What I love about Auckland city is that you are never too far away from either the water of the harbour and nature. Like my home town of Sydney, Auckland has an abundance of Harbour foreshore walks that feature stunning views of the city and native flora.
Little Shoal Bay is such a spot. Just a short 15 minute drive north of Auckland city, across the Harbour Bridge (something else Auckalnd has in common with Sydney). Little Shoal Bay is a short walk down from the popular Birkenhead shopping strip where there are plenty of cafes & restaurants to explore.
Little Shoal Bay reserve is a great spot to start a short walk along the foreshore that takes in views across to Auckland city. You can then reward yourself with lunch afterwards at Birkenhead.