I recently had a chance to spend a layover in Auckland on my way to Samoa for a business trip (#toughlife I know). While I had the time, I extended my trip in New Zealand’s capital city and spent the weekend checking out Auckland's decidedly new hipster vibes.
Quick note - pretty much every Auckland ‘must do’ list was filled with activities outside of the central area and required a rental car. The list below is compiled of activities within the CBD proper, as I didn't really have the time to get outside the city.
Check out my travel recommendations below to catch a glimpse of how to make the most of your weekend in Auckland:
What to Do
- Fuller’s Ferry + Hop On/Hop Off Bus Pass - ($55 NZD) - One of the few negatives to Waiheke Island is the lack of walkability. There are great hiking trails available, but most are closed (or INCREDIBLY muddy) during the Winter months. It is vital you either a) rent a car and pick a designated driver, or b) purchase an on/off bus pass from Fuller’s. (You will also have free access to the public bus with your Fuller’s pass.) The pass stops at the major wineries, Onetangi Beach and the ferry.
- Wineries I Recommend:
- Te Motu - Excellent bar tenders really took the time to teach about the different labels and wines sold. ($20 NZD for tastings.)
- Stonyridge - Beautiful views. Taste portions available by the glass ($3 NZD). Excellent olive oil too.
- Cable Bay Vineyard - A must-see for the best winery views on the island - sea and vineyards. ($10 NZD for tastings.)
- Casita Miro - Funky winery on a hill that’s worth the steep climb to get there from Onetangi Beach. ($15 NZD for tastings.)
- Onetangi Beach - Gorgeous public beach frequented by the locals during the summer.
- Farmer’s Market in Britomart - Local market on Saturdays with few stalls intermingled between the usual Britomart stores. Great atmosphere.
- La Cigale Market in Parnell - Best way to spend a Sunday morning at this French-inspired market filled with morning eats and delicious coffees. HIGHLY recommend a stop by the Organic Mechanic kombucha stand.
- Odette’s Eatery - Gorgeous bar and restaurant in the CBD.
- Food Truck Garage - Your typical food truck options made healthy.
- Amano - One of those restaurants that is so beautiful, it makes the food taste better. Gorgeous stoneware and attention to detail creates an Instagrammable breakfast spot where the food lives up to the design. Also attached to
- Shaky Isles Coffee Shop - Quirky coffee shop in the Britomart area filled with locals and enough perk to get your day started.
- Winona Forever - I stumbled into Forever Winona by watching young Kiwis flock through their trendy doors in Parnell. Out of this world brunch items, full-service bakery, delicious coffee.
- Sofitel on the Viaduct Harbour - HIGHLY recommend this hotel. Central location, beautiful design, excellent service.
Only there for a weekend? Here’s how I would spend a weekend in Auckland:
- Check into the Sofitel Auckland Harbor
- Head out to Odette’s Eatery for a glass of wine + dinner
- For a night cap, hit the Harbor area (full of bars) and follow the music to suit your taste for the evening
- Breakfast at Amano
- Take the Waiheke Island Ferry from the Downtown Terminal
- Spend the day winery hopping
- Take the 6:00 PM ferry back to Auckland for a sunset water cruise
- If you’re up for it, grab dinner at dinner at Ortolana, just a short walk from the ferry terminal (...or grab Indian takeaway like I did ;))
- Sleep in after your long day at the vineyards
- Taxi over to the Le Cigale Market for breakfast, shopping, live music
- Grab an afternoon pick-me-up espresso and pastry at Winona Forever
- Walk back through the Britomart area for some light shopping
- Check out of hotel, and head home
Enjoy your time in NZ!