News and Views

Six Best Day Hikes near Auckland

Posted by Website Admin on September 01, 2022

Walk this way: 6 of Auckland's best hikes     

We often get asked ‘which Auckland day hikes would you recommend ?” We’re so blessed with natural Auckland attractions including breathtaking walking tracks and beaches, that it’s like being asked to choose your favourite child. So here's our 'best Auckland walks' guide, the tracks and trails we love to hike in a day. 

The Auckland Coast to Coast Walk (18 km, 5 hours, Difficulty: Moderate)  Where else can you walk across a country in a day?  This metropolitan walk spans two oceans, volcanoes, views and reveals life in Auckland’s quiet suburban streets. Best of all around two-thirds of the walk winds through parks and green spaces. We recommend starting at the least scenic end namely Onehunga  on the west coast. Take the train west from downtown’s Britomart station to Onehunga station then start walking east back towards the city. This means you'll end the 5-hour hike with stunning harbour views. You’ll earn them! At the walk’s end, reward yourself with a brew beside the stunning Waitemata, one of the most beautiful city harbours in the world. Just a warning, there aren’t many cafes or bathrooms en-route (Cornwall Park) and the route's not well sign-posted either so plug the Ferry Building into your phone map or drop into the city iSITE for a trail map.

Te Henga Walkway (12 km, 4 hours, Difficulty: Moderate)  Forming part of the spectacular Hillary Trail, the Te Henga Walkway is a West Auckland walk which crosses the cliff-tops from Bethells to Muriwai.  It’s possibly the most interesting and varied track in the Waitakere Ranges which disect the city from the West coast. You’ll need to take two cars and leave a car at each end so you can begin the track from Bethells Road crossing the Waitakere River footbridge where you'll quickly rise to stunning coastal views. Take in Bethells, O'Neill Bay and phenomenal coastal vistas before tackling the staircase exit to Constable Road.  Local’s tip: Pack a picnic and plenty of water. 

Rangitoto Island to Home Bay (15 km, 6 hours, Difficulty: Moderate) After your ferry trip from downtown, walk up to the summit for a picturesque blend of volcanic, coastal and rural scenery. Take the inland route from the Rangitoto Wharf to the Islington Bay Wharf, crossing the causeway to Motutapu Island and over farmland to reveal the idyllic Home Bay. Follow the same track back after a break at the campsite or take the Coastal Track back to the Rangitoto Wharf from the Islington Bay Wharf (note this detour will add an hour to your trip). Offering beautiful views and a really unique perspective of the Gulf, plenty of water is required as there's none on either island and plan your walk duration around the ferry timetables.

Rotoroa Island  (Allow the whole day)  Another island walk, Rotoroa Island east of Waiheke has recently been reopened to the public after 100 years as a rehab centre. Now thriving with wildlife, visitors can explore the island sanctuary and idyllic bays from Cable Bay on the northern side to Ladies Bay on the east. Catch the once-a-day ferry from downtown in the morning which returns to pick you up later in the day. Take adequate food and supplies. Local’s Tip: Visit Kiwi environmental artist Chris Booth's sculpture on the southern tip of Rotoroa.  

Matiatia – Owhanake Loop, Waiheke (8.5km, 2-3 hours, Difficulty: Moderate) A great option when you do not want to venture far from the ferry terminal at Waiheke. Offering great views of the Hauraki Gulf, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. Break up the loop by stopping for lunch and wander around the lovely shops in Oneroa. Or pack a lunch and have a picnic in an idyllic location of your choosing. Remember to pack swimwear and spend an hour or two relaxing on the beach, soaking in the island lifestyle.

Wenderholm Regional Park (5 km, 1.5 hours, Difficulty: Low)  We’ve left the easiest to last. Drive north some 45 minutes towards Wenderholm Regional Park. Nestled between the inlets of the Waiwera and Puhoi Rivers, the park offers sprawling grass for picnics, plenty of trees to climb, a beautiful white sandy beach and best of all, a lovely loop track suitable for all ages,  the Perimeter Track

Of course, if you’ve only got a day in the city, book one of our top-rated Auckland walking tours for the city’s hidden lanes, legends and loads of local advice. And check out our guide to Auckland's best restaurants. All that walking will work up an appetite!

