24 hours in Auckland
Written by Brian Johnston
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest, most vibrant, and most cosmopolitan city, enlivened by a multicultural population, impressive café and restaurant scene, and fine museums and attractions. Yet nothing beats its harbour-hugging location: the city is surrounded by a superb backyard of water vistas, volcanic landscapes, and offshore islands.
Rise early for a hike up Mt. Eden, one of Auckland’s dormant volcanoes. The 30-minute walk from base to summit is rewarded by stunning sunrise views across the entire city and vast harbour.
Worked up an appetite? If it’s Saturday, join locals at the Parnell Farmers’ Market (545 Parnell Road) for good coffee, muffins, or a freshly made frittata, and inspect New Zealand produce at the stalls.
Nearby Auckland Domain is a vast and leafy green space on the city’s edge. Despite its name, the excellent Auckland War Memorial Museum also includes displays on volcanoes, wildlife, and Māori culture.
Enjoy a light lunch at glamorous Fish (147 Quay Street), which specialises in seafood such as seared scallops and poached crayfish. Afterwards, wander the lively waterfront Viaduct Harbour precinct.
Head to the Sky Tower in the city centre (Victoria Street West). Daredevils can tackle the outdoor Sky Walk 192m above street level, or do the Sky Jump for the quick route down.
The Auckland Art Gallery (corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Streets) has a great collection of New Zealand landscape paintings and striking portraits of Māori warriors decorated in intricate, traditional tattoos.
Along Ponsonby Road, you’ll find the fashion boutiques of aspiring young local designers, and a raffish, multi-ethnic atmosphere as young Aucklanders gossip in the popular strip’s cafés and informal eateries.
If you’re after posh nosh, The French Café (210 Symonds Street) delivers outstanding contemporary New Zealand cuisine; the tasting menu takes you through the likes of kingfish, smoked venison, and roast duck breast.
The beautiful, neo-baroque Auckland Town Hall (301–317 Queen Street) often hosts the NZ Symphony Orchestra, soul choirs, jazz or blues bands, and comedians for a fine way to round off the day.
NZ Bus runs an efficient network linking the city and suburbs. Visitors will find the Link services around the inner city useful.
Not a great option in the traffic-heavy city centre, but a good way to enjoy harbour-side suburbs, linked by cycle paths.
There’s no better way to admire Auckland’s harbour setting than by taking to its commuter ferries, especially the Devonport ferry from Queen’s Wharf.
There are numerous city-centre taxi stands, but you’re also allowed to flag down taxis in the street. Expect to pay about NZ$2/km.
Auckland, New Zealand
Distance: 14,518 km
Flight Time: 16 hours, 20 minutes
Frequency: Beginning February 5, 2017, Qatar Airways will operate a daily non-stop service from Doha