Travelling in winter can sometimes be unpredictable, with wet weather and being stuck in a motel, you want to find activities that can be perfect for the whole family, while also chipping away at the kids pent up energy so you can relax and enjoy the holiday! To help you plan for a wintery getaway to visit us, we have chosen five our favourite activities to keep the little ones entertained in the big city!
Want a fun cute experience with the little ones that is also educational? then delve deep into a different world at Kelly Tarlton’s—from the moment you enter through the tunnel, you’ll be immersed in the realm of the underwater and Antarctic. Explore and interact with the coldest place on earth as you walk through the Antarctic Ice Adventure, shudder with fear as you walk through the Shark Tunnel and crawl through sea caves in the Shipwreck Shore play zone.
To be honest this one is perfect for the kids, but also perfect for your inner kid! If the kids are keen for a jump on the tramp but the weather just isn’t playing ball, round them up and take them to JUMP. With thousands of square metres of interlocking trampolines, foam pits, dodge ball courts and basketball hoops, JUMP is sure to help your brood burn off some of that excess energy.
If your kiddo fancies themselves a bit of a Nancy Drew, put their sleuthing abilities to the test at Escape Masters. Become the main characters of a mystery and solve the clues to break out of the room you’ve been locked in within an hour. This is a great one bonding activity as you’ll have to work alongside each other to escape.
For the young and the young at heart, Inflatable World is the perfect place to wile away a rainy day. Bounce around on castles, obstacle courses, and massive slides until their legs ache and their cheeks hurt from smiling. The best part? They encourage parents to play alongside the kids so you can amongst the bouncy castles too.
Odyssey Sensory Maze
If you’re after an a-maze-ing adventure, take the fam to Odyssey Sensory Maze. As you try to find your way out, all five of your senses will be assaulted by darker spaces, quirky obstacles, optical illusions, scents and sound effects to provide with an experience unlike any other.
Theres no argument that Auckland is surrounded by some of the most beautiful nature walks in the country, beaches, reserves and other amazing hikes are just outside of the city limits, tailor made for all adventurous types. but sometimes when we are on a tight time restrictions, like visiting with family or up for work, we may not have the time to venture out. but don’t stress! The great thing about Auckland sprawling urban landscape is the great walks that lay in the city limits if you need that burst of fresh air to get the day started! Here’s four of our facourites:
We will start with one of the most obvious, but easily a favourite for visitors, the Auckland Domain – the kinda place that will make you forget that you live in a city. Breathe in the fresh air as you walk through native bush, passing the Auckland War Memorial Museum and beautiful Winter Gardens along the way. It’s the city’s oldest park and Auckland wouldn’t be Auckland without it.
Auckland Town Loop
Now if you are visiting Auckland for the first time and really want to explore all of the inner city, and have a fair bit of time on your hands, look no further than the Auckland Town Loop. Start from the top of Karangahape Road and weave your way through Myers Park and down Queen Street (or vice versa), stopping at Albert Park along the way. If you’re starting from Queen Street, make sure you’re ready to feel the burn—that incline can be killer
Looking for a walk that may include some cheeky stops for a drink or food along the famous water front? then look no further! This flat walkway and cycle path lets you weave along the water’s edge, taking in the gorgeous harbour and bopping yachts as you go. If you’re in the city you can start from Wynyard Quarter or make use of the Jacobs Ladder pedestrian bridge which provides access to the promenade from Ponsonby.
Probabaly one of the most popular routes for both those who love walking and jogging, this is the perfect track for those who need a quick morning walk before that important business meeting! Curving 10km along the water from downtown A-town to St Heliers, Tamaki Drive remains one of the best urban walks to do in Auckland. Not only does is offer epic views of the city, Rangitoto Island and the beaut Waitemata Harbour, there’s plenty of eateries and fish ’n’ chip shops to treat yourself to once you hit Mission Bay.
Can you believe we are already three months into 2020? I guess it is true that time flys when you are having fun! But we still have one more month of summer, and we refuse to let it go to waste, with so much more events, concerts and activities happening in the city in March, there is no excuse to not get out and make the most of that blistering Auckland summer! and luck for you, we have rounded up some of out favourite events to get you inspired.
Auckland Fringe 2020
Easily one of the highlights of the year, Auckland Fringe is the catalyst for the most exciting, outrageous and unique events in the Auckland cultural calendar.
With a programme that’s open access and non-curated that has garnered a reputation both nationally and internationally, there’s truly something for everyone to sink their teeth into. Fringe festival is all about showcasing the country’s diverse range of art forms and creators of all ages, and a totally open-access experience that will bring the city to life with all forms of theatre, comedy, dance, music and everything in between.
