Now that Winter is over and Spring is here once again, Auckland’s days are slowly starting to become clearer and brighter! As domestic travel in New Zealand begins to pick up in the wake of COVID-19, and Auckland is now open for travel again, we’ve seen an increase in interest for Auckland accommodation across the nation. CPG Hotels is one of the few hotel groups in Auckland that the government is not using for managed isolation facilities, so we’re in a unique position to take the pulse of domestic tourism across the country.
If you’re looking to travel to Auckland for a staycation, it pays to know how to make the most of the warm and sunny weather. In the past, we’ve asked our Facebook fans what the best things to do in Auckland on a sunny day are, so take it from the locals, and read on to find out what they came back with!
1. Visit Devonport
It may be only a 15-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, but Devonport feels a world away from the big city. It’s a hugely popular spot to go on a sunny day, and the ferry ride itself can be a highlight of the trip, especially now that newly opened Commercial Bay is located right next to the ferry terminal!
Once you arrive in Auckland’s North Shore, take a stroll on the Devonport waterfront, head up one of the two volcanoes, or grab a coffee from some of Auckland’s best cafes.
2. Tour Waiheke Island
There are few better places to go on a sunny day-trip in Auckland than Waiheke Island. This stunning location is only a short 45-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, and has garnered some international attention as one of the most beautiful places in the world over the past few years. Once you get there, you can head up to the main town of Oneroa—which has a range of lovely cafes, restaurants and art galleries—or head down to one of many incredible beaches. The guided wine tours are a big attraction here too; a tour will take you to three or four of the island’s vineyards, as well as giving you a guided bus tour. Two trips for the price of one!
3. Spend a day at one of Auckland’s Regional Parks
When we first asked our Facebook audience for recommendations, there were so many suggestions for great regional parks in Auckland, we decided to list them all together into one recommendation! No matter where you are in Auckland, you can bet there’s a beautiful regional park close by.
If you head north, you’ll find Long Bay Regional Park, situated just north of Browns Bay on the North Shore. Keep going a bit further up the coast and you can head out on to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to Shakespeare Regional Park, or check out Wenderholm, which is just past Orewa. All three of these parks enjoy waterfront locations, and have a range of walking tracks to suit all ages and fitness levels.
4. See volcanoes
The other thing Auckland is full of is volcanoes! Auckland’s skyline is dominated by the Auckland volcanic field, a group of 50 dormant volcanoes. We’ve already mentioned two in Devonport, but you don’t have to search far to find more. The most popular to climb is probably Mangawhau, or Mt Eden, which overlooks the suburbs and central city. It makes a popular early morning destination, largely because it’s shape is the most pronounced, with an impressive central crater. There are some great cafes that sit at the bottom of Mt. Eden which are great for a pre- or post-climb feed!
Cornwall Park is another great destination for volcano climbing, as it houses Maungakiekie, or One Tree Hill. While slightly more of a climb, Maungakiekie offers a great view of the whole city, making it a perfect spot for stunning photos. It’s also a great location for bird-watching, picnics, and long (flat) walks!
Another iconic volcano is Rangitoto, which gives the Auckland skyline a lot of its character. Set out to sea, this beautiful volcano gives visitors yet another chance to hit the water and catch a ferry, before embarking on the climb to the top. Those who make this climb are rewarded with stunning views back over the water to the city, and north towards the islands including Great Barrier and Kawau Island.
5. Chill out at Auckland’s Bays
As the weather starts to heat up again, Aucklanders invariably start thinking about the beach. While downtown Auckland is more focused on the boating community, a short bike-ride, bus, or winding walk will take you around to the small communities of Mission Bay, Kohimarama, and St Heliers. Each of these small villages has its own beachfront, reminiscent of smaller coastal communities across the country, all with some awesome cafes and restaurants. All enjoy incredible views north too, with Rangitito sitting directly opposite!
Plan your trip today!
CPG Hotels is not running managed isolation facilities for the government in Auckland, which means we’re happy to offer some of the only hotel accommodation in Auckland not hosting possible cases. Visit our COVID-19 page to find out more about our safety policies, or contact us to book in your accommodation now, before it’s snapped up by other Kiwis hitting the road and seeking the sunshine![:zh]Following on from our series of posts about the best places to eat out in the various cities where you will find a CPG Hotel, this week we look at the top five places to eat out in Auckland. The city is arguably the best places in New Zealand when it comes to eating out and the restaurant choices are pretty amazing. You can of course check out the Metro Top 50 Restaurants in Auckland and find yourself a great place to eat out, however we wanted to get more of a local’s insight and provide you with some ideas that you might not necessarily see in your guidebook.
We asked all our staff members at the Hotel Grand Windsor and Greenlane Suites in Auckland for their top picks for places to eat out and here are the top five.
1. The Sugar Club
The Sugar Club is a Peter Gordon restaurant and the quality of the food is matched only by the quality of the experience – situated on level 53 of the Auckland Sky Tower, this restaurant sets exceedingly high standards in service and their menu will not disappoint. This is a great restaurant to take visitors to Auckland as it certainly has the ‘wow’ factor as well as serving delicious food. Easy to see why this one is popular with staff, The Sugar Club is currently also part of Auckland Restaurant Month (August 2016) and there are some great deals available to don’t miss out!
Find out more on the Sugar Club website.
Another celebrity chef-owned restaurant, Depot is situated on Federal Street right next to the Sky Tower and is owned and run by star of New Zealand Masterchef, Al Brown. They have a no reservations policy so it can be tricky to get a table at this hugely popular restaurant but if you do, it will be worth the wait. The food at Depot clearly matches Al Brown’s outlook towards food: local, in season, beautifully cooked cuisine to be enjoyed with friends. Most of the cooking is over charcoal and the flavours are exquisite.
Find out more on the Depot website.
Ortolana is a contemporary bistro set within an elegant, sun-filled conservatory in the Pavilions at Britomart. The name Ortolana means ‘Market Gardener’ in Italian and is symbolic of their use of the best seasonal, local produce from their own farm and from other local growers. Ortolana offers an all-day, European-inspired menu and is a great place to grab a bite to eat. Another of the restaurants participating in Auckland Restaurant Month, there has never been a better time to sample some delicious food in the city.
Find out more on the Ortolana website.
4. Jack Tar
Jack Tar is a lively, spacious waterfront bar and eatery with alfresco courtyard just a two minutes’ walk from the Viaduct Basin, Events Centre and Silo Cinema. Set in the trendy Wynyard Quarter on the Auckland Viaduct that was established for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, Jack Tar attracts a mixed crowd of young and old and is the perfect place in summer for enjoying an afternoon drink in the sun and watching the world go by. Their menu is a mix of traditional pub food like burgers and sandwiches as well as more traditional mains like fish and chips and pork belly. There is a good kids’ menu too so this is a great place for the whole family.
Find out more on the Jack Tar website.
5. Woodpecker Hill
Woodpecker Hill is a trendy restaurant up in Parnell and a great place to go for dinner, especially if you like sharing plates. Here you will find briskets and king fish, ducks and beef rib. The fresh prawns, the salmon and beautiful pork cuts all charred, smoked and flame-grilled on chef’s barbeque. The menu has a distinctly oriental feel and the barbeque flavours are to die for. This is the kind of place to come with a big group where you can try lots of different things on the menu and pass the plates around to share.
Find out more on the Woodpecker Hill website.
There are literally hundreds of great places to eat out in and around Auckland and although this may be the top five places recommended by our staff, 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 either the Grand Windsor or Greenlane Suites and they will be more than happy to provide some ideas based on your personal preferences.