Food & Drink

The Best High Tea In Auckland, 2024 Edition

By Kathryn Steane

Whether it’s Mother’s Day, a special occasion, or you just want to spoil someone (and yourself), high tea is the perfect thing to do, complete with tea and cake (and sometimes a glass of bubbles). Lucky for us, various venues across Auckland are serving up a swanky high tea fit for royalty.

Without further ado, here's where to find the best high tea in Auckland in 2024, according to Urban List:

High Tea At The Aviary 

71 Mayoral Drive, Auckland CBD

Sweets and savoury dishes galore at the high tea at the Aviary.Image credit: Grand Millenium Auckland | Supplied

With plush furnishings, potted palms and incredible natural lighting, the recently refurbished lobby of the Grand Millenium Auckland—now home to The Aviary (a nod to the 400-odd wooden birds that once hung from the ceiling)—is certainly a grand spot to take high tea.

And you can expect the food to be equally exquisite. Bought to us by chef James Kenny (who counts Gordon Ramsay amongst his former bosses) and his team, this is served in typical high tea fashion on tiered stands—only these are crafted in the shape of birdcages, of course.

Mini jars filled with smoked salmon parfait, finger sandwiches, and super-sized chicken and leek sausage rolls make up the first course, followed by the obligatory scone (served with brown sugar cream and strawberry and rhubarb jam with Pimms, no less) and a madeleine for good measure. Then finally, a spread of perfectly executed sweets including canelés, panna cotta made with honey from the hotel's rooftop hives, and 'the lemon' (a lemon-flavoured dessert made in the image of—you guessed it—a lemon).

As for the matter of drinks, you'll sip on Harney & Sons tea from gorgeous pastel teacups with matching teapots that wouldn't look amiss at a Mad Hatter's tea party, or indulge in some bubbles for an additional cost (in this case, Champagne Charles Le Bel 'Inspiration 1818' by Billecart-Salmon). Available Friday through Sunday from $75, this is high tea at its finest.

High Tea At Esther

4 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland CBD

Sweet treats at Esther's High Tea, one of the best high tea in Auckland. Image credit: Esther | Facebook

You won't find scones and club sammies at Esther's lavish new high tea in Auckland—but you will find a roaming dessert trolley laden with raspberry macarons, swan-shaped meringues, and gigantic bowls of orange-spiked tiramisu that staff will ladle onto your plate as you inevitably pick your jaw up off the floor.

Not that we'd expect anything less from this gorgeous spot, nestled on the ground floor of the QT Auckland. Renowned chef, Sean Connolly has stayed true to the restaurant's theme with this latest offering, taking inspiration from his beloved grandmother (and Esther's namesake) while injecting some serious European razzle-dazzle for a truly unforgettable feast.

Devilled eggs, hand-held spinach and ricotta pies, and crunchy fish sandwiches sit alongside crumpets with salmon caviar and crème fraiche, and giant prawns smothered in chilli and honey for the savoury courses. But like we said, it's the sweets that really steal the show here. Pretty pink Turkish delight fondant fancies, mini Amalfi-inspired lemon cakes and some of the most extraordinary Portuguese tarts you'll ever have the pleasure of eating also make an appearance on the aforementioned trolley.

Keep hydrated with a coffee or one of their lush teas (also served tableside)—or lean into the celebrations in style with a glass of bubbles or a cocktail (go the tiramisu and an espresso martini).

Book yourself in for one of absolute best high tea in Auckland, available every Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, right here.

Aotearoa High Tea At The Libraries

The Hotel Britomart, 30 Customs Street East, Britomart, Auckland CBD

A veritable feast on the table with wine in the background at The Hotel Britomart's new high tea in Auckland.Image credit: The Hotel Britomart | Max @ Department

In line with The Hotel Britomart’s ability to turn anything they touch to gold, a high tea like no other has been added to their offerings—in their very plush, very private The Libraries at The Hotel Britomart, usually reserved for guests only.  Served on hand-crafted wooden plates, expect three courses crafted by Executive Chef, Andrew Lautenbach, who drew inspiration from some of his favourite childhood treats.

Think smoked kahawai sammies in pillowy soft bread, house-made crackers topped with seasonal picks (an asparagus char, for example), confit kumara on biscotti, and even some fish croquettes in the most indulgent tartare sauce. A short pause to choose your tea blend and then Southland gouda cheese rolls and paua sausage rolls continue the savoury train.

