Are you a cultural tourist heading for New Zealand? 
Don’t fall for the hype – there are hundreds of lists out there purporting to be “the best art galleries or museums” in Auckland, or New Zealand. 
Some are definitely authentic written by someone who has been or lives here, some are compiled from other listings and some are listed by ratings.

Here at The Art Tour Guide we have lived and breathed Auckland and New Zealand’s art and cultural scene since the 1990s. We believe in sharing authentic and unbiased advice, which comes from a place of experience and engagement.

The Auckland region offers a wide array of gallery, museum and outdoor experiences that you can seek out as standalone visits, or incorporate into part of a private sightseeing tour.

Here are some of our highlights:

Auckland Art Gallery

Our most visible, most listed and centrally located Art Gallery in downtown Auckland. Encounter our art and cultural history here including Maori Art, contemporary New Zealand art and a range of everything in between. 
A visit to the Gallery Shop is a must, and combine it with a visit across the road to Fingers Contemporary Art Jewellery and Gow Langsford Gallery.

“Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is New Zealand’s largest and most inspiring visual arts experience. Enter between majestic kauri columns to explore four floors of exhibitions, many centuries of art and one of Auckland’s most iconic buildings. Visit us and discover some of the best in New Zealand and international art right in the heart of Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland city.”

Auckland Museum

A grand early 20th century building with contemporary additions, set on a majestic hill overlooking Waitemata Harbour. The best place to gain insight and understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand’s cultural history. Experience a wide range of Maori art and craft. The scale and breadth is not to be missed.
Remember shoes off to enter the meeting house.
You are close to both Parnell and Newmarket here where a range of dealer galleries are available such as SandersonBlack Door Gallery and Artis Gallery.

Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery

A great example of one of Auckland’s regional art galleries. Te Uru is located in picturesque Titirangi, among the native trees in the foot hills of the Waitakere Ranges with expansive views from the upper floors across the Manukau Harbour. Extensively remodelled in 2014 this architecturally interesting building has an excellent range of contemporary exhibitions including the annual Portage Awards which celebrates contemporary ceramics across Aotearoa. The shop has a rewarding range of local ceramics.

Te Uru is around a 20 minute drive from downtown Auckland, and while you are there lunch at Deco Eatery downstairs, or try a local craft beer at Churly’s.
A small local community gallery “The Upstairs Gallery” is located next door, and the same building has a great rooftop viewing area.
If you are on a private art tour you might consider visiting McCahon House and a little further afield is The Olive Kitchen and on the same property is The Weekend Gallery and the studio of glass artist Simon Lewis Wards.


Ponsonby is home to Objectspace, a small but energetic public gallery focused on Craft, Design and Architecture. You will find a range of changing exhibitions that are forward thinking in their design and outlook. Always an experience.
The area has a wealth of nearby dealer galleries along the Ponsonby Road strip. Find more of them such as FHEOrexartSuite and Public Record on our Ponsonby art trail here. Ponsonby has a range of great cafers, coffee and gelato – so make sure your time here captures a range of quintessential Auckland experiences.

Masterworks Gallery

Located on the Uptown loop Masterworks has a wide range of Contemporary Craft, Objects, Ceramics and Jewellery on offer. 
New Zealand’s object scene is second to none, with a cutting edge contemporary practice well regarded on the world stage. The gallery is accessible on foot an easy stroll from Karangahape Road and nearby dealer galleries such as Tim Melville Gallery or Anna Miles Gallery
You can find all these on our K Road Newton Uptown Loop.

The Arts House Trust

The Arts House Trust is a great place to engage in contemporary art and sculpture. Enjoy a coffee, wander the grounds and enjoy great views across the city to Maungakiekie One Tree Hill.
Ever revolving shows from the Arts House Trusts collection hang in the rooms and hallways of this unique and historic building dating back to the 1870s. Plenty of parking, a great cafe and spacious grounds make this a great place to add to your Auckland itineray.
Tip: Closes at 3pm during the week.

Brick Bay Sculpture Trail

Just over an hour north of Auckland, close to Warkworth and Matakana, this winery, restaurant and sculpture trail is a must see. 
With multiple sculptures spread across a two kilometre trail that winds its way around a large pond and through native bush this is one place to tick the art, food and wine senses in one go.
Combine with a visit to Matakana village and Morris and James Pottery for variety. Just avoid Saturday morning due to the local market traffic.