I thought I’d share a little photo diary from New Zealand with all of our tips from our Auckland Destination Video Guide I posted before.
We only had a few days in Auckland, but it was a generous amount of time to trial a small taste of the incredible food on offer as well as doing a half day wine tour on Waiheke Island. It was raining the day we went which didn’t damper our spirits, it just made the island feel more mystic and alluring with low hanging clouds and a slight mist covering its hills. There was a sense of ease when we arrived, and even though we saw people at the vineyards we couldn’t help but feel like we had the island all to ourselves – a rarity when traveling to a capital city and its surroundings.
I had been to Auckland years before, but coming back now made me realise just how much this city had evolved since my last visit, especially the food scene. I think returning as a vegetarian gave me a new perspective on their food culture, and honestly it’s some of the best produce I’ve ever had. I was desperate to try their local markets that are apparently overflowing with organic produce and homemade gifts, but unfortunately we just ran out of time. I’m also still dreaming about the New Zealand peanut butter by Fix & Fogg. Trust me when I tell you that you must buy yourself a jar or two, especially a jar of their dark chocolate peanut butter – Luke ate the entire jar in a week, I’m not even kidding.
Here’s some tips if you have a few days in Auckland – enjoy!
Piha Beach & Karekare Falls: Hire a car and escape the city for a day by discovering the natural wonders right on Auckland’s doorstep like Phia Beach and KareKare Falls of the Waitakere Ranges. The West Coast beaches are only a short 50-minute drive from the CBD and its black sand beaches are a popular surf spot and makes for an incredible background.
Waiheke Island: Hire a charter plane (we used Auckland Seaplanes) and fly out to Waiheke Island to visit the vineyards of award-winning local wines like Man-o-War. It’s an incredible and quintessentially New Zealand experience, and even though it’s only a short 15 minute flight from the CBD it feels like a world away once you get there. There’s also Cable Bay Vineyard, Mudbrick Vineyard and Te Whau Vineyard to try too.
Ortolana: Set in Britomart and covered in fairy lights, Ortolana makes for a romantic spot to take your partner at dusk. With a European-inspired menu using organic and locally sourced produce, the food we had here was some of the best during our whole trip.
Amano: I loved Amano’s food just as much as the incredible decor. It was a visual treat and I walked away with a phone full of photos to reference when I need some inspiration for my own home or wedding. I loved the dried flowers scattered throughout the restaurant and hanging from the ceilings – you’ll appreciate something different every time you visit.
Milse: If you have a sweet tooth this place is the place to go. It’s in Britomart and next door to Ortolana, making it the perfect pitstop after lunch or dinner. It reminds me of the high end treats you’ll find at Messina in Sydney, only replace the ice-cream with delicious cakes and chocolate treats. They also have ice-cream if that’s what you’re after too!
Odette’s Bakery: This place sits high on my must-try list at number one. My close friend lived in Auckland for a year and spent most of her days at Odette’s writing her thesis, and I can see why. The atmosphere matched the divine menu and fresh produce – a must if you’re after a delicious breakfast or brunch.
Best Ugly Bagels: This place is next door to Odette’s and it’s home to good, simple and delicious bagels. It even has gluten free bagels if you’re gluten intolerant like me. If you are, you’ll be happy to know the gluten free bagels weren’t the weird dense versions you usually get with gluten free products, they were soft and just ridiculously good. I went back every morning to savour the moment of eating what felt like normal bread for once. The tomato, avocado and basil with a pinch of sea salt was my favourite or the peanut butter version if you’re feeling more traditional. Thank me later.
Britomart: Britomart is the wonderful home to many local designers. I visited Auckland for the first time in 2011 for New Zealand Fashion Week, so I was introduced to the local designers quite some time ago. Favorites are Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, Lonely and newcomers Georgia Alice and
True Food & Yoga: I took a private class with True Food & Yoga’s owner Nic Watt and quickly learnt new techniques to apply to my yoga practice. I’ve been doing yoga for years but having this one on one time with such an experienced teacher like Nic made me realise there’s always room for improvement. We had lunch at her cafe next door overlooking the waterfront. You must try the kombucha they have on tap or turmeric latte – delicious!
Studio Red: I didn’t get a chance to try this place but I’ve heard amazing things about their hot yoga studio. If you’re like me and try to find local hot yoga studios for bikram classes in the city I’m visiting, then this is the place to try. Let me know how it is if you go!
Photographer: Luke Shadbolt