After exploring most of New Zealand’s natural landscape, we finally reached our last destination, Auckland. Known as “The City of Sails,” Auckland is a big city by the coast where many people go sailing and catch ferries to the surrounding islands. There’s lots to do, but we weren’t here very long and had to limit what we wanted to see and do as it was the end of our trip and had already blown through most of our budget. Here’s what we did.
Where to Stay: Ponsonby
We stayed in the Ponsonby neighborhood. We found a cute apartment on Airbnb owned by an older couple that was in the perfect spot. Ponsonby is a cute neighborhood I thought had a great hipster kind of vibe to it. Visit a few shops and stop for coffee and a snack.
How to Get Around: Inner Link Bus system
If you’re staying in Ponsonby, jump on the bus and go around the city. The Inner Link is the easiest way to get around Auckland. $2.50 a person and wait time is 10-15 minutes. The buses are clean and comfortable with AC.
Where to Go:
Visit the Sky Tower
The bus will drop you off right in front of the tower. Go to the very top to get a great view of the city and the coast. You can be a daredevil and walk along the outside of the very top of the tower, or go base jumping from the top! If that’s too adrenaline pumping for you, then stay and eat at one of the restaurants at the top and just enjoy the view.
Along the harbor go to Britomart for designer boutiques and eateries. You’ll find high end designers like Chanel and New Zealand designers like Juliette Hogan. Lounge around in the green space on the bean bags to relax and people watch.
This isn’t the best aquarium I’ve been to. It’s old and could use a few renovations. If you have kids this, would be perfect. There was one thing that attracted me to this place. PENGUINS! Book in advance the penguin discovery experience and you will go inside behind the scenes to learn about the penguins and get up close on the ice with Gentoo and King Penguins.
Go to the Beach
There are a few beaches that are just a stones throw away from the city. One of them is at Mission Bay. Here there is golden sand and green space to lay on and a promenade for shopping and eating. There are trees for shade where you can easily put up a hammock, like we did.
If you love art, go to this museum with free entry. It’s open 10am-5pm Mon-Fri.
Learn about New Zealand and the Maori Culture here. Try to catch the Maori cultural performance here if you haven’t seen one yet.
Viaduct/ Harbor front
Stroll along the harbor and look at the many sailboats parked in the marina or grab a ferry and go out to one of the island for a day or few. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants for some seafood and watch the sunset. Stop at one of the souvenir stores and sample some manuka honey. You’ll see this stuff everywhere, in everything. Manuka Honey has been used as an antibacterial and for many other health reasons. Hence, the high prices.
What to Eat:
Located a block away from Britomart, this place had inexpensive, delicious food in a Japanese atmosphere. We ate the food so fast that we didn’t even take a picture.
Get some ice cream
In the Viaduct Harbor area we grabbed some ice cream as it was hot in the afternoon.
Try one of many of the fancy desserts in Miann , located in Britomart.
If you’re in the Ponsonby area try one of the cafes there for breakfast. At Dizengoff they have a delicious salmon benedict.
And that’s a wrap! I hope when you guys go to Auckland you’ll have more time than us to see this city than we did. There’s lots to see and do that we wish we could’ve done. There’s always next time…