Words by Renae Robinson
Auckland is one of the perfect places to mix business with pleasure, with its stunning harbours, sophisticated dining, top shopping and adventurous experiences. Just about everything is at your hotel doorstep, or a short ferry ride away. Here are some tips on where to eat, stay and play in New Zealand’s largest city.
Where To Eat
Head to Ponsonby – which dubs itself Auckland’s hippest strip – for breakfast at Little Bird’s ‘Unbakery’ on Ponsonby Rd. The food is predominantly raw, organic and delicious. If the Acai Bowl doesn’t grab you, the Kimchi Pancake certainly will. Or, for a more traditional breakfast, the buffet at Rydges’ The CUT Restaurant on Federal Street in downtown Auckland is sure to please.
Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar, also in Federal Street, is good at any time of day. You cannot make reservations, so get there early if you’re in a big group. The philosophy is share and share alike, and the menu features big and small share plates – from Southern Fried Snapper Wings to Skirt Steak With Tobacco Onions. The wine list also features a good selection of NZ offerings.
The Britomart precinct in Central Auckland is the place to eat, drink and be merry. Ostro Brasserie & Bar, on the second floor of the Seafarers building, has sweeping views of Viaduct Harbour and a menu by celebrated Kiwi chef Josh Emett, featuring fresh seafood straight off the boat.
Or try the bustling Coco’s Cantina on Karangahape Road for rustic Italian. Bohemian ‘K Road’ is one of the main streets in the CBD, and boasts 100 eateries, from 5-star restaurants to cafes to food courts, so you can’t go wrong, really.
Where To Stay
The 4-star SKYCITY Hotel on the corner of Federal and Victoria streets is right by the iconic Sky Tower, and is close to more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as the SKYCITY Casino. Rooms have free Wi-Fi, and the East Day Spa is waiting to dissolve your stress.
Rydges Auckland Hotel, also on Federal Street, features free Wi-Fi, and is a short stroll from Viaduct Harbour, as well as High Street shops and high-end shopping destination The Chancery. Plus, there is that buffet breakfast we told you about.
Where To Play
The question is not where to play, but where to start? There are so many options for the business traveller, even with only 24 hours to play with.
In the downtown, check out the Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure (328 metres) in New Zealand, which features spectacular 360-degree views that stretch for kilometres. Take a walk around the open-air pergola at SkyWalk more than halfway up or take a leap of faith at SkyJump in a controlled 192-metre fall.
A few blocks away, the Auckland Ferry Terminal will whisk you to any number of delights, including the historic seaside village of Devonport (10 minutes), with its art galleries and white sand beaches, or Waiheke Island (35 minutes), with its wineries and vineyards.
For shoppers, there’s High Street and Chancery for high fashion and boutiques; Queen Street for luxury and chain-store brands; Parnell for designer decor and galleries; Takapuna for markets and fresh produce; K Road for staggering diversity; and, of course, Britomart.
For some night-time fun, head to Silo Park for outdoor movies in summer, as well as food stalls, live DJs and entertainment. Or in the cooler months try La Zeppa Kitchen & Bar for tasty bar snacks and wine around the fireplace, to the tunes of top local DJs.
* Images courtesy of Shutterstock