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Welcome to the City of Sails
Auckland is also, quite rightly, known as ‘The City of Sails’ which is an indication of just a small part of what it has to offer. Auckland has twin harbours, magnificent surrounding islands, a huge number of yachts, boats and jet skis and a rich maritime heritage.
But if boating is not your style then we also have fabulous art galleries, museums, parks, shopping, vineyards, a coffee culture to rival that of Melbourne and some of the best dining to be found.
When to go
Must See Destinations
- Sky Tower
- Waiheke Island
- Auckland Museum
- Queen St
- Devonport/North Head
- Harbour Bridge Walk/Bungee
- Auckland Art Gallery
Truly Experience Auckland
We’ve put together a few ideas of what you could do when you are visiting Auckland – some that will bring fabulous tastes, amazing camera opportunities and sumptuous food and others that will just provide amazing memories. Some of these options are free and some have a cost but all will provide you with a perfect memory of your time in Auckland.
Check out Auckland’s Very Own Island Of Wine
The ferry to Waiheke Island is just down the road on the waterfront so an easy walk from the hotel. Just a 40 minute ferry ride takes you to Waiheke Island with 30 wineries currently making some of the best wine in the land. You can join a wine tasting tour, linger over a lovely long lunch, shop in the boutique stores and art galleries and enjoy the magnificent views.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry At New Zealand’s Oldest Riverside Tavern
Jump on the Ferry to Riverhead and enjoy a relaxing meal at New Zealand’s oldest tavern on the riverside. If the weather’s good you can enjoy your drinks and meal out under the oak trees and during the winter you can stay nice and warm inside by the fire. The ferry will take you along the same route that the early Maori settlers and our first pioneers took and give you some beautiful photo opportunities as you travel under the Auckland Harbour Bridge, up past the Chelsea Sugar Works and up through to Riverhead.
Add A Little Sugar To Your Stay
Chelsea Sugar Works has provided New Zealanders with sugar for over 130 years. Situated at Chelsea Bay, just a 10 minute drive across the Harbour Bridge, you can enjoy a Sugar Factory tour, enjoy the most amazing food and drinks at Sugar Bakery (you’ll want to take photos of their cabinet food), make your way through the free interactive zone, learn how to bake at the Edmonds Baking School and soak up one of the best views of Auckland City. And once you’ve eaten take a stroll through the neighbouring Chelsea Heritage Park for even more beautiful views of the city.
Learn About Our Maori Culture & History
The Auckland War Memorial Museum protects and looks after the largest collection of Maori taonga (treasures) in the world and will give you a fascinating glimpse of early Maori culture. The original full-size marae (meeting house) and waka (canoe) as well as all the other taonga on display provide us with valuable insight into the history of all the major tribes of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Take A Walk Across The Country In Less Than A Day
The Coast to Coast Walkway is a beautiful walk across New Zealand’s narrowest neck of land and it starts, or finishes, just down the road at the Viaduct Harbour. Only 16km long it takes you from Auckland’s east coast west through city landscapes, lush green parks with an abundance of native birds and trees and over dormant volcanoes through to the Manukau Harbour or vice versa. We’d get ourselves to the start point in Manukau and walk back to the Viaduct where we would celebrate our walk across the country at one of the many bars with beautiful views of the harbour.
Get Out On The Water
New Zealand is hosting the America’s Cup in 2021 so get in to the action and try your hand on one of Emirates Team New Zealand’s retired yachts. Or maybe sit back and enjoy the views of the beautiful Hauraki Gulf as you venture out on a whale and dolphin safari. Let’s not forget a ferry trip to Rangitoto Island where you can walk to the top for beautiful views of the gulf. Or zip around with all the thrills you can imagine on an Auckland Jet Boat trip or hire a boat for a fishing trip with the experts. If you don’t have good sea legs then head to the New Zealand Maritime Museum right in the heart of the Viaduct Harbour or take a classic seaplane ride over the Waitemata Harbour and Rangitoto Island.
The World Is Your Oyster
If you are shellfish lover it doesn’t get much better than the almighty oyster and this is your chance to collect them straight from the sea, have a turn ‘shucking’ them and then eating as many as you desire. The Two Hour Oyster Farm Tour on the ‘Shuckleferry’, departing from Scotts Landing nestled in the Mahurangi Harbour and just over an hour north of Auckland, will take you to the historic G Browns Bay, rich in history, as the first oyster farming area in New Zealand. You’ll be taken to the centre of the farm, seeing the racks get exposed and taught the way the oysters should be caught and ultimately eaten! They even cook some on the BBQ. BYO beer and wine is welcomed so you can enjoy a beverage with your oysters and while you cruise back through Scott’s Landing’s shallow sheltered bays spotting stingrays and enjoying the beautiful harbour.
A View From The Top
SkyTower, an icon of Auckland’s skyline, is quite hard to miss standing head and shoulders above all around it. Standing tall at 328 meters there are 3 viewing platforms. The Sky Café sits at 182 meters high, the Main Observation Level a fraction higher at 186 meters and the Sky Deck at 220 meters where you can marvel at 360 degree views up to 80 kilometres away on a clear day. It’s a perfect place to view the Harbour Bridge, the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland’s key landmarks an the city. And if you want a free thrill check out the glass floor elevator on the way up. If you want to really be extreme how about a walk on the wild side with the SkyWalk or try the SkyJump for added fear factor.
Go Back In Time
Jump on a ferry to Devonport where you will find historic taverns, beautifully restored Victorian villas and a lovely village to browse, shop and eat at. Devonport is ideal for strolling, cycling or segways so take the time to make your way around the Devonport waterfront, pop up North Head or Mt Victoria for stunning views and enjoy the beach at Cheltenham. If you have more time to spare start some of the North Shore Coastal Walk – it runs 23.5km from Devonport to Long Bay and runs along many of the beautiful North Shore beaches. If you make it to Takapuna stop in for an ice-cream or great coffee at the Takapuna Beach Café.
This Will Fit You To A Tea
Varia-tea is the spice of life and what better way to spice things up than an indulgent High Tea at Cooke’s Restaurant & Bar right here at the Hotel Grand Windsor. The distinctly British tradition of High Tea dates way back to the mid 1700s with it reaching its prime around the 1920s and 30s. Our High Tea menu brings back the classics of that era with treats such as elderflower profiteroles, marzipan cupcakes, delicate wee sandwiches, lemon tartlets and delicious Buttermilk scones with Strawberry & Rose preserve served with clotted cream. Join us for High Tea and if you want to add some further spice you can order a glass of Prosecco or even a glass of Champagne to round off the afternoon nicely.
Where To Eat
Auckland City is one of the best places in New Zealand when it comes to eating out—rivalled only by Wellington City—and the restaurant choices are pretty amazing. There are plenty of things to do in Auckland, but if you’re looking to explore the food scene, our guide below is here to help!
You can always check out the Metro Top 50 to find yourself a great place to eat out, but we wanted to get more local insight, and provide you with some ideas that you might not necessarily see in your guidebook. We’ve put together our top picks for top restaurants in the Auckland CBD, and come up with the following five.
Find the perfect place to eat in Auckland
There are literally hundreds of great places to eat out in and around Auckland, and although this may be the top five places currently on everyone’s minds, we could recommend another 50 in a heartbeat! As always, if you are looking for a great recommendation for a place to eat out, speak to our staff at any of our Auckland accommodation, and they will be more than happy to provide some ideas based on your personal preferences.