Auckland is a large, vibrant and diverse city with 1.5 million inhabitants (about the same population as Seattle or Brisbane). It is New Zealand's largest City with almost a third of our total population. Culturally diverse, Auckland has an Asian population of around 20% with Indian, Polynesian, Maori and European in the mix.
Over the years, I have passed on a list of 'don't miss' things to do in Auckland to my wine tour clients.
So here we go ...
AUCKLAND ‘VIADUCT BASIN’ and WYNYARD QUARTER – stunning harbour views, cafes, bars, 5-Star restaurants, sailing activities.
VOYAGER NZ MARITIME MUSEUM – historic NZ Maritime displays – Polynesian migration, early European immigration by ship. Highly recommended.
SAIL NZ – Americas Cup yacht sailing and DOLPHIN EXPLORER Auckland Harbour & Gulf. Match sailing on the harbour or head out to watch dolphins in the Gulf.
AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM. The museum has a stock collection of natural history, war memorabilia and anthropology exhibits, plus feature exhibits which change frequently. Plus MAORI CULTURAL GROUP ‘MANAIA’ 11.00 am /12 Noon/ 1.30 (and 2.30 Jan-April) $35 per head. Auckland War Memorial Museum – unique and colourful display of Maori culture, song and dancing 30 mins duration. Option of viewing Maori artifact collection of museum displays of Polynesian art, plus much more.
SHOPPING. Our City's Main Street, Queen Street is sadly, very uninspiring: mainly - banks, souvenir shops and fast food. However there are nearby shopping precincts worth a visit for Auckland’s best high end – clothes, restaurants, cafes, design stores, galleries:
o HIGH STREET, City ( funky fashion, cafes, restaurants, book stores, galleries)
o PARNELL ROAD about 5 minute taxi ride from City (upmarket)
o NEWMARKET (middle-to upmarket), about 5 minute taxi ride from City
o PONSONBY ROAD about 5 minute taxi ride from City (funky)
o REMUERA ROAD about 10 minute taxi ride from City (conservative/upmarket)
o DEPARTMENT STORE – SMITH & CAUGHEY 253-261 Queen Street, the City’s only remaining department store. Good quality goods, plus cosmetics, perfume, clothes etc.
PARNELL ROSE GARDENS – about 5 minute taxi ride from City (November – February). Display of thousands of roses – open free to the public.
SKY TOWER – panoramic views of City and Twin Harbours from our Auckland landmark. Good souvenirs. Revolving restaurant (and yes, the food and service are great). Also – WETA Workshop – collectibles & models from Lord of The Rings, Avatar etc.
AUCKLAND ART GALLERY Wellesley/Kitchener Sts. Stock collection of NZ art, special exhibitions Over the road -
AUCKLAND ZOO – LIVE Kiwi bird exhibit, huge native bird aviary, native parrots, meercats, otters etc. Modern style zoo with moats and walls to provide ample viewing without bars and cages. $20 per person.
KELLY TARLTON’s UNDERWATER WORLD – Aquarium display of sea life, viewed from a travellator through a Perspex tunnel – sharks, octopus, fish, sting rays, plus display Antarctic including live Emperor penguins in sub-zero South Pole conditions. About $37 per person.
GIAPO - ICE CREAM - 12 Gore St., near waterfront. Amazing range of flavours and options
WOOLLY FOR YOU – 237 Parnell Road – More upmarket $$$, NZ-made wool, knitting yarns, mohair, possum and angora knitted products. They also ship overseas, tax-free.
DEVONPORT – North Shore Historic Victorian quaint seaside village – cafes, galleries art shops, etc.
SOUVENIRS Good quality, authentic NZ-made souvenirs – Real Aotearoa NZ 62 Queen St. Auckland Kura Maori Art & Design 188 Quay Street (Lower Albert Street)
HARLEY DAVIDSON AUCKLAND. Souvenir tee shirts etc., 234 Khyber Pass Road (300 7500).
AUCKLAND FREE WALKING TOUR 10.00am from downtown www.aucklandfreewalkingtours.co.nz
PANDORO Organic Italian bakery 427 Parnell Rd, also 75 Queen St.
AUCKLAND'S WINE REGIONS: KUMEU (20 min from CBD) WAIHEKE ISLAND (45 min ferry ride from CBD), MATAKANA (50 min from CBD).
And who better to host you than Phil Parker's Fine Wine & Food Tours Auckland!