News and Views

Top picks for Auckland Heritage Festival

Posted by Website Admin on September 26, 2018

Top picks for Auckland Heritage Festival 2018
From 29 September to 14 October

This is one of our favorite festivals as the colourful characters and diverse cultures of Auckland are bought to life by the city’s historians, commentators and social anthropologists over a magical two weeks of walks, talks, exhibitions and market days. 

Explore the secret gardens of Government house, the sacred spaces of the beautiful Bharatiya Mandir Hindu temple or marvel at Gottfried Lindauer’s majestic Maori portraits. Tour Eden Park with historians, stroll across the Museum's rooftop or join a guided walk along K’Road to celebrate Pasifika settlement. There’s such a vibrant programme on offer and something to suit all ages. 

We revel in the fascinating heritage stories and secrets behind our vibrant city and have highlighted a few events which have captured our eye. Many of the events are free to the public.  

Maori Art in the heart of the city
Saturday 6 October, 10.30am-12 noon. Helen Clark Room, Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place
Join leading art historian and curator Linda Tyler for a public talk and a guided walk of city centre artworks created by reknowned Maori artists. The modernist movement emerged in 1960s, with Maori artists forging a new national identity of indigenous art. The city centre has a significant collection of legacy public works made by five Maori artists including Ralph Hotere, Fred Graham, Selwyn Muru, Paratene Matchitt and Arnold Manaaki Wilson. Their works are part of the city centre public art collection. Photographs of the artists and their art will be on display at the Ellen Melville Centre.

Auckland Museum rooftop tour
Monday 8 to Friday 12 October, 11am and 12 noon, Auckland Museum, Parnell
Cost  $15

We just love a good rooftop stroll and this one affords spectacular views. Auckland Museum's South Crescent rooftop will be open for special tours during the Heritage Festival.Take advantage of this rare chance to get up high and learn more about a beloved heritage building, the people who built it and the ongoing role of kaitiaki (guardians), working to restore and preserve its features.

Government House Garden Walkabout
Saturday 13 October, 10am-11.30am.  Entry is through the Savannah Street gate (near the entrance to Eden Gardens), off Omana Ave.

Not sure if the Governor General will be in residence, but this tour provides a rare opportunity to get behind the security gates of this elegant residence and learn about some of Auckland’s finest trees. The Tree Council is presenting guided walking tours of the heritage trees planted by early settlers in the historic setting of Government House.Leading the tour are the Government House Auckland Garden team and Dr Mike Wilcox, author of Auckland's Remarkable Urban Forest.
 

The path of Karangahape: Te ara o Karangahape 
Thursday 4 and 11 October, 11am-1pm. Pigeon Park, south-eastern cnr of 120 Symonds St Cemetery

Join Pita Turei to explore the history of Karangahape and the significance to Maori of the city's strategic ridge line, now a busy uptown retail strip.
Until the middle of the 20th century Karangahape Road was the only street in central Auckland with a Maori name as it predated the European settlement.
The Symonds Street and Karangahape Road ridges are part of the walking route used by Maori to reach the Manukau Harbour. This track was known as Te Ara o Karangahape or The Path of Karangahape.

For the full Auckland Heritage Festival kicking off from September 29, click here . Or book onto any of our small-group Auckland walking tours to discover more about the city's history from a professional local guide. 

Auckland Restaurant Month - Feed your face for $55

Posted by Website Admin on August 05, 2018

Auckland Restaurant Month: Feed your face for $55   

This August, American Express Restaurant Month is the perfect opportunity to try something new with over 100 city restaurants presenting special lunch and dining offers. With so many amazing menus to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start, so here’s some of $55 menus we’ve shortlisted to try. Bon appetit everyone! 

Beast & Butterflies - M Social, Quay Street:    With a primo spot on Auckland’s waterfront, this hotel-based restaurant is turning heads in its first 12 months of operation, garnering rave reviews.  The Restaurant Month offer includes $55 for a 3-course dinner or $25 for a 2-course lunch.  The 3 course dinner options include market fish ceviche with beef rendang and rosemary crème brulee, grapefruit with crème fraiche.
The 2 course lunch options include market fish ceviche with ginger gel, coconut, crispy shallots and prawn & chicken laksa, tofu, egg noodles, poached egg and sambal.

Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill - Ferry Building, Quay St:   Newly revamped this classic waterfront bistro offers plush surrounds with gorgeous views across Auckland’s harbour. Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill offers sustainably caught New Zealand seafood with an international twist. Its 2 course $55 lunch or dinner options include Atlantic scallops, grilled scampi, sundried tomatoes rouille with roasted Eastherbrook farm duck breast, confit potatoes, mandarin puree, dukkah, broccolini, madiera.

Hectors - Shortland Street:  A relative newcomer to the Auckland restaurant scene Hestor's takes pride in sourcing the majority its of produce from local farmers and suppliers within a 50 kilometre radius of the city. 
Its 3 course options for $55 include scallops on spring onion mash, peanut soy dressing with crisp slow roasted pork belly, fennel remoulade, apple croquette and coffee sticky date pudding, rich toffee sauce & salted caramel sorbet to finish.
 

Masu - Federal Street, Sky City : Enjoy contemporary Japanese-inspired food at popular Masu. Cooked over a charcoal grill you’re sure to experience a blend of culinary theatre and great food. Diners can view the chefs at the robata cooking hearth, creating food-laden skewers and slowly rotating them over hot coals.
The 3 course $55 options include kingfish sashimi with robata grilled king salmon, ginger teriyaki, blackened chilli pickled cucumber and shiro miso pavlova, roasted tamarillo, guava chilli sorbet to finish

For something a little different, sign up for Dinner by Bike hosted by Bike Auckland, one of many food events on over August. Discover Auckland’s streets and flavours with a progressive three-course dinner on wheels.  Enjoy a leisurely 8km round-trip tour of the city, with stops for entrée, main, dessert, and nightcap. The ride-by-restaurants include Miss Clawdy’s in Wynyard Quarter for a taste of the South for the appetiser course,  up the Nelson Street cycleway to 1947 Eatery for a contemporary Indian feast then dessert at Madriz in Fort Lane. Also included is a post-dinner drink overlooking the harbour on the rooftop of Parasol & Swing at the Viaduct. 

Visitors always ask us where's best to eat on our small-group Hello Auckland walking tour. Lucky locals can take advantage of world-class dining deals in Auckland this month. There are 100 restaurants awaiting your order so walk on in and sit right down.   

Auckland streets- major artworks coming!

Posted by Website Admin on July 01, 2018

Auckland Streets - New Art Coming!

A dynamic city is one where vibrant street art, sculptures, graffiti and galleries thrive. Where art festivals are well attended, new works are publicly-funded and artists can make a comfortable living. Where visitors can understand a city’s culture and its people, both past and present through its imagery.

We often get asked what’s new in Auckland’s art scene or where is the city's best street art?

Given the lack of accessible art on show, we’re often apologetic about the blank walls and buildings we amble by. Jean Batten Place for example doesn’t feature a statue of our world-record setting Aviator. Michael Parakowhai’s Lighthouse on the end of Queens Wharf was largely funded by corporate donors. But change is in the wind and it’s going to inject more art in the heart of the city.

Auckland Art Gallery’s future is now secure as the council, facing a groundswell of public concern, recently passed a resolution to increase funding by $2million a year for the next 10 years. In February this year, however, the gallery’s future looked uncertain. Faced with a significant funding shortfall, our award-winning gallery introduced a $20 visitor charge, while local entry remained free. More drastic measures including staff cuts and closed days were proposed.

More good news as it’s been announced that public art will receive a $3 million boost over the next eight years from targeted Auckland Council rates*. This will finance new public art installed around the streets of central Auckland. Currently, there are 80 existing public artworks in the city centre of which 65 are in council’s public art asset collection. A further 11 major public artworks will be commissioned, most of which are of scale and significance including:

  • Two major commissions as part of the exterior design of the New Zealand International Convention Centre  
  • A proposed work in the Mayoral Drive underpass in Myers Park  
  • A proposed work in Lower Queen Street outside the Britomart Station  
  • Several commissions involving mana whenua in the Commercial Bay development
  • New works in the underground stations and underpasses within the City Rail Link  
  • Three major planned works for Wynyard Quarter.

This is a significant nod to Auckland’s arts community. But it will take more than just public funding to really swathe Auckland's streets in art. Private and corporate benefactors will hopefully swing in behind this new injection.
Visitors certainly enjoy our Hello Auckland Tour which features a variety of installations en route. However, we look forward to sharing the stories of Auckland through more visible artworks downtown. And celebrating the artists who create them.

