Answers from Our Experts (2)
To see Auckland in one day, get up early and have an Italian coffee at a cafe, then take a walk along Viaduct Harbour, stopping at the maritime museum or taking a short harbor cruise. Do some shopping along Queen Street, working your way south toward Sky Tower. Go up to the observation deck to see the city or, if you're more adventurous, try the Sky Jump or Sky Walk. Have lunch in the city center, then take a bus or a long walk south to the Mt. Eden neighborhood and hike to the top of the namesake volcano. Then head to either Auckland Zoo or the War Memorial Museum in the Domain for a few hours. If the All Blacks or one of the Auckland teams are in town, spend the evening at a rugby match at Eden Park. Otherwise, grab dinner at one of the ethnic restaurants in the central business district or see a play at the Civic Theater near SkyCity Hotel. Have a nightcap at a pub or club near Queen Street for a few drinks and live music.
Auckland is a stunning and small city, perfect for a one day walking tour.
Rise and shine early and get down for some breakfast at The Store (check out this five out of five review for my menu recommendations) in the groovy Britomart precinct. It’s a short walk from downtown Auckland and right amongst the thick of things. Once you’ve finished up your lattes, take a walk up to the Auckland Museum. This place is big and beautiful and offers a really rich overview of the history of NZ, which, I think, is really interesting.
All that learning should have worked up your appetite again. I suggest walking back towards the Sky Tower. At the foot of this landmark (Fun fact: the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere) you will find one of the city’s best eateries, Depot. The hustle and bustle of this popular spot means you might have to wait a little while for a table, but pick a locally brewed Marlborough Sauvignon and sit outside while you wait for something to free up. It’s worth it for a taste of Al Brown’s simple, Kiwi menu. (I reckon the snapper sliders are a must).
Get back on your feet (or find an inner-city bus – they’re bright green and really regular – you can’t miss them) and head up to Ponsonby Road. Beginning at three lamps, stroll along the main strip of this little hood, picking up a few goodies as you go. Superette is a cool store with local and international pieces (the jewellery and homewears are really alluring). For a taste of the best local designers pop in to Zambesi and Karen Walker. If you're keen to take some Kiwiana home, check out the creative crafts in Texan Art Schools.
By now I’d say it would be about time to start thinking about taking a load of and gearing up the evening's activity. You’re in the perfect spot to enjoy a tipple with the locals. The best way to lap up the last of the days sunshine is by pulling up a pew amongst the other patrons at The Chapel. This popular afternoon watering hole has really friendly table service, and you’ll probably get involving in some friendly Kiwi banter. For dinner, cross the road and head over to my favourite new restaurant in Auckland, Blue Breeze Inn (or check out my other picks here). It can get busy so I’d try and get there before 6.30pm to make sure you don’t have to wait around too long. The pork buns here are a thing of beauty and the rum cocktails are worth a mention. When you’ve sipped enough coconut juice, keep on strolling down to Golden Dawn for a taste of boutique beer on tap or one of their well-crafted cockails. Sit outside, jam to the DJ and let the night flesh out naturally.