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24 Hours in Auckland

Home > Auckland > Escape the City | Fun Things To Do
by Carisma (subscribe)
Activist and writer, currently based in Sydney. My first book is now available at spend to save
Published November 24th 2014
A self-guided tour of New Zealand's harbour city
As much as Aussies hate to admit it, New Zealand is actually a pretty nice place to visit. Only a short flight from Australia's East Coast, New Zealand is a great place to go for a quick break. If you're short on time, here's a guide to getting the most out of Auckland in 24 hours.

Auckland city
Image by 111 Emergency from Wikipedia.

Firstly, make sure you book accommodation in the city centre. Anything close to Queen St would be ideal. While that may not seem important, if you're planning on walking all day, you'll want something that is central and easy to get to. My personal picks are Econolodge or CityLodge (for the budgeteers); or Crowne Plaza or Skycity (for the splurgers).

08:30 – Breakfast
Auckland city is full of quiet streets and alleys with great cafes. For great fare try:
1. Revive on Lorne St. Everything here is healthy, delicious, and organic, and the menus change weekly.
2. Federal and Wolfe on Federal St. A laid-back casual place, where you can feast on a wide range of breakfast items.
3. Ima Cuisine on Fort St. The first Israeli restaurant I've ever been to, Ima offers dishes from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region. The food is delish, and is a must for anyone who's never tried cuisine from this region before.

Auckland art gallery
Image by Carisma.

10:00 – Auckland Art Gallery and Devonport
Auckland's beautiful art gallery, located on the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, houses some of the most beautiful art works in the country. Excepting special exhibitions, entry is free, and well worth it. Afterwards, make your way down to Queen St, and walk all the way to the wharves, stopping to admire all the shops and cafes. If you've never tried Dunkin Donuts before, then grab yourself a donut to munch on along the way. You'll be doing so much walking, that it'll be burned off quickly.

Once at the wharves, take a ferry to Devonport, one of Auckland's oldest suburbs. A return trip should cost less than $12 for adults. Devonport is a beautiful seaside village, with plenty to do for both the active tourist who wants to hike, climb and see everything, as well as beautiful, sandy beaches for those who want to relax and enjoy the views. If you'd rather stay inside, there are plenty of boutique shops, and galleries to explore.

Cheltenham Beach
Image by Carisma.

13:00 – Lunch
There are so many great cafes and restaurants to go to for lunch, but personally, I grab some takeaway and head to Cheltenham Beach. There are plenty of picnic spots, and the views are to die for.

Mount Eden volcano
Image by Symac from Wikipedia.

14:30 – Cornwall Park and Mount Eden Volcano
After you've re-fuelled, take a ferry back into the city, and head to Mount Eden to see a volcano. Yes, you read that right, this is New Zealand after all. Mount Eden, located right near the edge of the city centre, is a dormant volcano. It takes about an hour to climb, however, if you want to conserve as much time (and energy) as possible, you can also drive up. Afterwards, take the Outer Link bus, and head to Cornwall Park. As one of Auckland's most beautiful parks, it's a great place to sit back and enjoy nature. Take at least 30 minutes to rest, and maybe recharge with a coffee, because the day's not over yet.

Cornwall Park
Image by Follash from Wikipedia.

18:00 – Dinner
For dinner, take a bus back into the city, and head to Wynyard Quarter, on the west side of the wharves. Wynyard Quarter, once an industrial area, has been re-vamped into a thriving hub of pubs and restaurants. Overlooking the water, this area is a great place to have a few drinks and enjoy a good meal. My personal picks would be:
1. Baduzzi. The food is great, and Italian is a cuisine that will generally satisfy everyone.
2.Jack Tar. A great place to enjoy hearty comfort food, with an amazing selection of pastas, pizzas and bar food.
3. Thai Street. I've never met anyone who didn't like Thai food, and this restaurant offers some of the best Thai in the city.

Skycity tower
Image by Carisma.

20:00 – Nightlife
I'm going to give you two options for the evening. If you want to sit back and be entertained, head to the Civic Theatre on Queen St and catch a show. The Civic Theatre regularly shows musicals, plays and concerts, but make sure you book online first. Alternatively, you can head to Skycity Tower and Casino for a great night out. Skycity, the tallest building in the Southern hemisphere, boasts beautiful 360° views over the city. It's attached to a casino, and features many bars and restaurants. Really, whether you want to gamble the night away, or dance away to great DJ's while you sip the latest cocktail, Skycity has it all.

When you're well and truly exhausted (a sign that you accomplished a lot), head back to your hotel and collapse into bed. Auckland in 24 hours – easy!
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Why? With beaches, great shopping, culture and nightlife, Auckland is a great place to get a taste of New Zealand.
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