I’ve often thought about the perfect way to spend a day in . It’s a fabulous city, regularly featuring in lists of the world’s best cities in which to live, and packs a plethora of activities into its modest span (1,086 km2, roughly two thirds that of Sydney). But given just a single day, what should one do? What is the most worthwhile use of 24 hours in ’s most populous metropolis?
8.00am - Breakfast at Viaduct Quay
It’s impossible to start a day without coffee, and No.1 Queen Street Café is the place to get it. Stylish and fresh, the convenient location and exquisite brews make this an ideal first stop, and comes complete with free Wi-Fi and a selection of iPads so that you can check the day’s headlines before setting off.
9.00am – Auckland Adventure Jet boat
10.00am - Ferry to Devonport
10.30am - North Head Mount
The walk to Devonport’s North Head Mount is mildly strenuous but exceedingly worthwhile, with a summit that affords spectacular views that reach across Auckland’s cityscape and down the Hauraki Gulf. The mount itself is atop a volcanic headland, and played an important role in New Zealand’s military history, the remnants from which add colour and interest to any visit.
11.30am - Devonport browse shops
12.00pm - Lunch at the Olive Press
13.30pm – Return Ferry to Auckland
14.00pm - Kelly Tarton’s Cage Dive
Experiences here range from the serene to the extreme, which is why I found myself in a metal cage, part-submerged in murky water and feeling quite alone. Except I wasn’t alone, for somewhere in those waters were sharks, principally those of the Sand Tiger, School, Broadnose Sevengill and Wobbegong varieties. It’s an oft-referenced adrenalin activity, which, as my heart can testify, more than lived up to expectations.
The attraction is serviced by a convenient shuttle bus that departs opposite the ferry terminal, operating 7 days a week, on the hour, every hour, from 09:00 until 16:00.
16.45pm – Queen Street
Queen Street is Auckland’s most popular shopping district, easily accessed via bus and a perfect walkway to shake off any nerves you may have developed while facing monsters of the deep. This is where you’ll find the famous Smith & Caughey department store, the oldest of its kind in New Zealand, with opulent Victorian interiors that forerun the stylish modern clothes beneath.
17.00pm – Elliott Stables
17.30pm – SkyJump
And so it was with an electric mixture of giddy excitement and grave terror that I stood upon the edge of SkyTower, Auckland’s tallest structure, with eyes searching desperately across the enveloping vista, but a body that was irresistibly infected with dread. In 11 seconds I’d reach a speed of 85 kmph. Survival was my only thought.
The good news is that I did survive, and that this article has not earned the unique distinction of being the first piece of writing produced by a ghost. The bad news is that I had no time to dwell on what had just happened, for I had an evening to move onto…
19.00pm – Dinner and Drinks at Iguaçu Restaurant & Bar
We began our visit at the bar, with a smattering of light bites from the tapas menu and a couple of bubbly beers, before retiring to a bright room that sits beneath an impressive glass roof. I was pleased to find Iguaçu does not sacrifice quantity for quality, ensuring its guest’s palates are lavished and their stomachs glutted. What more can one ask for?
10.00pm Drinks at Viaduct Harbour
The best place to round off a day in Auckland is at Viaduct Harbour, the city’s most eminent party hub. The selection of bars is rich, as was the mojito I chose to reflect upon the past fourteen hours while absorbing the magnificent array of boats moored along the marina’s berths.
The perfect end to a perfect day.
No. 1 Queen Street Café
QEII Square, next to Britomart & opposite the Ferry Building
+64 9 366 6879
Auckland Adventure Jet
Adult ticket - $98
Auckland Waterfront, on Quay Street, right next to the Ferry Building
+64 21 379 155
Fullers - Auckland-Devonport Ferry
Return Ticket to Devonport - $11. Run approx. every 30 minutes.
Ferry Terminal, 99 Quay Street
2A Rattray Street, Devonport
+64 9 445 1618
Kelly Tarlton’s Shark Dive
Adult Ticket - $79
23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei
+64 9 531 5065
39 Elliott Street
Adult Ticket - $225
Skywalk Mission Control, SkyTower, Crn Federal & Victoria Street
+64 9 368 1835
Iguaçu Restaurant & Bar
269 Parnell Road, Parnell
+64 9 358 4804
Our Meal at Iguaçu Restaurant & Bar :
- Green lipped mussels steamed in chardonnay, garlic & fresh herbs – $18.00
- Guinness braised beef cheeks with colcannon potatoes, baby carrots & greens –$28.50; beef cheeks very tender – huge portion
- Cold chocolate fondant with a berry salad & Chantilly cream – $14.50; not too rich but perfect for a sweet finale
- Washed down with a bottle of Crater Rim Pinot Noir from the Waipara Valley – a reasonable $50.00 for a bottle.
Information supplied by Mike Watt, MyDestination.com/NewZealand
Edited by Alex Plim, My Destination