Top 9 Things To Do in Auckland CBD

June 11, 2015

A common perception of New Zealand is lush rolling hills, sheep peacefully grazing everywhere you look and lots and lots of adventurous outdoor activities to take part in. Don’t get me wrong — yes, you will find that here — but you won’t see anything like that in Auckland. Indeed, Auckland is a thriving yet surprisingly serene city. To me, the city has achieved a perfect equilibrium between bustling and bucolic. That being said, here are a few ways to spend your holiday in Auckland.

1. Look up towards the Sky Tower
Undoubtedly, the Sky Tower is one of Auckland’s most famous landmarks. It fantastically livens up the city’s skyline. Thankfully the tower isn’t only good to look at, as there are many activities to do there as well. Firstly there’s the Skywalk which allows you to walk along the edge of the building allowing you unparalleled views of the city. One can also opt to go bungee jumping. Lastly there are numerous places to wine and dine, so be sure to come with an empty stomach! If you choose not to take part in any of these, it’s rewarding to just look up and admire the architectural structure.

2. Catch a show at the Civic Theatre
Just as beautiful as the Skytower is the Civic Theater, but for an entirely different reason. Unlike the modern Skytower, this theater is relatively old and boasts a beautiful orangey colour. Even more impressive is the interior, as it makes the audience feel like they are enjoying the spectacle in an outdoor theatre.

3. Walk along the harbour
Auckland’s harbour is one of the most beautiful; there are multitudes of speedboats, sailboats, and cruise ships offering you the best sunset ride you will ever experience. There is also an abundance of restaurants where you can dine whilst gawking at the amazing view. Although, I chose to walk further along the harbour to get outstanding panoramic views of the city skyline — truly gratifying.

4. Go shopping along Queen Street
This is one of Auckland’s main shopping districts. It is located very near the harbour as well as just steps away from the Skytower. It’s a long street with shops everywhere you look, but don’t be surprised if you don’t find the international brands you would normally see in other countries — Auckland doesn’t even have Zara. Even more scarce are high end brands. That being said, it’s fun to explore local brands! Also, make a trip to a souvenir shop — humour yourself with an All Blacks tee, or even a face mask that has manuka honey, kiwi extract or even lanolin.

5. Visit a museum or a gallery
Undisputedly, my top recommendation would be to hit the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It offers a wide display of Maori art and artefacts from the war. The best (and my favourite) part of it all is that the museum offers a cultural show which showcases eclectic Maori songs and dances. I finally got to see the Haka live! Should this not pique your interest, there’s always the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Transport and Technology and the Auckland Art Gallery.

6. Catch a rugby match
Four words and four words only: New Zealand All Blacks. There are lots of ways to go about this. You could go and visit Eden Park. You could watch a match of the local rugby league. You could watch in a pub and get excited with the locals. You could buy yourself some All Blacks apparel. The list goes on.

7. Bring out your inner carnivore
New Zealand is home to some of the world’s healthiest animals, like cows and sheep. The world’s best meat only follows. You could stuff yourself stupid with lamb and beef. Should this not interest you, New Zealand also serves arguably the best milk in the world. Lastly, the country also offers some of the freshest seafood you will find.

8. Appreciate Maori culture
Kia ora! Once you’ve landed in Aotearoa, one of the most gratifying things you can do is to appreciate the Maori culture which is certainly unlike any other. Marvel at the heavily tattooed faces you might pass along the street, gawk at the unique Maori art, and jive to their native song and dance numbers. This was my first encounter with Maori culture and to say that it was breathtaking would be an understatement. It is so different from anything else you will experience.

9. Hit up a neighbouring island
MUST DO. Once you’re done wandering the streets of Auckland, take some time to venture out of the bustling city and into one of New Zealand’s little islands. I’m sure that each little treasure has a way of life of its own. Among my top picks are Waiheke and Rotorua.

I’ve heard it said that New Zealand is mostly for the adventurous and the outdoorsy. This is surely not the case as there is certainly something for everyone!