The Book of Mormon
The Tony®, Olivier®, Grammy® and Helpmann® award-winning Broadway hit musical written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, is coming to New Zealand for the very first time, and is not to be missed!
The play is a satirical examination of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ beliefs and practices that ultimately endorses the positive power of love and service, through a series of laugh-out-loud musical numbers and great set pieces. Since making its world premiere in March 2011 at New York’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, where it won nine Tony® Awards, including Best Musical, The Book of Mormon has been performed on three continents and won over thirty international awards. The musical has smashed long-standing box office records in New York, London, Melbourne, Sydney and cities across the U.S – so get in quick if you don’t want to miss out!
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is New Zealand’s largest fun run, boasting over 29,000 participants each year – and growing! Our home is the vibrant city of Auckland, with the 8.4km course following the city’s picturesque coastline. Now in it’s 47th year, its a great way to get out and get fit, no matter your fitness level it’s great to say that you have been a part of New Zealand’s largest fun run!
Lenny Kravitz – Here To Love World Tour
One of the most successful and best-selling artists of his generation, Lenny Kravitz is bringing his famous brand of steamy rock and roll to New Zealand for the very first time!
Known for his undeniable, energetic gigs, as well as winning four consecutive Grammy Awards, Kravits has a huge reputation – and it’s pone he lives up to! Bringing all the classic hits along with the new music from his most recent album, Raise Vibration, where Kravitz elevates the union of rock n roll, funk, blues, and soul that’s not to be missed.
Summer romance is a staple of any summer, and if you are planning to visit us with someone special and you want to treat him or her right – then you have come to the right city! Brimming with so much on offer, for any price point, we have found three of our favorite date ideas to sweep your significant other of their feet.
Stardome Observatory and Planetarium
Let’s start this list off strong – Is there anything more romantic than a night under the stars? It’s a simple and peaceful idea, and luckily in Auckland, you can take your love to new heights with an evening at One Tree Hill’s Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, where you’ll be treated to drinks, canapés, and a stunning night sky show that pays tribute to the heavens’ most romantic objects. And we guarantee you’ll be feeling the love, even more, when you’re presented with a gift box containing an Adopt a Star pack and other charming goodies, also included in the ticket price. So grab your guy, or girl, and head along to see if your love is truly written in the stars!
Maybe you want to keep it simple – how about Auckland’s most creative and delicious ice cream parlor?
This inner-city outfit definitely sets the bar for originality, serving up epic creations that are known just as much for their looks as they are for their taste, perhaps the ice cream in the shape of the Sky Tower, or maybe the one that looks like a giant squid. The flavours, however, are far from secondary—largely inspired by the owners’ Italian heritage and ranging from a delicious ‘bueno’ offering made with caramel, hazelnut praline and amaretti, through to ‘Cher’s chocolate’—a decadent scoop named after the American superstar who famously visited the store in 2018.
Westhaven Promenade Loop
Wanting to try something a little more active? Want to explore the city while spending some time with your loved one? Then this leisurely walk along the harbor is just what you need.
Take a stroll in the sun along the seven-kilometre Westhaven Marina, which begins at the Harbour Bridge end of Westhaven Drive. The wooden boardwalk parallels the harbor for seaside views of the Waitemata Harbour, Herne Bay Beach, and Cox’s Bay. In summer you’ll be greeted with blossoms of red pohutakawa in trees and coating the footpath! And the harbor is littered with restaurants, cafes and sweet shops that make it worth walking along at any time of the day – a nice day out of a romantic night walk – this is the cost-effective date or you!
We are two weeks deep into December and we are close to the festive time and New Years’ goodbyes and we have rounded up some of our favorite events to help keep you busy and soaking in the sun!
Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park
Gather your family and friends and celebrate the nation’s biggest free outdoor Christmas party! If you haven’t heard of this famous annual event, Christmas in the park brings the country’s top singers, dancers, and musicians together to ignite the big stage, performing your all-time Christmas favorites and hottest hits! This year’s line up includes Ladi6, Sons of Zion, Robinson, Vince Harder and so much more! There’s also great food, stalls, and fireworks on the night.
Once again Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park is supporting Youthline. Please be generous at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park and buy a light stick or give a gold coin donation upon entry!
Want to get the little ones more hyped for Christmas, but also have them do some learning along the way? Then head out to MOTAT this December over twelve magical evenings when it’s heritage buildings, streetscapes and trams will be beautifully lit up with Christmas lights! There will be entertainment for all ages, including an outdoor ice-skating rink, and of course the opportunity to meet Santa and his elves and share in the magic of Christmas. There’ll be lots of things to see and do with live entertainment, indoor movies, tram rides, carollers, craft activities, Santa’s grotto and more! Best of all it’s affordable as heck – Just $2 entry fee per person, and children under 5 are free!