It’s a true textural moment for sweets in your third course: crack into housemade macarons and other petit fours like a pillowy lamington, nibble on coffee choux, and get a full-on hit of Kiwi flavour courtesy of a ginger-malt ice cream sandwich. While the service and surroundings are oh-so-dainty, the portions and quantity are absolutely out of this world—a must-try. This high tea is only offered occasionally, so book here for the next date.

Afternoon Tea At Park Hyatt Auckland 

99 Halsey Street, Auckland CBD

A delicious selection of treats at the Park Hyatt Auckland, one of the best high tea Auckland has to offerImage credit: Park Hyatt Auckland | Supplied

The Park Hyatt Auckland has turned the idea of the traditional high tea right on its head. A year in the making and the baby of executive pastry chef Callum Liddicoat, the high tea you’ll sit down to at the stunning waterfront Living Room is served over five delicious courses brought out consecutively. Designed as a whimsical culinary journey to be enjoyed over a leisurely two-hour period, each course is a decadent mix of sweet and savoury with the menu changing seasonally. Have dietary requirements? No worries. This outstanding high tea is available in vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and vegan versions.

Vintage High Tea At Moxie

82 Hinemoa Street, Birkenhead, Auckland CBD

People enjoy a vintage high tea at Moxie, one of the best spots for high tea AucklandImage credit: Moxie Restaurant | Supplied

It’s the high tea worth planning—and if need be, clearing—your social calendar. Introducing Moxie Restaurant’s monthly vintage high tea, held on the last Sunday of every month. In this pretty, pastel Birkenhead heritage building, you’ll experience the most dainty and downright delicious high tea Auckland has to offer.

Changing monthly, the team whips up an evolving menu of petit fours, cakes, savouries and sandwiches that are refined yet clearly baked with love. You’ll see heritage favourites (hello coronation chicken sammie) alongside contemporary twists on classics. Always featured, however, is the trusty high tea scone: which at Moxie, is delectably pillowy and served with an out-of-this-world jam.

Speaking of serving, everything comes plated and poured in impossibly pretty vintage china, crystal and glassware for a true feeling of yesteryear’s glamour. Also adding to the experience being exquisite to the T, is the actual tea itself, which features Harney & Sons and is paired with a glass of bubbles if you so wish. It makes for a wonderful afternoon worth popping on your pearls for—just make sure you book in advance, as there’s often (understandably) a waiting list.

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Bellini Afternoon Tea At The Hilton 

147 Quay Street, Auckland CBD

A sumptuous feast at Bellini Bar at the Hilton, one of the best high tea in Auckland.Image credit: Bellini Bar | Supplied

An absolutely stunning venue to enjoy a refined afternoon tea is the Hilton’s lush Bellini Bar, overlooking the sparkling Waitemata Harbour and the option to sit outside on a fine day. For these ever-changing contemporary afternoon teas, expect an impressive tray with three levels featuring exquisite savoury and sweet bites using only the finest seasonal produce, a choice of T2 and Zealong loose-leaf tea served on luxury Cristina Re teaware. If you're feeling a little extra—and you always should, if you ask us—opt for a glass or two of Bollinger Special Cuvee Champagne.

High Tea By Cordis In The Chandelier Lounge

83 Symonds Street, Grafton

Someone pours a TWG tea into fine china at the Cordis, one of the best high teas in Auckland which is held in the boujee chandelier lounge.Image credit: Cordis | Instagram

One of the best high tea in Auckland can be found at the sparkling Chandelier Lounge at Cordis, where tiers of exquisitely crafted treats and a personalised tea sommelier service await. Settle into the super fancy surrounds (note the namesake chandelier), and prepare to indulge in edible delights like truffled brie tartlets, spiced apple scones, and pumpkin St Honore. However, it's the tea that's the star of the show, provided here by none other than one of the finest luxury tea brands in the world, TWG, and you can top things off by splashing out on a flute of Louis Roederer champagne (because let's face it, the occasion kind of demands it). The menu changes each and every season, while they also do a sweet set-up for the kids.

Sky Tea At SkyBar

Level 50/78 Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD

Someone helps themselves to a fancy at Sky Tea at SkyBar, one of the best afternoon teas in Auckland.Image credit: SkyCity | Supplied

How does afternoon tea at the highest bar in New Zealand sound? Now you can literally enjoy a sky-high high tea at SkyBar, sitting pretty at level 50 of the Sky Tower. Enjoy five savouries and five desserts by the talented team at SUCRÉ by SkyCity alongside a coffee, tea or juice. A vegetarian option is also available.

