Overlooking the glistening Waitemata Harbour, you’ll find sunset hotspot Bastion Point. From here, you can watch the city’s skyline turn into a silhouette as the sun slips down. Bastion Point is just around the corner from Mission Bay so it’s the perfect spot for a pre or post-sunset tipple, dinner or ice-cream.
There are not many places in the world where you can sit on the banks of a volcano to watch the sun set—but in Auckland, you can! There are more than 50 volcanoes to choose from but one of our sunset faves is Mount Eden. The suburban volcano boasts 360-degree views of the city and beyond. Lay in the arms of your significant other as you watch the sun set over the Waitakere Ranges—romantic much?
Another Auckland volcano for sunset viewing is Mount Victoria on the North Shore. The grassy banks provide a comfy picnic spot with benches dotted around too. From Mount Vic, you look out over Devonport's picturesque villas.
Muriwai Beach/Maori Bay
The surf, dramatic cliffs and gannet colony at Muriwai Beach are favourites with budding photographers. Picture perfect! Alternatively, tuck into some fish and chips from the local takeaway shop and find a spot on the black sand beach of Muriwai or Maori Bay as you watch the sun go down.
Not just reknowned as a surf spot, any list of Auckland sunsets would not be complete without the much-loved West Coast Piha Beach. The black sand, rugged coastlines and enormous surf form the backdrop for picnicking, or climb the iconic Lion Rock to view the sunset. Hot tip: Be sure to pack a jacket because Piha cools down quickly once the sun goes down.
You haven’t seen a sunset until you’ve witnessed a Waiheke sunset! This oh-so-Instagramable spot is praised for putting on quite the show. Think incredible cloud formations and breathtaking colours of red, violet and everything in between. Find a perch overlooking the island’s vineyards and sit back and enjoy—preferably with a glass of vino in hand!
The Britomart quarter is a trendy and stylish area to go to in the evening. Dance the night away at the night club 1885, listen to live music at Ortolana or Mexico and enjoy their beautiful décor, or have a beer or cocktail at Northern Steamshop Co., Britomart Country Club or Tyler Street Garage.
Viaduct Harbour is the perfect place for dining and partying, the nightlife kicks off around 5pm on Friday and is also perfect for an exciting Saturday night. Visit Soul or Goldfinch for a drink, and prepare to dance all night at Snapdragon or Spy Bar.
Other booming areas are stylish Ponsonby Road also known as Auckland’s hippest strip where you can dance until the early hours at Ponsonby Social Club or Revelry, and alternative K-Road with an eclectic mix of bars and clubs like Studio the Venue and Galatos Bar.
Shows and walking tours
Caluzzi Bar And Cabaret (K’Road) - Dinner and a roaring show - a brilliant MC, great dance numbers, ballads and a good dollop of audience participation - giving a night to remember.
Auckland Ghost Tours (Britomart) - Auckland Ghost Tours is a walking tour through the city's well known attractions and stories from the past. Guides dish the dirt on the dark side of Auckland, it's hidden secrets. A very different and fun night out.
House Of Varieties (Las Vegas) - Karangahape (K') Road’s Las Vegas for a bar/nightclub/performance space. Once a month it hosts a show, House of Varieties, which has a 1920s Paris cabaret vibe.
Have you wondered where the locals go for a drink or two? If you have the time, tick off more than a few! (Note - as of 2017, based on https://www.theurbanlist.com/auckland/bars-pubs)
- Mea Culpa: The home of immaculately constructed (and damn tasty) cocktails, Ponsonby’s Mea Culpa (Latin for ‘my fault’) will serve up the prettiest drink you’ve ever slurped.
- Everybody’s: Everybody loves Everybody’s. From a courtyard, mezzanine to a mega couch, you’ll find somewhere to place your tush and drink the night away.
- The Jefferson: A whisky lover’s paradise, The Jefferson is Auckland’s only dedicated whisky bar—plus their sticky ribs are epic!
- Bedford Soda & Liquor: Hands down one of the best bars in Auckland, Bedford Soda & Liquor will have you knocking back hard shakes left, right and centre. Don’t forget to grab some meatballs for double the protein!
- Fukuko: Shochu cocktail central! Fukuko makes Auckland’s best bar list for bringing Japanese boozy goodness to Britomart.
- Xuxu: Dumplings? Check. Cocktails? Check. A courtyard to enjoy them? They’ve got it. Britomart’s Xuxu is a genuine gem of an Auckland bar.
- Freida Margolis: A charming Grey Lynn local packed with personality and punches. Frieda Margolis serves up vodka, vermouth and pomegranate, as well as an excellent cocktail list.
- The Glass Goose: Check out this Federal Street bar if you’re into rooftops, #foodporn grazing menus and cocktails galore. The Glass Goose is on its way to the top of Auckland’s best bar rankings.
- The Britomart Country Club: A much-loved bar in the heart of Auckland city. BCC’s massive courtyard is where you want to be for after work dranks and noms.
