesome city views. If you’re feeling brave, try the SkyWalk or the even more daring Sky Jump.
– Take a boat trip to spot whales and dolphins.
– See the statues in Aotea Square.
– Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
– Relax in the pretty Auckland Domain, a large park with a volcanic cone, statues, leisure facilities, play areas, and plenty of greenery.
– Soak up the views from Auckland Harbour Bridge. Daredevils can sign up for an exhilarating bungee jump.
– Stroll around Albert Park, admiring the well-maintained flower beds and lawns.
Best Hostel in CBD: The Attic Backpackers
Just a minute’s walk from Queens Street, The Attic Backpackers is clean, modern, comfortable, and sociable. Shared areas include a kitchen, dining area, and deck with areas to sit and unwind.
There are mixed and female-only dorms and private rooms for one or two. Laundry facilities, a jobs board, and a tour desk are other plus points.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Hotel in CBD: The Shakespeare Hotel
A small and charming accommodation, The Shakespeare Hotel has its own restaurant and English-style pub, complete with a microbrewery. Play pool and relax in comfort. Rooms are en-suite with a fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, and a TV.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Airbnb in CBD: Stunning view with every convenience in CBD
This one-bedroom apartment is in a quiet area yet just a short walk away from the harbour and many city highlights. There’s cable TV and Wi-Fi and you can cook dinner in the kitchen. A Washing machine adds to the convenience.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Grey Lynn is an inner-city suburb with an arty vibe. There aren’t so many attractions here, but you’ll find a good choice of cafes and restaurants. It’s still a bit rough around the edges, but it has seen many developments over recent years, which have made it more of a desirable area for both visitors and residents.
Prices are still fairly low, however, and it’s one of the cheapest Auckland neighbourhoods to stay in. Just a couple of kilometres from the heart of the city, it’s easy to explore by public transport.
Top Things to Do in Grey Lynn
– Soak up the views at Arch Hill Scenic Reserve, a top spot for biking and bushwalking close to the city action.
– Hang out in the green Grey Lynn Park and visit the annual festival (held in November) for an eclectic selection of bands, food vendors, craft stalls, workshops, global items, and more.
– Unwind in various cute cafes.
– Check out the area’s shopping scene.
– Take kids to the nearby Auckland Zoo.
– Visit The Museum of Transport and Technology, located close to hand in the next neighbourhood.
There are no hostels listed in Grey Lynn. Don’t let that put you off though—you and your friends can rent a cool Airbnb and have all the conveniences of home in your own private pad for your stay in Auckland. Alternatively, check into a hotel/guest house with dorm rooms if you’re looking to mingle and meet other travellers.
Best Hotel in Grey Lynn: Taylors Inn
Taylors Inn has double and triple private rooms as well as a dorm. There are shared bathrooms and a communal kitchen.
There’s plenty of seating along a long table looking out over the surroundings, ideal for eating dinner or catching up on emails and staying connected with home. Wi-Fi is free. The friendly members of staff will help you out with local tips and recommendations.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Airbnbs in Grey Lynn:
Suitable for up to four people, this cool Airbnb has two separate cabins that can sleep two people each. Do note that the bathroom is in one of the cabins. There’s an outdoor lounge area, complete with basic cooking facilities. This area is shared with the owner.VIEW ON AIRBNB
This compact studio has a double bed and an additional fold-down sofa bed. There’s a large TV, free Wi-Fi, and a kitchen stocked with essential items. There are plenty of homey touches and the large selection of books will appeal to avid readers.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Ponsonby is a trendy part of Auckland, and our pick for where to stay in Auckland for nightlife, thanks to its lively outlook, affluent air, and diverse array of places to eat, drink, sleep, shop, and have fun.
Along with the CBD, Ponsonby is one of the best Auckland neighbourhoods for nightlife too, with many bars to suit all tastes.
Top Things to Do in Posonby
– Stroll along the leafy streets and admire the many elegant villas and mansions that house the area’s affluent citizens.
– Prime your credit cards for a shopping session along Ponsonby Road, with its chic boutiques and designer stores.
