Planning a trip to Auckland but short on time? Don’t worry, my delightful blog-reading friend, I’ve got you covered with this quick guide on how to spend 24 hours in Auckland. I’ve got tips on where to eat, what to see and do, where to stay and how to get into town without breaking the bank.
But first, watch this…
Breakfast at Remedy Coffee
Start your day off right with fantastic coffee and a yummy breakfast in the heart of Auckland at Remedy Coffee. This cafe is a nice warm, cosy space to kick the day off. They do really good coffee here and simple, delicious breakfast options that won’t break the bank. I had a large soy cappuccino and yummy 5-seed toast with jam for $10. They also offer up bagels, avocado on toast, chia puddings, muesli and a few other great breaky options too. If you find yourself there around lunchtime, try the soup. Find Remedy Coffee here.
Hit the shops
If you love to shop, Queen Street is where it’s at. You’ll find it lined with loads of great shops selling everything from handbags and jewellery to clothes, cosmetics and just bits and pieces. If you’re an avid thrift-shopper (like me) you’ll want to head up to K-Road (Karangahape Road). Along here you’ll find a tonne of awesome thrift stores, seriously, you can lose hours pouring through them all. There are some fantastic bargains to be had.
Explore the marina
Head down to Queens Wharf and Princes Wharf and take your time strolling around slowly, watching boats come and go. It’s a great spot to sit for a while, if you happen to grab a take-away coffee. I walked out to the end of Princes Wharf and found this a great spot for photography. You can walk all the way around this section and get some really nice views of the water and beyond.
Grab an ice cream from Giapo
It’s a pretty big call to refer to yourself as serving New Zealand’s best ice cream, but according to Giapo, it is! I got the hot tip from a local and am kicking myself that I didn’t get a chance to try it. Do it for me, will ya? Find Giapo here.
View the Sky Tower
I say view, because I don’t know if it’s worth your while to go up to the top, unless you really love that sort of thing. I got some great photos of the Sky Tower from down at Princes Wharf and that was enough for me. I’d probably recommend you do the same, especially if you’re light on time. Grab some good photos of it from a distance, stare at it, ooh and ahh about it, then get on with your day. Find the Sky Tower here.
Visit the Auckland Art Gallery
Time for some culture, darl! The Auckland Art Gallery is open daily from 10am to 5pm and, best of all, it’s free to get in. You’ll find it easy to get to on-foot and once you’re inside can take in some fantastic artworks on display, including rotating exhibitions. Find the Auckland Art Gallery here.
Have yourself a delicious dinner
Seeing as you’ve only got one shot at this, I’d recommend treating yourself to a really yummy dinner. Head to the Botswana Butchery, down at Queens Wharf. The focus here is on great wine and fantastic meals created using fresh, local produce. Their dinner menu offers up fresh seafood and yummy mains like roasted half duck, Cardrona lamb rack semolina gnocchi with smoked brie for vegetarians (like me!) Find Botswana Butchery here.
Where to stay
If you’re feeling flash, the Hilton Hotel is your top pick. Perched at the end of a pier at Princes Wharf you’ll feel like you’re escaping from the big buildings of the city. Opt for a room with water views to start and end your day looking out over the water. The rooms here are pretty elegant, as you’d expect. They’re modern and bright, spacious and really well located as you’re in walking distance to everything on this list. Find Hilton Hotel Auckland here.
If you’re looking to save cash or just in town for one night and don’t really mind where you stay, then I recommend Haka Lodge. Yep, it’s a hostel but stay with me while I explain. This is where I stayed, but in a private room, and I loved it. It was honestly better than hotels I’ve stayed in, which is really saying something. The private rooms here are great, they look like a budget hotel room with their own en-suite, TV and are pretty spacious. Again, it’s pretty well located and you can walk to all the places on this list easily. It’s the cleanest, quietest hostel I’ve ever experienced. Find Haka Lodge here.
How to get into Auckland from the airport
I made the crucial mistake of catching a cab, thinking it would be around NZD$40 or so. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It cost me NZD$85 to get from the Airport to K-Road and I just about cried when I had to hand over the cash. For real, it was a very sad moment in my broke-ass life. Instead, I’d strongly recommend you catch the SkyBus. It’s a very affordable NZD$16 per person one-way to get from the airport into the city, or NZD$28 if you book it return. Find the SkyBus here.
Useful travel resources for your next adventure!
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TourRadar – for booking tours