Christmas at Silo Park
Your much loved urban playground, Silo Park, is back and they are starting the summer season with 4 days of Christmas festivities!
From 20 Dec- 23 Dec they will have DJ’s, food trucks, entertainment, and games – we’ve even got carols for a sing-along! The Silo Park bar will be serving up delicious Christmas cheer and our mate Santa will be joining us for a few hours each day. There’s also the famous open-air cinema that kicks off with a user-voted Christmas classic!
New Year’s Eve at Sweatshop
For those that are a little bit older and want to head out top the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the city, look no further than Sweat Shop’s New Year’s Eve Party. Kick off the celebrations at one of Auckland’s largest outdoor decks, a prime spot to watch the Sky Tower’s fireworks display overhead. Sip away on a fresh brew or bubbles from our bustling bar, before dabbling in a dance with Auckland’s one and only The Beat Council and DJs.
SkyCity Boxing Day Races
It’s not boxing day without soaking in the summer sun at the races! Running for over 160 years, the most colourful fashion, high-octane racing, hospitality & family entertainment combines at the annual Ellerslie racecourse Boxing Day Races!
Iconic to Auckland’s social calendar, the SkyCity Boxing Day Races offer a winning trifecta of fashion, entertainment and some of the best thoroughbred racing on offer.
The Infield Family Zone is returning in 2019 and with it, some fun, free activities for the younger family members including free pony rides, a mobile barnyard and more. The perfect spot for a family picnic, children under 15 years of age get free entry into this precinct and you can use Ellerslie’s barbeque to cook your Christmas leftovers on.
Young, fun and keen to socialise at the races? Infield party precinct, The Paddock, is making a comeback complete with a full day’s line-up of DJs headed up by Jupiter Project!
Traveling up to Auckland this New Years and looking to see how the city brings in the new year? Then look no further, we have gone out and done some research and found some great parties, places and people to help start 2020 right!
Britomart Block Party
This iconic downtown party has been running for years and become a staple for those who love the Auckland Nightlife! Spread across 3 different iconic Britomart venues: Caretaker, AV Club and 1885, it’s a great way to experience some of the best clubs in the city. Featuring sets from Sigma, P Money, Dick Johnson, Aroha and many more—there is literally something for everyone!
NYE Black & Gold Gala Dinner
Looking for something less sweaty and cramped and more glitz and glam? Then head along to Stamford Plaza’s Black and Gold Gala Dinner where you can toast to the end of the year, whilst indulging in a menu to die for and cocktails galore. Think slow-roasted lamb, a whole barbecued angus sirloin, New Zealand and French cheese selection! It’s the perfect place to see in the year with some friends or a special someone, and have one of the best last meals of 2019!
New Year’s Eve At Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen
Want to rip it up on the dance floor, but also have the opportunity to see the New-Years fireworks at the sky tower? Then roll on over to Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen who (given the title of their bar) know how to host a pumping party! But this venue also has one of Auckland’s largest outdoor decks so you can take in the killer view of the Sky Tower fireworks as the clock strikes 12. There will also be live music provided by The Beat Council, DJ Styla, Joe Turk and DJ Lucas.
Probably the most notable on this list, Northern Bass is a staple in the NYE festival scene for a reason, Hundreds of people from all over New Zealand and the world flock to Mangawhai every year to attend this 3-day festival. End your 2019 by dancing the night away to the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, and start 2020 as you mean to go on by listening to sick beats, moving your feet and digging into some tasty treats!
The New Year’s Eve White Party
Looking for something a little bit more ‘formal’ but still encapsulating the boogie? Then the Brazillian white party, which is taking over Princes Wharf,is the New Year’s party for you. Pop those bottles and sip on the champers to your heart’s content whilst getting your groove on to Brazilian-Latino Sertanejo, Axé, Pop, Rock and Reggaeton jams. Grab your best white outfit and go get your boogie on!
Summer is in full force and with the heat and clear skies comes the usual roll-out of summer festivals, and Auckland has a proud history of being host to some of the best festivals in the country, featuring a mix of local and international acts, if you are planning to stay with us over these times, it’s always crucial to book ahead of time, but before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s have a closer look at what’s coming to the city this summer season:
FOMO By Night
The summer festival that has been a popular staple in Australia is finally making its way to Auckland, taking over Spark Arena on January 9. FOMO By Night features top musicians that have topped the charts and are constantly pumping in our nightlife scenes. Acts including Mura Masa, Nicki Minaj, and local New Zealand DJs, The Katayanagi Twins. FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, is an accurate name if you miss this one.
