Now we’re not sure if you noticed, but it’s bloody freezing. All of a sudden, an umbrella jumps to the top of our to-buy list, we start wearing practical socks, and linger for as long as poss in the shower. This can put a serious damper on weekends, and your social life begins a steady decline as you enter hibernation mode.
Summer road trips are well and truly behind us, but there are still weekend adventures to be had. To stop you from spending all weekend building a fort, we’ve rounded up the best Auckland day escapes for cool weekends.
There are several hot pool options within a day’s reach of Auckland City—no matter what direction you’re heading. North brings you to Waiwera Thermal Resort, go south to Miranda Hot Springs, or head out west to Parakai Springs. There’s a real novelty in getting your bikini out mid-winter and may be the motivation you need to keep to that winter diet. Plus, what could be a better form of seasonal distraction than a large bubbling bath to wallow in?
Spa Your Heart Out
You need not leave the city to experience escapism and feel a million miles away from the wintery and—let’s be honest—slightly miserable city after the fifth rainy Saturday in a row.
Chuan Spa at the Langham is the pick of the bunch when it comes to spa escapes. Treat yo’self this weekend and book in for one of their self-proclaimed escapes that feature a variety of treatments founded on Eastern and Polynesian traditions. Alternatively, East Day Spa, Erban Spa and Spa Ayurda are also highly recommended. Check out their packages and get set for a day of pampering. You’ll forget about winter in no time.
Be One With Nature
There’s one rather large steamy room in Auckland that fits the bill for an escape to warm the loins. The Wintergardens in the Auckland Domain is the perfect spot to escape the city. There’s absolutely no change to get in and, because it’s covered, there’s no chance of having your eye poked out by a nasty umbrella. There’s two glasshouses here—one’s kept at 24 degrees, while the other is heated to a cosy 28 degrees. The warmth is only half the appeal though—the exotic plants are interesting enough to keep even the most fauna-indifferent folks amused for a wee while.
Enjoy An Island Escape
Waiheke Island isn’t strictly a summer destination. Jump on a ferry an enjoy an island getaway this winter—wai the heck not?! Rethink summer’s ‘heke outfits and don some merino in your search of a fireplace and several glasses (read: bottles) of red. Let those wintery woes float away and enjoy the company of whatever crew you can hustle.
Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant is a seasonal favourite due to the warm ambiance and welcoming fireplace. If you can make it slightly further away from the ferry, we suggest hitting up The Oyster Inn for their Sunday roast. The meat offering changes regularly, but you can expect something along the lines of roast lamb rump with duck fat potatoes and a plethora of veggies for just $50 for two. Oh, how we love winter!
Winter Foodie Adventure
Set your compass west and follow your nose to where good food, wine and beer awaits. First stop Boric Food Market for a coffee and a browse to warm up your mitts and give you energy for a day of feasting. Next stop lunch at The Tasting Shed for thoughtfully curated and presented dishes, that are both hearty and delicious. The meat section of the menu will do you well—especially the tender beef cheek or Mediterranean take on kangaroo. Roll back into the car and head for Hallertau Brewery & Restaurant to check out their new biergarten, complete with roaring outdoor fires and blankets. Grab a tasting paddle of beer to warm you from the inside out.
Need more weekendspiration? Check out Weekend Lunch Escapes Totally Worth The Drive.
Image credit: Mudbrick