What do you get when you combine San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle? Psshh this is easy guys, Auckland. This magnificent city, located on the North Island of New Zealand, has the business/foodie vibe of San Francisco, the outdoorsy/coffee scene of Seattle, and most definitely the friendly laid back vibe of San Diego. Auckland encompasses my favorite things from each of my favorite cities. What more could you ask for? We spent a total of 3 days in Auckland during our road trip, and we seriously considered getting a refund for our return ticket home and just staying there. Maybe next time.
Things you must do while in Auckland…
Head to Viaduct Harbour for a hearty breakfast at one of the restaurants tucked in between the docks and yachts. Then go back for lunch…and dinner! There are plenty of places to sit and watch the boats sail in and out. The harbour contains old sea trains and shipping yard equipment that have been turned into works of art. Walk through the harbour and look at all the recycled art sculptures hidden around. Stop at the tiny harbour library and read a book. At happy hour, find a dockside bar to watch the sunset. For dinner, get dressed up and make a reservation at one of the nice seafood restaurants.
Meander down to the ferry building to buy tickets to Waiheke Island. This is a must!! The island is a short ferry ride away and was strongly recommended to us by several friends who have visited New Zealand. Plan on doing a wine tour of the island. We bought the Wine Hopper Pass at the ferry building and it was incredible. Basically, you get off the ferry once you reach the island and get onto the Wine Hopper Bus. It will take you to the various wineries on the island and you can get on and off as many times as you want. The perfect way to drink the day away and take in the views from the gorgeous wineries perched atop of the island’s hills.
Walk or taxi to Ponsonby Road. If you like food, no scratch that, if you LOVE food you have to go here. The street is by the university and consists of lovely restaurants, foodie stalls, and funky boutique shops. We had lunch here and ate some infamous meat pies. We also ate some wraps bursting with flavor from Fatimas. We might have gone to Rocket Kitchen next door and had some pie afterwards. Oh and then we came back to Mekong for a Vietnamese dinner. The food was spot on and our bellies were happy.
Hike Mt. Eden. This is just one of the many volcanoes that make up the city of Auckland. Yes, Auckland sits on top of many volcanoes. It is just that bad ass. Do this hike towards the end of your stay in Auckland so you can reminisce on the good times this city has given you and take in the view.