For more Auckland walking tracks click here 




Waiheke's Best Vineyards and Restaurants

Posted by Website Admin on September 01, 2022

Ahoy there! Best Restaurants Waiheke

It's only a 45-minute ferry ride from downtown but it feels like a world away. Waiheke island is one of the best Auckland attractions, with its sun-kissed beaches, verdant vineyards and top restaurants. It's the perfect Auckland shore excursion for day-trippers and wine lovers, if you're visiting for a day. 

With over 30 wineries scattered across the island, here's our guide to Waiheke's best restaurants and vineyards. 

Three Seven Two - shortlisted Best Auckland Restaurant 2022
Named after the first three digits of the Waiheke area code , this beautiful restaurant is nestled across the road from Onetangi Beach.  There is a large dining room set in terracotta tiles, flowing out to the outdoor terrace, perfect on a fine summers evening. 
Bronwen Laight has introduced a menu that is balanced and fresh. Seasonal and produce-driven, choose from a range of shared-plate options to a la carte. Book ahead as this restaurant is extremely popular with the locals. However, if you are unable to get a table, there is a great bar menu ready to be explored. 

Arcadia  - Pop into Arcadia at Palm Beach for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Offering a more relaxed dining experience than the vineyard restaurants, soak up the atmosphere at this beach cafe and bar.  Arcadia means “a simple land that provides great pleasure” so indulge in a menu that emulates the idea of simplicity. Here you can blend into the island lifestyle in a warm and relaxing environment.

Casita Miro - shortlisted Best Auckland Restaurant 2022
On the slopes overlooking Onetangi, this winery not only produces a quality Syrah but also excellent cuisine.
Started more than 20 years ago by the Bond family, Casita Miro is inspired by the kitchens of Spain. Dive into the delicious menu and choose your own tastings from goats cheese croquettes to a ‘shared plate’ paella. Or go gung ho and opt for the 4-course Fiesta menu. 

Above the restaurant is the Bond Bar showcasing a mosaic masterpiece. Inspired by Gaudi in Spain, the result of seven years work is truly something not to be missed.  

Tantalus - shortlisted Best Auckland Restaurant 2022 - Striving to create a swanky atmosphere, immerse yourself in the glorious vineyard setting of the recently renovated Tantulus. The estate is situated in the heart of Onetangi Valley, surrounded by other amazing wineries.  A seamless indoor-outdoor flow in the restaurant makes you feel right amidst the vines. Nothing short of spectacular, the seasonal dishes produced here make Tantalus an experience like no other.  

The Shed - shortlisted Best Auckland Restaurant 2022 - Situated next door to Tantalus, is this little gem. Don't be put off by the rough driveway and rustic decor because first appearances can be deceiving. The food is divine. The Shed’s head chef orders entire beasts, butchering the whole animal for the restaurant’s Nose-to-Tail option. The special cuts (think lamb shoulder) changes daily and so do the house-cured meats and the butcher’s skewers.

Kennedy Point If you consider yourself a part-time environmentalist, Kennedy Point is the place for you as it holds the title of the only certified organic winery on Waiheke. Becoming a certified organic winery is no easy task, only 8% of New Zealand vineyards can keep up with the standards.

Upholding a sustainable approach that emits the use of chemicals and pesticides in the vineyard means that the wines are fermented with wild yeast. Combine a cellar door tasting with a platter of cured meats, Aoraki salmon and Waiheke olives.

Mudbrick Situated between the vines and panoramic views of Auckland, Mudbrick is considered one of Waiheke’s most beautiful vineyards. Many a wedding is celebrated here. Relax on the front veranda with a bottle of wine or explore the cellar doors with a tasting or two. With an incredible selection of wine comes a fantastic restaurant in tow. The impressive degustation menu allows you to sit back and relax for a minimum of 3 hours, as you feast on a 7-course menu with the option of a tailored wine match. This empire is nothing short of incredible. 

Waiheke is the perfect side trip, offering top-notch wine and food, so add this to your 'what to do Auckland' list. We show where the locals go on our top-rated Auckland walking tours so walk with us to find out more. Check out our Auckland best restaurants guide for more tips on best places to eat Auckland-style cuisine.

All rights reserved @auckywalky 2022


Auckland's Best Rooftop Bars

Posted by Website Admin on September 01, 2022

6 of Auckland's Best Rooftop Bars 

When you think of Auckland attractions, rooftop bars might not be top of mind but this cosmopolitan city has come of age. Discover a stylish selection of hidden and locally-loved viewing decks from which to take in Auckland at night, with this handy guide to Auckland's best rooftop bars. 

