The greater Auckland region encompasses the city proper and the gorgeous surrounding towns and landscapes.
Regularly rated as one of the world’s most livable cities, Auckland—also called Tamaki Makaurau—has grown into a beauty of a destination. The sparkling harbor is sprinkled with gleaming white sails and ferries commuting to waterside suburbs and outlying islands. The largest Polynesian city in the world, Auckland has also become hugely multicultural, which is reflected in the dynamic dining scene. Unlike in Melbourne and Sydney, which has fed off a rich Mediterranean immigrant heritage, Asian cuisines here are plentiful. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, and to a lesser extent, Thai, flavors are common. And some have worked their way into New Zealand’s contemporary, seasonally driven cuisine.
You’ll find all of this and more in the Central Business District, or CBD, and the inner-city suburbs. In the CBD, historic High Street and Vulcan Lane have always drawn people in with their small-town charm, but the new kid on the block is recently rejuvenated Britomart, which brims with boutiques, alfresco cafes and restaurants. Inner-city Ponsonby is a rambling residential neighborhood teeming with beautiful people and Victorian-era houses; it’s Auckland’s answer to New York City’s West Village. Ponsonby Road and nearby Jervois Road in Herne Bay are both lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants. Across the bridge, Takapuna—the moneyed northern suburb about a 15-minute drive from downtown—has long been known for its white-sand beach but is now gaining attention for its retail and culinary scenes.
Stick around for summer when the pohutukawa tree puts the coast into dramatic red relief – perched on cliffs and hanging from hilltops, this tenacious and gnarly New Zealand native has a sensational display of red flowers. It’s a special sight when the stamens fall to the ground and turn the white beaches and sidewalks a pinky-red. While there is tons of entertainment in the city, there’s much more to this sub-tropical destination, including the harbor, Hauraki Gulf and its outlying islands, beautiful bush walks in the Waitakere Ranges, and the wild west-coast beaches of Piha, Karekare, and Bethells, to explore.
BEST TIME TO VISIT AUCKLAND
The best times to visit Auckland are from March to May and between September and November. These shoulder months offer pleasant temperatures, mostly sunny days (excluding May) and thin tourist crowds. During peak season (December through February), you'll contend with swells of visitors and high airfare and room rates, but you'll also find warmer temperatures and fewer rain showers. Between June and August, both temperatures and tourism drop off.
Fall (March through May)
Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel moderate. Highs range from 75°F (23.9°C) and 60.5°F (15.8°C) with colder temperatures in the later months. Rain is somewhat common with 5 to 9 days of significant precipitation per month. Fall is the slowest for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for deals.
Winter (June through August)
The middle-year months have cold weather with high temperatures that are brisk. These months see the most precipitation with 10 to 11 days of precipitation per month. June – August is the second busiest season for tourism in Auckland, so lodging and other accommodations may cost slightly more.
Spring (September through November)
Spring daily highs range from 70.3°F (21.3°C) and 61°F (16.1°C), which will feel comfortable given the humidity and wind. It rains or snows a significant amount: 4 to 8 days per month. Tourism is fairly slow during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be lower priced.
Summer (December through February)
Weather is perfect this time of year in Auckland to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 76.4°F (24.7°C) and 71°F (21.7°C). On average, it rains or snows a fair amount: 4 to 6 times per month. These times of year are the busiest with tourists.
GETTING TO AUCKLAND
Flying from Europe have a long way to go. Its always recommended to fly via Air New Zealand, if possible, for a whole lotta reasons - one of the most important, in this case, being that Air New Zealand has the most direct routes and convenient flight times to and from Auckland, New Zealand. So, if you're coming from anywhere in Europe on Air NZ, you'll fly out of Finland, with two flights of around 12 hours each. The cool thing is, those flights are generally in the evening. Which means if you do it right, you can travel in the most comfortable way possible - fast asleep! No matter where you are, you can fly to Auckland, New Zealand, and the Star Alliance network of airlines means that you can get a round-trip fare to Auckland, New Zealand from just about anywhere. The Auckland Airport (AKL), which sits just 13 miles south of downtown Auckland, can be reached by bus, taxi or car.