- The Gin Room: Bask in botanicals and 1920s feels at this Vulcan Lane bar. It crafts some of the best cocktails in Auckland.
- Housebar: After undergoing a few refurbs, Housebar in Hotel DeBrett has been restored to its former glory. Hidden from the bustling streets of the CBD, with a relaxed, speakeasy atmosphere, classic cocktails and an eclectic mix of people, it’s of the best bars in Auckland.
- Bellini: The beloved Bellini has been a hit with Auckland’s cocktail connoisseurs for yonks, and they’ve recently treated them to a new look and feel. With stunning harbour views, it’s one place you’ll never want to leave.
- 46 & York: A classy yet casual watering hole in Parnell, 46 & York is the kinda place where you could easily waste an afternoon. Their cocktails are among the best in Auckland and oh, and good luck with resisting the food menu—the mac n’ cheese is to die for.
- La Zeppa: La Zeppa is an Auckland favourite, and with a ginormous sun-drenched outdoor deck (complete with lanterns for when the sun goes down), open fireplace and a tapas-style menu—it’s the ultimate bar for drinks with the crew.
- The Corner: This neighbourhood tapas and wine bar in Howick is a hit with the locals and, with a bunch of weekly specials, a buzzing atmosphere, and brilliant service, we don’t blame them.
- Flight 605: This quirky gem of a bar is Morningside’s best asset and will make you feel right at home via craft beer and free popcorn.
- Coley & Punch: Coley & Punch shakes up cocktails and whisky concoctions from its swanky Princes Wharf hub.
- Caretaker: This hidden gem is a New York-style cocktail bar, bringing you the funkiest and yummiest drinks around. With a whole lotta character to the joint, there’s no way you can’t have a good time.
- Love Bucket: It’s fair to say Love Bucket are the coolest kids on the block. Fruity cocktails, delicious tapas and some kick-ass staff, what’s not to love?
- Gypsy Tearoom: After a hard day of work and play, the Gypsy Tearoom is the perfect place to wind down and get groovy. Renowned for their distressed interior and yummy selection of drinks, you’d be silly to not pay a visit.
- Vikki Lane Bar & Kitchen: Tucked away in an open laneway, Vikki Lane is a classic meeting point for all things delicious and fun. There’s frosé, snacks and mouth-watering meals on offer to fill all your groovy needs.
- Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co: Located three levels up and looking over Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, Dr Rudi’s provides quality banter, great vibes AND a bowling ally. This is not a drill—get your butt down there for a wicked time.
- The Merchant: For all our Shore pals out there, this one’s for you. Tucked away in the heart of Albany, The Merchant pride themselves on great beer, delicious food and a bloody good time. Check out what live music bands are on—you may even get the chance to show off your slick dance moves.
- Ponsonby Social Club: A total veteran when it comes to Auckland’s best bar hot spots—the Ponsonby Social Club totally holds it down.
- The Matakana: On a pretty summer’s day, you wanna be heading up north to The Matakana for a glass of locally produced wine and oysters in their beer garden.
- Rickshaw Eddy’s Bar: This snazzy spot sits across the along the beach of Mission Bay. Despite the dazzling location, Rickshaw Eddy’s rocks a humble, old-school vibe which is totally unique and cool. Get amongst!
- The Commons: A real crowd favourite for the North Shore locals, The Commons are known for their gorgeous floral jugs and out-door setting. Oh-so divine.
- The Conservatory: Sitting along Auckland’s Viaduct, you really do have the best seat in the house. Decorated with a whole lotta plants, you can enjoy a glass of anything and everything in a funky hanging chair, if you’re into that.
- Grangers: This joint has you and your crew covered in Half Moon bay. Quality music, drinks and food? What more could you want.
- Sardine: Decked out in epic ‘sardine tin’ wallpaper, this spot is known to have a fun and bustling atmosphere due to their thoughtfully chosen wine list and custom-made cocktails.
- Banque: Modern, chic and oh-so-tasty, Banque has a little something for everyone. Whether you're popping in for after work drinks or a meal during the day, this ‘lil find is a must.
- Leigh Sawmill Cafe: Escape the hustle and bustle of Auckland City for a delicious drink at Leigh Sawmill Cafe. Sourcing only the best wines and produce, you are able to kick back in the ornamental garden with a cocktail—or two. Maybe three.
- The Patriot: If you love a good British accent—this ones for you. The patriot is an English-inspired pub sitting in the heart of Devonport. Live music, karaoke nights and live sporting matches are always on the go!
- The Elephant Wrestler: The Elephant Wrestler is just vibes on vibes on vibes. Fruity cocktails, courtyard sessions and amazing burgers, do we need to say more?
- Pocket Bar and Kitchen: Tucked away in Grey Lynn, Pocket Bar and Kitchen is full of character and open space. Perf for a mid-day drink over lunch or a lil Sunday session.
Auckland Night Markets are now in six different locations across Auckland. The night markets are family friendly and all weather (under cover) with food, fashion, toys and lots of interesting sights and smells to tempt the senses!
