Auckland is often mistaken for the capital city of New Zealand, and it’s not hard to see why. Tall sky scrapers, thousands of office workers, awesome shopping, amazing food, international airport..the list goes on. Whilst it may not be the official capital it most definitely acts like one.
For those flying to New Zealand, Auckland is usually the first port of call. During my time in New Zealand I visited twice and loved it! My most recent visit only lasted 24 hours, which in my opinion is enough to get a taste for NZ and set you up for the rest of your trip.
So how do you make the most of 24 hours in the unofficial capital?
First up, the Sky Tower. It seems every major city has some impossibly tall tower that tourists can’t help but want to scale to get a view over the city, and Auckland is no different. Located in the heart of the CBD the Sky Tower is a great way to get an idea of the size and layout of Auckland. For $29 you can head to the top of the tower and for an extra $225 you can jump off it.
Time spent: 1 hour.
Next, it’s time to do a little shopping. Just outside of the Sky Tower are a host of high end and high street shops, take a stroll towards the harbour (our next stop) and pop into a few should your budget allow.
Time spent 1-3 hours.
To the harbour! Here you can sit back with a glass of wine and watch the world go by. The harbour is a great people watching spot and also where you catch the ferry to Waiheke island. There are also loads of great places to eat along the harbour, they are all pretty great so you can’t really go wrong. My personal favourite is Major Sprout.
Time spent 2 hours.
It’s time to head out of the city to another view point, Mount Eden. This activity is reserved for those with their own transportation, otherwise it’ll take up too much of your day. Climb through Cornwall Park and up to the monument to get an even better view of Auckland. From here you can see both the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea.
Time Spent: 1 hour.
Head back towards town and stop in Ponsonby. A cool, cultured neighbourhood with boutique shops and indie eateries. This is the perfect place to end your day in Auckland and settle into the local nightlife scene. If you find a place to stay in Ponsonby, come morning you’ll have a host of options for breakfast to choose from, and Kiwi’s take breakfast seriously so it’s guaranteed to be good. I’d recommend Dizengoff’s.
If you’ve still got some time left here are a few more spots to check out:
Auckland Art Gallery – an inspiring place to take in local Kiwi artists and discover more about Maori art and culture.
Auckland Beaches – being in the North, the beaches of Auckland get the best weather and the water stays relatively warm.
Auckland War Memorial Museum – constructed in the neo-classicist style, the museum is one of Auckland’s most iconic buildings which houses exhibits focused on Auckland’s rich history.
And if you’re hungry here are a few eateries I’d recommend:
Lord of the Fries – an all vegan burger and fries van located near Britomart Station.
Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar – a dangerously tasty place for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Best Ugly Bagels – bagels with all the toppings/fillings you could want.
No 1 Pancake – beacause no trip to a cosmopolitan city is complete without pancakes.
If you want even more recommendations keep an eye on The Urban List.