– Satisfy your stomach and taste buds at Ponsonby Central, home to many cafes, restaurants, and artisan food outlets under one convenient roof.
– Chill on the nearby beaches; although technically located in Herne’s Bay, beautiful beaches are just a short stroll from the heart of Ponsonby.
– Visit the organic city farm at the verdant Kelmarna Gardens.
– Do your best togs and head to swanky and stylish bars like Lime, Longroom, Revelry, The Franklin, and the Chapel Bar and Bistro.
– Enjoy nature and wildlife at Hukanui Reserve.
– Make a photo stop at the historic Three Lamps building.
– Pamper yourself in one of the neighbourhood’s spas.
– Follow the sounds of awesome live music and rock out to diverse bands.
– Tour the area’s art galleries.
– Visit the pumping K-Road for more buzzing nightlife.
Best Hostel in Ponsonby: Ponsonby Backpackers
An intimate hostel, Ponsonby Backpackers has mixed and ladies-only dorms as well as private rooms (with shared bathrooms) for one or two. Run by backpackers, for backpackers, it’s a great place to meet new people, chill, and feel right at home.
Facilities include clean bathrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, a dining room, a comfy TV lounge, and a terrace with a BBQ. Laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, and a tour desk are other pros.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Hotel in Ponsonby: The Great Ponsonby Arthotel
A cool base for creative people and fans of the aesthetic, this chic hotel is, as the name suggests, filled with cool artwork and funky décor. Start your days with a free filling breakfast and sleep well in comfortable rooms.
All rooms have a private bathroom, iPod docking station, free Wi-Fi, a TV, and good storage space.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Airbnb in Ponsonby: Private tuckaway with cafes & nightlife a stone’s throw away
This cute cabin is a unique place to stay in Auckland. The two-person cabin has a bathroom and opens up onto its own private deck and garden. There’s a TV and Wi-Fi and you’re just a short walk from the area’s most happening spots.VIEW ON AIRBNB
A trendy, wealthy, up-market, and high-class Auckland suburb, Parnell is one of the coolest places to stay in Auckland. One of Auckland’s oldest areas, it still has an almost village-like feel today… but with an uber-cool vibe and heaps of terrific cafes and boutiques.
Top Things to do in Parnell
– Hit up La Cigale French Market, held each weekend, for an array of tasty treats. From freshly brewed coffee and tempting pastries to fresh produce and French-inspired dishes, there’s much to enjoy here.
– Enjoy the colours, sweet fragrances, and peaceful air in the pretty Parnell Rose Gardens.
– Discover fascinating art galleries filled with eye-catching works.
– Satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolate Boutique.
– Take a stroll to the nearby Judges Bay.
– Travel back in time to the colonial era at Ewelme Cottage.
– Contrast the Holy Trinity Cathedral, a contemporary place of worship, with the charming St Stephen’s Chapel.
– Swing by the Kinder House, one of Auckland’s oldest stone-built buildings.
– Cool off with a dip in the salt-water pools at Parnell Baths, which also has sunbathing areas and water play areas for kids.
Best Hostel in Parnell: City Garden Lodge
Enjoy peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings but still be within easy reach of the city centre and heaps of cool restaurants and shops. Laze in a hammock, chill in the garden, and get toasty in front of the fireplace in the lounge.
Other bonuses include a kitchen, book exchange, laundry facilities, tour desk, bike hire, and free Wi-Fi.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Hotel in Parnell: Parnell Pines Hotel
Parnell Pines Hotel offers a choice of rooms, studios, and suites to accommodate different preferences and needs. Some units have a kitchenette and all have a private bathroom with free toiletries.
Each room also has satellite TV and free Wi-Fi. There’s an onsite café and room service is available.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Airbnb in Parnell: Gorgeous Parnell Village Apartment with 2 Carparks
This modern apartment can sleep up to three guests (plus a small child) and it has space to park two cars. There’s a double bedroom and a further bedroom with a single bed and cot.
The kitchen is well equipped and has a dining table and chairs. The stylish living room has a TV and free Wi-Fi is available.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Located on the North Shore, the seaside neighbourhood of Devonport is filled with history and Maori heritage. There’s plenty to see and do and it’s just a short ferry crossing away from the city centre.
