In past blogs, we have given you guides to some of the most common places to visit in Auckland for first-time visitors, taken you to some of the best restaurants and walks outside of the city, and found the best way to save money on your visit. Our next guide to exploring the city will take you to some of the best-kept secrets in the inner city.
If you want to treat yourself and your partner to a romantic night out that wraps up with a movie – but want to avoid the usual chain theatres, then look no further than Academy Cinemas. Located under ground beneath the Central City Library, this boutique cinema has only two screens, one classic full-sized one and a smaller sixteen seat theatre.
Academy chooses to skip the typical Hollywood blockbusters and instead showcases a diverse selection of indie films from both domestic and local distributors, and if you time your visit right, you might even be able to catch one of their famous and much-loved movie marathons. Hot tip – visit on a Wednesday for a five-dollar film.
Truly an iconic Auckland favourite and a must visit for all bookworms is the legendary hard-to-find bookshop. Located off the main streets in a renovated old Victorian brick home, this bookstore takes a bit of adventuring to find, but once found, you’ll be glad you went. This book shop is not only called hard-to-find because of its location, but also for the collection it contains over one hundred and twenty thousand books, some of which are extremely rare – and you guessed it – hard to find. Well worth sacrificing a couple of hours to explore and for the friendly and well educated service, its well worth a visit to this Auckland institution.
Located in a historic building that was once a butchery for over one hundred years Frida Margolis is now transformed into a secret little wine bar located in the heart of Grey Lynn. You’ll fall in love with this the exposed brick walls, wooden European-esque seats and quirky paintings adorning the bar. Drinks include boutique wines, craft beers and mulled wine in the winter.
The Kimchi Project
How does the sound of delouse Asian-fusion eats in a spacious, covered courtyard tucked away in the heart of the CBD? Well we have the place for you – The Kimchi project offers everything from kimchi dumplings and pulled pork waffles to soft-shell bao and beef bulogogi stew. Worth a visits as it is located in high street, the small one way street located just off Queen street that hides a series of off-shoots and paths containing some well-renowned boutique shops and restaurants making it one of Auckland’s most popular secrets.
Being so close to ferry terminals makes it easy for you to explore what Auckland has on offer, including some of its most iconic and beautiful little villages, and in just ten minutes you’ll find yourself in one of Auckland’s cutest little villages: Devonport. This quaint little seaside town is postcard pretty, but it’s not all looks, this village has a lot to offer with its epic bars, cafes and restaurants – and we have made just a small selection of things for you to explore to get you excited about exploring:
North Head Tunnels
Feel like getting some exercise in while having a little history lesson? Devonport is home to Head to North Head and explore the dark tunnels that are placed on a long extinct volcano. The tunnels were created as early as the 1800s and soon developed across many different world wars as a way to be one of the country’s first defenses against coastal invasion. As a result, some cannons and shooting sights and prisoner barracks remain prime for exploration.
This seaside theatre sells itself as one of oldest theatre in the Southern hemisphere, this theatre has been around for a long time and has managed to maintain its heritage by sticking to its vintage look, which in turn makes for quite a unique and romantic date night. Don’t worry, despite the vintage look, the theatre still features all the modern furnishings: Big screens, comfortable seats and choc-top ice creams!
Calling all chocolate lovers! We have the one and only reason you’ll want to visit Devonport: boutique quality handmade chocolates and truffles that both look amazing and taste just as good! This store has everything to make your inner child spring outside from crazy flavors to chocolate figurines, these chocolates are the perfect reward after a day’s exploring, or to just full that empty space in your heart!
Devon on the Warf
Speaking of food, ask any local and they’ll send you to this Turkish-inspired restaurant that is located right by the water with stunning views of the Auckland Harbour and beyond. You can either start or end your day here (or both if you love it as much as we do!). The décor mixes homely wooden tables and chairs with a geometric-tiled floor and bright light and greenery. The bar features a selection of beers, wines and cocktails as well breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that are equally creative as they are delicious.
Shopping In Devonport
Devonport is a heaven for those loving a good vintage find and book Cosi Fan Tutte is where you can find vintage pieces that are completely unique, and both Bookmark Secondhand books and Paradox books feature such a wide selection of reads, you’ll accidentally be in there for hours!
Karanagahape Road, or K road as it is more commonly known as is a famous strip of road in Auckland for many reasons, it has had a mixed history both good and bad but it is mostly remembered and celebrated for its diverse culture and offerings. Located at the top of Queen street, we’re going to take you on a small journey down a stretch of road that has defined Auckland’s Diversity for years.
One of K Road’s crowning glories is its divine selection of chic vintage boutique stores. For all you vintage and second-hand clothing fanatics out there, you’ll want to make sure this stretch of wonder is on your to-do list as it collects some of the most sought-after second-hand stores in Auckland, including Paper Bag Princess, American vintage, Metro Retro, and Thriftway just to name a few.
K Road also features some of Auckland most diverse and famous restaurants and cafes that can appeal to all pallets, including middle eastern, vegetarian, European and more. Some of our favourites include famed local vegetarian outlet Lord of The Fries, a burger joint for vegetarians that is to die for, Carmen Jones is a staple of the strip that offers a large selection of local flavours and is frequented by many local celebrities.
