Getting away from the usual tourist attractions in Auckland and doing something out of the ordinary in a new city isn’t hard if you know where to go. These are just some places Aucklanders hold dear to their hearts, and activities you can do on your visit to experience the city like a local.
Base yourself at the Travelodge Hotel in the vibrant Wynyard Quarter and see why Aucklanders love their harbour as much as visitors do. To appreciate the harbour the way many Aucklanders do every day, head west from the hotel along Westhaven Promenade towards the Harbour Bridge. Walk, scooter or bike ride along the water’s edge till you get to Buoy café overlooking the marina. Take a rest here while enjoying coffee, all-day breakfast or lunch.
An easy walk from the Travelodge in the other direction brings you to Britomart, one of Auckland’s coolest shopping and foodie precincts. Locals can’t get enough of the innovative icecream at Giapo, the Vietnamese street food at chic Café Hanoi or the rustic Italian fare at Amano. With markets, restaurants, boutiques, and bars at your door, you can live like a local in the heart of the action at Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland Britomart, which is conveniently located next to Spark Arena.
A hotspot for locals and tourists alike, Britomart offers award-winning eateries, the best in local fashion design, and a popular Saturday Market with a great line-up of stallholders offering everything from fresh produce and flowers to coffee, vegan foods, pastries, crepes, and snacks.
You don’t have to be a birdwatcher to appreciate the extraordinary conservation effort being undertaken on Tiritiri Matangi Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. Located 30 kilometres northeast of Auckland’s CBD, the island had been stripped of 94 per cent of its native bush, but thanks to volunteers, more than 250,000 trees were planted between 1984 and 1994, making the area the vibrant wildlife sanctuary it is today.
Take a ferry (advanced booking is recommended) to Tiritiri Matangi and spend a few hours learning about the island’s flora and fauna. Capture some photos of New Zealand’s rarest and endangered native birds and reptiles, including the Takahe and Tuatara. If you’re a first-time visitor, consider a guided walk.
West Coast Beaches
Less than an hour from the centre of the city, a drive to one of Auckland’s stunning west coast beaches is an otherworldly experience. Choose from Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Bethells or Muriwai, and you’ll always have stunning photo opportunities and breathtaking views. Nature lovers should head towards Muriwai where the gannet colony is in residence from August to March.
Insider Tip: These beaches are surf beaches and swimming conditions can be extremely dangerous. Look for surf lifesaving outposts and only swim where the lifeguards are on patrol. Black sand also gets extremely hot, don’t rely on your ‘jandals’ or thongs for protection. Sneakers are the best idea.
Hop on a ferry at the downtown terminal and within 12 minutes you’ll be on Auckland’s North Shore taking in the sights of Devonport. This quaint shopping village is perched on a series of beaches that are perfect for enjoying a parcel of fish and chips. Spend an afternoon browsing the shops and pick up some local crafts and a few secondhand books before hitting the shorefront.
For another perspective on Devonport, try the Maori History Trail. The self-guided walking tour will take you through areas that were significant to the local Maori who settled in the area from the 14th century, using the two harbours and the profusion of rich volcanic soil to establish a thriving community.
This funky Auckland suburb is not far from the city centre and is dotted with award-winning restaurants, stylish bars, vintage clothing stores, coffee roasters and brew pubs. Its proximity to Eden Park stadium makes Kingsland a haunt for sports fans waiting to catch a game, while the glitzy bars and elegant bistros along New North Road cater for locals out for some after-dark entertainment.
And when the sightseeing is done, return to your Travelodge for a refreshingly simple approach to a hotel stay or stretch out in comfort at the Adina Auckland Britomart.