Yes, you read that correctly: 72 hours in Auckland, New Zealand. How do you spend just 72 hours on the other side of the world? Well, last year I went to the Oscars and since I’d unleashed my inner rockstar, I then decided to go to a friend’s wedding. I had three days to enjoy Auckland before the wedding and, man, did I squeeze a lot in.
Clearly you have to fly, and the only thing I’d say is don’t do it the way I did. Flying from Los Angeles to Auckland is probably the worst route ever and mercifully, Air New Zealand is now scrapping it. Flying for twelve hours over the ocean and the rising and falling pressure is horrific coupled with the fact, I was in economy and didn’t get a wink of sleep.
Where to Stay
There are many places to stay and I believe I chose one of the best: M Social hotel right on the harbour. All I knew about Auckland before I went was that it’s famous for yachting and coffee. By sheer luck, I got a brilliant Kia Ora welcome: upgraded to a room with a view. I was so sad to leave this hotel. The view was worth the money. It is great for downtown, the right part plus also a hop and skip from the ferry terminal. Auckland is not a big city, not by London standards and I walked to everywhere I visited.
MUST SEE: WAIHEKE ISLAND (AKA VINEYARD ISLAND)
I’ve drunk my fair share of Kiwi wines and wanted to go and discover the vineyards for myself. The ferry to Waiheke Island takes a good 45 minutes and even if it is sunny take a jumper or something warm because the wind really picks up on the ferry ride out to the island.
I feel as if you should just pick a few vineyards and see them, don’t try and see them all. Also, whilst the walk between the centre of the town and Mudbrick seems relatively close. It really isn’t, I turned back and waited for the bus.
My favourite vineyard was Te Motu – super friendly and knowledgeable without the hard sell.
My least favourite, although the best view on the island, was Mudbrick. I think because they know they are the most popular vineyard they don’t try.
Whilst on the island, dip your toe in the water, have some gelato and if you can enjoy oysters at The Oyster Inn.
Shopping and great restaurants like the Blue Breeze Inn. It feels like a cross between Chelsea and Marylebone in central London.
Supreme coffee is the name on everyone’s lips and it is true, the coffee is great. Although, I brought some back with me to bring some of that Kia Ora spirit to South East London and it didn’t taste as good. I wonder if the joy of supreme coffee is the New Zealand water, a bit like Guinness – it never tastes as good as it does in the Republic or Northern Ireland.
WHERE I ATE IN AUCKLAND
Ok, so proper reviews are coming but I ate at following places:
The Blue Breeze Inn: What an absolute delight: the wine and seafood.
The Store: Breakfast sat outside, pricey but a great spot.
Mai Thai Restaurant: Thai food, oh yes!
Mekong Baby: I still dream about those lamb ribs (a year on!!)
Federal Delicatessen or The Fed: All of it, but, especially the coffee.
As a solo female traveller, I felt completely safe. I am also a Londoner (south at that) and so I behaved as I would at home. If there were crowds of drunk people I steered clear and no flashy jewellery. I did go out at night and felt fine walking back to my hotel at 11 pm/ midnight.
I felt that three days was long enough in Auckland. Any more days and I would have done a little more island hopping but as for seeing the city, I felt I’d done that.
The only tip especially if you’re travelling from the UK, is to get out of the mindset that everything is half price. Yes, the £ is generally stronger against the NZ$ but you can spend a lot more if you keep thinking it’s half price. I had to stop doing that after day two, I may think of myself as a queen but I don’t have a trust fund!