Auckland, New Zealand is the biggest city in the country, at 1.5 million people, which admittedly doesn’t say much. The city stretches across a narrow peninsula at the top of the North Island, one of only a few cities in the world that has harbours on two major bodies of water (the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.)
7:00 am: Wake up in your hotel and enjoy a coffee on your balcony while looking out over the Waitemata Harbour. Head up to Ortolana, in the Britomart, for a scrumptious breakfast and steaming flat white in their sunny conservatory.
9:30 am: Take the ferry across to Waiheke Island for a walk around some of New Zealand’s vineyards and a wine tasting.
12:00pm: Bask in the sunshine as you enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the wineries, overlooking the vineyard. Before leaving, pick up a bottle of wine to take with you on your kayaking adventure. Return to the city by ferry.
3:30pm: Make your way to St. Helier’s Wharf to meet your sea kayaking guide from Auckland Sea Kayaks. You’ll kayak out to Rangitoto, the city’s extinct island volcano just across the harbour. After an energetic kayak and a one-hour hike to the summit, you come back to the beach for a barbeque, Kiwi-style. Your kayak back to the city will be under the stars and the dazzling city lights.
10:30pm: Arrive back in Auckland and head to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
8:00am: Sleep in a little – you earned it!
9:00am: Stop at Rosie, in Parnell, for a tasty and hearty breakfast before getting your day started with a long walk through the city to the Domain. This is the large park in the centre of the city. On any given day, you’ll find locals playing cricket or football, wandering the botanical gardens, or simply enjoying a sunny day. The Auckland War Memorial Museum is atop the hill and is definitely worth a visit.
10:00am: Explore the Auckland Museum (admission fees apply.) Part war memorial, part history, part geology and with a great kids interactive space, the museum is a really nice place to spend a morning.
12:00pm: Head back down the hill from the museum towards Parnell Road and grab a light lunch at Domain and Ayr. Their menu is organic and fresh and they just debuted some new dishes. If you’re more in the mood for something a little heartier, go further down Parnell Road to 46 & York.
2:00pm: Catch the LINK bus back into the city and visit the Sky Tower. This is Australasia’s tallest building and if you’re feeling daredevilish you can take a walk around the ledge or bungy jump off of it. Adventurous souls also may want to bungy from the Harbour Bridge, another AJ Hackett experience.
4:00pm: Feeling peckish? Grab a snack from the Food Truck Garage and sit by the water. If not, pick up a bike in the Wynyard Quarter and cruise the harbour.
6:00pm: Back at your hotel, relax in the sauna after your busy day or schedule a massage before your evening out.
8:00pm: Follow the waterfront back around into the Wynyard Quarter, where many Aucklanders have their sailboats. The area has expanded recently and boasts some delicious restaurants where you can enjoy the view across the harbour while dining on the dock.
11:00pm: If you’re still going strong, hit up one of the many late-night spots in the Wynyard Quarter or the Britomart.
Auckland is a beautiful city. With this two-day itinerary, you will have the chance to see much of the city and its surrounding islands.
Photo by Mikey Mack