Auckland is one of New Zealand’s most interesting cities, with vibrant nightlife, beautiful islands, food, arts and culture. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, the skyline view is absolutely iconic.
Also called Tāmaki Makaurau, the city boasts volcanoes, beaches, delicious wines and a true melting pot of different cultures. While many people use the city as a stopover, if you don’t experience it you’ll definitely be missing out. If you only have 48 hours to spend in Auckland, here’s what you need to do.
6 p.m. DISCOVER EIGHT KITCHENS
Perfect for those travellers who can’t make up their mind when it comes to food, Eight Restaurant on Symonds Street has something for everyone. This famous buffet-style restaurant has recently been revamped to allow greater capacity, and boasts an interactive dining experience. You’ll find vastly different cuisines, ranging from Chinese, Indian, Italian, Japanese to American, and patrons go wild for the abundance of fresh, New Zealand seafood.
Many dishes are cooked to order in front of diners, adding a splash of excitement to your meal. Vegans and vegetarians don’t need to worry about finding something to eat, as the restaurant offers many options, such as ‘boar-free bacon’ and vegan sausages. Make sure you leave room for dessert, as the two giant chocolate fountains are definitely worth waiting for. On Friday, adults are $129pp, children aged 5-12 half price, and little ones under four are free.
8 p.m MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE
Whether you’re a business traveller, or want somewhere family-friendly, Cordis Auckland caters to all needs. Their latest luxury offering, the new 17-storey Pinnacle Tower has some of the best views in the city. Check out the Harbour Bridge, Rangitoto and the Sky Tower from the comfort of your own room. Designed with families and groups in mind, the rooms feature inter-connecting options as well as comfortable beds and stylish details. For those big spenders, there’s an option to stay on the top floor in the Chairman Suite. Relax on your private balcony with a fire pit and revel in Auckland’s city lights. The hotel uses dynamic pricing, but a Premier Skyline room will set you back around $450 per night.
9 p.m. NEW ZEALAND IN A GLASS
For a true taste of Aotearoa, head to the Kiwi bar which stocks only locally sourced drinks. Our Land Is Alive is the flagship bar in Cordis Auckland, showcasing New Zealand-made spirits, wines, craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks. The mixologists make their own syrups and bitters, resulting in incredible cocktails. New Zealand is well known for its award-winning wines and bold craft beers, but over the past few years, there has been a resurgence in locally distilled spirits. Try the Little Biddy Gin — filled with local, foraged ingredients and distilled on New Zealand’s West Coast. If you get a chance, have a taste of Little Biddy’s rare ‘Snow’ gin, which can only be made when snow falls in Reefton.
07.30 a.m. BREAKFAST WITH A VIEW
Auckland is known as the City of Sails for good reason, and where better to grab a bite than a cafe showcasing Auckland’s skyline and boating culture. Make your way to Buoy in the Ponsonby Cruising Club Inc, for delicious breakfast fare while taking in the view. Placed just below the Auckland Harbour Bridge, this spot is also a great place for sunrise or sunset if you want to slot that in during your weekend. The cafe has reasonable prices, with their dishes ranging from $9-$22.
9.30 a.m. RELAX AND REVITALISE
There’s a reason that the Chuan Spa nestled in Cordis Auckland is one of the most popular wellness retreats in the city. Inspired by the five elements and traditional Chinese medicine, get ready to be pampered and relax. You can find typical treatments here, such as massage, facials, scrubs and more — plus gain access to facilities such as saunas, snail showers, pools and an ice experience. The spa is a proud recipient of the Luxury Day Spa award in the World Luxury Spa Awards 2019, so it won’t disappoint.
11.30 a.m. TREAT YOURSELF
For a leisurely lunch, you could try Cordis Auckland’s high tea offering in the stunning Chandelier Lounge. The hotel uses beautiful round trays to display the food, with each item perfectly crafted. You can expect items such as a delicious selection of sandwiches, sweet and savoury bite-sized treats and of course, scones. Pairing the dishes with a wide selection of TWG tea, their offering is bound to suit even the fussiest traveller. There’s also a completely vegan option which can be hard to find elsewhere. The sittings run for two hours and the cost is reasonable, just $75pp on the weekend.
