I was recently passing through Auckland, New Zealand’s largest City, with only 2 full days and 1 night to experience her offerings. I tell you now, it was NOT ENOUGH time! I highly recommend making it a longer stay if you plan on visiting, as Auckland is a beautiful city teeming with unexpected entertainment and dozens of things to do for tourists and locals alike!
I arrived late in the evening to my hotel and the following morning proved to be a beautifully sunny summer’s day! My hotel (see below) was in an excellent location, walking distance from anything you need in Auckland which was perfect for a short stay.
I always start my time in a new place by walking around the city and getting acquainted. A stroll down and around the series of wharves (Queens Wharf and Princes Wharf being the largest) by the ferry terminal, makes for a refreshing meander in the morning. I then had a sneak peak in the Maritime Museum before making my way up the hill through the busy Auckland CBD, coming across the famed Sky Tower!
The top of the Sky Tower really does provide a wonderful vantage point to take-in Auckland, Mission Bay and the surrounds and is a ‘must do’ while in Auckland. You can also choose to do a “SkyWalk” like a couple of my girlfriends did, where you are able to walk around the outside of the top of the Tower (securely fastened to the building!). Or even a SkyJump, where you jump from the top and are guided to a target landing point at the bottom by a series of harnesses and ropes.
Further exploring throughout the CBD brought me to a gorgeous little Gourmet Kitchen/Urban Farmers Market/Florist called Scarecrow. Scarecrow serves breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner and treats every day. The menu and groceries inside are sourced primarily from local, organic producers with a small amount of imported goods and caters for a variety of dietary requirements. My friend and I were impressed by the salad of the day – Roast Vegetable (with a side of organic chicken and feta) – and Eggplant Kofte on raw courgette noodles.
Images from Scarecrow:
That is one thing about Auckland; everywhere you turn there is an awesome, trendy, healthy place to eat! You’ll never be without! Don’t worry, there are plenty of unhealthy places to eat as well! Like Giapo Haute Ice Cream, making New Zealand’s best ice cream with gourmet, gold-dusted cones and solid chocolate, gold-dusted cups. If gold isn’t your thing, you can go for dark chocolate and caramel coated cone/solid choc cup and why not throw some with freeze dried berries or hazelnuts on the outside too? The gourmet cones and ice cream flavours are ever changing and always spectacular. Definitely not a daily activity but certainly a cool Auckland activity.
Auckland Art Gallery has free admission and houses some wonderful artwork from both New Zealand’s Maori as well as European history. After a visit there, why not take a stroll through Albert Park, situated just behind the gallery.
If you get a chance I highly recommend spending some time on Waiheke Island, just a 30min ferry ride from Auckland. Known for its stunning wineries and beautiful beaches, like Mudbrick Vineyard and Oneroa Beach, your visit will not be unrewarded. Various companies run day-trips to Waiheke but there is plenty of accommodation on the island so why not stay longer! Read more about the 3 days I spent on Waiheke here.
If you’re like me, and LOVE a decadent dessert after dinner then head down to Milse in Britomart. Miles is a gourmet cake, patisserie, dessert and chocolate store where you can dine-in or take-away. A wide range of delightful tarts, meringues, mille-feuilles, mousses, ice creams and gourmet truffles fill their cabinets and I guarantee you will spend five times as long deciding what to order as you will actually eating it! I had a handmade Passionfruit and Vanilla Bombe Alaska Ice Cream – absolutely divine!
For those looking for a workout, there is a Les Mills fitness centre. The Crossfit HPU Box is a short walk across town, I was in town on a Sunday, however, and found that Crossfit NZ in St Johns runs a WOD at 9am on a Sunday so I jumped on a train and joined Coach Shaun and the awesomely friendly crew at CFNZ for a sweet workout followed by very social coffee.
MY summary of Auckland:
To Do and See
- Take a walk around the Harbour, Albert Park, The Domain
- Sky Tower
- Auckland Art Gallery
- Auckland Maritime Museum
- Ferry ride on Mission Bay
- Wine Tour to Waiheke Island or Vines Coast
- Check out aucklandnz.com to find out what other events are going on in Auckland during the time you’ll be there – free concerts in the park, exhibitions, parades, markets and much more.
Cool places to eat
- Tank (an NZ chain store serving healthy salads, wraps and juices)
- The Store (restaurant/cafe)
Where to Stay
I stayed at the Celestion Waldorf Apartments. These are serviced apartments near Britomart. Very reasonable rate, friendly and accommodating staff and good rooms. There are plenty of other hotels, serviced apartments and backpackers around the CBD of Auckland.
Where to Workout
Have you been to Auckland? Do you have any additional tips or suggestions for myself and my readers? Please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!