Travelling to New Zealand for an Australian, (is in my mind) the second home you never knew you had. Similar to this you should also know that Auckland is to Wellington what Sydney is to Melbourne. However, we are also talking about a seriously beautiful city surrounded by mountains, islands and volcanoes.
Auckland is the country’s one big city but for Melbourne people it won’t seem too big. This city is what attractive modern cities do best – modern, cosmopolitan, inner city life with vibrant multicultural suburbs around it.
Surrounded by a number of different regions and natural – here are some ideas for the Auckland-first-timer:
Arrival (6 am - 9 am): Getting to know the city
7 am Get the Skybus into town – it’s cheap and efficient (return is roughly NZD$36 return).
8 am Find a café – I love Shaky Isles near the Skybus drop point but The Store is in the middle of the viaduct shopping precinct is gorgeous and is renowned for the food.
Mid-morning (9 am - 12 noon) : Kiwi shopping - Sky Tower - Mount Eden view and lunch
9 am Explore the city – if it’s a beautiful morning you have to go to the Sky Tower and get a feel of the lay of the land. Auckland is amazingly beautiful and this place has an incredible view on a clear day. You may even want to sky dive too!
10 am Discover the viaduct shopping precinct but this has some iconic Kiwi labels like World, Zambesi (yes, they are kiwis!), Karen Walker, Deadly Ponies, among others – and the other big international names, (think Tiffany’s) are there too.
11 am Auckland Gallery (admission is free) is exactly the dose of modern art that the traveller needs. Owner of a great collection, this place also had brilliant bookshop that puts most gallery shops to shame!
Day tripping (12pm - 5pm): Lunch in the city & Devonport
Noon Auckland has some brilliant daytrips on its doorstep, so if you have time in the afternoon check out some of these options! One of these is the close Devonport which is a short 12 minute trip from Auckland’s ferry terminal. Devonport feels like somewhere local and to a Melbourne person feels like Williamstown!
5 pm Alternatively If you are wanting a longer daytrip and have more time check out Waihiki Island (aka the winery isle!) or Rangitoto Island.
Evening (6pm – 9pm) Discover the Viaduct!
If you are into your food, Auckland viaduct has some special options, with White & Wongs (modern Asian), Ebisu (Japanese), Amano (Artisanal Italian) or Baduzzi (Italian) are all good choices but there always cocktails at the Caretaker in Britomart for a late night drink... and there’s always the Irish pub Danny Doolans!
To plan your trip start or find out more: