Auckland, New Zealand, travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights


An extensive makeover of the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour has cemented its position as Auckland's most luxurious digs. Overlooking Waitemata Harbour, the landmark hotel has timeless French flair with elaborate ceiling art, rich Louis XVI inspired furnishings, bold modernist sculptures and a new Club Millesime. Michelin starred chef Marc de Passorio has been brought in to oversee chic waterside eatery La Maree. See


Auckland's answer to Melbourne's Chapel Street, Ponsonby is home to the city's superlative retail strip. Browse chic boutiques and concept stores such as Muse for international and local labels, Flotsam and Jetsam for vintage treasures and Curionoir's flagship store for handcrafted candles and essential parfums. Stop for coffee at Dizengoff and pop in to The Blue Breeze Inn for cocktails and pork buns. See


SONY DSC                      tra24oneandonly-auck

Take the helm, trim the sails and feel the salty breeze on your face as you crew on an America's Cup yacht. The City of Sails' definitive sailing experience allows participants to experience the thrill of sailing a high-performance race yacht on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour where New Zealand successfully retained the America's Cup this year. During the two-hour sail, knowledgeable crew offer an informative commentary about the harbour, sailing's oldest trophy and its history. See


Brave the queues for an avant garde creation from Giapo – Auckland's king of ice cream. This small shop in downtown Auckland is where Italian born Giapo Grazioli and wife Annarosa push the boundaries with edible works of art. Creations include an ice cream sculpture of a colossal squid, pikorua, a Māori symbol completed when two ice cream cones come together, and the selfie cone, an ice cream with a chocolate picture frame. See


There's a daily changing menu at New York style cocktail bar Caretaker, however half the fun is trusting the talented bartenders to craft a custom drink just for you. Inspired by the golden era of bartending, everything from the fresh-pressed juice down to the ice made from filtered water has been considered in the pursuit of the perfect cocktail. Sink into a leather banquette at this cosy dimly lit speakeasy and be transported to another era. See


Founded in 1888, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (New Zealand's largest art institution) is home to works by renowned Kiwi artists and Charles Goldie's famous Maori portraits. A striking kauri and glass extension was added to the French Renaissance-style building in 2012, home to more than 15,000 art works including contemporary New Zealand art and works by Māori and Pacific Island born artists. See



It's all about the element of surprise at this tiny restaurant in inner city Parnell that seats just six. Rather than tables, diners are seated at a chef's counter where they can watch culinary extraordinaire Ed Verner prepare a seasonal tasting menu served with drink pairings. Named one of the World's Best Restaurants by Travel + Leisure, Pasture focuses on nose-to-tail butchery, Nordic style fermentation, local produce and natural New Zealand wines. If you can't get a table (there are three seatings per night) try Pasture's adjoining new 11-seat bar Boxer, also run by chef Verner and team where everything is made from scratch. See;



Set sail for Waiheke Island (also known as wine island), Aucklanders' playground of choice. Cruise pristine beaches by bike, moped or new electric tuk tuks, explore inlets with bobbing boats and taste your way through boutique wineries and vineyard restaurants. Watch the city shrink from view on the 40-minute journey to the Hauraki Gulf. Alternatively take a seaplane flight for wine tasting at Man o' War vineyard. The experience includes return seaplane flights, a tasting of six wines and glass of wine with lunch. See;;


Situated opposite Waitemata Harbour and spanning Britomart's historic Altrans and Quay buildings, Amano is part-artisan bakery part-trattoria. Expect rustic Italian fare made from seasonal, sustainable and local produce, attentive service and cool interiors. An on-site flour mill is used to handcraft pasta daily, wild-caught seafood stars while almost everything on the menu is sourced from local farms. See


Many hotels have recently opened in Auckland, including Hotel Britomart with its hand-made brick exterior and 99 timber-lined rooms, home to sustainable seafood eatery Kingi. Park Hyatt Auckland has made its upscale New Zealand debut, QT has opened its third New Zealand hotel with Sean Connolly's signature restaurant Esther and rooftop bar, Travelodge, has opened in the burgeoning Wynyard Quarter. Plus, Hotel Fitzroy by New Zealand-owned Fable opened last September with 10 boutique suites in Ponsonby. Also new to Auckland is Onslow by world renowned chef and restaurateur Josh Emett, the All Blacks Experience and the interactive film attraction Weta Workshop Unleashed. See

Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of Accor, Tourism New Zealand and Virgin Australia. See, and