Us Aucklanders are like mini Kanye West’s and Kimmy K’s—AKA, hella good at shopping. First we devour brunch, then we head to the shops and only do we leave when we’ve hit a satisfactory dent in the back account. Yep, shopping is our forte. As proud as we are to have perfected the art of shopping, it makes buying presents painstakingly impossible (and tedious). Buy a mate a candle? They’ve got 15. New makeup? Not unless you wanna spend a small fortune. Clothes? Psst, like there’s room in their wardrobe. So, unless you want to buy a mate a bigger apartment there’s no point in cluttering their already over cluttered home. The solution? Opt for gifting an experience because who on earth buys themselves an escapade in a hot air balloon? We know right, genius.
Here’s a few of our favourite ways to give the gift of experience in Auckland.
Embark On A Romantic Cruise
Boarding a 5- foot yacht set to sail the seas is romance in a nutshell. Take a cue from the movies and surprise your half with the Explore Harbour Dinner Cruise. If you’re going true Hollywood style, tell them to wear their finest attire and blindfold them for the limo (Uber) ride, then whip it off on arrival and bam—they’ll wonder how they ever got so lucky. The night includes a three-course dinner boasting delights such as truffle and mushroom arancini balls and chocolate brownie with salted caramel cream. The two-and-a-half hour cruise ends by passing under the Harbour Bridge and sailing alongside the waterfront. A gift doesn’t get much better than this.
Speed Around The Race Track
Shopping for dads—scratch that—men in general, is frickin’ difficult. Unless you want to gift them their third tool kit or a forever-to-be-unread novel, the options are minimal. But if there’s one thing that’s sure to have the man in your life smiling, it’s cars. Apparently the exhilaration of the race track is an ‘unbeatable experience’ and the Hampton Downs race track have a whole lot of surprises for that lucky someone. Gift a speedy sesh of V8 hot laps or even better, a super car fast dash in a Lamborghini Huracan. Or hey, if you want the whole family to join in on the fun, opt for the Go Karts. Don’t worry, if you don’t rate your driving, you can choose a tandem kart and lax out in the back.
A Weekend In Waiheke
Whether it’s the luxe suite or a humble Airbnb, a weekend away in Waiheke may be just what you and your beau need. Gift them the accommodation for a generous present and if you want to go the extra mile, why not book an afternoon of local wine tasting and long lunching. This alongside some sunshine makes for the perfect romantic weekend away. It also helps that Casita Miro is in this neck of the woods and we could hang out sipping vino there for the remainder of our entire lives—or until our cards decline. If walls ain’t your style, give glamping on Waiheke a try. Ditch the phones, give your ‘gram a break for a few days and embrace the nomad lifestyle. Whatever floats your boat peeps.
Jump Off The Sky Tower
Although jumping off a 192-metre high building may not be everyones cup of tea, we all know that one person who needs this in their life. Head up the elevator with them and watch them leap off New Zealand’s highest building, or take a seat at The Sky Cafe while they do their thang. By the time they're finished, you’ll be three cocktails deep and surrounded by every entrée and ice cream on the menu—all class from us. Your adrenaline junky friend can then join you for a meal of delicacies, if their stomach has returned from their feet.
Getaway To Queenstown
Live lavishly for a few days and head to the South Island with your favourite person. Receiving flights as a present has gotta be just about the best gift to exist, particularly when they’re Queenstown bound. Whether it is a skiing trip or a wining and dining experience, Queenstown is the place to be in both summer and winter. We recommend renting a car and doing the epic Queenstown to Wanaka drive over The Crown Range—the amount of photo opps en route will blow your mind. Stop through Arrowtown on your way back and visit The Remarkables Sweet Shop for some free (!!) fudge tasting. This is a great option for a mother daughter weekend away, especially if mum's shouting…
Fly High In A Balloon
Potentially the most #goals thing ya can do for someone, a ride in a hot air balloon is a surreal experience to gift. With views over the Waikato Lakes and mountain views over Ruapehu and Taranaki, the Kiwi Balloon Company will have you flying high in no time. To take things to the next level, pack a picnic complete with cheese board necessities and a few glasses of bubbly. If perfection were real, this would be pretty damn close. It encompasses both serenity and a factor of adrenaline, AKA the ideal gift for someone impossible to buy for. You can thank us later.
Helicopter Ride & Dining On Waiheke
If you’re anything like us, a scenic helicopter ride has forever been on the bucket list. Heletranz offers a range of flight packages that make the perfect gift of experience. One of our favourites is the Heli-Dining package which lands at Onetangi’s beautiful Tantalus Estate. Sparkling wine is offered on arrival and a moreish four-course à la carte lunch is on the cards after you’ve explored the botanical courtyards and elegant interiors. There is also an extensive wine library and a craft brewery on the floor below. It would almost be rude not to get a picture with your beau at the estate, so dress to impress peeps—this may be the most gram worthy destination of all time.
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Image Credit: Heletranz