New Zealand’s biggest city is a cosmopolitan metropolis built around the glittering waters of the Waitemata Harbour. Home to thousands of yachts, from tiny trailer-sailers to multi-million dollar super-yachts, Auckland’s nickname of “The City of Sails” is well-deserved. The nearby Hauraki Gulf is Auckland’s back yard, and the city revels in its proximity to the sea. Aucklanders love dining out and the city is crammed with superb restaurants. Its 5-star hotels take opulence and service to new heights yet still retain that friendly, casual attitude that Kiwis are famous for. Many of the city’s luxury hotels are clustered around the Viaduct Basin and you can step out of your door into a world of chic cafés and bars, right on the water’s edge. Nothing can beat sipping a glass of chilled South Island Sauvignon Blanc to the sound of haliards and downhauls tapping against the masts of moored yachts. Further afield, you can explore the forest-clad hills of the Hunua Ranges and the wild West Coast beaches such as Kare Kare and Piha. Escape your crowded house for a holiday on the shimmering shoreline of Auckland in one of our featured hotels below:
Despite popular belief, Auckland is a vibrant, exciting city that you will want to leave your luxury hotel to explore. Auckland offers plenty of fun activities, stunning scenery, and fine-dining experiences. Here are seven fun things to do and see during your time in Auckland.
1. Dine with a view at the Sky Tower
Sky City is one of the city’s most popular attractions, consisting of an observation deck (the Sky Tower), three hotels, over a dozen restaurants and bars, and even a casino! No matter how short your Auckland trip is, make time for an evening out at Sky City. While many of the restaurants here are fabulous, the rotating Orbit restaurant is the most unique. Located at the top of the Sky Tower, it gives 360-degree views of the city as the restaurant completes a full rotation every hour. This means you get a panoramic dining experience without even leaving your table. Plus, the kiwi-inspired à la carte menu is just as sensational as the view.
2. Scenic Helicopter Tour
For even more impressive views of the city, take to the sky by helicopter. These scenic tours not only soar over the city skyline but also over the nearby dormant volcano. For an extra taste of luxury, you can book a champagne sunset tour where you can enjoy the changing colours of the sky with a glass of bubbly in hand.
3. Enjoy a high tea harbour cruise
For a memorable afternoon and unique dining experience, book the high tea harbour cruise. As you enjoy a leisurely cruise around Waitemata Harbour, you’ll indulge in a classic high tea, including finger sandwiches, savouries and cakes, along with bottomless tea. There’s also the option to include a glass of champagne so you can toast to your Auckland vacation.
4. Explore the beaches and vineyards of Waiheke
Waiheke island not only boasts gorgeous white sandy beaches. It is also known as New Zealand’s ‘Island of Wine’ as it is home to many award-winning wineries. Plus, it’s only a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, so it makes for a splendid day trip. Spend your morning on Waiheke beach hopping. Onetangi beach is the most extensive stretch of sand on the island and is great for water activities. Then, in the afternoon, go wine tasting at Cable Bay, Kennedy Point, and Mudbrick.
5. Bungee Jump from the top of Sky Tower
Queenstown legends AJ Hackett have brought their adventure spirit to Auckland, offering fun, adrenaline-filled activities. SkyJump allows you to leap off the Sky Tower with a stomach-turning 192m drop! If you’re not courageous enough for that, you can do the SkyWalk instead. With a full-body harness and overhead safety lines, you can walk around the 1.2-meter wide platform at the top of the tower.
6. Stargaze at Stardome Observatory & Planetarium
For an alternative but memorable evening, visit Stardome Observatory & Planetarium. In the observatory, you can gaze up into space through their huge telescopes. Then you can lay back and enjoy the planetarium show, which is a mesmerizing and profoundly relaxing experience. These shows run every night of the week except Mondays.
7. Dine at Auckland’s most exclusive restaurant
The fine-dining restaurant Pasture is the city’s most exclusive restaurant, which offers an almost private dining experience. This small independent restaurant purposely has just 20 seats to ensure every diner receives the highest-quality food and service possible. The restaurant serves one tasting menu specially curated for the season. Every dish is paired with wine or other alcoholic drinks. However, Pasture does not accommodate vegetarians or any dietary requirements. Instead, they offer an ‘eat what you are served’ approach, with complete confidence that you will love every dish. Therefore, if you’re someone who eats anything, you will have a fantastic evening at Pasture.