Why am I writing about things to do in Auckland on a rainy day? Well, the first time we went to Auckland, way back in 2010, it rained. That was the start of our first New Zealand trip, and it was August, so we forgave the weather, after all, it was the middle of winter. Every other day of our trip was sunny. Right up until we drove back into Auckland to head onwards. Then, of course, it rained again. And all that rain meant that we didn’t really have positive thoughts about the city. It was grey and miserable after all, and that’s not what anyone is wanting for their travels.
Fast forward eight years,
and we took the plunge and moved to New Zealand. And guess what the weather was like when we arrived? Yep. Rain. This time we were less forgiving – it was February, and the middle of summer. And it rained for almost a full week solid. And we were only planning to spend a week in Auckland before heading out on our first road trip, so it wasn’t exactly perfect weather for all our explorations.
Since that week, we’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time around Auckland city; some of the time in sunshine, but a lot of it in the rain still! The wonderful thing about Auckland though, because they do have quite a lot of rainy days, they have a lot of rainy day activities to keep you entertained.
Whether you are living in Auckland, or just visiting, there may well be a time that you want to head out and do something but find the weather has other plans. Rain in New Zealand is inevitable, sadly, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
Be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you. New Zealand is famous for giving you all four seasons in a day, so even if the morning looks bright and sunny, it’s sensible to be prep as if the flood will come in the afternoon. Layers and waterproof jackets are great. Jandals or waterproof shoes are also pretty useful around Auckland, some of those puddles can get deep!
Forget a spare set of dry shoes! There is nothing worse than soggy socks. Except for cold, soggy socks. If it does pour down, you will thank your inner boy scout that you remembered to keep a spare pair of shoes in your vehicle for the drive home.
Pre-purchase tickets and entry before heading out, wherever this is possible. Skipping a queue in the rain and no chance of disappointment because of sell-outs, this is a win-win (and can save you money too!)
Go up the Sky Tower when it’s cloudy. Whilst the Sky Tower isn’t one of the tallest buildings in the world, it is the tallest building in New Zealand, and when the clouds come in, it is impossible to see the top of it. The whole point of going up the Sky Tower is to experience the view in some way, and there isn’t going to be a view if the tower is engulfed in cloud, so do your self a favour and save it for a sunnier day.
Ok, not really, but the flight simulator centers in Auckland are as close as most people can ever get to flying a real plane. Immerse yourself into the role of captian. Take off, fly, navigate and land your flight, with expert instruction throughout. Check out Air New Zealand Flight Simulation Centre and Fly A Jet Auckland for your package options.
Crack the codes, break the puzzles, work together and beat the clock to escape from your chosen room. The escape room craze has hit Auckland hard, and there are currently 11 different locations within the city you can head to in order to try to break back out again! Our top picks are Escape Masters: the first escape room in New Zealand, and Escapade: escape rooms with a ‘distinctly kiwi flavour’. Just don’t escape too quickly, as you may need to find something else to do in whilst on your rainy day in Auckland!
Sometimes when it is raining, you still have the urge to be active, so why not head over to one of Auckland’s indoor climbing venues. For a more traditional climbing wall, head to Extreme Edge or Extreme Edge Glen Eden. These facilities have various climbing walls, but do require you to belay, so you will need a climbing partner in order to be allowed on the walls. An alternative venue is Clip ‘n Climb in Mount Eden. This is always my personal pick, with 34 different types of climbing walls and activities, all with auto-belays, there is always something fun to fill your time.
Trampolines are no longer just for kids, but it doesn’t hurt if you have some to bring along. Each venue offers a slightly different assortment of attractions and activities, ranging from trampoline basketball, dodge ball, performance walls, Ninja Warrior courses, and even exercise and flipping classes. Check out Jump, Uptown Bounce, Gravity NZ and Flippin’ Fun for information on locations, prices and activities available with each company.
I’m including Snow Planet because it’s technically in Auckland, but in reality, you are going to need a vehicle to get up there as it is a good distance from Auckland City Centre. But if you do, then head out to Snow Planet and ski, board or tube your way down the indoor slopes. No experience is necessary, but it is possible to book in for lessons if you would prefer. Snow Planet is open 365 days per year, and equipment and clothing can be hired without prior bookings.
Whilst we are talking about chilly (indoor) activities, we need to mention ice skating! Paradice has two locations within Auckland where you can glide, spin and triple axel (yeah, I watched ‘I, Tonya’, I know the lingo) your way around the rink. Don’t forget your gloves!
Who doesn’t love mini golf? It’s like real golf, but fun*! And how can you make mini golf even more fun? Take it indoors so the rain doesn’t affect it and then make it glow in the dark! A mix of black lights and glowing, vibrant colours allow you to play through the obstacle-filled, 16-hole course at Gloputt.
*I cannot play golf. I tried once, I could not hit the ball. I could hit the ground quite well though. I’ve been informed by Sam that real golf is good fun, but only if you can actually play.
Continuing the glow in the dark theme, take a look at the Odyssey Sensory Maze. It is an indoor maze system filled with 13 different zones, each aiming to trick your senses and make you smile. Take your time going round, imagine yourself as a small child and really take in the experience. The Sensory Maze won’t take you all day, but it will keep you out of the rain for a while at least!
When was the last time you played laser tag? Because I love it, but I always forget that it exists so never think to go play. But what could be better than running round with your laser gun and reliving your childhood? Nothing right? Except, maybe, your team winning the match! Our favourite is Megazone Mt. Wellington, which includes laser tag, a laser web (hello living out fantasies of being a master criminal in a movie), dodgems and a glow in the dark mini-golf course too!
