Auckland, New Zealand is one of the best places to spend a day. It’s big enough that your day will be full of activities and interesting sights, but not so big that you will feel overwhelmed. As ever, try and get a flight that will allow you to arrive the night before, so that you can spend the next day exploring the city after a good night’s sleep. In addition, everything is quite close together, so walking is the perfect way to experience the city.
Stay the night at the Hotel DeBrett, a luxurious hotel with art-deco inspirations in the heart of the CBD.
Get dressed and head down to a delightful breakfast in the hotel’s dining room. If you’re not in the mood to head down quite yet, the hotel has excellent room service and the staff will be delighted to serve your breakfast in your room.
Take a stroll down to St. Patrick’s cathedral. Built in the 19th-century, this cathedral has an elegant, if austere charm, and is well worth a visit.
Next up, amble along to the New Zealand Maritime Museum. It’s a gorgeous museum with a number of fascinating displays, and could easily take up your whole day. Sadly, if you get there by 10:00, you will only have an hour and a half to enjoy it before it’s time for the next stop.
Hop aboard for a one-hour tour on the Ted Ashby, a heritage scow exactly like the ones that used to ply the waves around Auckland in the 19th century. Remember to book ahead, because the Ted Ashby tour is very popular.
You’re probably starving by now, so head on over to The Crab Shack, a truly excellent seafood restaurant that is conveniently located just around the corner from the museum and offers a selection of amazing wines, charming ambiance, and some of the most delicious seafood this side of heaven.
Tear yourself away from the Crab Shack and tackle the gentle stroll over to the Kura Gallery. This gallery displays beautiful examples of Maori art from established and upcoming artists, and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. While you’re on your way there, though, make a note of Freddy’s Ice House, a remarkable bar where everything – down to the glasses – is made of ice. You’ll want to remember where it is if you plan on partying later!
Head on over to The Cloud, Auckland’s answer to the Sydney Opera House. Completed in 2011, this remarkable, beautiful structure is always the site of some event or other. If you do manage to catch it on a quiet day – which is not very likely – you will be able to enjoy its beautiful views of the Waitemata Harbour in peace.
Depending on the time of year, it might start to get dark around now. Grab a taxi or take a stroll over to the Sky Tower. If you’re in time for the sunset you will be treated to a magnificent view of the sun setting over the city from the top of the iconic 60-story structure. If you’ve missed the sunset, don’t despair! The city lights of Auckland are truly magnificent and definitely worth it. While you’re here, you might want to have dinner.
Dinner at Orbit 360˚ Dining, the restaurant at level 50 of the Sky Tower. This popular restaurant rotates slowly, ensuring that you will have the best possible view of all aspects of Auckland.
Catch a show at the Civic Theatre. This classic 2 000-seat theatre was first opened in 1929, and was recently restored. It offers a wide selection of excellent shows. It’s best to book beforehand, since many shows at the Civic sell out months in advance, and try to time leaving dinner so that you will have enough time to collect your tickets before the show begins.
After your show, you may want to head out and experience the nightlife of Auckland. While not as overwhelming as that of many other cities, Auckland has a few delights for the club enthusiast. One popular destination is the ever-chilly Freddy’s Ice House we mentioned earlier, where the walls and décor are all made of ice, and which we heartily recommend visiting.
Once you’ve had your fill of parties, head on back to the hotel – we really recommend getting a taxi just this once – for a good night’s sleep before you head off.
- 2 High St, Auckland, 1010
- 41-43 Wyndham St, Auckland, 1010,
- New Zealand Maritime Museum, Corner Quay Street and Hobson Street, Auckland, 1010
- The Crab Shack, 137 Quay St, Auckland, 1010
- Kura Gallery, PWC Tower, 188 Quay Street (Lower Albert Street), Central Auckland 1010
- The Cloud, 89 Quay Street, Auckland 1010
- Sky Tower - Victoria St W & Federal St, Auckland, 1010
- The Civic, Queen Street & Wellesley Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand