Auckland

Naomi Lai
Feb 7
Auckland is home to New Zealand's major International Airport. Chances are, if you're visiting New Zealand at all, your journey will take you here. Luckily, there's tons to do in and around the city!
Take a Book or Leave a Book at Remedy
The cutest little cafe you'll ever see

This is my favourite cafe in the world. They make killer lattes, have a good selection of teas, the food is quality, the free wi-fi is flawless, and there is a vintage pac-man arcade game in the corner. What more could one want? I traded Leaving Las Vegas for another book on the shelf – let me know if you find it! 

Relax on the Beach
But wear your sunscreen!

The ozone layer in this part of the world has depleted so much, that it's said you can burn within 7 minutes of exposure. So get some 50SPF and protect yourself. The beach is a short bus ride from the city centre, and will cost you about $8 return. It's a nice area for swimming, and there are lots of bars/restaurants where you can enjoy a drink or some lunch. It's an enjoyable afternoon trip, but especially if you don't want to get burnt, I wouldn't stay too long. 

Enjoy a Craft Pint
and some people watching!

Wander down Queen St. and duck into this charming cobble stone side street for a pint. Vulture’s Lane (One of the bars on Vulcan Lane, confusing, I know) has a great variety of craft beers to choose from, and a small patio for people watching out front.

Skip the Sky Tower
Okay, so maybe I'm biased.

I’m from Toronto where we have the CN Tower, which looks suspiciously like Auckland’s tallest skyline feature. But here’s the thing, it’s $30 to get in and I just think there’s so much more you can do with that money in this city. See below. 

Go for a Hike
To the top of a volcano!

For $33 you can get a round-trip ferry ticket to Rangitoto and hike up a dormant volcano. Re: why I say forget about the Sky Tower. The hike to the top is beautiful and lined with volcanic rocks, is easy, and will only take you about an hour or so. Once you’re up there you’ll be treated to 360 degree views and can take a peek into the now tree-covered crater. There are no shops or restaurants on the island so be sure to pack accordingly. *Bring lots of water and sunscreen!

Bonus: If you’re okay with taking the early morning 7:30 ferry, the ticket is even cheaper! 

Eat and Drink Port-Side

The viaduct is an area of Auckland with lots of bars and restaurants to choose from. It's also a nice place to take an evening stroll and marvel at all the boats an yachts in the port. I spent a couple hours on the patio at The Provedor and had a great time! There are many bars around for you to pop into if you want to turn it into a pub crawl. 

Rent a Car!

Auckland is difficult to maneuver without wheels, but the beaches and sights outside the city centre are more than worth it. The drive to Piha is only about an 30km, but will take you an hour due to the windy roads. It's a beautiful drive, and an even more beautiful beach. 

Piha Rescue
Reality shows will film anything these days, eh? 

The beach is great for surfers, but the ocean is not kind here. The area is so dangerous that New Zealand has managed to carry 11 whole seasons of a TV show called Piha Rescue, literally just dedicated to following the life guard team as they save surfers and swimmers swept out to sea. Please be careful and know your limits, unless you want your 15 minutes of fame to be you drenched and almost drowning.
Maybe just dip your toes. 

Climb Lion's Rock
No lions live there, though. 

You can climb some easy steps to the almost-top of a gigantic rock in the middle of the beach. It provides you with a great vantage point to take in the natural wonders of this country. 

Enjoy a Craft Pint
You've earned it.

After a long day in the sun, head to Brothers Beers for a cool atmosphere, patio or indoor lounge area, and cool selection of craft beers. There's something for every beer lover. The patio features a view of the Sky Tower, which looks best when lit up at night.