The Churchill - Queen St
The discrete player on the block, The Churchill is sitting pretty as Auckland’s highest rooftop bar atop the Four Points By Sheraton. On arrival, you’re presented with stunning 180-degree harbour views and a killer gin menu of some +170 brands from around the world. The food is great too, offering a variety of tasters and shared plates to impress like smoked Halloumi sliders and the 'can’t go-past' curly fries. Eat, drink and make merry all the while gazing down on Auckland’s Queen Street and scenic seaside beauty.  

The Parasol & Swing Company - Auckland Viaduct
Boasting the best sunset views in the bustling Viaduct, park yourself on Parasol's sunny deck for a refreshing vino or cocktail and a spot of people watching. The tasty menu boasts burgers, tacos and salads and their legendary jalapeño poppers. 

Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co - Auckland Viaduct
Next door to Parasol, this place is party central when the winning boat comes in. Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co and celebrating the America’s cup go hand-in-hand.  It’s one of the most iconic rooftop bars in New Zealand and injects a whole lot of energy into the downtown Viaduct. Hop on the escalator to Dr Rudi’s and you’ll soon find yourself drinking beer brewed on-site and chowing down on metre-long pizzas. When you tire of the waterfront view, take aim down the bar’s indoor bowling lanes or launch yourself onto the dance floor enjoying  live DJs on the weekend.

HI-SO - Customs St
Style, hipster and swank combine at Hi-So on the 16th floor of the SO/Auckland hotel.  Not only do gorgeous panoramic views of Auckland harbour, Rangitoto and the North Shore await, you’ll also find an epic drinks menu. This inner-city gem is considered the place to be seen if you're out to impress and one of Auckland’s best cocktail bars. 

La Zeppa - Victoria St
Get your dose of vitamin D while gazing upon the beautiful Victoria Park in a warm and inviting atmosphere. An industrial NYC design is transported to the City of Auckland with the masterful Sky Tower soaring above. Unwind with live music, Mediterranean tapas and cocktail creations at one of Auckland’s most well-known rooftop bars.

Rooftop At QT - Viaduct Harbour Rd
With an open kitchen, a swanky bar and breathtaking views of Auckland's harbour, this is the new insta-worthy spot to be seen. Enjoy mezze snacks from Esther’s Mediterranean-inspired menu six floors below, together with espresso martinis and other killer cocktails. Take a detour on the way up and check out the stunning artwork displayed throughout the floors of the stylish QT Hotel. 

Work up a thirst on our  Hello Auckland walking tour and add a rooftop bar experience to your 'what to do Auckland' list. Check out too our guide to Auckland's best restaurants so every meal is a delight during your stay or for wine lovers, our guide to the best New Zealand wines. We show where the locals go on our top-rated Auckland walking tours so walk with us to find out more. 

All rights reserved @auckywalky 2022

Image credit: Hi-So courtesy of Urban List

Best Maori Food in Auckland

Posted by Website Admin on September 22, 2020

Best Maori Food in NZ? It's everywhere

Visitors often ask where they can try traditional Maori food in Auckland because it's often missing from middle-of-the road restaurants.  

Select high-end bistros adapt their menus to honor the Maori new year (June's Matariki), but year-round choices are limited. You might find delicious rawena paraoa (potato bread), fresh oysters, green-lipped mussels or kumara mash (sweet potato) as entrees or side dishes however.

Maori traditionally survived on a hunter-gatherer diet of native birds like wood-pigeon (keruru), mutton-bird, wild pig, fish, kumara, taro and vitamin-rich puha. They also foraged for native ferns, fungi, berries, fruit and seeds. Food was traditionally about sustenance and survival, high in protein and carbohydrates for energy. After more Pakeha (European) settlers arrived in New Zealand, their crops expanded to include wheat, potatoes, maize, carrots, and cabbage. Maori also began raising sheep, pigs, goats and poultry.

Potatoes were easier to grow than kumara, and pigs could be fattened quickly, so pork, puha and potatoes became a staple meal called a ‘boil-up’. A rather plain-tasting blend of all three food groups in the same big cooking pot.