GETTING AROUND AUCKLAND
The best way to get around Auckland is via the cheap and efficient Link buses. Walking is another viable option in the city center. Taxis and rental cars are also available, but these are more expensive and prone to frustrations like traffic and limited parking spots. To get to one of Auckland's islands, you'll need to hop aboard one of the city's ferries.
Bus - Auckland Transport's Link buses are a convenient way to get from point A to B. There are three different Link lines: the CityLink (red buses) with seven stops in the city's central business district; the InnerLink (green buses) that travels a circular route throughout central Auckland; and the OuterLink (orange buses) that serves Auckland's inner suburbs. Buses operate daily from 6:30 or 7 a.m. to 11 or 11:30 p.m.
Ferry - The easiest way to visit Waiheke Island and neighborhoods like Devonport and Half Moon Bay is to use the city's ferry system. Ferry tickets can be purchased at the CBD's Downtown Ferry Terminal. Though fares vary depending on the route traveled, one-way adult tickets start at NZ$6.90 ($5). Some routes offer round-trip fares, which cost at least NZ$12.50 ($9) per adult. Reduced rates are available for kids and AT HOP cardholders, while travelers with AT HOP day passes have unlimited 24-hour access to select ferries.
Car - Driving is another good way to get around Auckland, especially if you're planning to travel outside the city limits. Car rentals are available at Auckland Airport and in the CBD. Keep in mind that rush hour runs from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m., so it's best to leave your car parked during these busy times. There are metered parking spots and garages throughout the city, and most accept coins and credit cards. Still, finding a spot can be problematic. Also, remember that Kiwis drive on the left side of the road. An international driving permit is not required to drive in Auckland so long as you have a valid U.S. driver's license.
On Foot - Though most parts of the city cannot be easily reached by foot, travelers staying in the CBD can walk to many of Auckland's top attractions, restaurants and shops. To save on transportation costs, consider staying in a CBD hotel.
Taxi - There are six taxi companies that service the Auckland area, and they each charge varying rates. That said, meters start at NZ$3 (approximately $2) and increase by at least NZ$2.15 per kilometer traveled (or about $2.50 per mile). Taxis are readily available outside many CBD hotels, shopping centers and attractions like the New Zealand Maritime Museum and the Sky Tower. Ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Zoomy, also operate in Auckland.
WHERE TO STAY IN AUCKLAND
Located in the lively uptown area near Upper Queen Street and Karangahape Road, Cordis, Auckland is surrounded by a vibrant neighbourhood. From this central location, guests can stroll to the Auckland Domain or explore the city’s museums, galleries and thriving retail scene. Designed with your comfort in mind, 411 modern guestrooms and suites convey a sense of understated sophistication with a blend of warm woods, handcrafted furniture and quality textiles. Thoughtful extras and stylish interiors reveal an attention to detail, reflecting the best in modern design. All rooms feature high-speed internet and WiFi to keep you connected 24/7. Catering to guests with an appetite for variety, the hotel offers a range of dining options, featuring both local and international favourites. The contemporary Eight restaurant and sophisticated Lobby Lounge offer stylish spaces to dine and socialise, or enjoy a High Tea over a glass of Champagne. For gatherings large or small, Cordis, Auckland has the venues and expertise to ensure that every event is a success. The magnificent Great Room will host banquets for up to 860 guests while versatile, multi-purpose rooms can be reconfigured for more intimate gatherings or boardroom meetings. Located on Level 10, the Cordis Club Lounge is designed to elevate the guest experience with a selection of bespoke benefits ranging from butler service and late check-out to evening drinks and canapes. New to the range of benefits will be a personalised check-in and check-out at the Club Lounge for guests who have booked a Suite or an Executive Room. On Level 2, Chuan Spa will indulge your senses with a range of spa treatments, each one designed to rejuvenate and revitalise. Saunas, steam rooms, a fitness centre and a heated rooftop pool create the perfect urban retreat to relax and unwind.
