Where to stay in Auckland for first time: 4 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Auckland as a first-timer can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Auckland for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Auckland for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and things to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Auckland and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, located on the North Island. The city is known for its stunning natural beauty, with a harbor setting, beautiful beaches, and surrounding volcanic hills.

The city is home to a mix of cultures, with a significant Maori and Pacific Islander population alongside people from all over the world. This diversity is reflected in Auckland’s food, festivals, and arts scene, making it a dynamic and exciting place to visit.

Some notable landmarks in Auckland include the Sky Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which showcases New Zealand’s history and culture. 

Additionally, Auckland is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as sailing, hiking, and exploring the many parks and gardens scattered throughout the city.

Auckland has a major international airport, Auckland Airport, which is well-connected to many cities around the world. You can fly directly into Auckland from various international destinations.

Is Auckland safe to visit?

Yes, Auckland is generally a safe place to visit. However, like any urban area, it’s important to remain aware of your surroundings and take common-sense precautions to ensure your safety.

I advise you to secure your belongings, avoid leaving valuables visible in a parked car, follow the road rules if driving, avoid walking alone late at night, and avoid interacting with homeless people.

Additionally, you can monitor local media for severe weather and natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, volcanic activity, and bushfires.

Where to stay in Auckland for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Auckland for first-timers and tourists include Central Business District, Ponsonby, Parnell, and North Shore. Regardless of where you stay, it’s always a good idea to use common sense to have an enjoyable trip.

Auckland CBD is the overall best base in Auckland for the first time. Staying here puts you within walking distance of many attractions, including the Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour, and Queen Street shopping. It’s also well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to explore other parts of the city.

Ponsonby, just west of the CBD, is a trendy neighborhood known for its cafes, boutiques, and lively nightlife. It’s a great area to experience Auckland’s local culture and cuisine.

Parnell, just east of the CBD, is a great location for a quieter ambiance but still within easy reach of the city center. This area is characterized by its historic charm, with beautifully restored Victorian buildings and tree-lined streets. Local attractions include the Auckland Domain and Rose Garden.

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the North Shore is a picturesque area with beautiful beaches, parks, and stunning views of the Auckland skyline. It’s perfect for tourists who want to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, or simply relaxing by the sea.

During my trip to Auckland, I stayed at the Park Hyatt Auckland. It was a pleasant stay in the city center of Auckland. It is within walking distance to Viaduct Harbour and numerous fantastic restaurants. My room was lovely and well appointed with a great view of the harbor. Great base for exploring Auckland.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Auckland for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Auckland first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Auckland first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Auckland, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Auckland have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Best/ Safe areas to stay in Auckland for first-timers and tourists:

1. Central Business District 

Auckland Central Business District (CBD) is a great base for tourists who want to be in the heart of the action. It’s where you’ll find many of Auckland’s attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops. Plus, staying here puts you within walking distance of the iconic Sky Tower and the waterfront.

The iconic Sky Tower offers breathtaking views of Auckland city and its surroundings. You can also enjoy dining at one of the restaurants or even take part in the SkyWalk or SkyJump for an adrenaline rush.

The city center has numerous museums and art galleries to explore. These include the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmak, Auckland Art Gallery, where you can view a range of national, international, and Maori art works.

You can take a stroll along Viaduct Harbour, lined with restaurants, bars, and cafes. It’s a vibrant area to relax, dine, or simply enjoy the waterfront views.

Go shop till you drop along Queen Street, Auckland’s main shopping strip. From high-end boutiques to local stores, you’ll find a wide range of shopping options here.

Explore Britomart precinct for its trendy shops, cafes, and bars. It’s a popular spot for both locals and visitors, offering a mix of fashion, food, and entertainment.

You can catch a ferry from downtown Auckland to Waiheke Island for a day trip. Known for its stunning beaches, vineyards, and art galleries, Waiheke offers a relaxing escape from the city. 

There are also ferries to the nearby bayside village of Devonport known for its Victorian architecture, cafes, and galleries.

Auckland CBD boasts a diverse culinary scene, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars offering cuisines from around the world. Whether you’re craving sushi, pizza, or fine dining, you’ll find something to suit your taste buds.

Best places to stay in Auckland CBD for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): QT Auckland, 5-star hotel centrally located in the city center of Auckland, in the Viaduct Harbour, a short walk from the wharf area with bars and nightlife. Close to many sites visitors want to see including the Sky Tower and the Maritime Museum. It has a great rooftop bar, valet parking, a fitness center, 24-hour front desk, and luggage storage.

Luxury ($$$): The Hotel Britomart, 5-star hotel located in central Auckland on Galway Street, close to everything. It is only a short distance from Viaduct Harbour. It has free bikes, paid parking,  well appointed rooms, and fabulous breakfast. Great base for easy access to major sights, for the ferries. There are lots of great bars and restaurants nearby.

Luxury ($$$): The Grand by SkyCity, 5-star hotel in the heart of Auckland, on Federal Street, close to restaurants and attractions. It has rooms and suites with views of the Harbour and skyline. It has an indoor swimming pool, family rooms, and a spa & wellness center.

Mid-range ($$): Travelodge Hotel Auckland Wynyard Quarter, great 4-star hotel conveniently located in the Wynyard Quarter of Auckland close to Viaduct Harbour, North wharf with many restaurants and cafes. You can find a small metro supermarket next door. Easy access to numerous beaches such as the Masefield Beach, Hamilton Road Beach and Sentinel Beach. Short walk to the train station and the harbor ferry boats for services to Devonport.

