Local tips

We asked our Auckland friends and whānau (extended family) for their tips on what to do/eat/see in Auckland.

Here are some of their suggestions:

Where to eat…

Britomart (downtown/CBD) has a number of great restaurants featuring NZ and international cuisine. Try:

• Amano – for modern Italian/NZ inspired cuisine (some bookings taken, rest for walk-ins)
• Ortolana – for the same (no bookings, has a dessert restaurant called Milse tucked behind, open all day including breakfast)
• Ostro – for NZ haute cuisine (Chef Josh Emmett) and a great view of the harbour
• Cafe Hanoi – for Vietnamese cuisine
• Ebisu – contemporary Japanese
• The bar at the So Hotel – great spot for drinks and views of the harbour
• Culprit – down the road on Wyndham St – fantastic relaxed cuisine

Ponsonby (funky historical street on the city fringe) has a good selection too, including:

• Prego – Italian
• Blue Breeze Inn – Asian fusion, good for sharing
• Orphan’s Kitchen – inspired by seasonal fare and the NZ landscape
• Ponsonby Road Bistro – modern NZ fare, always good
• Dizengoff – good cafe with great coffee
• Bambina – good cafe with almost as good coffee as Dizengoff
• Ponsonby Central – a wide range of casual laneway dining
• Hoppers’ – best place for a drink

Parnell also has some interesting restaurants, notably:

• Gerome – modern Greek cuisine
• Woodpecker Hill – Asian fusion
• Winona Forever – great cafe


Day trips…

Waiheke Island – easy, just take the ferry from the bottom of Queen Street. Under $50 for a day return. Wine tours, walking, swimming and other activities (ferries – check www.fullers.co.nz).
Devonport – a little bit of England on Auckland’s North Shore. You can drive or take a ferry from the CBD (ferries – check www.fullers.co.nz).
Open top bus trips – just google
One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) – walk up the volcanic cone in Cornwall Park (6 km from CBD) for amazing views of both harbours http://cornwallpark.co.nz/ (note: Sunday 10th Feb there is a free music event on Cornwall Park – Big Band Auckland are playing jazz, swing, big band and funk)
Walk up the Mt Eden/Maungawhau summit for 360° views of the city – an easy 2k walk that will take you around 1 hour to complete. Just 5 km from downtown Auckland it’s the highest volcano in Auckland. Mt Eden village has lovely cafes and shops too. https://www.freewalks.nz/auckland/mt-eden-volcano-walk/track
Rangitoto Island – a tall volcanic cone and a conservation island. It’s an easy 30 minute ferry ride. Pack your sports shoes and get ready for 1.5 walk up to the summit for great views. Explore nearby volcanic caves (easy 20 min walk). Take your bathing suit and dip in the water (water booties advised as there are rocky shores). Pack your lunch/picnic and plenty of water as there are no shops on the island. https://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations/rangitoto-island/
Tiritiri Matangi – nature reserve and a bird sanctuary about 75 min on the ferry (guided walks included and a chance to see rare birds and wildlife). Bring your picnic, towel and swimming shorts! https://www.fullers.co.nz/destinations/tiritiri-matangi-island/
Takapuna Beach – easy bus (or uber/taxi) ride to one of the more popular North Shore beaches. Swim, eat ice cream, fish and chips on the beach (Kiwi tradition). Plenty of shops, cafes and bars nearby.
Tamaki Drive – waterfront walking/cycling/running path from downtown to St Heliers Bay (about 12 km one way). You can hire a bike or an e-scooter too. Plenty of beaches along the way to stop and res & swim. Mission Bay is the busiest one with the large fountain and many cafes, ice cream parlour and bars to choose from.
West Coast beaches – Piha, Karekare, Bethell’s Beach, Muriwai (Gannet colony), volcanic black sand, amazing landscapes, surfing. Easiest to get to by car but there are some companies that operate small shuttles/day trips to Piha e.g. https://www.kiwianatours.com/index.php/our-tours/piha-beach/ or https://trippy.co.nz/tour/piha-paradise/
Further out: Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings), Waitomo Caves (Glow worms), Bay of Islands (boating, Waitangi tribunal) – day tours are available, google or check out Viator.com


Fun & interesting things to do….

