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Auckland - everything you need in one handy place!

Auckland is a city of travellers, packed full of people who can trace their heritage all over the world. In this melting pot of cultures and traditions, food is a universal language that draws people together.

The City has it all! All the amenities, culture and vibrancy of a big city, while still maintaining a friendly, relaxed walkable vibe in the city centre - with world class shopping, fantastic restaurants, thumping nightlife and a cafe scene second to none.

The Hauraki Gulf, a stretch of sparkling water with islands home to vineyards, wildlife sanctuaries, and yet more perfect beaches. Volcanoes dot the city, providing spectacular viewing points and green space for the city’s two million inhabitants.

 

Orientation

Auckland’s CBD stretches from the waterfront along a narrow valley with Queen Street running up its middle. The conference venue Q Theatre is located half way up Queen Street and most hotels are located within two blocks of the main thoroughfare. 

The CBD comes alive in the form of a number of small inner-city precincts that showcase New Zealand’s best urban design, shopping, dining and nightlife.

 

City Centre Walking Tour

Start in Britomart, the area immediately to the east of Queen Street behind the train station, which houses some of the city's best restaurants, bars and upmarket shopping. Here you'll find the country's top fashion designers and some big names from overseas. Dining options are modern and stylish – Amano, The Britomart Country Club, Ebisu and Mexico are all award-winning and recommended.

Going up Queen Street, away from the bottom of town and Britomart and you can turn left onto Shortland Street then first right onto High Street. Walking up High Street is a good alternative to Queen Street, which runs parallel to it. The city's best book shop, Unity Books is here. Small quirky shops, pubs and cafés can be found in the small lanes that run off High Street. Vultures' Lane or Vulcan Lane serves craft beer and their outdoor tables are great for people watching. Make a short detour up Victoria Street for a stroll around Albert Park.

High Street becomes Lorne Street, where you'll find some cheap eats, including health food spot Revive and the not-so-healthy but ever-popular Korean Pancake Stall, before ending at Wellesley Street by the Auckland Art Gallery. The block further on from here is Auckland's theatre and music scene and the conference venue, clustered around the iconic Town hall and Aotea Square. Eateries and pubs are close by, in pretty much every direction.

if you turn around and head back down Queen Street towards the waterfront again you can detour up Wellesley Street to find Elliot Street, home to the Elliott Stables – a small but well-formed collection of eateries - and during the day various food truck style stalls set up in the shared space leading to Victoria Street. From there you can turn left and head up to SkyCity, with Auckland's most recognisable landmark; the Sky Tower, and its jumbo-size hotel and casino complex straddling Federal Street.

The Depot Bar and Eatery on Federal Street is the restaurant of New Zealand's top TV chef Al Brown, offering kiwi comfort food including fresh oysters. Next door is the world-famous-in-Auckland Federal Delicatessen. If you haven't had pie for dessert at "the fed" then you'e doing Auckland wrong!

If you're staying in the middle of town, north over the hill from SkyCity is the City Works Depot, where a collection of old council workshops have been converted into offices and eating and drinking venues. Highly recommended is Brothers Beer, a working brewery with 18 taps, over 200 bottled beers and thin-crust pizzas. The Botanist cafe and wine bar serves sumptuous food in uber-cool surroundings.

Down the hill, Victoria Park Markets is home to an every increasing number of shops, bars and eateries. Walk across Victoria Park and down Halsey Street past the former America's Cup bases back to the waterfront, Wynyard Wharf and Silo Park. This new urban space is home to markets on Friday night and Saturday morning, and hosts many concerts and events. A strip of restaurants line the dockside providing a pleasant spot for an afternoon drink or meal in the sun.

Finally cross the Te Wero pedestrian walk bridge and you're back in the popular Viaduct and Princess Wharf entertainment precinct, also home to the National Maritime Museum. Most bars and clubs are open until at least 3am, and there are a multitude of dining options. SoulBar and Bistro and Fish restaurant are recommended for their seafood. The two Irish Bars Danny Doolans and O'Hagans are renown for daily live music.

 

Top things to do further afield

If you're taking advantage of the conference to spend a weekend or a few days in Auckland, there is plenty to do and see - especially if you have some non-Drupalers on tour with you!

 

Sky tower

The Sky Tower has stood tall at 328 meters as an icon of Auckland's sky line for almost 20 years. It's an exciting hub of adrenaline activities, superb dining and breathtaking views. Try a Sky Jump from the iconic Sky Tower, or walk it's edge - 192 metres above ground level!

 

Auckland Harbour Bridge

If the Sky Jump is not enough, head to the Auckland Harbour Bridge for New Zealand's only Bridge Climb or bungy into the Waitemata Harbour. Epic!

 

Auckland Museum

The Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. The Museum is a war memorial for the province of Auckland and holds one of New Zealand's top three heritage libraries.

It has pre-eminent Māori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.

 

Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium

See the world’s largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony display, the world’s biggest species of stingray and New Zealand’s largest collection of sharks. Journey through a unique Southern Ocean experience and marvel at our amazing new live jellyfish display and visit the magical Seahorse Kingdom where you’ll find the world’s only display of Spiny Sea Dragons, all this and much, much more.

Free shuttle service from Downtown Auckland.


Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

History, heritage and culture are brought to life at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Founded in 1888, it remains New Zealand’s largest visual arts experience. The renovation of the building in 2011 resulted in an award for the building as World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival.

 

Auckland Zoo

There's lots to see and do all year round at Auckland Zoo, including events, animal encounters, behind-the-scenes experiences and more!

 

Top places to be

Auckland Viaduct Harbour

The Viaduct is one of Auckland's most popular entertainment precincts, also home to the National Maritime Museum. Most bars and clubs are open until at least 3am, and there are a multitude of dining options. SoulBar and Fish restaurant are recommended for their seafood. The two Irish Bars Danny Doolans and O'Hagans are renown for daily live music.

Pretty much if it’s happening – you’ll find it in the Viaduct.
 

Ponsonby

Auckland hippest strip. Ponsonby is packed with boutique fashion stores, chic cafés, bars and restaurants, all just 10 minutes from the city centre. Treat yourself to a shopping spree at Ponsonby’s sophisticated boutiques. Find unique designer fashion, upmarket homewares, top quality jewellery, accessories and specialist foods.

Ponsonby is undoubtedly one of Auckland’s best and busiest dining spots too. Sip on superb coffee at a laid back café and dine on dishes from all corners of the globe. Choose from a huge array of options, from five-star restaurants with award-winning chefs to pop-up stalls and street food at the uber-cool Ponsonby Central. When night falls, catch a live music gig at one of the neighbourhood bars or dance late into the night as top DJs spin their decks. Sing along to classic retro tunes or the latest club music

 

Waiheke Island:

Auckland city is perched on the edge of a sheltered harbour that’s dotted with emerald islands which you can journey to by ferry. Many of these islands are wildlife sanctuaries and feature beautiful walks. Waiheke is a must-see 'island of wine'. Waiheke has abundant natural wonders to explore. For the more adventurous, there are numerous activities to pursue including mountain biking, sea kayaking, fishing, surfing, sailing, archery and much more.

Explore pristine beaches and world class vineyards.

 

If you'd like to read more about the city's surroundings, check out the following links

Heart of the City specialise in the CBD and are a fantastic resource, they also have an app for finding food, drink and all sorts of good things when you're in the zone:

Download Where next? for iOS

Download Where next? for Android