This winter, explore a new city with our Winter Bucket list series. In Auckland, shop like a local in the über-cool Britomart precinct, eat your way through markets full of flavour and venture to an island full of wine.
Take a day trip to Waiheke
Waiheke Island is often described as the jewel of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf; full of breathtaking landscapes, artistic locals and award-winning wine. In winter, drive or hike around some of the beautiful coastline before settling in for a long lunch at one of the many wineries. Try local favourite Casita Miro, which features a beautiful mosaic garden, truly impeccable menu and a wonderful selection of reds. Discover more things to do on Waiheke.
Save some pennies with the best free day out
Pack a picnic lunch and head to the Waitakere Ranges for a fantastic day out. Hike through unspoiled native bush, stop by streams, waterfalls and lookout points with spectacular views out across the Tasman Sea.
Explore the Britomart precinct
Some of Auckland’s finest shopping and dining can be found in the middle of the city. Boasting a well-stocked City Farmers’ Market every Saturday, a number of award-winning eateries and the best in local fashion design, the Britomart precinct has all the ingredients for a great day out.
Wander the west coast beaches
Less than an hour from the centre of the city, a drive to one of Auckland’s stunning west coast beaches is an otherworldly experience. While it’s too cool to enjoy a swim over the winter months, a visit to Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Bethells or Muriwai guarantees stunning photo opportunities and breathtaking views.
Eat your way around the markets
There are few things worth waking up early for on a Sunday morning but La Cigale French Market is definitely one of them. Open from 8am to 1.30pm on Saturday and 9am to 1.30pm on Sunday, this beautiful Parnell market is the place to go for fresh produce and specialty artisan foods. Get a Nutella crepe or a warm pastry for breakfast and take home French wines, handmade dips, cheeses and breads for later on.
Shop high-end local labels in Ponsonby
Ponsonby is Auckland’s hippest neighbourhood and the best place to splash some cash on unique pieces from New Zealand’s top fashion designers. Grab a flat white to go and head along the main strip to Karen Walker, Juliette Hogan, World, Zambesi and Working Style for all the best fashion finds. Don’t leave town without a Deadly Ponies handbag, a set of Lonely lingerie or an iconic pair of Karen Walker sunnies.
Explore an art gallery
Spend an afternoon in the warmth of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Home to more than 15,000 artworks, world-class touring exhibitions and a café, it’s not hard to spend a whole day here. Encounter the human form – in all its complexity – in The Body Laid Bare, the gallery’s major exhibition for 2017, or explore the social and psychological role of colour in Colour is an Abstraction.
Ski the slopes indoors
While it doesn't actually snow in Auckland, you don't need to go far to hit the slopes. At Snowplanet, Auckland's indoor snow resort, you can ski, snowboard, tube, toboggan, and dine under the one roof. The slope is 200m long and offers everything from a terrain park with jumps and rails for the thrill seekers to a smooth and gentle beginner’s area.
Warm up in the water
The naturally heated mineral waters at Waiwera Thermal Resort are sheltered by the thick native bush of the Waiwera Valley, making it the perfect place to relax and warm up on a chilly winter’s day. There are 5 different heated slides, a movie pool, kids pool, day and luxury spa and sauna as well as acupuncture and a fitness centre. Check the website for a list of upcoming movies and plan your visit accordingly.
See the stars
Auckland boasts the perfect latitude from which to admire the gems of the night sky, including the iconic Southern Cross and lesser known Carina. At Stardome Observatory and Planetarium you can fully appreciate all these constellations and if the mood takes you, you can even adopt a star.