We have compiled our top ideas for an Auckland girls’ weekend to remember.
1. Culinary delights
Brunch is a local institution in Auckland. If you’re staying downtown head to the Viaduct where there’s plenty of options. At the Mecca Viaduct Basin Café, the Portobello mushrooms are served with tiny spicy sautéed potatoes and chorizo. Their classic eggs Benedict come with bacon, ham, salmon or spinach and have a cult following.
Auckland has seen a lot of new restaurants opening in the last few years, so it might seem overwhelming to pick where you should explore during a limited weekend. Federal Street has taken off with its eateries around Sky City, Wynyard Quarter is a hub for dining out ever since the Rugby World Cup and Ponsonby Road is amass with cultural and boutique eateries.
Depot Eatery is a fast paced eatery and oyster bar by award winning New Zealand chef Al Brown. Winner of Metro Eats Top 50, this is one of the places to be seen in Auckland. I recommend starting with a few oysters and clams and then sharing a New Zealand meat board with a glass of Central Otago Riesling.
Tucked away in the Imperial Building on Fort Lane in Auckland’s CBD is Everybody’s, which takes its name from the 100 year-old theatre the space once housed. With a large open-air courtyard and a split-level space offering multiple options for drinking and dining, it offers a range of options depending on your mood. The food is ‘contemporary European’ and the atmosphere is vibrant.
2. Shop ’til you Drop
It would be a shame to visit Auckland without flexing the plastic a little. Start on Britomart’s laneways where there are independent designers and big name brands. UK classic Top Shop is close by on Queen Street, as well as New Zealand’s most loved department store, Smith & Caughey’s, which is a great place to pick up international cosmetics brand that are hard to find elsewhere. Then cross the road to High Street where New Zealand’s fashion designers and international labels hang out.
If you are looking for designer vintage, Auckland CBD has a great selection of boutiques specialising in pre-loved clothing. Check out Tango and Smoove on Little High Street, CouCou (30, Customs Street) and Recycle Boutique on Darby Street.
3. Island Hopping
In less time than it takes the average Aucklander to commute, you could be on a ferry to Waiheke Island and enjoying a wine tasting at Mudbrick Winery. Take the Explorer ferry and rent a scooter to ride around the island. Stop off at a beach, art gallery, another winery, or browse the shops at Oneroa.
A shorter ferry trip can take you over to the quaint and picturesque Devonport for afternoon tea or, for the more energetic, an adventurous walk on Rangitoto Island.
4. International Markets
Auckland has food markets dotted all over. The Parnell Farmers’ Market has more than 30 stalls where growers, farmers and producers sell seasonal fresh and organic fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, plants, baked goods, eggs, flowers and plant-based products (Saturdays 8 – 12, Jubilee Building car park, 545 Parnell Road).
In the same district is La Cigale, a French food market that takes place on Saturday and Sunday mornings in Parnell. Go there to enjoy French delicacies, fresh produce and artisan breads and cheeses.
5. High Tea
The perfect way to take a break from shopping is with a decadent high tea. To take ‘high’ literally then visit Orbit 360 at the top of the Sky Tower, just across the road from Crowne Plaza Auckland.
Another amazing afternoon tea spot is at the gorgeous Takapuna Beach Café. It is a must to try out their salted caramel ice cream, by itself or made into a smoothie or spider.
6. Spa Indulgence
Every girl loves to be pampered and the great thing about spa treatments is that they are not weather dependent. If it’s aesthetic treatments you are after, I would recommend East Day Spa which is located in the Sky City complex. For a great massage you can’t beat Bliss Reflexology, which has won several local awards. It is located just across from the lobby of Crowne Plaza Auckland on Albert Street.
7. Dance the Night Away
No girls’ weekend is complete without a few cocktails and the chance to blow off steam on the dancefloor.
Enjoy drinks over sunset from the rooftop at Tyler Street Garage in Britomart. Then move on to Cassette Nine on Vulcan Street for great cocktails and live music. Goldfinch on Quay Street is a classy club and cocktail lounge in which to end your night while dancing to some of Auckland’s top DJs.