Auckland is the hub of New Zealand, and at this time of year it’s crawling with explorers keen to enjoy the unrivaled beauties that this country has to offer. Here are ten top ideas to get you started and catapult you into some summer fun.
OGLE THE ISLANDS FROM AUCKLAND’S SKY TOWER OBSERVATION DECK
SkyCity is proudly the ‘heart of the city’ and the Sky Tower is the peak of our beautiful horizon. Getting up to the observation deck only costs $29 for adults and the view is magnificent; you can’t beat looking out at the islands in the Hauraki Gulf on a good day. There’s also a rotating restaurant if you fancy staying for longer and looking out at the Harbour Bridge with a mouthful of delicious fine-dining.
SLOW LIVING AT NORTH WHARF AND WATERFRONT PRECINCT
If sitting in the hot sun by the sparkly blue water with a morning coffee watching the world go by sounds like your cup of Sunday Morning, then North Wharf is where you need to be. Its pedestrian tranquillity offers hours of casual people-watching, plus unrushed activity from the big ferries docking. Over the afternoon, coffees turn to craft beers and wines, and it’s just as beautiful at 9pm as 9am.
LIME SCOOTER ALONG TAMAKI DRIVE’S BAYS
Tamaki Drive has some of the world’s best city beaches.Here you can stop at Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium in Okahu Bay, or continue along to Mission Bay, the most sought out beach along this coastal road. Sea, beach, grass, and shops where you can grab ice cream and fish & chips, or change out of your togs and chill out at the Belgium Beer Café. Further along Tamaki Drive is Kohimarama Bay (good for swimming) and St Heliers right at the end, with less busy cafes and a great bakery.
WEST COAST ROADIE FOR THE ALBATROSS AND SUNSET
If you’ve got enough time (and wheels!) for a day trip from Auckland, drive the 40kms out to Muriwai Beach on the West Coast. Its black, volcanic sand will stick to your feet like nowhere else and the crashing grey waves give you a bit more action than the calmer, blue ones on the East Coast. You can walk up the headland for a spectacular view out over the cliffs and the Albatross Colony that nests up there. It’s a peaceful day-out and pretty remote – just take supplies with you and be a Tidy Kiwi! (Always find bins or take your rubbish home).
PICNIC AND PLANTS IN THE AUCKLAND DOMAIN
This inner-city park is perfect relief from the surrounding hustle and bustle. Lots of events are held here, and at midday, young professionals run around the outskirts on a lunchtime jog. Lace up your shoes and join them or just relax over a picnic and a read under a tree. It’s close to Parnell and walkable from Queen Street and is home to some lovely winter gardens, as well as…
AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM – IMMERSE YOURSELF!
This is an impressive building that perches on the peak of the Domain with a view of Rangitoto Island, the volcano in the Hauraki Gulf. With changing exhibitions and fully interactive experiences, the program will undoubtedly help you to learn about Auckland and New Zealand’s history. It’s in the heart of the city and wants you to know about it, so stop on by and soak up some knowledge. Check it out here.
DRESS TO IMPRESS FOR PONSONBY CENTRAL’S VIBE
Ponsonby is a notoriously trendy suburb with hip cafes and bars lining the main strip, Ponsonby Road. Clusters of eateries nest together in Ponsonby Central, a place you’ll walk into and want to stay awhile to absorb it all. The music, the menus, the vibrancy and the diversity will have you trying everything at different bars, tables, chairs… and having a blast while you do it. You could go every night of the week and still have a different experience.
HOT CHOCOLATES AND BADASS RACERS AT WESTERN SPRINGS SPEEDWAY
With events on fortnightly throughout the summer season, the Speedway is a great bit of fun for everyone in Auckland – visitors and residents alike! Join the wheel action and watch as the drivers race around the circuit in pursuit of a win. Different events mean different vehicles, and different stakes! Bring a blanket and grab a hot chocolate to snuggle up and embrace the atmosphere.
WANDER AMONG THE VINEYARDS ON WAIHEKE ISLAND
The ferry ride to Waiheke from Auckland’s beautiful Ferry Terminal building only takes 45 minutes – and then you’re in a paradise of beaches, remote serenity and lots and lots of wine. Come for lunch and a walk, wine and a stroll, or have that good conversation with your loved one that you haven’t found time for yet. Waiheke is a great place to unwind and have a more chilled day-out this summer, in between all of the adventuring. You can even stay for a few days if you like…
GRAB A MAP FOR ORIENTEERING IN DUDER REGIONAL PARK!
For another day trip option, head out East to Duder Regional Park. This headland is a quiet haven of grasses, birds, sheep, cows and walkers. The best bit…? There’s an orienteering course, all completely free. Just take a pen (and some sandwiches!) with you, grab a map at the gate on arrival and hit the track running for that first marker! It’s a great family or couple activity – depending on how competitive you are –and can take a few hours or all day if you want it to. If you want to get in the fields amongst the sheep of NZ for that quintessential Kiwi snap, this is a great place to do it.
To discover more travel recommendations from young travellers…