News and Views

Best Things To Do Auckland

Posted by Website Admin on May 22, 2024

The Insider's Guide to Auckland

No wonder Auckland consistently ranks as one of world’s most liveable cities. When Maori discovered Auckland 800 years ago, they named it 'Tamaki Makaurau', a place desired by many. Sandwiched between two sparkling harbours, with over 90 idyllic islands, beautiful beaches, amazing food and stunning volcanic vistas, Auckland is a dream destination. But some of the best things to do Auckland-wide are tucked deep in the central city with its top-notch restaurants, hip boutiques, bars and art galleries. That’s if you know where to go!

So here’s our local's guide to the top Auckland attractions you don’t want to miss. 

Auckland’s best waterfront walk: City to North Wharf
Starting downtown at Auckland’s Ferry building, check out the harbour views from bustling Queen’s wharf. Then stroll west past the Viaduct, once home to Auckland’s fruit market and fishing fleet, to North Wharf. Here you’ll discover giant super yachts, a revitalised waterfront, busy eateries and unparalleled views of Auckland’s Harbour Bridge. Enjoy promenading along this easy breezy walkway as Aucklanders sip wine in the sun. This is the perfect starting point for Auckland shore excursions. Check out other suggested Auckland day hikes here

Best Auckland Restaurants
Sightseeing sure does work up an appetite and lucky for you, central Auckland is a foody paradise. The buzzing Viaduct Harbour is home to Soul Bar, Oyster and Chop and gorgeous St Alice. Head for Sky City on Federal St with its fifteen restaurants and check out local favourites Depot, Fed St Deli or Sky Tower’s Sugar Club. Britomart has the superb Alma, Kingi, Amano and Ebisu while some of the best places to eat in Auckland can be found uptown, on vibrant K'Road with the brilliant Apero, Pici and Cocoa’s Cantina. For a hearty brunch in the city, check out Odettes, Scarecrow or Chuffed or grab a flat white coffee at the Espresso Workshop. Check out our guide to Auckland's best restaurants for a great night out.  

Best Rooftop Bars Auckland 
Quench your thirst, mingle with the locals and admire a bird’s eye view from a city rooftop bar. Hey, it’s not New York but Dr Rudi’s at Viaduct Harbour provides the best perch for people-watching and possibly Auckland’s best waterfront deck. The craft beer is brewed on-site, and the pizzas are great too, with free bowling lanes for added entertainment! For a classier experience with killer cocktails, dress up and head to the QT, the Sheraton’s Churchill Bar or the So Hotel bar on Customs St. We profile more Auckland rooftop bars here

Best Culture Fix: Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki and the Auckland Maritime Museum
Explore the history, art and culture of beautiful Aotearoa New Zealand by visiting The Auckland Art Gallery or Toi O Tamaki (‘our treasure house’). This is the home or wharenui of New Zealand art and presents around 800 pieces (going back around 700 years) and visiting international exhibitions. The works of famous New Zealand artists like Charles Goldie, Ralph Hotere and Colin McCahon are on public display instead of hidden away in private vaults. The Gallery runs one-hour tours daily (except Xmas Day) at 11.30am and 1.30pm.

At downtown’s Auckland Maritime Museum, set sail and discover the stories which helped to shape our nautical nation including winning the America’s Cup. Take a one-hour voyage on the heritage scow, Ted Ashby to discover why Auckland really nails its reputation as the “city of sails.” 

The Fashion edit: where to shop
Head downtown for Auckland’s best shopping to the stylish Britomart precinct for Kiwi designers or take a stroll up nearby High Street for gifts, shoes, books and vintage apparel. For international designers, stick to Queen Street and drop into heritage department store Smith and Caughey or the newest shopping and eating destination downtown, Commercial Bay. 

The best way to see a new city is strolling the back streets with a knowlegable local guide. Find your feet and beat the jet lag by booking our Hello Auckland walking tour and we'll give you our current 'best things to do Auckland' guide.

Other Pro Tips for Visitors: 

  • Grab the free Auckland A-Z Guide when you land at Auckland airport. Tourism information offices in NZ are called iSITES.
  • Best Auckland side trips: Waiheke Island's vineyards and beaches or Piha, the city’s wild west coast beach. One hour north is the Matakana region with it’s sculpture trails, regional parks and stunning beaches. 
  • Auckland weather: Look up Metservice for the most accurate NZ forecasts. 
  • New Zealand's emergency number is 111. Legal drinking age is 18 years. Marijuana is illegal
  • Hello in Maori is ‘Kia ora’ (pronounced ‘Kea-ora’)    
  • Airport to City transport: Catch the SkyDrive Coach into SkyCity. Book online (Adults from NZ$18 one way) -  30 minute off peak drive.
  • Bin the banana at the border! NZ has very strict bio-security laws. Declare anything you’re unsure about. Else you’ll cop a NZ$400 fine at the airport, no exceptions.
  • Central Auckland gyms and day spas:  City Fitness, Les Mills Gym, East Day Spa, Chuan Spa at the Cordis hotel 
  • Public transport:  Buy a HOP card from Auckland Transport (AT) at the downtown Britomart station if you're here for a few days. Get cheaper bus, train and ferry fares and help save the planet too.

