The best part about city living is the quick pace. Things change, move and adapt at the speed of light, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. So how can you know what’s hot to trot when you only hit a place once a year on holiday? Hold on to your (designer) hat, because here’s the lowdown on what’s cool and what’s chic in the pretty city of Auckland right now.
The Hotel: Hotel DeBrett
Hotel DeBrett is a hot boutique hotel plonked right in the heart of Auckland city, on the corner of High and Shortland Streets. As well as being in a spot where the cool kids like to play, it’s also a great place to stay. The iconic building is kitted out with classic contemporary fittings, with a home-grown collection of art and photography on display for your viewing pleasure. With only 25 rooms, it is owner-managed with nothing short of exceptional service. It also happens to be the home of one of Auckland’s top restaurants, the delectable digs, DeBretts Kitchen (Metro, 2013). If dinner isn’t on your agenda, you can also chill with a cocktail or a craft beer at the retro-esq Cornerbar, a recent addition to the hotel. If you wish to book a central Auckland hotel you can find good deals through Expedia or you can stay at The Langham and get treated like royalty.
The Restaurant: Soul Bar & Bistro
With more soul than you can shake a stick at, this cool haunt tops the Auckland to-do list. Situated on Viaduct Harbour, it’s a place for action, drawing a mixed crowd of locals, tourists, businessmen and socialites. It’s renowned for its awesome events, including launches of new-season fashion collections for names like Trelise Cooper, strawberry-themed nights to celebrate the coming of summer, and inspirational “love your work” seminar sessions for up-and-coming businesswomen. Even if there is no event to coincide with your travels, it’s a beautiful place to park up and soak up the last of the summer sun. Try a tipple or two from its winning cocktail menu, with favourite drinks including a Rhubarb Pisco Sour with rhubarb puree, Peruvian Pisco and lemon juice, or a Dark & Howling with red bell pepper infused rum, ginger syrup, ginger ale and pinot noir.
The Markets: Otara Markets
Treat yourself to a trinket, new outfit, funky piece of jewellery or something to eat at the Otara Flea Markets — currently the best place for all things Saturday shopping in Auckland. Found in Newbury Street, off East Tamaki Road, Otara, it’s nestled in a large multicultural South Auckland community. This means the food stalls are delectable, with Polynesian, Asian and Indian influences. Most weekends you will also discover an array of cultural performances, with live music and entertainment adding to an already fun and friendly atmosphere. Get chatting to one of the stallholders, who will probably be a local, and pick their brains around the best places for food, coffee and additional fun in the South Auckland area.
The Museum: Auckland Museum
Welcome to Auckland Museum: a place inspired by Kiwis. Centred on the story of New Zealand and its people, it focuses on all of the things that make this country so unique — the culture, the wildlife, the landscape and the history. Marvel at Maori carvings and other Pacific treasures and check out some of the best examples of Kiwi art. Located in the beautiful Domain in Parnell, this celebration of Kiwiana at its finest makes for a wonderful day trip or evening out for the whole whanau.
The Gallery: Auckland Art Gallery
The largest art institution in the whole of New Zealand, the Auckland Art Gallery located near Albert Park, boasts an impressive collection of over 15,000 pieces. It has an amazing collection of works by New Zealand artists, but also a great European display, featuring paintings, sculptures and print works. The artworks range in date from the late 1300s right through to today. Something that is particularly cool about this gallery is that it loans out its collection to other galleries and museums throughout New Zealand in a bid to make art accessible for the masses. Check out the exhibition and event schedule online in case there is something extra special on the cards for the time you are visiting.
Auckland image by eGuide Travel from Flickr’s Creative Commons
Auckland Museum image no attribution from Flickr’s Creative Commons