*Reference: Auckland City Centre Public Art Plan
File No.: CP2018/07435

 

TravelMag recommends us

Posted by Website Admin on June 01, 2018

TravelMag's Auckland list

International influencer TravelMag.com recently featured 20 unique things to do in Auckland. Imagine our surprise to be featured alongside iconic Sky Tower, bird watching at Tiri Tiri Matangi and most surprisingly the Zombie Survival Challenge!  The locals love Auckland for its dynamic nightlife but who knew the city was famous for its after-life?  Read on:

"There are few better ways to get under the skin of a new city than by traversing its streets on foot, exposing yourself to its sights, scents and sounds in the open air and at ground level. Top-rated Aucky Walky Tours runs small or private group walking tours of central Auckland, inviting you to discover its legends and landmarks, as well as its Maori history, local cuisine and hidden spots (that the big groups miss). Among the highlights of its Hello Auckland tour are stylish back lanes, the city’s award-winning art gallery, serene parks and a ride uptown on the locals’ bus. Expect to walk for up to 2.5 hours and 3-4 km in total on this leisurely tour with rest stops along the way. Do this on your first day in town as you’ll get loads of useful advice for your Auckland stay."

To discover other unique Auckland experiences, read the full TravelMag feature here with the French version here. And for a unique introduction to Auckland on foot, jump on our Hello Auckland tour with a real-life professional guide. Guaranteed Zombie-free!

Hidden Auckland - six things we love to do

Posted by Website Admin on May 14, 2018

Hidden Auckland - six things we love to do

Many visitors rush through Auckland using it as a gateway to the Bay of Islands or south to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. But that’s not doing justice to this fascinating city squeezed between two of the world’s most picturesque harbours. In fact delve deep into the city centre and there’s a number of hard-to find-treats and treasures the locals’ love. And being Aucklanders we like to spend a penny to save a pound - meaning we like to be entertained for very little!  Here’s six ways to delight in Auckland’s hidden finds without denting the credit card.

A mocktail at De Bretts, corner Shortland and High Streets For just $10, you can enjoy a mocktail at one of Auckland’s most stylish hard-to-find bars. Imagine sipping a grapefruit and passion cooler, De Brett’s blend of grapefruit, passionfruit syrup, mint and fresh lime, in the art-deco inspired elegance of the hotel’s House Bar. 
Built as The Commercial Hotel in 1841, it was one of Auckland’s first hotels. The Commercial survived two fires, and two rebuilds, before the current De Brett’s was erected in 1925 and extensively remodeled in 2007. If only those walls could talk, what stories they could tell!
 
Admire art at the Vero Centre and relax on their sea view terrace.  
Stroll into the lobby of New Zealand’s tallest commercial tower and you’ll be confronted with a huge wheel-like sculpture, Andrew Drummond’s Assignation Device. The wonder continues up the escalator with a Gretchen Albrecht’s Pohutukawa painting  in prime view.  The building lobby and first floor is open to the public on weekdays and includes access to a lovely terraced garden with a snippet-like sea view and a wondrous grove of Nikau trees. 

The vast scale of the major artworks commissioned from top New Zealand contemporary artists is outstanding. At the time of commissioning, each of these pieces were the largest that the artist had ever created.

A sneaky pastry at L’Assiette. Surely one of downtown’s best little bakery cafes and a perfect slice of Parisian decadence to boot. We sampled a hazelnut-filled choux pastry which melted in the mouth. Definitely worth a visit  - grab a table outside and watch the world stroll by.

The rooftop garden at 56 Wakefield Street.  Now home to the AUT School of Tourism, just enter the lobby and take the lift to the 17th floor (Monday to Friday) for some of the best free’ views of downtown Auckland. It’s a great place to snooze, sunbake, have a picnic and take selfies. When we visited, we had the place to ourselves. Surprise and delight your mates or family next time you’re in town as it’s just up the hill from the Aotea Centre.

Coffee at Snickle Lane’s new ‘Hello’ cafe. Is this the best value coffee in downtown? For just $2.99 (with a breakfast order) we enjoyed a latte over our favourite menu item of mashed avocado and feta on ciabatta. Nice food and relaxed vibe at this European-inspired eatery. 

Dinner for less - Pay what you want at St Kevin’s Arcade
This social project feeds people on Monday nights. A team of voluntary Chefs working out of the Gemmayze St kitchen on K’Road transform rescued food into restaurant quality meals for Aucklanders from all walks of life. You turn up and pay what you feel like. Nice one!

One of the best ways to discover more hidden haunts is to do our small-group Hello Auckland walking tour. Or better still book a private walking tour for either yourself, your clients or visitors to enjoy the very best the city has to offer.