Hotel Grand Windsor MGallery by Sofitel offers boutique, luxury accommodation in the heart of Auckland city. Located in the city's vibrant precinct, guests can enjoy nearby entertainment, retail and Auckland's scenic waterfront. Built in 1928, Hotel Grand Windsor is a blend of old world elegance and modern amenities and cuisine. The non-smoking property is positioned on Queen Street in the CBD near boutique stores, the Viaduct Basin and Sky City Tower. Your room comes with a ‘Sofitel My bed’, Smart TV, complimentary high speed WiFi, a selection of Teas, Nespresso coffee machine with a range of capsules and complimentary bathroom amenities. Breakfast is served at Cookes Restaurant and served a-la-carte style, featuring nourishing wholefoods. A 24-hour front desk and concierge service are available, as well as valet and self-parking rates.
Located in Auckland, 14 km from Auckland Harbour Bridge, Leroy Suites Albany provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. This 4-star hotel offers a concierge service and a tour desk. The hotel features an indoor pool, fitness centre and a 24-hour front desk. All units are equipped with air conditioning, a dishwasher, a microwave, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. At the hotel every room comes with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. North Head Historic Reserve is 17 km from Leroy Suites Albany, while Sky Tower is 17 km away. The nearest airport is Auckland, 38 km from the accommodation, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
The Sebel Auckland Manukau is set in Auckland, in the Manukau district. The property features an on site restaurant and bar and is situated a 15-minute drive from Auckland Airport. New Zealand's largest theme park, Rainbow's End, is located just 600 m from the property and The Westfield Shopping Mall is within walking distance. The Sebel Auckland Manukau offers guests studio and apartment style accommodation, all with air-conditioning, a private bathroom with complimentary toiletries and a seating area to relax. A 49-inch LED TV is also offered in all rooms. Some rooms include a dining area. The ORA Bistro offers contemporary New Zealand cuisine in a relaxed setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can also enjoy light snacks or an Antipasto platter from The Lobby Bar. The beverage menu has a selection of wines, beers, spirits, liqueurs, cocktails and non alcoholic drinks. The Vodafone Events Centre is only 800 m away and Mount Smart Stadium is 11 km from the hotel, while Ellerslie Events Centre is 14 km from the hotel. Vector Wero Whitewater Park is 1.3 km away.
Located on the iconic Quay street, M Social offers accommodation in the heart of Auckland. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property. Waiheke Island Ferry Terminal and the New Zealand Maritime Museum are only 50 m from M Social. It is 200 m to Britomart Station and 600 m to The Sky Tower. Guests can enjoy a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants in the surrounding area. All 190 rooms overlook the vibrant Princes Wharf and include satellite TV and air conditioning. There is a refrigerator and an en suite bathroom in every room. Guests can dine at the onsite Beast and Butterflies restaurant, or enjoy a drink at the bar. The hotel also offers a 24-hour fitness centre. Business facilities including spacious meeting rooms and a business centre with the latest audio-visual technology are available.
Featuring city and ocean views, So/ Auckland is a luxurious urban hotel situated in Auckland, within 400 m of Sky Tower and 500 m from the ferry terminal. This audacious Auckland hotel is located on the city's lively waterfront, wheres guests also have access to a restaurant and roof top bar. The hotel has an indoor heated pool and a 24-hour front desk. The rooms in the hotel feature a complimentary mini bar, Nespresso coffee machine and free WiFi. The private bathroom is equipped with a bath. At So/ Auckland, the rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Guests can make use of the fitness centre. There are also 5 meeting rooms available for use. Britomart Train Station is just 200 m from So/ Auckland. The nearest airport is Auckland Airport, 20 km from the property.