All rights reserved @auckywalky 2024



Best Auckland Museums

Posted by Website Admin on May 22, 2024

Best Auckland Museums

Come and explore the history and culture of our beautiful city by visiting one of our world-class museums. Discover the cultural, social and geological forces which have shaped New Zealand, the last country inhabited by people. These are the best Museums in Auckland, all within walking distance of the city centre. 

Auckland Art Gallery (Free entry)

The Auckland Art Gallery or Toi O Tamaki means ‘our treasure house’. 
The Auckland Art Gallery is regarded as the world home or wharenui of New Zealand art. This superbly designed gallery views itself as custodians or kaitiaki of the art in their care. 

Home to around 20,000 pieces of art going back around 700 years, just  800 pieces are on display at any given time.  Works of famous New Zealand artists like Charles Goldie, Ralph Hotere and Colin McCahon are on public display instead of hidden away in private homes or personal vaults. 

One of only two Picassos in New Zealand reside on the walls of the Auckland Art Gallery. The other Picasso is in Dunedin. Painted during the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1944, ‘Verre et Pichet isn’t regarded as one of Picasso’s best works but it does symbolize the dark years of deprivation experienced during the Second World War.

Free one-hour tours of the Gallery's general collection run every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon at 1:30pm

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Housed in one of Auckland's most iconic buildings, the neo-classical  Auckland War Memorial Museum, built in 1929 sits blissfully atop the grassy remnants of a dormant volcano. Discover New Zealand geology, Maori culture and war history. Decorative arts and pictorial collections also prominently feature in this museum. A powerful and informative collection of war memorials will interest any budding historian. 
Join a guided tour that includes a culture performance by the local iwi/tribe Ngati Whatua which includes a spine-tingling performance of the world-famous Haka.

The Auckland Museum is daily from 10am - 5pm (except Xmas Day). Find out more about the Auckland War Memorial here 

Auckland Maritime Museum 
Set sail and discover the stories that helped shape nautical New Zealand. 
Explore the country's largest maritime collection and the Landfalls exhibition detailing the pioneering voyages of New Zealand's first people. 
In New Beginnings, meet the colonial immigrants that braved rough oceans to settle on hostile land. 
One of New Zealand's greatest leaders - Sir Peter Blake - is honoured in Blue Water, Black Magic which explores the history of Americas Cup and New Zealand’s exceptional yachting success.

Here you can set sail in the Museum’s fully restored heritage scow (The Ted Ashby). This one-hour voyage of Auckland harbour will provide you with spectacular views of the Harbour Bridge and the great “city of sails”. 

Find out more about the Auckland Maritime Museum here 

Join us on a private Aucky Walky tour and we’ll include a short visit to one of these Museums - the choice is yours!.  We know where the best art and culture can be found in the heart of the city.  


Waiheke's Best Vineyards

Posted by Website Admin on May 22, 2024

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 keen to experience island life amongst the vines. 

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

Three Seven Two - finalist Best Auckland Restaurant 
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 - finalist Best Auckland Restaurant 
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 - finalist Best Auckland Restaurant 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 - finalist Best Auckland Restaurant  - 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 to match. 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. 

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 2024


Best New Zealand Wines

Posted by Website Admin on May 22, 2024

Discover the Best New Zealand Wines 

The results are in for New Zealand’s best wines from the National Wine Awards of Aotearoa New Zealand.

An expert team of judges had the formidable (but envious) task of evaluating the 900 entries for the best New Zealand wines 

This team knows its cheeky reds from its crisp whites and dry varietals. And how to keep their wits about them when faced with dozens of top wines to taste and assess. But before we spill the beans on which tipples took away the top gongs, how do judges (and amateur wine lovers for that matter) assess a great wine from a middling one? It mainly comes down to four key components:

1. Give it a sniff:  The first criteria is the wine’s aroma.  Even before you take a sip, give the glass a swirl and take a sniff – does it smell like wine, a little fruity or floral?  If so, it’s passed the first test.  But if it smells like vinegar, then ditch the whole bottle. Life’s too short for bad wine.

2. Is the wine in balance?  The acid, sugar, body and tannin levels. If your wine passes the sniff test, the second clue to knowing if your wine is good is balance. This is where the acidity, tannin, alcohol, or fruit all blend together and nothing stands out.

