This post has been a long time coming. But you know what, I wanted to fully settle down and see all the things so I could give you a decent enough guide to Auckland. I’ve been living here now for 6 months and I couldn’t be happier. By far the best 6 months of my life. Auckland is a funny one though. Some people love it, some people hate it. Compare it to the rest of New Zealand, then yeah, it doesn’t compare. However look at it as a standalone, then it’s a pretty incredible place. So buckle up as I’m bringing you my favourite things to do in Auckland, in the shape of a City Guide!
// Auckland – The City \\
First of all let’s talk about the city… or I should say CBD (central business district). Because at the end of the day, that’s what it is. Auckland City isn’t a London, Paris or New York… compared to them it just doesn’t stand up. But that’s what I love about it. Auckland city is small. It’s easily walkable and it’s built on the sea. There’s such a lovely feeling about the city when you’re in it. With it being so small and open, you don’t feel claustrophobic at all. Queen Street being the main shopping road in the city and the Viaduct being the go-to place for cafes, restaurants and bars.
My favourite things to do in the city are the Sky Tower… I mean how can you come all this way and not go up the Sky Tower. Mooch in the shops along Queen Street… It was my birthday last month and lucky old me, had some serious dollar dropped in Gucci on a new ring. So bring plenty of dough with you, it’s pretty boujee. Then there’s the viaduct. Probably the best place in the city. A marina surrounded by countless bars, restaurants and cafes. All having something unique to give whilst all sharing the incredible view. It’s so easy to see away an afternoon down here, sinking a few beers and smashing out some quality food.
Top Tip: Park in Devonport (which in itself is wonderful… check out the blog post all about it >> HERE <<) and get the ferry across. It’s a much more scenic way of getting into the city and avoids the stress of traffic & finding somewhere to park.
// Auckland – The Beaches \\
Some of the best beaches I have been to in New Zealand have actually been in Auckland. The North Island of New Zealand in general, is famed for its tropical beaches and Auckland is no different. With miles and miles of coastline, you’re never short of finding a spot in the sand to lay down your towel and catch some serious rays. A couple of weeks ago, not a day would go by where I wouldn’t be down the beach. The beaches here in New Zealand are unkept and natural… and that’s how they should be. From mile long beaches to tiny coves, the beaches in Auckland really have all bases covered.
My favourite beach in particular is Wenderholm Regional Park. A park situated just a 10 minute drive out of Orewa, in North Auckland. A tiny cove, surrounded by regional park and estuaries, Wenderholm is the perfect little getaway. On the East Coast of New Zealand, the sea is very often completely flat. With minimal currents and little-to-no waves, Wenderholm makes for the perfect beach.
Other beaches of interest are Snells Beach and Omaha, even further North of Auckland… these two are again firm favourites of mine with Omaha being more of a surf beach due to some pretty huge waves. Or if you’re wanting something a little different, head to the rugged West Coast and dive down onto Murawai Beach. A black sand beach, famed for being another great surf location with some pretty dangerous seas, rough coastlines and of course, the black sand beach. I can’t talk about beaches without mentioning Mangawhai Heads. Very North of Auckland, Mangawhai heads requires a full day out but trust me, it’s worth it. There’s a blog post >> HERE << all about it!
// Auckland – The Islands \\
Look out to sea in any given direction and you’re guaranteed to see some sort of an island. Whether it’s big, small, habitable or not, Auckland is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of tiny islands. The two main ones being Rangitoto Island and Waiheke Island. Rangitoto being an inhabited volcano sitting pretty, in ‘The Bays’ of the North Shore. Rangitoto was always one of the islands I remembered from when I came here as a child, as from my grandads lounge, Rangitoto completely frames the windows. There are plenty of boat trips and organisations that do day trips over to the islands, so it’s pretty accessible.
Then it’s Waiheke, famous for its wine, Waiheke island is a 40 minute boat ride from Devonport. A small island, giving you a taste of luxury, Waiheke makes for yet another perfect day out. Pack the swimmers and sun lotion because you’re in for a treat on Waiheke. Giving you a taste of island life, jump on the bus and head to one of the many beaches. Take a break from the midday sun and grab lunch in a beachside restaurant, watch the day go by and soak up that island atmosphere.
Top Tip: When using the bus service on Waiheke, don’t use the tourist buses… use the local ones. They’re much quicker and a lot cheaper!
// Auckland – The Food \\
And then it comes to what some people would argue is the best bit, the food. I think it’s fair to say New Zealand isn’t famed for it’s ‘great food’. By no means does it have a reputation for having bad food, I just don’t think many people talk about the food quality in New Zealand. Well, I’m going to talk about it right now. NEW. ZEALAND. FOOD. IS. EPIC! I can hand on heart say, I’ve not had a bad meal since I’ve been here. And that includes 2 weeks on a road trip where we ate out A LOT. The food here is absolutely incredible. Great ingredients, full of flavour and what’s even better, it’s at a great price! There are so many places to eat out, I just couldn’t name them all.
Orewa, in the North Shore of Auckland is a great town to head to if you’re wanting some great food. With breakfast places flooding the town, I would highly recommend you head out for brunch in Orewa. Wanting something a little more fancy? You’ve got places like Takapuna and The City you can head to and fill your boots. In all honesty, wherever you go in Auckland… or New Zealand for that matter, the food is going to be excellent!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on a city guide. Giving you an insight into what I love about this incredible city and giving you a few ideas on what to do if you come here. The possibilities really are endless for Auckland and yes, although the rest of New Zealand is absolutely stunning… I think you’d be a fool to skip out on Auckland.
| By Harrison |