Located at the Viaduct Basin Entertainment Area, surrounded by restaurants and bars, this hotel boasts beautiful views of Viaduct Harbour Basin. Leisure facilities include a large indoor pool and fitness centre. Situated in Auckland CBD (Central Business District), Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is only 850 m from the bus and train station at Britomart Transport Centre. All luxuriously appointed bedrooms and suites have private balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows and over-sized bathrooms with separate rain showers and deep soaking bathtubs. Guests can dine at the à la carte restaurant, relax with a coffee at the trendy "Viaduct 21" Cafe, or enjoy drinks at the "Sabrage" Champagne Bar. Sofitel Hotel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is a 5-minute walk from Auckland Sky Tower and 10 minutes’ drive from Vector Arena.
This stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Auckland CBD (Central Business District) is a short walk from the Viaduct Harbour and the Sky Tower. It offers free Wi-Fi and an off-site modern fitness centre. Guests enjoy free continental breakfast. All rooms at the Hotel DeBrett have air conditioning, satellite TV and a DVD player. Each room is individually designed, and features New Zealand art and photography. The bathroom includes free EcoStore toiletries. Guests can enjoy cocktails and local beers and wines at the Housebar. Hotel Debrett Auckland is a 5-minute walk from Britomart, and a 15-minute walk from Vector Arena.
Featuring a garden, Auckland Budget Inn is set in Auckland in the Auckland Region region, 2.8 km from Herne Bay Beach and 4.1 km from SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Attractions in the area include Aotea Square, 5 km away, or Aotea Centre, situated 5 km from the property. The hotel offers a sun terrace. Auckland Town Hall is 5 km from Auckland Budget Inn, while The Civic is 5 km away. The nearest airport is Auckland Airport, 23 km from the accommodation.
Featuring a bar, terrace and views of sea, The Prospect of Howick Accommodation is set in Auckland, 5 km from Howick Historical Village. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi. The property offers services including meeting and banquet facilities and evening entertainment. At the hotel, all rooms are fitted with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a shared bathroom. The units will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at The Prospect of Howick Accommodation can enjoy a self-serve continental breakfast which is available daily in the shared kitchen/dining area.The breakfast includes cereal, bread (toaster available), spreads, fruit, milk, juice and bottled water. Mount Smart Stadium is 13 km from the accommodation, while Ellerslie Events Centre is 16 km away. The nearest airport is Auckland Airport, 23 km from The Prospect of Howick Accommodation.
PLACES TO GO & THINGS TO DO IN AUCKLAND
As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is home to a range of attractions – from gardens to museums to architectural landmarks. Whether you’re a thrillseeker, nature lover, or art aficionado, Auckland is sure to keep you captivated – even if you’re a local. Here are list of best spots in and around the city that you won’t want to miss.
Along with being a feature of Auckland’s skyline, the Sky Tower is the tallest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. This stunning architectural landmark attracts fine diners, adventurous bungee jumpers and travellers wanting to catch some of the best panoramas of the city.
Auckland’s highest natural point, Mt Eden, or Maungawhau in Māori name is a dormant volcanic cone that rises 196m (643ft) above sea level. An astonishing bowl-like crater with a depth of 50m (160ft), it is as much a part of the summit’s appeal as the spectacular 360-degree city panoramas on show.
One Tree Hill is a 182m (597ft) volcano that serves as an important memorial place for Māori and other New Zealanders. Maungakiekie, or the mountain of the kiekie vine, was home to the largest indigenous pā (defensive settlement site) prior to European colonisation. A 30m-tall (100ft) stone obelisk was also erected on top of the summit to mark Auckland’s centenary commemorations in 1940.
Take a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland to reach the popular Waiheke Island. The island is situated on the Hauraki Gulf and has a length of 19km (12mi). Visitors are drawn to this local gem for its famous vineyards, picturesque beaches and wondrous natural landscapes.