2.30 p.m. AUCKLAND FROM ABOVE
The most recognisable part of Auckland’s skyline is definitely the Sky Tower. Sitting at 328 metres, it’s the one thing you won’t want to skip. Providing a 360˚ view of New Zealand’s largest city, you can see up to 80km in every direction. For those feeling a little more adventurous, you can opt for the SkyWalk or SkyJump. The SkyWalk involves walking around the 1.2-metre wide platform while 192 metres high, with just a harness keeping you safe. The SkyJump provides a rush like no other, as you fall 192 metres straight down at speeds of up to 85kph. Entry to the viewing platforms only is $32 for adults, $13 for children aged 6-14, and free for kids under five. The SkyWalk costs $150 pp, and SkyJump $225, but they often have discounts on their website.
6.00 p.m. ALL BLACKS
If you can, opt to see a Rugby Union game while you’re in the city. The All Blacks are one of the best sports teams in the world, and Eden Park is their home ground. The team haven’t lost a game at the stadium since 1994, and the atmosphere Kiwis bring to the ground is not to be missed. Pricing can vary, and since it’s such a popular sport in New Zealand you need to make sure you book in advance. If the team aren’t playing a game while you’re in town, consider checking out the Eden Park tour earlier in the afternoon. Tours are conducted at 2pm on weekends, and it gives visitors an opportunity to walk the players' tunnel. Adults are $30, children 12 and under are $15 or you can grab a family pass. Alternatively, there’s also a brand new All Blacks Experience on Federal Street in the CBD. The family can learn what it takes to be an All Black, and offers an interactive zone where you can test your rugby skills. Adults are $45, children 6-14 years are $25 and the little ones under six are free.
8 a.m. EXPERIENCE KIWI ART
Cordis Auckland is home to one of the largest private collections of New Zealand art. Even if you aren’t a guest, all visitors to the city are invited to take a free art tour of the building. Simply ask the concierge if you can see the collection, and you can be guided or simply scan QR codes that send audio files to your device for a self-guided tour. The hotel sits on land owned by Māori tribe Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, and has taken great care to incorporate three principles: Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship of the land, Te Whai Ao – the light before dawn and The Manawa line – or the heart line that connects and unites us all. The collection features art from the local Iwi as well as famous artists such as Raukura Turei, Lonnie Hutchinson and Amanda Gruenwald.
9.30 a.m A TOUCH OF FRANCE
The city is well known for having great cafes and delicious food, so why not mix it up and opt for some French sweets? At the bottom of the CBD you’ll find Britomart, which has become a trendy area for locals. Grab a bite from La Petite Fourchette, the product of French-Kiwi couple Natalie and Romain Le Gal. Mimicking a 'Boulangerie-Pâtisserie’ straight from France, you’ll find a range of savoury and patisserie items. Try the chocolate croissants, made by hand each morning from their Ponsonby bakery. There’s also a dedicated brunch menu and even some vegan options.
11 a.m AN ISLAND ESCAPE
For a change of pace, hop on one of Auckland’s ferries to Waiheke Island. Not only is it a scenic 40-minute boat ride with a view of the city’s skyline, but you’ll also be heading to one of the top island escapes in the world. There are a raft of activities you can do on the island, with some beautiful hikes, cycle trails and zip-lining for those more adventurous. What Waiheke is really known for, however, is wine. Head to Tantalus Estate to have a tipple with a sensational meal — their executive chef Gideon Landman is currently in the running for New Zealand’s Chef Of The Year. Take note of the unique light fixtures which are made with the winery’s old Sauvignon Blanc vines before they switched to growing Chardonnay. The fixtures took two years to make and hold 4,000 LED lights. There’s a more laid-back snack menu to pair with a range of their wines and beer, with fresh bread, truffle fries, New Zealand cheeses and desserts. If you’re interested in trying a more substantial meal, opt for a 2, 3, or 4-course set menu. The 4-course menu costs $138/pp but comes with a complimentary glass of Tantalus Methode Traditionnelle.
5 p.m ONE LAST SWEET
Before heading to the airport, you have to try one of Giapo’s famous ice-creams. Their slogan is ‘normal ice cream is boring’, and their flavours are anything but that. The sweet kitchen rotates specials, and even offers show-stopping items such as the ‘Colossal Squid’ — shaped like the record-breaking squid that currently sits in Wellington’s museum Te Papa. The shop has always used local ingredients in its creations, and has been known to accept fruit from customers in exchange for ice cream. Depending on what’s in stock, classic Kiwi flavours like Hokey Pokey or Afghan Cookies are bound to be a hit.
Yahoo Lifestyle was a guest of Cordis Auckland in July.
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