The combination of beaches, attractions, amenities, peaceful air, and transportation links make this our choice for the best Auckland neighbourhood for families.
Top Things to Do in Devonport
– Swim in the sea and relax on the sands of Devonport’s clean and safe beaches.
– Enjoy a variety of water-based activities, like fishing, kayaking, and boating.
– Peek into the boutiques along High Street and pick up some unusual gifts and souvenirs.
– Explore the area differently with a horse and carriage ride or a fun guided Segway tour.
– Spend laid-back afternoons browsing in the neighbourhood’s art galleries; the Flagstaff Gallery is a favourite.
– Visit the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, which has heaps of interactive things for kids to enjoy.
– Soak up the sweeping views from atop Mount Victoria Lookout.
– Hike the North Head Historical Reserve Trail.
– Play a road of golf at the scenic Waitemata Golf Club.
There are no hostels listed in Devonport, though you can easily stay in the CBD and hop across by ferry. There are, however, terrific Airbnbs, hotels, and guest houses to choose between for a fabulous stay at the seaside.
Best Hotels in Devonport:
Just a two-minute walk from the beach, this charming hotel has many beautiful decorative touches throughout the rooms and common areas. There’s a sunny garden where you can relax and breakfast is included in the prices.
Wi-Fi is free too. All rooms come with a private bathroom, satellite TV, a kettle, and a wardrobe.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
This peaceful hotel offers free kayaks and bikes to guests and breakfast and Wi-Fi are included in the nightly prices. There’s a lovely garden and patio where you can unwind.
All rooms have a desk, wardrobe, and kettle. Bathrooms are shared. Fascinating photos from around the world hang from the walls, adding a quirky touch.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Airbnb in Devonport: Sunny Devonport family home with great views
This gorgeous holiday home has four bedrooms and can accommodate up to 7 people, perfect for a family holiday or a mate’s vacation. The master bedroom is en-suite and there’s a further bathroom too.
The grassy area outside is ideal for kids to run and play or adults to soak up some sun. The kitchen has everything you need to cook your favourite meals and the dishwasher makes life that bit more convenient.
There’s a washing machine too. Ample seating is available in the comfy lounge.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Review of Where to Stay in Auckland
Looking for a specific place to stay? We’ve covered where to stay in Auckland by neighborhood in the next few sections, but if you want to know our 3 top picks for places to stay in Auckland, check out our reviews below!
Best Hostel in Auckland: Verandahs Backpackers Lodge
Dorms and private rooms are available in various sizes and the hostel has a kitchen, common room, laundry facilities, book exchange, tour desk, and jobs board.
Wi-Fi is free and everywhere is clean and modern. Meet new people, chill out, and enjoy Auckland from this comfortable base.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Hotel in Auckland: Oaklands Lodge
Located in the lovely Mount Eden area, Oaklands Lodge offers tranquil living close to the action. There are double and twin rooms with shared bathrooms that are split by gender.
There are BBQ facilities in the garden and there’s also an indoor communal area where you can work, socialise, read, and relax. Luggage storage is available, there are laundry facilities, and Wi-Fi is free.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Airbnb in Auckland: Central sunny modern townhouse, gym, pool & spa
Close to the CBD, this two-person home benefits from access to a shared swimming pool, spa, and gym. There’s a work desk in the townhouse and it has free Wi-Fi.
The kitchen has everything you need for a home-from-home stay, including a dishwasher and washing machine.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Auckland
With plenty to do and see within Auckland, and along the coast nearby, you want to pick the best homebase for your travels! When in doubt, stay in the CBD for convenience, and Ponsonby is a trendy part of Auckland, known for its lively outlook, affluent air, and diverse array of places to eat, drink, sleep, shop, and have fun.
Now that your accommodation is sorted, head over to our 2- and 3-day Auckland itineraries – we’ve rounded up some cool day trips out of the city, too.
For the rest of your backpacking New Zealand adventures, check out this post on the best hostels in New Zealand.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. She spends most of her “down-time” out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health.