Wednesday: Botany Town Centre under Hoyts - 5.30pm till 12am
Thursday: Henderson under KMART - 5.30pm till 11pm
Friday: Papatoetoe under KMART - 5.30pm till 12am
Saturday: Pakuranga under The Warehouse - 5.30 till 12am
Sunday: Glenfield Mall - 5.30 till 11pm
- Wanting some exercise? Orakei Basin is a great exercise location, around a volcano. The 2.8km walkway is the perfect location for power walk, gentle jog or interval training and sprints.
- Devonport’s North Head, Long Beach or the Auckland Botanical Gardens are highly recommended as stunning natural mood lifters.
- Into some book time? The Container Library by Auckland's Viaduct lets you borrow from a collection of donated books. It's a great place to relax in a sunny spot. Or the Chapter Book & Tea Shop serves up more than 300 teas with tasty food as well.
- Comedy Theatre lovers should buy tickets at Auckland's favourite live venue The Classic. Open 7 days a week and booked by local and international acts.
- Rainy day ideas.....head to Eden Terrace and Cakes N Ladders. The place where your favourite board games (think Trivial Pursuit, backgammon) and cafe come together for hours of fun.
- If you find your self in central Auckland, missing your feline family member, perhaps drop into the Barista Cats Cafe - a cafe where you get to have a cat snuggle while you enjoy your flat white. (95 Queen St, Auckland)
Cafes and restaurants
There's always something new popping up but here's a list of current favourites:
- Burger Burger - Ponsonby Central, 136-146 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby (also Newmarket) Ph 360-8030
- Cafe Hanoi - Vietnamese Cnr Galway & Commerce Sts, Britomart. Ph 302-3478
- Dante’s Pizzeria Napoletana - Ponsonby Central, 136 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby. Ph 378-4443
- Ika Seafood Bar and Grill - 3 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden. Ph 309-3740
- Industry Zen - 104D Customs St West, Auckland CBD. Ph 307-0936
- Ken Yakitori - Japanese 89 Karangahape Rd, Central City. Ph 303-3366
- Mekong Baby - Asian inspired 262 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby. Ph 360-1113,
- Ortolana - The Pavillions, 31 Tyler St, Britomart. Ph 368-9487
- Prego - Fine Italian eating at an Auckland institution - 226 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby. Ph 376-3095
- The Crab Shack - Princes Wharf, viaduct. Ph 972-1599
- The Occidental Belgian Beer Café - one that's been around for ever and still has it! - 6–8 Vulcan Lane, CBD. Ph 300-6226
Top Dessert Cafes in Auckland
- Oko Dessert Kitchen (CBD)
- Milse, Miann (Britomart)
- Casa Del Gelato, Chocolate Boutique Cafe and Patisserie Vaniye (Parnell)
- House Of Chocolate Dessert Cafe (Takapuna)
- Moustache (Karangahape Road)
- Giapo (Gore Street)
Ponsonby Road: If it's boutiques, on trend labels and beautiful young people or just generally people watching, come to Ponsonby. This shopping area runs from Karangahape Rd (K' Rd) to Three Lamps. Serious shoppers mingle amongst boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Newmarket: A long strip of shops, including High Street brands, a Westfield Shopping mall and plenty for everyone in the family.
High Street: In the shadow of the Sky Tower and taking in the block of Vulcan Lane, O'Connell Street, Chancery Lane, Little High Street and High Street itself, this is the place to find well crafted New Zealand fashion and design, as well top tier international designers. Coffee and cocktails on offer along with the Auckland Art Gallery, if you need a little pick me up. Also in this vacinity you'll find Smith and Caughey - our very own department store, operating since 1880. She (think David Jones as the Aussie equivalent) is one of the city's most well-loved institutions for all things well made. Two stores now operate: one in Queen Street, one in Newmarket.
Karangahape Road (Colloquially known as K Road): A bohemian mix of second hand boutiques, food halls, nail bars,cafes and bars; K Rd offers a glimpse of the cross section that makes up Auckland's CBD.
Parnell Village: Appealing to a slightly more established and mature audience, the colonial-style shops and elegant cafés and restaurants have made Parnell Village one of Auckland's most popular attractions. (The Toorak Rd of Auckland). Many of the smaller boutique shops specialise in locally made art and crafts, jewellery and the like.
In Auckland there are three types of buses. The City Link which covers all of Auckland’s Central Business District, the Inner City Link which connects you to the suburbs right next to CBD, and the Outer City Link which travels to suburbs further away from CBD.
At Britomart, the major transportation centre of Auckland you can catch buses and trains. It has a customer service centre, a ticket office, and ticket machines.
If you intend to use the public transportation in Auckland a lot, consider buying the AT HOP Card, a reusable prepay smart card. With at least 20% discount off single trip cash fares you can easily travel on trains, ferries, and buses around Auckland. It is also possible to buy tickets using cash.
Check at.govt.nz for a journey planner.