Just west of Auckland is the black-sand Piha Beach, famous for its strong surf conditions and rugged scenery. Landscape photographers are particularly drawn here to take in Lion Rock and its Maori carvings. Film buffs will also know the picturesque beach for its cameo in movies such as the 1993 film The Piano.
If you love nature and wildlife, a visit to Tiritiri Matangi Island is a must. The island, which can be reached from Auckland city via ferry, is a wildlife sanctuary for threatened and endangered native birds and reptile species. After a brief introductory walk from a local ranger on arrival, visitors are welcome to join guided walks or simply explore the surrounding tracks and beaches on their own.
At the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, 50km (30mi) north of central Auckland, Shakespear Regional Park is the most visited and accessible open sanctuary in the region. With a focus on conservation and farming, the park provides a pest-free habitat for endangered wildlife — to the extent that dogs and other pets aren’t permitted here.
Aotea, or Great Barrier Island, is the sixth largest island in New Zealand. Along with featuring the only multi-day wilderness walk in the Auckland region (the Aotea Track), Great Barrier Island is home to beautiful beaches and is the only island in the world to hold Dark Sky Sanctuary status.
Having come into existence approximately 600 years ago, Rangitoto Island is home to Auckland’s youngest volcano. Wherever there is a view of the Hauraki gulf, you’ll be able to spot the Rangitoto summit — you could say it’s a bit of a local icon due to its prominence. The island is a popular hiking destination as well as a favourite spot for kayakers and boaties.
The seaside suburb of Devonport attracts history buffs, beach lovers and maritime enthusiasts, as well as budding foodies keen to try out its buzzing eateries. A 12-minute ferry ride from the city is all it takes to reach this North Shore gem; this ease of access makes Devonport a favourite day-trip destination whether you’re a local or just visiting.
Mission Bay is quite close to Auckland’s central business district on Tamaki Drive, and Aucklanders are particularly drawn to the local beach here. Mission Bay is also renowned for its cafes and restaurants, plus the picturesque park that lies right on the doorstep.
The Auckland Botanic Gardens, in the South Auckland suburb of Manurewa, 24km (15mi) from the city, comprises 64ha (158 acres) of gorgeous blooms, foliage and native forestry that are sure to enthral visitors. Admission is free, and the garden organises a number of events such as workshops and school holiday programmes for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
As well as being the city’s oldest park, Auckland Domain is the largest. It comprises the entire explosion crater and most of the crater rim of the Pukekawa volcano, and is home to several sports fields, tranquil walking tracks and notable tourist attractions such as the Domain Wintergardens and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum was the first of its kind in New Zealand; it currently serves as a memorial site for war casualties and holds some of the country’s most significant archival records and heritage treasures. The museum is notable for its extensive collection of Māori and Pacific artefacts and its annual Anzac Day dawn service commemorations.
With a collection that features more than 15,000 works, the Auckland Art Gallery is New Zealand’s largest art institution. The gallery originally opened in 1887 and has since undergone a massive architectural transformation. Its modern building is home to artworks and collections from New Zealand, the Pacific and abroad, while also hosting an array of international exhibitions throughout the year.
The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is the ultimate go-to for curious minds. Innovative machinery-based exhibitions, remarkable aviation displays, a model railway and a collection of fascinating historic relics come together to educate museum visitors about the evolution of transport and technology in New Zealand and its effect on life at large.
The Auckland Zoo has come a long way since opening its doors in 1922. Along with the largest collection of wildlife in New Zealand, the zoo has expanded its scope of operations to include a number of conservation and environmental research activities. Visiting animal lovers can get involved in behind-the-scenes experiences, safari nights, and zookeeper talks, among other events and activities.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium has been marvelling marine wildlife enthusiasts since 1985. The aquarium was the brainchild of diver and marine archaeologist Kelly Tarlton, who not only built this remarkable aquatic attraction out of unused sewage tanks, but who also is known for constructing the first buoyancy compensator suit in New Zealand. A shuttle from the city centre can take visitors to the aquarium, where they can catch sight of a number of species and even walk across a shark tunnel.