Max out your experience in the clouds with the addition of a glass of Moët and Chandon Champagne or a Remember Gatsby cocktail. Yumzo. What's more, Sky Tower admission is included in your booking before or after your Sky Tea experience so you can really live the high life. Available Thursday through Sunday at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, book here.

Afternoon Tea At JW Marriott Auckland

22–26 Albert Street, Auckland CBD

A close up of some salmon with tea in the background at JW Marriott's Afternoon High Tea in Auckland.Image credit: JW Marriott | Supplied

JW Marriott takes the 'tea' part of afternoon tea very seriously indeed. Not only will you sip copious cups of the stuff (from Dilmah's gourmet T-Series), but you'll also be treated to tea-infused sweets, savouries and even tea-infused cocktails should the fancy take you. Yes, this offering is a true celebration of all things tea and that's what makes it one of the best high tea in Auckland. 

Settle in for an exquisite, triple-tier feast that will change with the seasons but has previously included orange and lime tea-infused cured salmon with crème fraiche and watercress—green tea macarons—and ginger tea-infused candied orange and ginger scones, washed down with fragrant, piping hot brews (we like the rose and vanilla). For a little extra, you can add on a glass of sparkling wine, a tea-inspired cocktail of the day, or even a glass of champagne to make the experience really pop.

And did we mention that you can make this high tea vegan? If you're after a cheeky discount, book using the code ‘MEDIA’ upon checkout here to nab a 10% discount. Score.

High Tea At Cooke's Restaurant

Fable Auckland, 58/60 Queen Street, Auckland CBD

A delicious looking spread at Cooke's with glasses of champagne on standby. This is definitely one of the best high tea in Auckland.Image credit: Fable Auckland | Supplied

A modern take on this afternoon classic, Cooke's Restaurant at Fable Auckland is doing a high tea that's far from simple. Every dish is crafted in-house, using only sustainable and locally sourced foods that sing with flavour. Start with savoury specials like a tuna skewer with caviar, then move on to the sandwiches—grilled chicken, prawn with marie rose sauce and good old egg mayo.

But save room for the sweet treats—we’re talking lemon glaze scones with creme fraiche and raspberry and rosewater preserve, caramel macaron, pistachio financier, dark chocolate silk, and more to satisfy a sweet tooth. The high tea at Cooke's is served daily from 12pm until 3pm, with three beverage options to choose from: tea, a glass of champagne or a trio of cocktails. Decadent.

Bluebells High Tea

Various Locations

A delicious tower of food at Bluebells Cakery, one of the best high teas in Auckland.Image credit: Bluebells | Facebook

One of the best high teas in Auckland is at Bluebells Cakery—given their talent for delicious and beautiful food, it's a must. Served at their Kingsland and Commercial Bay venues, there are several high tea menus to choose from—standard, pregnancy-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and kids. 

The savoury menu includes a herbed chicken tea sandwich, mini quiche Lorraine and even that Kiwi classic, the sausage roll. Onto the sweets menu, there's a mini cupcake, cheesecake, macaron, tart, coconut ice and a scone with jam and cream. Bluebells' high tea is available any day of the week (24 hours' notice required).

Harbourside High Tea

99 Quay Street, Auckland CBD

A high tea with champagne is laid out at Harbourside.Image credit: Harbourside | Supplied

Round up the crew and play ladies for a day by booking into Harbourside's deluxe high tea. Start your day the right way—with a glass of champers in hand (NV Mumm Grand Cordon, no less)—then work through tier after tier of delicious treats including truffle, beef and cheddar pithivier, blue cheese and fig tartine, yuzu cake and raspberry macaron. Washed down, of course, with plenty of tea and coffee and a glass of champagne. You'll also get to take in some of the nicest views on the waterfront, no biggie.

Roaring '20s High Tea And Tipsy Tea 

Hotel DeBrett, 2 High Street, Auckland CBD

People sit down to enjoy a tipsy high tea dressed up in 1920s outfits at Hotel Debrett.Image credit: Hotel DeBrett | Supplied

If there's one venue for high tea in Auckland that's a must, it's Hotel DeBrett. These guys are taking things to the next level with their Roaring '20s offering, held every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 12.30pm to 4pm inside the hotel's gorgeous art-deco surroundings. Dress up flappers and dappers style then enjoy 1920s-inspired eats and drinks, all to the sound of Gatsby-style tunes belted out from their restored gramophone. And that's not all—there's now a Tipsy Tea option, where you'll be treated to a flight of cheeky prohibition cocktails for the ultimate knees-up. 

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Main image credit: Bluebells Cakery | Supplied

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