Auckland, or Tamaki Makaurau in the Māori language, means land of a thousand lovers’. The name also suggests a reference to its fertile soil of Auckland and its geographical location between two resource-rich coasts. Blessed with verdant greens and sparkling blue waters, locals and tourists alike flock to this city for the perfect marriage of both.

The subtropical weather, glistening surf beaches and the myriad of islands make Auckland an ideal holiday destination for all ages. The buzzing metropolis is full of activity, with countless events throughout the year. Although Auckland may seem like just another city around the world, it is definitely worth a visit for holidaymakers who are seeking to experience a lineup for different attractions. For anyone considering a trip to the City of Sails, we’ve put together a list of tempting bites and snug beds for you to get started.

What to see

Go on a walking tour of Auckland’s architecture
auckland guide
(Image credit: Dan Freeman on Unsplash)

Architectural tourism plays a large part in Auckland, with its perfect blend of modern-day buildings and old heritage sites. Your trip is never complete without a visit to Sky Tower, Auckland’s most distinguished man-made landmark. Here, go up the observation deck for some fantastic city views, or if you’re brave enough, bungee down 192 metres on with their SkyJump. Next, head to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a humble institution of prayer set in a Gothic Revival style. Since its foundations in the 19th century, it has been known as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Auckland, complete with stunning stained glass windows. From there, move on to the Chief Post Office (CPO) Building, designed by Claude Paton and government architect John Campbell. The Baroque-style structure served as Auckland’s main mail, telegraph, banking, radio and telecommunications hub for several years and now serves as a train station as well.

Hike up Mount Eden
auckland guide
Mount Eden (Image credit: Albert Renn on Unsplash)

The hike up to Mount Eden is an easy two kilometres, and it is safe to say that you will be duly rewarded with spectacular views. A 360-degree view of Auckland awaits you at the peak of this monogenetic volcano. If you’re looking for a short cardio workout, take the route at the Glenfell Place steps, but a pleasant way to get up is to take the walking track up the mountain at the end of Batger Road, close to Mount Eden Village.

Take a day trip to Waiheke Island
auckland guide
Waiheke Island (Image credit: mona Masoumi on Unsplash)

We cannot imagine being sick of Auckland, but for those looking to get away from it just for a little bit, try taking a day trip to Waiheke Island. Embark on a 40-minute ferry from downtown Auckland and you will reach a haven of vineyards, olive groves and beaches. Check out Mudbrick Vineyard, a romantic restaurant set next to the verdant Te Uri Karaka Reserve. You can also attend their wine tastings at their own cellar door, and take home some house pours. Waiheke Island is also home to award-winning olive oil from Rangihoua Estate, offering tours and tastings year-round for visitors who seek out this versatile ingredient.

Where to eat

The Grove
auckland guide
Waiheke Island (Image credit: mona Masoumi on Unsplash)

Think modern New Zealand cuisine with a sprinkle of France and you will get a spectacular degustation menu at The Grove. The intimate restaurant is a showcase the season’s best produce, with a keen focus on finding fresh local ingredients. Although the menu changes continuously, expect to find creative plates like the Mooloolaba prawns with samphire or the terrine of honey bugs.

Masu
auckland guide
Masu (Image credit: Great Little vineyards)

Japanese cuisine has been slowly making its way into the hearts of New Zealanders, and Masu will always ring a bell for locals with their mouthwatering dishes. The restaurant adds a contemporary twist to the traditional Japanese robata grill, making the cuisine almost fusion-like. Chefs here enjoy bringing out sharing plates of Japanese cuisine, created with fresh New Zealand’s produce. Do

Amano
auckland guide
(Image credit: Amano)

For some authentic kiwi fare, make a trip to Amano. This sleek establishment is located in an old warehouse, and its industrial-chic design is further brought out by their exposed beam ceilings and concrete walls. Located right in the heart of the CBD, it is an accessible spot for both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. Partake in only seasonal, sustainable and local produce like their Te Matuku Bay Pacific oysters or Chargrilled kahawai, and dive into one of their selection of unique veggie plates. The restaurant also has an onsite bakery, convenient for those looking to grab a quick bite.

Where to stay

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
auckland guide
(Image credit: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour)

Check in to Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, a luxurious accommodation just 800m from the Sky Tower. The award-winning, upmarket hotel plays host to 172 chic rooms, each fitted with Juliette balconies and floor to ceiling windows. Start your day at the 21 Viaduct cafe, a dockside dine-in perfect for your cup of joe. After a long day of walking, check out the SO Spa, complete with therapists that indulge you in exquisite and rejuvenating treatments Inspired by the finest techniques of French cosmetology.

Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park Auckland
auckland guide
(Image credit: Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park Auckland)

For a cosier living space, Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park Auckland’s apartment-style property is perfect for you. It is located within walking distance to Britomart, Viaduct Harbour and in the vibrant Victoria Park precinct, making it extremely convenient for any guest. Larger groups of guests can be at home here, as the 40 suite property offers apartments with one, two or three bedrooms.

SO/ Auckland
auckland guide
(Image credit: SO Auckland)

SO/ Auckland is a luxurious urban hotel designed with avant-garde elements inspired by Auckland’s volcanic origin. It is housed in the dynamic Britomart district, alive with wine and dine options at any hour of the day. Each of the 130 rooms features stunning views of the city and the ocean, complete with lush modern beddings to keep visitors well-rested for their Auckland adventure. The hotel also features a 20-meter indoor heated pool that overlooks an unparalleled view of the bayside.

Jocelyn Tan
Writer
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer. She's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.