Ellerslie Summer Race Day
A visit to the Ellerslie races is an Auckland summer must do, rock up with your own picnic basket with your favorite treats, enjoy a cold beverage of your choice, sit back in the sun and maybe even place your best bet on a racehorse. Summer Race Day has a more chilled out vibe than Ellerslie’s regular races and is a perfect activity for large groups visiting the city.
Takapuna Beach Summer Days Festival
The perfect day out for any beach loving family, this small festival by the water is a popular day outing everyone can enjoy. On January 19 from 11am, Takapuna beach brings in the new year in style and is truly kiwi: music, the beach and good food. From live performances and food trucks to keep your bellies full, lock it in your calendars for a classic Kiwi summer day.
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
Summer wouldn’t be the same without St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival. It’s the biggest and easily the most popular music event in Auckland, with so many people coming from across the country, its almost become an annual tradition for many. Just when you think this it has reached its peak, they outdo themselves the following year with a stellar line-up. This year we’re lucky enough to have international favourites such as Florence + The Machine and Courtney Barnett as well as local hitmakers Daffodils and Miss June.
The best way to sell this festival is by describing it as a small Coachella on Waiheke Island. Held at the secluded Rangihoua Olive Grove, Flamingo Pier is where you can bust out your festival fashions and rock out to the live music on the open fields.
End of February marks the end of the long summer for Aucklanders and there’s no better way celebrate than hitting up the three-day festival, Splore from February 21 – 24. The Beths, Lady Flic and Forrest Bump are just a fraction of the mega line-up and it doesn’t just stop at music. Tapapakanga Regional Park is transformed into an art extravaganza from workshops, installations, wellness centres and a whole lot of love, so get amongst it.
Heineken Urban Polo
Wrap up the summer season at one of the bougier events Auckland has to offer. Watch a game of polo-otherwise referred to as the sport of Kings-while listening to live music at Heineken Urban Polo. Heineken has taken the classic sport of royalty and created a fusion event with urban live tunes with their impressive line-up including Kilter and Miami Horror.
One thing we can be proud of in our city is its diverse culture – and that diversity spreads to food. Having such a big city that sprawls across so many locations you are guaranteed to find something that pleases each dietary need.
With vegetarian and vegan diets coming more and more prominent, the city has adapted and some of the best restaurants in the city are vegetarian, so if you fall into this category, or just want to explore how the other half lives, here’s a guide to what the city has to offer:
Odettes Eatery offers a menu that has it all and is enjoyed by people no matter what their dietary requirements are. Although Odettes is not a café that is targeted at the vegetarian public, they won’t let anyone miss out on a tasty experience. Cauliflower lentil and halloumi, wild mushrooms doused in whipped feta, vanilla crepes and maple granola with peanut yogurt are just a few of their many vegetarian creations. This hotspot is located in the city works depot for those looking to explore the city center.
Little Bird Unbakery
Located in both Ponsonby and Britomart, Little Bird Unbakery was one of the first in Auckland to introduce us to the raw vegan movement with their bird bowls of absolute health, superfood smoothies and of course, their raw cheesecakes and slices. Home of one of the best caramel slices in town, it’s hard to believe that these tasty treats aren’t only free of animal products but also refined sugar! The Unbakery also whip up the richest raw vegan raspberry and cacao brownie, which is so decadent and rich, you won’t believe that it’s made from only natural ingredients.
Lord of the Fries
If you’re looking for a burger but avoid both meat and dairy, look no further than Lord of the Fries. This 100% pure vegan fast food joint doesn’t fool around with food and has created what many of us thought was impossible. Their mock meats make you forget that you’re not actually consuming any animal products—and they don’t just stop at burgers and fries. They serve uploaded up hot dogs, onion rings, nuggets and fried “chicken,” making Lord of the Fries the ultimate cheat meal eatery for the vegetarians of Auckland. With locations in queen street and k’road, this one is an easy find.
Located in Mt. Eden, this offering mixes American inspired diner food with a vegetarian twist. Ralph’s vegetarian sloppy joe with nacho cheese, jalapeños, and lime cream is one that will stay in your minds as it’s just that good. Located in Mt. Eden, Ralphs will quickly become a guilty pleasure for all those who enter.
There’s no doubt that Ponsonby is one of Auckland’s most popular suburbs to visit, for both locals and out of towners. Ponsonby is most known for its boutique fashion stores and bars, but also for being the hub for some of Auckland’s best restaurants.