Equal parts architectural landmark, performing arts hub and live music venue, the Civic is bound to impress its spectators. Built in 1929, this was the first talkie cinema to emerge in New Zealand; nowadays it is a theatre venue with more than 2,300 seats and a starry auditorium designed to recreate the southern hemisphere skies. The Civic is mostly open for performances, though special guided tours are offered on occasion.
The Michael Joseph Savage Memorial commemorates New Zealand’s first Labour prime minister, who was widely respected by both Māori and European New Zealanders for his role in the development of the country’s social welfare system. The memorial is situated on Bastion Point and features an obelisk and mausoleum surrounded by beautifully landscaped garden grounds.
This horse riding experience takes you over the deserted white sands of Pakiri beach, through pine forests and past fresh water lakes. Owners Laly and Sharley Haddon are descendants of the Maori chief Te Kiri of Ngati Wai, and have a strong connection to the land and its ancestors. The Pakiri Horse Rides Farm is situated on lands that have been handed down for generations.
This tropical butterfly bastion shows off a variety of 800 free-flying tropical butterflies on luscious grounds with waterfalls, ponds, flourishing foliage, turtles, fish and exotic birds. Ride the miniature Red Admiral Express train through the grounds and stop at the Buttermilk Farm petting zoo.
Cruising Auckland’s harbour is a spectacular way to see the city and its surroundings from a different perspective. Several different companies offer day, afternoon, dinner and overnight cruises for different prices.
WHERE TO EAT IN AUCKLAND
When you’re in New Zealand’s biggest city, you’ll find you have plenty of things to do. But between jumping off tall buildings or experiencing the native New Zealand culture, you need to eat. We save you the trouble of finding out where to go in this list of the best restaurants in Auckland.
With a name that means ‘the heart and soul’ in Japanese, it’s clear right from the off what the proprietors of this new-age joint are out to provide for their customers. Set in a quiet side street off the very trendy, very busy, Ponsonby Road, Cocoro is a refreshing delight. The fish is so fresh you wouldn’t be surprised if it dove off your plate, but the really interesting thing about this place is the layout. It might be a slightly different dining experience from what you’re used to: more intimate, for one thing. There is only space for 40 people here, with seating spread along the wall and a large communal table set in the middle of the room. Being seated at the latter is reminiscent of being in a sushi-train restaurant, and the effect is quite fun.
Taxidermied birds and mounted stag heads are scattered around the cosy Cazador. Its tagline – ‘Hunt. Gather. Feed.’ – truly reflects the cuisine on offer. Quite different from your usual meat options, what’s offered here can’t be bought from your local supermarket. You’ll have a hard time deciding, but whatever you choose will undoubtedly be rustic, heartwarming and delicious, and there’s also a fantastic craft beer selection.
Everything about this old-hand of the Auckland restaurant scene is fast, fresh and happening. The food is made from seasonal ingredients and mostly cooked over charcoal or hardwood fires, giving the food a real depth of flavour, and the service is well-oiled and professional without any hint of pretentiousness. As this is an oyster bar, it’d be rude not to grab half a dozen of the little beauties to start off. There are no reservations here, so it pays to be early or have time on your hands. Thankfully, the table turnover is fairly fast, so it won’t be long before you’re putting on the nosebag.
Orbit 360° Dining soars over Auckland, occupying the 72nd floor of the famous Sky Tower. This is truly one of Auckland’s most sought-after dining experiences, so it’s wise to make a reservation if you plan to dine 190 metres above the ground while taking in panoramic views of New Zealand’s largest city. Orbit 360° is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week, as well as brunch, which is available only on weekends.
