The Art Lover’s Guide To The Ultimate Long Weekend In Auckland
There's still time to book that last-minute getaway.
For some reason, New Zealand isn’t really considered a weekend trip. But if you’re located on Australia’s East Coast, you’re only looking at a three-hour flight — less than it takes to drive from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, or Melbourne to Lorne.
Consider this your guide to a fun-packed, food-filled, cultured 48-hour trip to Auckland.
You’ve touched down and are more than likely a little peckish. Fortunately, a culinary journey awaits. If you’re after something a little fancy and extremely delicious, give Cassia a go. The restaurant fuses a mix of contemporary and traditional Indian cuisine served up in large plates to share.
If Cassia is a bit exxy for your budget, you’ll find Monsoon Poon a little more approachable. This place is a staple of New Zealand’s food scene, with the most mouth-watering duck noodles you’ll find anywhere on the island.
After you’ve gobbled down some delicious food, make your way down to the very weird and wonderful Golden Dawn for some local live music to round out the night.
Before you get going, soothe your hangover with some of Auckland’s best brunch fare. Much like us, Kiwis take their brunch pretty seriously, so it’d be remiss of us to not give you a couple of pointers.
Auckland foodie favourite Odettes is a great place to start for a mid-morning meal with a very elegant twist. You can’t go past ‘Odettes Complete’ that comes with two eggs, heirloom tomato, avo, bacon, whipped feta on toasted sourdough for a wholly perfect brunch, but the herbed scramble and short rib sandwich have our vote, too.
After you’ve made your belt feel that much tighter, head to the impressive Auckland Museum (Tamaki Paenga Hira) for a well-rounded history of the country’s culture and way of life. Entry costs $25.
On your way out of the Museum, stop into the nearby Winter Gardens in the Auckland Domain. The giant pavillion of beautiful flowers and luscious plants has was built in 1913, and is sure to cure any winter blues.
After wandering through the Auckland Museum, make sure to stick your head into the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tamaki). The museum exhibits some of New Zealand and the world’s finest contemporary and historical art. Entry is free.
After you’ve museum’d your heart away, catch a bus to Olly, where you can pick up a good coffee, a delicious doughnut and browse some local paintings.
Then make your way to the famous Cornwall Park to chow down on said doughnut. Cornwall Park has the same grandeur and beauty of New York’s Central Park, without the crowds and noise. It’s a truly magical place.
After your class, head to dinner at somewhere like Brother’s Juke Joint BBQ for southern soul food, or Coco Cantina for darn good Italian at a local institution. Xuxu’s for dumplings, or Gypsy Caravan for Mediterranean. Too many options!
If you’re up for it, hit the bars. Pineapple on Parnell is as sultry and mysterious as a bar can get. No menu, pictures or even address on the website, it just lures you in with a bright neon pineapple. Hit up Orleans for jazz music.
Using this trip to take time out and ponder? The Book Exchange cafe will most likely appeal to you. Take in an old book and swap it for 50 per cent off another one in the same genre, cosy in and read it while indulging in a coffee and pastry. Yes please.
Now, the window-shopping (or real shopping?) begins. Head on down to Ponsonby Road to grab a glimpse at some of Auckland’s most unique and interesting stores. Favourites of ours include Flotsom and Jetsam, a mish-mash of antiques, rare goods and scoops of ice cream (yum), and Magnation where you can find the best New Zealand and international zines. Head to Iko Iko for colourful gifts, Miss Crabb for original Kiwi threads and World Beauty for Kiwi products.
Definitely hit up Orphan’s Kitchen on Ponsonby Road for a fresh, seasonal meal. After you’ve filled up on lunch, make the most of your remaining hours in the city by exploring the Viaduct and North Wharf. Swap a read at the book swap, walk through Silo Park and grab a cheeky beer at Bungalow 8 before your flight back home.
Bonus tip: If you’re heading to Auckland between June 16 and July 23rd, you can even catch the Aotea outdoor skate rink.
There you have it. Auckland in just 48 hours. The perfect long weekend.
(Lead image: Auckland Art Gallery)