If the level of acidity is too high (and makes your eyes water) or the sweetness is cloying, the wine is out of whack. If however, you notice a nice freshness to the wine and the fruit flavour is smooth, then the winemaker has nailed the blend.

3. Depth of taste:  Next taste the depth of flavor in the wine by swirling it in your mouth. It should taste like fruit with other layers of flavor.  Perhaps a touch of citrus in a white wine or chocolate notes in a red? Wines with depth are a lot of fun across a meal as the taste of the wine often changes.

4. Finish – the aftertaste:  An easy way to determine a top-flight wine is to consider how long the flavor lasts on your palate. The longer it lingers, the better the wine. If you can still taste the wine after 10 or more seconds, you’ve hit the jackpot!

So if you want to show off your beginner sommelier skills, crack open the bottle and consider the four elements: smell, balance, depth of flavor and finish. Or you can just trust the judges and choose from the following selection of New Zealand’s best wines in 2023.  All top of their grape game and destined for the best Auckland restaurants’ wine lists.

Check out our Taste Auckland food tour if you want to discover the city's exciting food scene (and sample great New Zealand wine). 

Drum roll please for the gold medal winners of The National Wine Awards of Aotearoa New Zealand 2023.

Category - Sparkling
Winner: Diamond Heart Waihopai Cuvée 2018
Category - Gewürztraminer
Winner: Saint Clair Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewürztraminer 2023
Category - Riesling
Winner: Mt Maude Reserve East Block Riesling 2023
Category - Pinot Gris
Winner: Giesen Estate Pinot Gris 2023
Category - Sauvignon Blanc
Winner: Martinborough Vineyard Home Block Sauvignon Blanc 2023
Category - Chardonnay
Winner: Isabel Estate Marlborough Wild Barrique Chardonnay 2022
Category - Other Specified White Varieties & Unspecified or Blended Whites
Winner: Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Albarino 2023
Category - Sweet Wines
Winner: Clark Estate Single Vineyard Botrytised Riesling 2022
Category - Rosè or Blush
Winner: Stoneleigh Pinot Noir Rosé 2023
Category - Pinot Noir
Winner: Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Bull Block Pinot Noir 2021
Category - Cabernet and Cabernet predominant blends
Winner: Mudbrick Velvet 2022
Category - Merlot and Merlot predominant blends
Winner: Church Road McDonald Series Merlot 2021
Category - Fruitfed Supplies Trophy for Champion Syrah
Winner: Tipping Point Opportunist Syrah 2021
Category - Other Specified Red Varieties & Unspecified or Blended Reds
Winner: Beach House Cabernet Franc 2021
Category - Best Presentation Award
Winner: Jules Taylor On The Quiet Pinot Noir 2021
Category Award: Organic Award
Winner: Loop Rd Pinot Noir 2022
Category - Export Award
Winner: OTU Classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Visit the National Wine Awards website to find out more



Auckland's Best Beef and Lamb

Posted by Website Admin on May 22, 2024

Auckland’s Best Beef and Lamb Restaurants

New Zealand is renowned for its grass-fed farm fare and a question we often get asked is ‘which Auckland restaurants serve up the best beef and lamb?’ The New Zealand Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards 'Gold Plate' recognises the city chefs transforming tender cuts into lip-smacking fine cuisine.

As a taster, imagine eye-fillet steak served with beetroot, shiitake mushrooms, hollandaise and duck fat chips.  Or a rack of lamb accompanied by kumara toast, lamb croquette, mint sauce, and mountain yoghurt.

If you’re a meat lover, look for the restaurants displaying the Beef and Lamb Excellence Award proudly on their wall.  It’s here you can expect tasty, skillfully composed and superbly presented beef and lamb dishes.

Otherwise, check out our list of the best beef and lamb restaurants Auckland has to offer. 

Past Auckland Beef and Lamb Excellence Winners:

Cibo Parnell - Parnell

Soljans Estate Winery - Kumeu

Gilt Brasserie - Central Auckland

Giraffe - Central Auckland

Smokin' Cole BBQ - Central Auckland

Oyster and Chop - Central Auckland

Regatta Bar & Eatery - Takapuna 

Jervois Steakhouse - Herne Bay

Pilkingtons - Central Auckland

Ampersand Eatery - Central Auckland

Bracu - Bombay

Rothko - Matakana

Plume Restaurant - Matakana

Mudbrick - Waiheke Island

Casita Miro - Waiheke Island

Tantalus Estate - Waiheke Island 

Our Taste Auckland walking tour includes recommendations on the top spots to eat, shop and go. So bon appetit and put your best foot forward as our small-group or private walking tours are the best place to start.

Source: Restaurant Hub Dec'19