A step by step guide to a weekend getaway in NZ
After an overnight flight direct from Newcastle, we arrive in Auckland in the wee hours of the morning. We check straight into our hotel, the newly opened SO/ Auckland, and wow this design hotel is next level!
First stop breakfast and coffee, and it has to be Odettes, just west of the city, a short walk from Queen Street in the old City Works Depot. This post-industrial café is the epitome of simple, fresh, delicious food done well. I highly recommend their bircher muesli with sago, coconut labneh and pear with a fresh juice to wash it down, or a bloody mary (why not, I’m on holidays!).
With a full belly, it’s time to explore Auckland. Head back over the hill, and along Federal Street, you can’t miss the Sky Tower, Auckland’s tallest building. For the thrill seekers, you can have a go at the SkyWalk where you get the chance to walk out and peer over the ledge, all 192 metres up. And if that’s not enough, for the adrenaline junkies (who didn’t just eat a huge breakfast) you can always base jump to the bottom.
Back on safe ground, Federal Street is a little foodie paradise. Some of New Zealand’s best chefs have opened restaurants along this strip, there’re so many great places to pick from! The open kitchen of MASU by Nick Watt is mesmerising, Bellota is perfect for late night tapas and cocktails; for brunch, we can’t go past Federal Delicatessen. This take on a traditional Jewish deli is mouth-wateringly good! You just have to order their Toasted Reuben bagel with pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, mustard and lashings of their special Russian dressing. Wash it down with a bottomless cup of filter coffee. Yum!
With breakfast and brunch out of the way, let’s get walking. First stop Auckland Art Gallery the largest art gallery in New Zealand. Here you’ll be immersed in a collection of both historic and contemporary works from New Zealand, the Pacific and beyond.
Next for some shopping, wander along High Street, Vulcan Lane and Fort Lane and enjoy some of New Zealand’s top designers. Before heading down to Britomart. No, it’s not a supermarket, Britomart is the historic port district of Auckland, which these days is full of designer boutiques (think NZ royalty Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper and menswear fave AS Colour), cafes, restaurants, bars, Saturday markets, and mesmerising harbour views.
If you’re hungry, or even just thinking about food, you must try Café Hanoi, on the corner of Commerce and Galway Streets, Britomart. Specialising in super fresh, northern Vietnamese style street food, Café Hanoi is crunchy, salty, sweet and oh so tasty.
After a huge day seeing the sights of Auckland, time to relax and enjoy the views across the harbour. Head to Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co, where you can soak in harbour views, enjoy some beers and play some ten pin bowling. Random hey?
Followed by live jazz at the underground Caretaker bar, and a gin at the aptly named Gin Room. Our final stop for the day is Auckland's hottest new bar the HI SO rooftop bar at the SO/ Auckland. This is the place to be seen in Auckland, with private booths, an outdoor terrace, and uninterrupted city and harbour views.
Day two we head out just of the heart of the city to Karangahape Road, aka K Road. Once the red light district of Auckland, K Road is now the bohemian heart of this city; packed with cafes, local fashion designers, vintage shops, art galleries, nightclubs and bars. And it’s just a short 20 minute bus ride from the city.
First, coffee (and breakfast). Kokako Café in the old post office is the flagship café for the Kokako Roastery, their coffee is legendary and their breakfasts
look too good to eat. You’ll be filling up your Insta feed with their colourful, photogenic dishes.
Now for some shopping. A must visit is Crushes is at 225 K Road, stocking Kiwi designers, vintage clothes and beautiful things for your home. Recognising that slow is the new fast, Crushes is about taking things slow, to handpick and create products that can be gifted, used and cherished for years, without ending up in a landfill. It’s simply divine!
K Road top tips: Cotto for amazingly good Italian, Madame George’s cocktail list, Coco’s Cantina for some people watching, Apero Food & Wine and Gemmayze Street’s Lebanese cuisine.
In the afternoon, catch the ferry from the city across to Waiheke Island, this 40 minute trip will whisk you away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland to the natural beauty of New Zealand. Hire a scooter to get around, that way you can explore the island at your own pace. There are vineyards, such as Man O’ War or Miro Vineyard with the popular Casita Miro Spanish restaurant with commanding views; secluded beaches and scenic walking tracks.
Ahhh Auckland, what a huge two days!
Fly direct from Newcastle Airport to ten destinations in Australia, and in one-stop hub through to more than 65 destinations around Australia or overseas.
Direct international flights from Newcastle Airport to Auckland, New Zealand via Virgin Australia are available until 17 February 2019.
Make Newcastle Airport your point A. It’s right on your door, and has no tolls to pay, or big city parking fees. Instead it’s easy parking and check-in and time to relax.