NEW ZEALAND: Auckland Harbour is the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s most populous city. Whether it’s the restaurants or shops that draw you to the waterfront or you simply can’t take your eyes off the activity on the water, this is the city’s beating heart. Even in winter, visiting the ‘City of Sails’ wouldn’t be complete without visiting the waterfront.
The best and liveliest of the city’s nightlife is clustered around Viaduct Basin, where there are restaurants, cafés and bars to suit all tastes. The area is equally popular during the day, when locals and visitors alike enjoy strolling on the waterfront or kicking back and watching the world go by.
Restaurants like the stylish Giraffe, popular Soul Bar And Bistro, and the laidback Dr Rudi's Rooftop Brewing Co, are all within easy reach, plus a walk to the Auckland Fish Market, the home of New Zealand seafood for more than a century and now totally rebuilt. Foodies will delight in the array of fresh and cooked seafood available here. As well as excellent lamb and venison, New Zealand produces the most amazing fish, mussels, prawns, oysters and crayfish.
To appreciate the harbour the way many Aucklanders do every day, head west from the hotel along Westhaven Promenade towards the Harbour Bridge. Walk, scooter or bike ride along the water’s edge till you get to Buoy café overlooking the marina. Take a rest here while enjoying coffee, all-day breakfast or lunch.
An easy walk in the other direction brings you to Britomart, one of Auckland’s coolest shopping and foodie precincts. Enjoy an innovative icecream at Giapo, tuck into Vietnamese street food at the chic Café Hanoi or dine on rustic Italian fare at Amano. See what all the fuss is over Best Ugly Bagels at their shop in Lower Albert Street. These Montreal-style bagels are hand rolled and simmered in honey water before being baked in an oven fired with Manuka wood.
If you want to stay in the thick of the action, the Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland Britomart is perfectly situated for events at Spark Arena and an easy walk to the 9-block Britomart precinct.
Heading away from the waterfront, get a bird’s eye view over Auckland (and do a bungee jump if you dare) at Sky Tower. Take the spaceship up to Weta Workshop Unleashed, a new sidekick to the Wellington-based special effects workshop that has won numerous Academy Awards.
A short drive or pleasant walk through the Domain brings you to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the perfect place to while away a few hours on a chilly day. From here, it’s an easy walk to the trendy shops, cafés and art galleries of Parnell. Grittier and colourful Karangahape Road (or K Road as the locals call it) has quirky shops, good restaurants and street art, making it another great spot to wander in.
A low-cost fun way to enjoy the harbour is to take a ferry across to the seaside suburb of Devonport, which retains a quaint Victorian charm in its heritage buildings and cafés. A longer ferry ride brings you to Waiheke Island, with its spectacular vineyards and stunning cellar doors. Returning to Auckland as the sun sets over this harbour city is a magical way to end the day.
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*Activities listed may be subject to Covid restrictions.