The selection in Ponsonby is a diverse one filled with kiwi classics, award-winning eateries, and restaurants that evolve into night clubs as the night beacons. We have had a good look across the internet to find you some of the most popular selections for you to pamper your pallets with!
Located in Ponsonby’s crown jewel of dining, Ponsonby Central is Honeybear, which brings with it a new nuance of Southeast Asian cuisine to Auckland. Honeybear brings the fresh and fun flavours of Burma to Auckland, The Menu is bustling with all kinds of Burmese-Indian fusion dishes— including a local favorite: poutine! And if you decide that this is the beginning of a night out exploring Ponsonby, then you can’t finish the meal without diving into Honeybear’s cocktail menus which feature mixes named after Maharajas.
Little Bird Unbakery
I already know what you are thinking, what is an unbakery? Well, as it turns out it is a heaven for health-food lovers – All food is raw, organic and free from gluten, dairy, soy and cane sugar. But don’t start thinking that this is at all a roadblock for deliciousness, because that’s not the case at all, the food here is creative and most importantly delicious. Highlights include kimchi pancake, chia bircher and spiced chestnut waffles, and pizza – which they run specials for daily. The drinks range is also equally diverse and healthy, featuring favourites such as a large range of smoothie offerings, chocolate drinks, matcha-based drinks, cold-pressed juice, kombucha and more.
Food Truck Garage
Not only is this food truck renowned in Ponsonby, but it has also made a name for itself across the city for one popular reason: healthy fast food. Yes, you read that right, this food truck mixes the divine mouth-watering taste of fast-food and removes the guilt that comes with consuming it – it’s a win-win situation. Ask anyone and they’d tell you that the food truck is most famous for its beetroot burger, and for good reason too, filled with juicy goodness, you’ll instantly be under its spell. The menu also features new burgers; chicken crunch and epic veggie, as well as burger bowls packed between salad-stuffed lettuce cups, and hassleback fires.
This newly opened bar and restaurant has quickly become a Ponsonby favourite, giving its fellow Ponsonby eateries a run for their money. You’ll see why as soon as you open the menu which focuses on rustic pizzas, cocktails, and an approachable atmosphere—on the sunny side of Ponsonby Road. All the furniture is handcrafted in Raglan and the lovely, passionate staff will offer an experience so great that you’ll probably find yourself there until late at night as the nightlife takes over.
Sometimes it’s hard to pack in exploring an entire city into one day, and with a city the sprawls as far as Auckland, ours can be especially hard! If your time is limited here in the city of sales and you want to experience the most of what Auckland has to offer, then many would suggest hoping a bus, boat or helicopter and take in a tour! We have done a little research and selected five tours that are well worth your time!
If you want to dedicate a whole day to explore the city at a leisurely pace, taking in all famous hotspots the city has to offer, then look no further than the full day Auckland Scenic Tours. You’ll start the tour off driving across the famous harbour bridge and along the Auckland waterfront (see why we are called the city of sails) as you are taken to your first destination: Devonport! You’ll be able to take photos of the city that are saved for postcards and advertisements as you reach the summits Mt. Victoria and North Head. This tour also takes you through the top shopping hotspots and historic locations such as in central Auckland and the Viaduct before you travel out West with a stop at the breathtaking Muriwai Beach to see the Gannet Colony. You’ll finish your tour, as all good days should, with a trip to a winery or the historic Riverhead Tavern – which is one of the country’s oldest pubs, with the second oldest liquor license.
Maybe you’d just like to get up in the air? For those who want to get a bird’s eye view of the city, this one is for you. You’ll get a look at the beaches of Auckland, the Sky Tower, and you’ll get to soak in the view from one of Auckland’s many (extinct) volcanos. You’ll also be dropped off for some fine dining, and the helicopter waits for you! This truly is a tour for those wanting to show off a bit of money.
Fine Wine Tours
Yes, there is no way we could make a list about tours without appealing to those who like a tasty drop and a good meal! Fine Wine Tours bring over 40 year’s experience with their guides, as they take you on a food adventure that includes a seaside morning coffee at Pt. Chev, tours through to fine food stores, wineries, vineyard, and markets. You’ll be packed to the brim by the end, but don’t worry, you’ll also be gifted a goodie bag of authentic New Zealand foodie items so you can keep reliving the magic for days to come!
If you feel like eating while burning off some of the food at the same time, then why not take a walking food tour? Eat Auckland offers walking tours of different varieties which include a walk along a lane of authentic Chinese eateries in Balmoral, or a tour for dumplings in the heart of the CBD or experience the fine dining of Ponsonby! This company has a walk for all taste buds!