As is true of most cities, Auckland is much more than just the CBD. In this case, the sum of the parts definitely adds up. Hertz’s Auckland Airport Car Hire range is the best way to get around and soak up the sights.
Beyond the central city, be sure to visit these fringe suburbs:
Dotted with top fashion stores, funky cafes, and some of the best bars and restaurants in the whole city, Ponsonby is where you’ll find the local glitterati and beautiful people. If you have time, wander through some of the historic back streets off the main Ponsonby Rd and marvel at the 19th century villas jostling up against one another.
Brimming with galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, many contained in converted villas, Auckland’s oldest suburb is utterly charming and picturesque. Smell the flowers at the Rose Gardens, marvel at the historic Holy Trinity Cathedral, or pick up some designer clothing, jewellery, or homeware. Finish up with a hot cocoa and some chocolates at the Chocolate Boutique.
It’s a 10-15 minute drive along Tamaki Dr to Mission Bay, one of the city’s most well-known beaches and one of the closest to the CBD. The promenade is perfect for people watching, with joggers, bikers, skaters and more all sharing the footpaths on a sunny day.
Dig your toes into the sand, and after a dip, cross the road to refuel. Whether it’s fish and chips, ice cream, seafood or steak you’re craving, there’s a massive range of al fresco dining choices. (You can always work off the calories later on the grass with a quick round of soccer, Frisbee or rugby.)
Beyond Mission Bay there’s St Heliers Bay, another beach with an affluent seaside locale boasting more excellent restaurants, cafes, bars and retail shopping.
Just a couple of minutes east of the CBD, Newmarket is firmly established as the fashion capital of New Zealand. From high street fashion to wedding attire, Broadway and surrounds are the place to give your credit card a workout. Those on more of a budget aren’t excluded, though – there are plenty of chain shops to be found as well.
Non-shoppers can catch a film, go ten pin bowling, or do a few laps in the local indoor pool instead of retail therapy, or enjoy top notch cuisine from just about any country, with Asian restaurants well represented here.
Mt Eden is a respite from the fast pace of the city, a slower-paced village that offers a chance to wind down. Start with a bite to eat at one of the quaint cafes or pubs, then spend a little while browsing the bookstores and other shops. Then head up Mount Eden itself – Auckland’s highest volcano – to check out the views for yourself. The 360-degree panorama has to be seen in person. You may have to jostle for parking up top, or you could make the journey on foot.
Kingsland is home to Eden Park – New Zealand’s largest stadium – though if you’d rather sit back and enjoy the game on a large screen at one of the nearby pubs, you won’t be stuck for choice. Trendy restaurants, cafes and shops all line the main drag, with the train station just a minute away. The heritage buildings lend a counter to the modern, artsy vibe that has reinvigorated the area in recent years.