Not exactly the Pacific-rim flavours we enjoy today.

If visitors are Rotorua-bound, we recommend including a Maori culture experience which often includes hangi-style food, a seven-hour traditional process of slow-cooking food in shallow earth pits. Heated rocks are placed in a shallow pit with manuka wood. The food is then placed on the rocks and buried in the earth to cook. Pork, chicken, potato, kumara, pumpkin, pabbage, stuffing and watercress salad are the key items on the menu. Manuka woodchips give the food an earthy, smokey flavour. 

If you’re keen to try other Maori foods (kai) then look out for these edibles in the supermarket, at farmers markets or fish shops. 

Kumara (sweet potato).  Maori travelled west across Polynesia over 800 years ago and used this root vegetable to sustain themselves on their long voyages. They brought edible plants from Hawaiki, and today kumara mainly grows in the semi-tropical regions of the North Island and comes in hues of red, gold or orange. We mash them, roast them and deep fry them as chips. Even bake a sweet Kumara brownie.

Manuka comes from the tea tree plant. Delicious manuka honey, with its natural anti-inflammatory properties is also the base for a growing list of medicinal, skincare and antiseptic properties. The higher the UMFor unique manuka factor on the label, the greater the potency.  

Puha or sow thistle is a green leafy plant which grows along streams and is traditionally served cooked with pork.

Paua is a large shell fish commonly known overseas as abalone. It's highly valued for its firm meaty flesh and salty flavour. In traditional Maori carving, the pearlescent shell usually represents the eyes of a powerful totem.

Bluff Oysters are a highly prized delicacy. These big and juicy shellfish are sourced from Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. The harvest season is short from March until August.

New Zealand's famous green-lipped mussels are jam-packed with protein and are low in fat and calories. New Zealanders typically steam them open or cook them in a broth base like tomatoes, garlic and fish stock. Most Farmers Markets will have a mussel fritter stand. They’re also a very good source of omega-3 and more reasonably priced than fresh fish to buy.

We love sharing the best places to eat New Zealand food on our Hello Auckland city walking tour. With our small-group focus, it’s the best way to start your visit and the perfect Auckland shore excursion. Check out our ' best things to do Auckland' guides for more travel inspiration.


Auckland's Free WiFi Spots

Posted by Website Admin on January 13, 2020

Free WiFi in Auckland

There are a large number of places where you will find free WiFi in Auckland City. Whether you do not want to spend money on a travel sim card or you are here only for a brief stay, do not worry here are some local tips on finding reliable and free WiFi in Auckland City.

Auckland City’s free WiFi service is called AucklandWiFi@Tomizone. Found in public spaces across the city, all users have 30 minutes per day, per device. Once this time limit has been exhausted, you may continue to use by opting to pay a fee. 

Check below for the list of where the Tomizone WiFi can be located:

-  Aotea Square
-  North Wharf
-  Queen Street
-  Queens Wharf
-  Viaduct Harbour
-  Wynyard Quarter

Train Stations:
-  Britomart
-  Glenn Innes
-  Kingsland
-  Morningside
-  New Lynn
-  Newmarket

 Main Streets:
-  Devonport
-  Dominion Road
-  Karangahape Road
-  Kingsland
-  Mission Bay
-  Mt Eden Village
-  Onehunga
-  Otahuhu
-  Parnell
-  Ponsonby
-  St Heliers
-  Takapuna

Other facilities:
-  Auckland Art Gallery.
-  Auckland Libraries.
-  Mount Albert Recreation & Community Centre
-  Westfield Shopping Centres

Most community centres across the city will have a free WiFi on access. Wi-Fi services are also available at the Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Another simple option is popping into one of the many Auckland cafes. A sign will either be in clear view or go up and ask one of the friendly waiters. This option is a nice way of being able to sit down, enjoy a drink (maybe a treat from the cabinet too) and embrace the Auckland lifestyle. Local workers have really embraced the free WiFi in cafes and can/will spend hours at a time working on files while sipping away on their flat white.   

Trying to research and google where to go on holiday can be a total hassle. The best way to see a new city is strolling the back streets with a knowlegable local. It’s the perfect way to find your feet instead of wasting half your trip looking for some good WiFi. So book our Hello Auckland or Taste Auckland walking tours to get the real deal on where to eat, shop and go. 

References: Repurposed from Hello Auckland website