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Things to do in Auckland: Why the New Zealand capital needs to be your next adventure

From flower picking to fine dining - here's everything you need to do when visiting Auckland.

We often make the grave mistake that when planning travel around culinary experiences, we think we need to jet halfway across the world. But this isn’t true, an endless host of gastronomical delights and adventure await us just across the pond over in New Zealand

Here’s how to spend a belly-filling, adventure-packed, memory-making 48 hours in Auckland, New Zealand.

Eat your way through Auckland’s restaurant scene

Auckland is rightfully renowned for having a vibrant culinary scene. Whether you’re dining at upscale restaurants, cosy cafes or a funky hole-in-the-wall, prepare to have your tastebuds delighted by Auckland’s fresh produce and culinary prowess. 

To experience Auckland’s culinary scene at its absolute best, be sure to stop into Ahi. The mere mention of Ahi to a local earns an instant praise-worthy review either through first-hand dining experience or from a friend-of-a-friend recommendation.

For a more intimate dinner, head to Onemata at the Park Hyatt. Whilst it also overlooks the harbour, the restaurant is dimly-lit, buzzy yet sequestered – making it the perfect romantic spot for dinner for two.

Auckland New Zealand
Onemata is the perfect, intimate dinner spot that boasts incredible harbour views and delicious food. (Credit: Onemata Instagram)

Enjoy the best of Auckland’s bar scene

After you’ve dined, quench your thirst with a dizzying array of bespoke cocktails and premier wines on offer at Sky Bar, which is located in Auckland’s Sky Tower perched above the city. It’s not just a magnificent experience in itself, it’s also a perfect way to get your bearings of the city before you go exploring.

For a more intimate vibe, head to Gilt Brasserie – an elegant restaurant and bar where you’ll be transported to Europe with ice cold martinis, low lighting and a gorgeously curated menu.

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Get your bearings of the city with a cocktail atop of Auckland’s Sky Tower. (Credit: Supplied)

Day trip to Matakana

Just an hour’s drive from Auckland is Matakana – a dreamy coastal village where Aucklanders escape the hustle and bustle of the city to. I was picked up bright and early from my hotel by Ceillhe from TIME Unlimited, who spent the day sharing with me her intricate knowledge of Maori culture and the surrounding areas of Auckland as we made our way to Matakana Village.

From an abundantly fresh farmer’s market that indulged my olfactory senses to an array of boutiques, I kept busy for most of the morning in Matakana Village just endlessly exploring. But no trip to the area is complete without a trip to a winery. For a sensational lunch experience, stop into Brick Bay winery for a refreshing glass of wine, a delectable meal and stroll along their famous sculpture trail.

Afterwards, stop by Charlie’s Gelato for a sweet treat and walk amongst Slow Blooms‘ carefully cultivated wildflower meadow for an Insta-worthy holiday snap. 

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Don’t leave Matakana without a stop into the Brick Bay winery for lunch and a stroll along the sculpture trail. (Credit: Supplied)

Shopping in Auckland

Auckland’s diverse landscape means that when you’re shopping, you’re spoiled for choice. If you want to immerse yourself into a symphony of scents and taste, then look no further than the Otara Market.

For a more upscale shopping escapade, stroll down Queen Street for an array of global brands and New Zealand boutiques. If you love a treasure hunt, then don’t skip Karangahape Road (K Road) which is brimming with boutiques, antique and second-hand stores.

Sail the seas

Whether you’re a sailing enthusiast, a thrill-seeker or a water-lover, don’t leave Auckland without trying the America’s Cup sailing experience

Down at the Viaduct Harbour, you’ll hop on board a replica America’s Cup yacht where you’ll get a taste of what it’s like to be a sailor competing in one of the world’s most prestigious nautical challenges. On board the yacht, you’ll also be treated to unparalleled views of the gorgeous Auckland coastline and the tiny islands dotted out as far as the eye can see.

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