The Insider’s Guide To The Best Of Auckland

By Natasha Van Der Laan
4th Apr 2017

The Insider’s Guide To The Best Of Auckland

It’s that time of year when summer feels like a distant memory. You find yourself in desperate need of a holiday—even just a couple of days away from the office would be nice, amiright?

There’s no need to jet off to the other side of the world to get your fix. Just a short plane ride away, you’ll stumble upon the incredible city that is Auckland (aka Tāmaki Makaurau—the Māori name). New Zealand’s largest city offers the perfect balance of urban and nature experiences. It’s the kind of city where you can sip on a matcha latte while exploring native bush—bliss!

Keen to see what the hype was all about, we headed to Auckland for a short break—tough gig, huh? Auckland Tourism showed us the ropes and gave an insider’s look at everything that makes the city so damn epic. Here’s what we discovered.

The Beaches Have BLACK Sand

When it comes to beaches, Auckland has it all. To the north, you’ll discover the golden sands and crystal-clear waters of Tāwharanui and Pakiri. If you don’t want to venture far, there’s the inner-city beaches such as Takapuna and Mission Bay.

However, it’s the West Coast that will really have you captivated. Less than an hour’s drive from the heart of the CBD, you’ll discover the iconic black (black!) sand beaches the city is known and loved for. The rugged coastlines, spectacular surf and the toasty sand of Muriwai, Piha and Karekare will take your breath away.

Auckland’s A Total Nature Wonderland

Beaches aside, Auckland is a nature junkie’s paradise. Firstly, there’s an abundance of islands to explore. Waiheke Island is all about vineyards and beaches, while Tiritiri Matangi Island is a sanctuary for native birds.

If that’s not enough, you’ve also got more than 50 volcanoes to explore—yes, 50! Take in 360-degree views from the grassy banks of Mt Eden (Maungawhau), One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) or Mount Victoria (Takarunga). Or, for a half-day adventure, jump on a ferry to the volcanic Rangitoto Island and climb to the summit—it’s an Auckland must-do.

Then there’s the walking (and biking) and tracks. Wander through the native bush of the Waitakere Ranges, stroll along the picturesque coastlines and marvel at the striking clifftops of Muriwai and the resident gannet colony. One thing’s for certain: Auckland brimming with nature!

The Food Is Nothing Short Of Incredible

All that exploring will have you working up an appetite. Thankfully, Auckland’s hopso scene has you (and your belly) covered. The vibrant, multi-cultural city has every cuisine on offer. From mouth-watering burgers and moreish dumplings to handcrafted pasta and lip-smacking gelato, every taste bud is catered for.

Wine and dine overlooking the water at Viaduct Harbour or Wynyard Quarter. In the heart of the city, Britomart and Federal Street are bustling with modern, world-class restaurants. For something more causal, the trendy eateries in Ponsonby and Takapuna are sure to impress.

…As Are The Bevvies!

You’re going to need something to wash all that food down! Just a short ferry-ride from the CBD, Waiheke Island is renowned for its award-winning vineyards. Each one is unique in its own right, making it the perfect place for an island wine tour—as if you needed an excuse, right?

Back on mainland, there’s an abundance of rural vineyards and breweries. Craft beers are aplenty and the cocktails are innovative and delicious. And, when the morning rolls around, rest assured you’ll be sipping on some of the world’s finest coffee.

Shop Until You Drop (And Then Shop Some More)

New Zealand has made a name for itself in the international fashion industry. Britomart and Ponsonby are known for their boutique fashion stores showcasing designs from Karen Walker, Zambesi, Ruby and Trelise Cooper. Arrive with an empty suitcase because it will be fill by the time you return home—guaranteed!

Auckland also knows a thing or two about markets. Over the weekends, the bustling French markets are all about fresh produce, artisan products and buttery, flaky pastries. Further north, the Matakana Farmers’ Market showcases local artisans, growers and farmers alongside live music—it’s as delightful as it sounds.

No Visit Is Complete Without Heart-Racing Adventure!

Auckland is one big playground for thrill-seekers. Jump aboard a seaplane and take in bird’s-eye views of the city, harbour and beyond. Walk around the Sky Tower’s narrow outdoor platform—it’s a cool 190 metres above ground! If you’re extra brave, opt to do the SkyJump and leap off the tower or bungy jump off the city’s Harbour Bridge. You can also canyon down waterfalls, zip-line above trees and mountain bike through forests. Sweaty palms and a racing heart, come at you!

There’s no doubt about it: Auckland ticks ALL the boxes. So, what are you waiting for? Dig out that suitcase and start planning a short break to remember! 

Editor’s note: This article is proudly sponsored by Auckland Tourism and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Video credit: Pure Productions

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