We all have our preconceived notion of what an experience at an Indian restaurant should be like. It’s food that nourishes the soul. There’s nothing quite like presiding over a few lovely curries, with some crisp popadoms and a selection of chutneys on the side, then washing it all down with something nice and cold. Cassia, on the other hand, turns these notions on their heads with its award-winning combination of Indian favourites jazzed up with a contemporary twist.
It seems that there are infinite possibilities when you dine at Eight, located at The Langham Hotel in Auckland’s city centre. This incredibly lavish restaurant’s name represents its eight different kitchens, each one serving dishes from a different world cuisine. A New-York-style grill, a seafood bar and a station for freshly made sushi are just some of the selections on offer, along with a comprehensive wine list that contains some of the best local wines as well as international specials.
The French Café is run by a husband-and-wife team, and has garnered more awards – both in New Zealand and internationally – than you can shake a baguette at. The duo’s approach to running this cracking restaurant is a holistic one, where the service, food and atmosphere all come together to produce a really memorable experience. And the food? Think decadence in the form of butter-poached crayfish or smoked duck with caramelised apricots.
Baduzzi’s cooking has a modern style that’s grounded by classic gastronomic techniques from French cuisine. At Baduzzi, you can expect to sample some of the fantastic Italian food that has been developing for decades in Auckland’s North Wharf. Leather seats and wooden tables give this restaurant the feel of a European bistro, while the food and service are what make it one of Auckland’s most elegant fine-dining experiences.
It’s anniversary night or a 50th birthday, or perhaps a long-absent uncle has returned from an exploratory trek through the tangled forests of Borneo. Whatever the occasion, The Grove is the one restaurant in Auckland that the keen diner or party organiser turns to when they really want to pull out all the stops. This is high-end dining at its finest. Oh, you’ll pay for it. You’ll pay through the what’s-it. But, for such an occasion as the safe return of Uncle Augustus from the depths of the jungle, it’s well worth it. The French-inspired food here is to die for. Go all out and order the seven-course degustation menu.
The Ponsonby Road Bistro is one of the many restaurants in Auckland that continue to cement their place as culinary hot-spots year after year. With the menu changing every few weeks, it’s also a place that you can continually return to and experience something new, as well as returning to a handful of classic dishes that you can turn to like old friends. Offering global fare in a relaxed, stylish and – dare we say it – very Auckland environment, Ponsonby Road Bistro is nothing if not a deliciously safe bet.
WHERE TO SHOP IN AUCKLAND
There are many fantastic aspects of Auckland, New Zealand. Culinary-wise, many would say this city is leading the way. That in itself is a big call when you think that it is competing with the likes of Christchurch and Wellington. However, when it comes to vintage shopping, Auckland is in a class of its own. Here is our guide to the top shops in NZ’s biggest city.
The Bread and Butter Letter might very well be our favourite vintage store in Auckland. This is saying a lot as the city is heaving with them and many are downright fantastic. This shop is a carefully curated boutique that sells the best of NZ design alongside charming vintage clothing. What is a real seller though is that it is also a purveyor of fine tea! Carefully curated New Zealand-made goodies and hand-selected vintage clothing sit side by side and vie for your attention, making this a really wonderful and interesting shopping experience.
As its name suggests, Retro Addiction will give you your fix of all things art deco and vintage. The Mt Albert shop stocks all your retro essentials – from stylish clothing and fashion accessories to all kinds of wholesome homeware, furniture and décor. There is something for everyone in here whether you’re after men’s clothing, women’s clothing, pottery from Germany, art or glassware. Browse to your heart’s content and fill your house with interesting things.
Now, you can’t go vintage shopping without at least popping into one musty secondhand book shop. Formerly known as Classics and Suchlike, The Open Book is a beautifully refurbished second-hand bookshop in the heart of Ponsonby. The property was recently bought byHayden Glass and Julie Fry, who are passionate about sustaining those bookish traditions that we cherish most. A Victorian-style house is the venue of choice for this establishment, which is lined with paper lanterns on the outside, and adorned with literary wonders on the inside.
