Experiencing Auckland, New Zealand

Advisor - Rebecca Dangler
Curated By

Rebecca Dangler

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  • New Zealand

  • North Island

  • Auckland

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Foodie

  • Outdoors

  • Sightseeing

Advisor - Experiencing Auckland, New Zealand
Curator’s statement

For so many travelers, New Zealand is the trip of a lifetime. Visitors traverse the globe dreaming of otherworldly beaches and emerald green forests, but everything starts in Auckland. Before heading off to discover Aotearoa, spend at least 48-hours in AKL experiencing the local cuisine, contemporary design and your first taste of Kiwi culture.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Auckland

Hotel Fitzroy

Luxe rooms, free breakfast and a central location near Ponsonby Road make this an Auckland go-to for first-time visitors.

The Hotel Britomart

A luxe hotel and eco trailblazer close to all the sights and restaurants in Auckland.

The Convent

A community-focused Auckland boutique, with individually-designed rooms and a stunning Italian restaurant.

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Things to do in Auckland

Experiencing Auckland, New Zealand  - Things to do

District hopping

Sprawling across twin harbors, Auckland is spread through dozens of diverse neighborhoods. Ponsonby, Newmarket and the CBD are natural choices, but the true gems lie away from the city center. Stroll through districts like Grey Lynn, Devonport and Birkenhead for a true taste of Kiwi charm, including heritage architecture, boutique shopping and local eateries.

Culture trip

Design lovers won’t want to miss the Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tāmaki housing an extensive collection of 15,000 pieces, including Māori and Pacific art. More contemporary works can be found at local galleries Artspace Aotearoa and endemicworld. In the evening, head to Academy Cinemas for an indie flick in a friendly local setting.

Get the shot

Lush and photogenic, the Domain Wintergardens offer a vibrant backdrop for an afternoon picnic or impromptu photoshoot. On Auckland’s east side, the impressive Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple is worth the drive for stunning beauty and a bite at the healthy temple cafe. Silo Park also offers epic views, complete with super-yachts, urban art and industrial architecture to frame your photos.

Wine down

Just a 45 minute ferry ride from central Auckland, Waiheke Island offers world-renowned vineyards and tasting rooms. With over 20 wineries to choose from, there’s no shortage of great drops, but a few standouts include Te Motu, Casita Miro and Mudbrick – well known for having the best sunset views.

Get outdoors

The view from the top is always better! Skip the tourist throng at Sky Tower and head for Mount Eden / Maungawhau, an urban crater and the verdant site of Auckland’s highest volcano. A moderate walk to the summit rewards hikers with an incredible view of the city’s diverse architecture.

Further afield, the black sand landscape at Piha Beach is a surfer’s paradise close to the city center. This natural escape is about 20 minutes by car from the CBD.

Places to eat & drink in Auckland

Experiencing Auckland, New Zealand  - Places to eat & drink

Coffee & breakfast

Receptionist Coffee: Small but mighty, this coffee window serves some of the best brew in Auckland. Baristas pull exceptional flat whites, long blacks and more within close proximity to Auckland’s best museums, shopping and luxury hotels.

Lily Eatery: Come for the charming coastal atmosphere, stay for the morning cuppa (and good eats). Start your day with a quick ferry ride to Devonport, then stroll over to Lily’s for breakfast plates, smoothies and hot drinks.

Ozone Coffee Roasters: An airy, design-forward coffee shop serving all the standards – plus more specialty choices from the Brew Bar, like a V60 Guatemalan blend or Columbian siphon brew. Their sensational brunch menu is also a major draw.

Lunch & dinner

Gemmayze Street: Consider this essential eating. Named after Beirut's bohemian district, this Lebanese restaurant is tucked beneath the stained glass panels of St. Kevins Arcade. Luscious, plant-based mezze pair well with robust wines from Lebanon and Aotearoa.

Bar Céleste: One of Auckland’s hottest evening hubs, Bar Céleste is the place to be for Parisian-inspired plates with a party vibe. Neo-bistro fare, seasonal produce and natural wines are complemented by a cool-kid crowd. Linger until 10 pm and you might catch a DJ hitting the decks.

Gochu: Homestyle Korean classics are transformed into contemporary favorites at Gochu in Commercial Bay. The menu is filled with umami-rich temptations like pork XO noodles, spicy fried chicken and pillowy milk buns.


Caretaker: For after-hours entertainment with a human touch, head to Caretaker on Roukai Lane. A tiny green door marks this underground cocktail bar –  think NYC speakeasy garnished with some famous Kiwi hospitality.

Hotel Ponsonby: See and be seen at this sophisticated, European-inspired bistro. Aesthetically appealing, the heritage space was created by local design legends CTRL Space and offers a hard-hitting cocktail menu.

La Fuente Wine & Mezcal Shoppe: Lively and welcoming, this bar and bottle shop has an unmissable selection of wines and spirits. Grab a seat on the patio under the lush canopy for an al fresco evening to remember.

Need to Know

Getting around

While there is an easy-to-navigate tram running through the CBD, Parnell and Newmarket neighborhoods, most of Auckland metro is not accessible via public transportation. Prepare to rent a vehicle or Uber around the city.

When to visit

Here in the southern hemisphere, summer spans from December to February while winter includes June, July and August. Auckland weather is famously mild, so visit during any month that suits your fancy, but do bring a reliable umbrella for scattered showers. Average temperatures hover around 23°C (74°F) in the summer, and 14°C (57°F) in the winter.

Advisor - Rebecca Dangler

Travel Advisor

Rebecca Dangler

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