Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with nearly 1.4 million people calling it home. It’s a colorful melting pot of culture that has something for everyone, whether visitors are seeking the outdoors, art and cultural exhibitions, or gourmet food. Most travelers to the city will have more than just 24 hours, but let’s take a look at all that can be managed in this friendly harbor-side city in only a day.
Take a morning walk up Mount Eden
Get a bird’s eye view of this picturesque suburb from the top of the dormant volcano it’s built around. It only takes a 30 minute brisk stroll to reach the summit, with its crater and an incredible 360 degree view of Auckland city. This walk is the perfect way to build an appetite for breakfast!
Roll-up for breakfast at Circus Circus Café
Head down the mountain and satiate your hunger at Mt Eden’s “Biggest Show on Earth” – the Circus Circus Café. The café fully embraces its chosen theme, with an impressive array of authentic circus memorabilia and a bold red décor. The delicious, reasonably priced menu, fast service and glowing fairy lights make this place a local icon, and it has won many awards including “Best Family Restaurant” for three years running.
Learn about New Zealand’s history and culture at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
In the Auckland Domain, a beautiful park with many walks and bike paths, travelers will find the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the city’s oldest and largest museum. There are constantly new and exciting exhibitions to visit, and it offers a great taste of New Zealand’s heritage with traditional Maori waka (war canoes) on display and a life-size marae to walk through. Plan at least a couple of hours to wander around this fascinating heritage building, and wear comfortable shoes!
Shopping and lunch in Britomart
Britomart is a classy precinct in Auckland’s CBD, and offers wonderful designer shopping and fine dining. Ortolana, a bustling upmarket bistro with lots of outdoor seating, is a great spot to sit down and enjoy lunch – the deconstructed beetroot lasagna and seafood dishes are highly recommended.
Bungy off the Auckland Harbour Bridge with AJ Hackett Bungy
AJ Hackett (legendary New Zealander who is credited with pioneering the “bungy” concept) has one of his most popular bungy jumps right in central Auckland, halfway across the Harbour Bridge. About 20,000 people per year come to get an adrenaline rush by doing the Bridge Walk or the Bungy Jump. The 40-meter jump from the bridge towards the water below is an excellent cure for any afternoon drowsiness.
Dinner and drinks at Euro on the waterfront
One of Auckland’s most acclaimed restaurants, Euro is the 14-year expression of celebrity chef Simon Gault’s love affair with fine food and wine. It only grows in popularity each year due to the inventive dishes and prime location on Princes Wharf, overlooking the gorgeous harbor. Whether diners want a cocktail and nibbles or a full degustation paired with local New Zealand wines, the staff at Euro are only too ready to please. Look out for their rotisserie chicken and Bluff oysters; both regular features on their menu.
Ice cream at Giapo
After dinner, take a wander through the city and up Queen Street to Auckland’s most famous ice cream shop, Giapo. This place often attracts long queues of ice cream enthusiasts eager to try head chef Gianpaolo Grazioli’s latest creations. He is dedicated to using premium, mostly organic ingredients (including organic New Zealand milk), makes his ice cream fresh every morning, and sources produce locally. Giapo gets taste buds tingling with delicious choices like Tiramisu, Caramel Popcorn, Coconut Sorbet, and Yoghurt & Raspberry; all of which come paired with incredibly inventive toppings.
Hit the town for some local brews at Tyler Street Garage
If it doesn’t feel like the night should end yet, a 15-minute walk from Giapo is the popular rooftop bar Tyler Street Garage, which has an industrial, modern fit-out and a fabulous selection of local beer and wine to sample. Afterward hit the dance floor and enjoy the acclaimed local DJs.