Feeling the need for speed?, then this is THE thing to do on a rainy day in Auckland. Head over to Blastacars to play on the specially designed drift karts, or over to Extreme Indoor Karts for New Zealand’s only two level karting track. Individual and team racing is available and it is possible to simply drive around the circuit without racing.
Transport yourself out of dreary Auckland and into the fully immersive world of VR Gaming with Voom. Compete in 2v2 matches, fight as a team for survival against zombies or explore the ocean floor without getting wet (that was the goal of these rainy day activities after all). Even if you aren’t a gamer, this experience is one you will love.
It’s raining outside, but it’s fun in here. Cakes n Ladders offers a range over 400 games to play, and a great selection of cakes, cookies and drinks. Open to 10pm Wednesday to Sunday, this is one of our favourite choices of things to do for rainy day in Auckland.
Alternatively, if you fancy a beer whilst you play, head over to Dice & Fork. The games bar and eatery offers you over 150 board games and a dynamic menu of food and alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) drinks. The establishment opens at 11.30am Tuesday to Sunday, so head over for lunch and play games right through to last call!
Food? Check. Drinks? Check. Cats? Check. Cat cuddles? Absolutely. BaristaCats currently has thirteen resident cats that you can cuddle and play with whilst you eat and drink in the café. There are limits to the number of people allowed in with the cats at any one time (for the comfort and safety of the cats) so it is advisable, but not necessary, to book your cuddle time if possible.
Looking for a place to relax and unwind with a good book on a rainy day? The Book Exchange and Chapter might be just the places for you. These bookshop cafés offer a wide range of books for sale. Chapter specializes in romance titles – but there are also crime and mystery titles for you to buy alongside 300 specialty teas. The Book Exchange is a second-hand book store, so you never know what you might find. They also offer a book exchange discount programme.
More commonly referred to simply as Kelly Tarlton’s, the aquarium is a fantastic full day activity for people of all ages. The facility offers an up-close experience with thousands of marine animals including penguins, sharks, turtles, seahorses and rays. In addition to the general admission, the behind the scenes tour is available to all, and for those aged 14 and over, you can also get onto the ice with the Penguin Discovery experience, and take a dip in the predator tank with the Shark Cage Snorkel Adventure.
The Auckland Museum is hard to miss when you drive around the city, its imposing size surrounded by the lush greenery of Auckland Domain make it one of the best known landmarks in the city. When we visit, we always start at the top of the museum and work our way down the floors. The top floor is dedicated to the New Zealand armed forces during WWI and WWII. Further down are exhibits on the natural and physical world as well as Māori and Pacific Island history and culture. It’s very easy to spend an entire day within Auckland War Memorial Museum – we’ve done it twice in the past year!
It probably isn’t a surprise that the New Zealand Maritime Museum is all about the sea, boats and seafaring activities. Find out about New Zealand’s prowess on the seas, from the initial settlers right through to the America’s Cup winning yacht designs. (On sunny days I would also recommend the sailing trips that are offered by the museum, but there is more than enough inside to fill a whole rainy day).
Whilst it may not be as big as the Maritime Museum, the carefully curated Navy Museum is chock-full of art, memorabilia, historical weapons, maps and charts and all things Navy. Take a couple of hours and immerse yourself in the histories of New Zealand’s Naval forces, from medals to personal diaries, and clothing to technical equipment, get to know the real men and women who made New Zealand’s Navy such a success. Entry to the Navy Museum is free which makes it one of my favourite things to do in Auckland on a rainy day!
IF you are more of an art buff, or even if the last time you were around art was when finger paintings were all the rage, the Auckland Art Gallery won’t disappoint. With major exhibits of contemporary art and Māori portraits, experience the best that international and domestic artists have to offer.
Although tickets often sell out months in advance, there are times when you will find last minute tickets for the theatre – your best bet is to contact The Civic Theatre or the ASB Waterfront Theatre directly to enquire about tickets.
Dinner and a show at the Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret is an unforgettable experience. Dance, sing and laugh the night away whilst the award winning drag artistes do what they do best: entertain!
The Classic is a perfect thing to do in Auckland on a rainy day, as it’s Auckland’s only dedicated comedy club, but this hasn’t made it complacent. With shows around five nights a week, each with different line ups, you are sure to find something (or someone) that tickles your funny bone. Showcasing some incredible home-grown talent and some huge international names, the Classic is the place to be if you want a good laugh on a miserable night.
Open 24/7, SKYCITY Casino is a great place to head on a miserable, rainy day. Personally, I’m a big fan of wandering round casinos simply to see the lights, colours, and enjoyment of others, but for those more interested in gaming, SKYCITY has over 2,000 gaming machines and 150 gaming tables to play.
*Please game responsibly!
I know, you can go shopping anywhere, but it’s raining today, so why not go and window shop (or actual shop) to your heart’s content. Sylvia Park is our pick of the shopping centres, and although it is a little way out of the CBD, there is a direct train from Britomart to Sylvia Park two to three times per hour.
Sometimes when you are looking for activities, you need to go a little old school, and what better way to spend an afternoon than heading to the bowling alley? There are plenty of tenpin blowing alleys around the city, so pop over to Google and find the closest one to you.
The cinema: the ‘go to’ of everyone looking for a rainy day activity, and rightly so. Movies are awesome. Our local cinema is a Hoyts, but there is also an
No matter what Auckland weather throws at you, there is no need to despair, as there are plenty of things to do in Auckland on a rainy day.
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Have we missed your favourite rainy day activity in Auckland? Let us know in the comments below.