I have been living in Auckland for almost seven months, sampling some of the best the city has to offer. I thought it would be good to capture some of the best in a 24-hour itinerary. I started thinking about this as we have had some visitors with limited time in Auckland, and they always ask for advice on what to see & do. This was a difficult task to do, as there are many places that I could not fit into the itinerary. I think I have covered off some of the best though.
I am planning to make these itineraries a regular feature of my Colours of New Zealand blog – as I become more familiar with the major centres of New Zealand.
Breakfast in Ponsonby
Ponsonby is one of the most trendy suburbs in Auckland, and Ponsonby Road is home to many of the best restaurants, bars and cafes. It is also home to great shopping for fashion and homewares. This is a great spot to start your 24 hours in Auckland. I would recommend heading directly to Ponsonby Central and enjoy a great breakfast at Foxtrot Parlour. Another great spot is the cafe Dizengoff, which has great coffee and baked goods. Enjoy breakfast but don’t get too comfortable Mt Eden awaits.
Climb Mt Eden
Mt Eden is the closest volcano, of the 50 that make up the Auckland volcanic field, to the CBD. It is a bit of a rite of passage for Aucklanders, as almost any morning you will find people climbing it to take in the views (and raise their heart beat). It is a fairly easy walk up, if you take your time. But the views of the CBD are worth the effort. The cratser at the top of it, while not the largest, is a reminder of the power of mother nature.
Crepes at the French Market in Parnell
Having worked off breakfast, climbing Mt Eden, it’s now time to visit the French Markets in Parnell, an institution in Auckland. Here you can find all types of fresh produce. A regular for me on a Sunday morning is coffee and crepes with sugar and lemon juice. If you are not hungry for more food, just take in the atmosphere, grab a coffee and head to the Parnell Rose garden just down the road for a meander around the gardens.
Note the French Market is open on Saturday & Sundays only.
Waiheke Island for Lunch & Wine Tasting
With Parnell down, head directly to the Auckland Ferry terminal and get the ferry to Waiheke Island. It is a 45 minute trip, and there are ferries leaving every half hour. The trip itself is fantastic, sit back and enjoy the views back to Auckland CBD, the seaside town of Devonport and also take in the volcano island Rangitoto. Arriving at the Waiheke wharf you can see why this place is so special, the idylic green hills and blue water are magical. You can get a taxi from the wharf and head up to Cable Bay Vineyard, I would recommend booking ahead to ensure a table is waiting for you when you arrive. If you haven’t booked, and the weather is good I think the bean bags on the grass can’t be beat. Sample some of the wines at the cellar door before sitting down to a ploughman’s style lunch of bread, olives, cured meats and antipasto. A perfect casual lunch, with a perfect view.
Take your time, and after lunch walk the coastal path back to the ferry wharf – don’t worry it’s all down hill!!
After you arrive back at the Auckland ferry terminal, walk straight up Queen Street and head to the iconic Skytower. You literally cannot miss it, as it dominates the city skyline. A short elevator ride later and you will have Auckland city at your feet. Skytower is the perfect place to take in views of the city and watch the sunset.
For dinner I would recommend Cassia which is Sid Sahrawat’s modern Indian restaurant. Cassia has been listed in Metro magazine as one of Auckland’s best restaurants. I was lucky enough to eat at Cassia before this article was published and completely agree. There is no traditional beef vindaloo here – instead delicious interpretations on Indian food. Definitely check out Cassia, but you will have to book in advance. This is the perfect spot to end the day in Auckland. Relax and enjoy!