• Keen to check out the local music scene? Gig guide is here https://www.undertheradar.co.nz/utr/gig_guide/auckland
• Fan of stand-up comedy? http://www.comedy.co.nz/
• NZ’s largest farmers market is in Avondale (train or uber; about 8 km from the CBD) on Sundays from 5 am to midday https://www.avondalesundaymarkets.co.nz/ “strong Polynesian and Asian influence with a huge array of stalls, arts, crafts, products, fresh produce, and so much more”
• Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki. A fantastic building and great NZ art. https://www.aucklandartgallery.com/
• Cool down after the conference at the Parnell Baths (2 km from CBD) – outdoor salt water pools https://www.clmnz.co.nz/parnellbaths/
• Hire a kayak or paddle board from Mission Bay https://www.missionbaywatersports.co.nz/
• Auckland Fringe Festival is on 18 Feb to 3 March so if you’re staying on that may be your thing! https://www.aucklandfringe.co.nz/
• Auckland Maritime Museum – For all things nautical https://www.maritimemuseum.co.nz
• Auckland Museum – located in the Domain (about half hour walk from the conference venue). Large collection focused on New Zealand history, natural history, and military history.- Māori cultural performance runs daily at 11 am, 12 pm and 1:30 pm (30 min). Charges apply. http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/


Events on….

• Gong Xi Fa Cai! Celebrate Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig at the 2019 Auckland Lantern Festival from Thursday 14 (lanterns-only) – Sunday 17 February (lanterns, performances and food stalls) at the Auckland Domain (walking distance from the Conference venue). https://www.aucklandnz.com/lantern-festival
• Night markets (international street food, cheap and cheerful) Fridays 5pm-11pm: Shortland Street CBD, 31 Fort St, Auckland CBD https://www.instagram.com/aucklandnightmarket/
• Sunrise Rave, 15th Feb 6:30 am Queens Wharf – FREE! https://www.facebook.com/events/2389648187775681/
• Sunrise Yoga – 13th Feb, 7 am Queens Wharf – get up early, salute the sun, and start your day off right with a restorative session of Sunrise Yoga – FREE! https://www.facebook.com/events/603044293484265/
• Free outdoor Silo Cinema – If you’re not going to the Conference Dinner… Watch The Princess Bride (with music by Karolina’s favourite Mark Knoplfer) (Corner of Beaumont and Jellicoe Street, CBD) https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2019/valentines-at-silo-cinema-the-princess-bride/auckland
• Rugby! See it live! (Auckland Blues vs. Christchurch Crusaders). Saturday 16th of February at Eden Park (5 km from downtown, train ride included in your ticket) https://www.edenpark.co.nz/upcomingevents/blues-v-crusaders/66
• Live music – Ms Lauryn Hill (20th anniversary tour of Miseducation of Lauryn Hill) is in town for a performance at the Spark Arena (downtown) on Saturday 16th of Feb https://www.sparkarena.co.nz/ms-lauryn-hill/ (at the time of writing this, tickets were still available)
• World On the Street: Māori & Pasifika (Free event) – Saturday 16 February 12:00pm – 6:00pm – celebrating Pasifika and Māori kai and culture, performances and workshops too. Silo Park (Corner of Beaumont and Jellicoe Street, downtown)
• Free outdoor cinema at the Cornwall Park (6 km from CBD): New Zealand made documentary “SHE SHEARS” (“In the gruelling world of competitive sheep shearing there is no women’s section. Women and men compete together. SHE SHEARS is the story of passion, purpose and determination and five women for whom shearing is not just a job.”) http://cornwallpark.co.nz/whats-on/movieonthegrass-sheshears

• From 1-17 February 2019, Auckland’s Rainbow communities will come together to celebrate our unique mix of cultures, sexualities and gender identities. Check out the range of events including the 20th anniversary of the Big Gay Out on Sunday 10th of February (12-7 pm) at the Coyle Park in Point Chevalier (bus or uber, about 7 km from CBD). https://aucklandpride.org.nz/


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