Though some would say it’s New Zealand’s rural areas that showcase
the country’s best assets, Auckland as I found out on a recent
two-day stay has plenty to recommend as well.
In addition to the hard-to-ignore Sky Tower looming over the
Central Business District at a height of more than 1,000 feet, New
Zealand’s largest city offers many other sights worth recommending
to clients, including the following:
Viaduct Basin. An area that saw plenty of
redevelopment in the late 1990s just before Auckland hosted
America’s Cup 2000, Viaduct Harbour offers shops and lively
nightclubs and restaurants of all stripes.
For casual lunch, there’s the Loaded Hog Brewery (104 Quay
Street), a brewpub offering a variety of burgers, chips (that’s
french fries) and views of the yachts bobbing along the waterfront.
Nearby dinner options include MJ’s (85 Customs Street West;
www.mjsrestaurant.co.nz), a stylish, low-key eatery with an
emphasis on seafood and beef dishes. For nightlife, there’s the
Soul Bar & Bistro, at the corner of Customs and Hobson streets.
It was pulsing with music and packed with 20- and 30-somethings the
night I visited.
Waiheke Island. A 30-minute ferry ride across
Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island offers a laid-back feel far removed
from the city bustle of Auckland. An island of rolling hills, small
villages and olive groves, Waiheke boasts no fewer than 10
wineries. Outdoor activities there range from sea kayaking to
Fullers Cruises (www.fullers.co.nz) offers three tour packages
to Waiheke, including a Waiheke Island Vineyard Tour (about $33 per
person) that takes travelers to three vineyards. Each tour includes
an all-day bus pass to get around the island.
We enjoyed lunch at Te Whau Winery (www.tewhau.com), on a scenic
bluff overlooking the azure gulf and, far off in the distance, the
Parnell Road. Up the hill from the Central
Business District is the Parnell area, a predominantly residential
area with a main drag Parnell Road lined with shops and
restaurants. We found great glass keepsakes at Hoglund Art Glass
(285 Parnell Road), which President Clinton has visited twice. And
for wool sweaters it’s hard to leave New Zealand without buying
something made of wool there’s the memorably named Woolly For You
(237 Parnell Road), a small shop crammed with wool clothing.
The Parnell area can be reached from the Central Business
District via the Link bus (www.stagecoach.co.nz/thelink), which
loops through the city several times an hour. One-way fare is about
For more information on Auckland, visit the Tourism Auckland Web
site at www. aucklandnz.com.