A visit to K Road isn’t the same without a stop at St. Kevin’s Arcade, which features local small business, cafes, Auckland’s famous dive bars, and local art galleries as well. Lets start with the dive bars – if you are looking for an iconic night out in Auckland’s underground, Whammy Bar and The Wine Cellar are to local stalwarts that need to be seen to be believed, you can visit these bars most nights and catch a local musical act tearing up the stage and enjoy a bevy of beers on tap. As for the shopping you can choose between vintage American clothing stores, second-hand bookstores or support a selection of local small businesses offering haircuts, flowers, food, or massages!
K Road is most infamous for its nightlife, and you can choose from a classic location, or some newly opened venues, there is plenty to choose from! These can be the aforementioned whammy and wine cellar dive bars for local live music, Neck of the Woods for some quirky but modern happenings, the thirsty dog offers your classic New Zealand Pub offers and the famous Family Bar is also not to be missed!
So if you have a day to kill in the city and want to get the most local and diverse offering in Auckland, you can’t go any further than K Road.
For more information on This famous stretch of road, visit the Website.
When you are on holiday in scenic New Zealand, there is so much on offer: water sports, breathtaking beaches, scenic and historic walks, but sometimes being spoilt and relaxing and getting a little tipsy is what the doctor ordered, and boy do we have just the experience for you: The NZ WinePro Tours.
Winning numerous awards in tourism this company offers the gold standard of day trips, curated by Tour Director John McFarlane who created the company in 2002, McFarlane has developed the company into one of Auckland prestigious experiences, and working with the department of conservation, has gained access to some of the city’s most beautiful and protected areas. WinePro offers four tours to choose from, each exploring a different part of Auckland.
Vineyards Honey and Black Sand Beaches
This tour is a six-hour journey around the rugged West Coast including the Muriwai black sand beach, but don’t fret, there is also a selection of historic and award-winning wineries to explore as well! First stop is Kumeu River Wines, Pioneers in New Zealand winemaking since 1944, sourcing wine from grapes grown on their own ten Kumeu and Huapai Vineyards. Following that, it’s Soljans Estate which also features special honey made from the native NZ Tea Tree, and after lunch an afternoon visit to West Brook Wines or the Hunting Lodge Winery for a lavish selection of wines in the cellar door shop.
Matakana Coastal Getaway Wine Tour
Heading North West on this tour, you will experience a tour through the coastal seaside resort towns of Orewa and Waiwera Mineral Springs. The wineries on this tour include Hunting Lodge Winery, lunch at Plume Vineyard Restaurant and an afternoon tasting at either Omaha Bay wines or Ascension Wines. Along the way, you will also get to stop in at the Puhoi Cheese Factory to taste some delicious cheeses, see a rare 850-year-old Kauri tree, and sample some native flora honey at the New Zealand Honey Centre.
Piha Karekare Rain Forest Wine Adventure
Head out west to the Piha region where you will Head up into the stunning Waitakere Ranges, Piha, and he beautiful Karekare waterfalls. During your journey you will get to taste of varietals and blends at Soljans Winery, Hunting Lodge Winery and West Brook Wines, Situated in the picturesque Waimauku Valley.
Muriwai Scenic Morning Or Afternoon Wine Tour
The smallest and most affordable tour available takes you out to the market garden and lifestyle areas of Kumeu, Huapai, Waimauku and the black sand beaches of Muriwai. In terms of tasting wine, you’ll be taken to West Brook Wines for a cellar door tasting and The Hunting Lodge Winery a modern winery to finish it off.
So if you are up for a day of exploring what the outer reaches of Auckland and this country has to offer, while experiencing some of our best wineries, this award-winning tour is one that is not to be missed.
One of the core benefits of staying with us at Aarangi motel is how close in proximity we are to the beautiful Kohimarama Beach, now don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful beach with calm waters and native trees sprawling alongside the water, but it’s also home to something a little more exciting: water sports. If you are keen to try something new, explore the bay, or just want to get out in the water in a new and exciting way, there are a handful of activities ripe for the picking!
Stand Up and Paddle with Chris is the bays go-to man if you want to learn to paddle board or just hire one for the day, Paddleboarding has had a huge comeback from the late nineties to become a go to activity on the water, it’s relatively easy to pick up and the calm waters of Kohimarama make for perfect paddle boarding conditions. Paddleboarding is a great way to explore the bay and enjoy a tranquil and peaceful experience out on the water.
Now if you want to dip your toes in a variety of activities look no further than Fergs Kayaks. As the name suggests their primary business on the water is Kayak tours, and they are famous for this for a good reason, the half-day tours around Rangitoto around sunset are unforgettable and go where no other means can take you, but if half a day seems like too much, there are three hour scenic tours around North head as well. Beyond kayaking adventures, Fergs also offers paddleboard hire and lessons, rollerblade/bike rentals and Kayak rentals.
Now if you’re thinking that Kayaking and paddle boarding are a little too slow for you, don’t worry, for a little bit of speed on the water look no further than Auckland Jet Ski Hire! This company offers a bevy of activity, from guided tours from stunning Maraetai, the Hauraki Gulf islands, and Waiheke Island or go at it on your own by hiring a Jet Ski to get out and explore with! Maritime NZ approved for safety, the jet skis can be hired with a sea biscuit, wakeboard, knee board or water skis!
So no matter your skill, interest, or type of thrill, there is an activity for you to dive into to explore and make the most of the wonderful Kohimarama!