Boasting over one quarter of the countries entire population, Auckland is by far the biggest city in New Zealand and a great destination to begin your grand tour. So it came to my surprise when I learnt friends from the UK had no plans to stay in the city on their visit. Queue 9 Reasons Not to Miss Auckland When You Visit New Zealand.
Depending on your time available and ability to get out to some less accessible locations, I would recommend spending between one and three nights getting acquainted with the coffee, culture and coastline before hitting the more thrill-seeking spots around the country.
Vineyard Hop Waiheke Island
You might be confused whether you’ve flown to Auckland or somewhere in the Mediterranean when you set foot on Waiheke. With so many vineyards offering wine tastings and an outdoor dining experience you can spend a whole day or even a weekend just hopping between them all.
Lock Eyes with Unique Local Brands
From world renowned labels like Karen Walker to lesser known local boutiques, you’ll find it all here in Auckland. Britomart is your area for high end brands, but if you’re after a little more variety Ponsonby Road has fashion and decor boutiques mixed in with upmarket second hand stores.
Climb Piha’s Lion Rock
There’s always something magical about the moment you finally break through the native bush in full view of Piha Beach and it’s majestic Lion Rock. Salty fresh ocean air and an ever-changing landscape will greet you good day.
Discover Aotearoa’s Art and History
In 2011 Auckland Art Gallery reopened it’s doors having gone through a major development on its original building. Viewing art is a joy in the fresh open galleries of this iconic building, nestled at the foot of Albert Park.
No visit to a new country would be complete without learning a little about its culture and heritage and what better place to start than New Zealand’s first museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum. Modern and interactive exhibitions help to tell the story of our country and people.
Ride the Magenta Cement Road
New York has the Highline, Auckland has the Lightpath, i.e. a bright pink cycle-way weaving through a part of the city locals call Spaghetti Junction.
Get Your Dance on Downtown
The areas around Britomart and the Viaduct Harbour are home to many big bars and clubs where you can get your dance on or simply dine al fresco in the afternoon sun.
Breathe in the Native Bush
One foot in front of the other, crunch, crunch, breathe. Get in touch with all five senses as you follow one of the many marked walking tracks. Please make sure to stick to the tracks so you don’t get lost and follow the park instructions such as cleaning your shoes at track entrances to protect our Kauri Trees. With short nature trails, the Arataki Centre is a great place for newcomers to start.
Savour Market Specialties
Close to inner city Auckland is the popular La Cigale French Market. During the weekend the French Cafe, Bistro and Shop opens it’s carpark up to an array of diverse cuisines for your culinary pleasure.
If you’re on your way up north or you just have a little more time to go further afield, Matakana Farmers Market is a delightful way to spend a Saturday morning. You’ll have to be up bright and early to catch this one as it is about an hour drive north of the city centre, but a great morning trip it is.
Drink in the Coffee Culture
No one does coffee quite like the antipodeans and Auckland is a great place to start your education in the art of the classic Flat White. Make sure to check out my 7 Kiwi-Approved Auckland Coffee Shops before you arrive.
Check out my action-packed vlogs from Auckland on the WorldFanFair YouTube channel, and remember to subscribe for new videos each Monday.