Mid-range ($$): Avani Metropolis Auckland Residences, 4-star hotel located in Kitchener Street, in the city center of Auckland, right next to the tree-filled Albert Park, within walking distance to the Auckland Art Gallery and Skycity Auckland Convention Centre. You can find lots of restaurants, cafés and bars nearby. The hotel features self-catering accommodation, and the one/two-bedroom suites have a fully-equipped kitchen.

Mid-range ($$): Mercure Auckland Queen Street, 4-star accommodation situated on Queen Street,  close enough to center, walking distance to everything, easy access to Mt. Eden and downtown Auckland. Just be mindful that it is located on a hill, so it is quite a steep walk back to the hotel from the CBD. Rooms are quiet and spacious.

Budget ($): LyLo Auckland, great backpacker hostel in the heart of Auckland, on Cook Street, featuring dorm rooms, a shared lounge, a restaurant/ bar, laundry services, and a shared kitchen. It is close to the Aotea Centre, Aotea Square and Auckland Town Hall. 


2. Ponsonby

Ponsonby is a popular choice for tourists who want to experience Auckland’s hipster culture. This area is located just west of the CBD  and is known for its trendy cafes, boutiques, and vibrant nightlife.

Ponsonby Road, the main thoroughfare, is packed with restaurants, bars, and art galleries, making it a hub of activity day and night.

Best places to stay in Auckland in Ponsonby for visitors:

Luxury ($$$): Hotel Fitzroy curated by Fable, 5-star beautiful boutique hotel in the lovely Ponsonby neighborhood, easy walk to the main strip with many restaurants and shops. There is a bus stop outside for the bus to the City center. The rooms are comfortable, and the breakfast is delicious.

Mid-range ($$): The Great Ponsonby Arthotel, great 4-star hotel in a great location on Ponsonby Terrace, within walking distance of several cafés, restaurants and galleries. It has free parking which is a bonus for those who drive. There are also paid airport transfers, exceptional breakfast, and laundry services.

Budget ($): Verandahs Parkside Lodge, great value for money accommodation, featuring both dorm rooms, family rooms, and private rooms. The hotel has a well organized communal kitchen, a garden, shared lounge, terrace, and laundry services. It is located right next to a peaceful Western Park, close to Ponsonby where you can find many iconic restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. You can walk/ take Uber or bus to downtown. 


3. Parnell 

Parnell is situated just a stone’s throw away from Auckland’s central business district, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. The suburb boasts beautiful parks and gardens, including the Auckland Domain and the Parnell Rose Gardens, perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics. 

Auckland Domain is the oldest park in Auckland which is home to lush greenery, walking trails, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It’s a great place for picnics, leisurely walks, or simply enjoying nature.

You can go shopping at the Newmarket nearby. Known as Auckland’s premier shopping district, Newmarket is a great option for those who love to shop ’til they drop. 

Best places to stay in Auckland in Parnell for tourists:

Mid-range ($$$): Parnell Garden Suite, good value for money Bed & breakfast located close to the Dove Myer Robinson Park (Parnell Rose Garden), short Uber ride to the city center and Parnell Baths swimming pool. The hotel has free parking and a fabulous breakfast.

Mid-range ($$$): The Parnell Hotel & Conference Centre, popular 4-star hotel in Parnell, in a quiet area, a little outside of the CBD but still pretty close to everything. Short Uber/ bus ride to the downtown, Newmarket shopping area,  Auckland University and Spark Arena. You can pay an extra for a room with a view of the harbor and wharf area, which is well worth it.

Mid-range ($$$): Quest Carlaw Park Serviced Apartments, great apartment complex located within the new Carlaw Park area, offering one and two-bedrooms apartments with a well-equipped kitchen. Close to Auckland Domain and  spark arena for concerts. It can be noisy as it is close to a major road, but they provide you earplug.


4. North Shore 

The North Shore is a picturesque region located to the north of the central business district of Auckland. Known for its stunning beaches, coastal landscapes, and affluent suburbs, the North Shore offers a mix of urban amenities and natural beauty. 

Some notable areas within the North Shore include Takapuna, Devonport, Milford, and Browns Bay, each with its own unique charm and attractions. 

Takapuna Beach is a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, while Devonport boasts historic charm with its Victorian-style architecture and quaint village atmosphere.

The North Shore is also home to various parks, reserves, and walking trails, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures and leisurely strolls.

In addition to its natural beauty, the North Shore offers a range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, with bustling precincts like Smales Farm and Albany Mega Centre.

Best places to stay in Auckland in North Shore:

Mid-range ($$): Quest Takapuna, 4-star accommodation in a nice quiet location in the North Shore district of Auckland, short drive from Milford Beach, Takapuna Beach and the Harbour Bridge. It features studio, one and two-bedrooms apartments and good secure parking.

Mid-range ($$): Carnmore Hotel Takapuna, 4-star hotel in Takapuna close to Takapuna Beach, lake , and Takapuna shopping center. It features free parking, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Various great shops and cafes are also nearby.

Mid-range ($$): FERNZ Motel & Apartments Birkenhead, good value for money accommodation in a leafy suburb area of North Shore. 15 mins drive to the CBD of Auckland. 2 mins walk to Birkenhead town center where you can find cafes, shops, and restaurants. Accommodations come with full kitchens, laundry facilities, and free parking.

Mid-range ($$): Andelin Guest House, great value for money accommodation in Devonport, short distance from Auckland Ferry Terminal, 10 mins ferry ride to Auckland downtown, and  short drive to famous Takapuna Beach. It has free parking, laundry services, and comfortable rooms.


In conclusion, Central Business District, Ponsonby, Parnell, and North Shore are the best places to stay in Auckland for first-timers and tourists. These areas are generally safe where you can find a variety of accommodations to stay and explore the city.

You can continue reading about other destinations in New Zealand in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safe neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Auckland. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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