Is there any finer way to while away a lazy weekend afternoon than by combing through second-hand clothing stores? Tatty’s brings vintage designer items to the fashion-forward Ponsonby crowds. An assortment of pre-loved clothing is just waiting to find the right home. And if you need to refurbish your wardrobe, you can actually sell your old favourites to this boutique — they’ll give you 50% of the selling price if someone falls in love with your stylish staples. This is vintage clothes shopping at its finest. Hey, you might find an absolute winner, and then again you might not. It’s like life in that respect – it’s not the destination, man, it’s the journey.
Going into Flotsam and Jetsam is a real experience the first time you do it. Up until you walk through the door, you don’t realise just how cool your house would be if you were to purchase a laundry trolley – the kind that people are forever using to escape out of prisons in the movies with some bloke who is poorly disguised as the washerwoman. And how brilliant would it be to have a fruit bowl that is actually an old peach basket? Then there are all the miscellaneous light fittings that you could do something with. Then it hit us. What Flotsam and Jetsam are selling is possibilities, not just great vintage items. What’s not to love about that? What’s particularly good is the pricing. It’s not exorbitant – an American, wooden cocktail muddler is $45 NZD, for instance – but items cost enough for you to feel like you’ve purchased something special, like you’ve treated yourself. This is probably our favourite Ponsonby vintage shopping experience.
This dynamic shop sits very prominently on K’Road, which is Auckland’s quirkiest street. Paper Bag Princess’ stylish second-hand threads bring all things vintage and designer into one single location. They do a lot of charity work too – so you know your thrift shopping is going towards a very good cause.
If you’re looking to kit out your home in some of the best mid-century furniture that Auckland has to offer, then you should make your way straight to the good folk at Mr. Bigglesworthy. Now, you might be thinking that second-hand furniture can be a bit grotty? Well, maybe so, in some cases. Not here though. This is proper vintage furniture. The sort that men and women all over Ponsonby and Auckland want to get their hands on and kit out their newly renovated homes. We’re talking second-hand sofas for $2,500 NZD here. Perhaps, you’re after an industrial looking but nonetheless snazzy baked enamel, vintage scissor light? That’ll be $550 NZD, thank you very much. This is proper vintage, and it is lovely stuff. If you’re in the market for a new (new to you, anyway) $700 NZD coffee table then pop on down to Mr. Bigglesworthy.
You don’t need to splash out on the latest couture items to look like a million bucks. Wellington’s Recycle Boutique made a name for itself precisely because it stocks some of the finest second-hand designer clothing. Not only are options plenty and budget-friendly, they also offer fashion-forward shoppers the opportunity to profit from their older garments. This is a great way to shop, as it keeps the money you make in the same sort of way that a bank does. Keep an eye on your account and when that perfect pair of retro shorts come in you can use that money to purchase them.
Once you get past that mouthful of a title, you’ll realise Encore is actually a pretty simple place. It’s one of these fantastic recycled clothing stores that take a commission on the items they sell on your behalf – exactly like Recycled Boutique in Wellington. There are three payment options for those who want to bring their old clothes to be sold. The first is you can receive 45% of the net price (exclusive of GST). You may collect the money as cash if below $80. All payments over $80 will be paid via bank deposit at your request. Any unsold items will be returned to you. The second option is to receive 50% of the net price on the condition that any items unsold after further reduction will go straight to charity. And lastly, you can elect to receive 55% of the net price. The money will remain in your account to purchase items from the store. It’s a good, hassle-free way to create some wardrobe space and get a little money in return.
If you’re after that pin-up girl look, but want clothing that is new and fresh, then look no further than Rita Sue. Here, they have all those classic retro styles, but made for the modern woman. They have everything you need to either start or complete a look. Earrings, purses, dresses, swimsuits, scarves and shorts and are all here for the picking. So whether you need something for a fifties costume or want to freshen up the wardrobe, head down to see Rita Sue’s wares.