1. Coffee. It's really very good.
  2. The coasts. East and west. All at once.
  3. The weather. The sun shine, the mild temperature, the rain, the wind. And you will likely see it all and in one SINGLE day.



Kiwi’s have a love affair with brunch. The lazier, the better. Some good central options are Federal and Wolfe in the city – they don’t have a website, or The Depot. But there are PLENTY of good options, Ponsonby, Parnell, Grey Lynn, the waterfront.


You can check out or – both excellent sources for great food options for Auckland and the greater districts.


After brunch, head to the Auckland Museum and The Domain – I love this museum. The surrounding grounds and the building are quiet and lonely. If you get a chance get to the top floor auditorium, do it. I have been to events up there and the view is PREMIUM. 360 degrees and simply stunning!

Get out on the water and head to Waiheke Island – and in particular Man o’ War Vineyard – colonial brilliance at the end of the world.


There are a number of reasons this is worth the trip. Travel 35 minutes from a bustling* Auckland City across water to an island of vineyards, fabulous food and alternative living. The grace of this island in any weather is breath-taking. Driving across this island is essential so a commitment to either the bus system, taxis or renting a car is essential. (It is a good idea to remember that the vineyards are delightful and filled with wine!)


*DISCLAIMER: Auckland is bustling in a sleepy, tropical city type of way.

Two options here – if it’s summer head to Silo Park – it is a charming converted industrial port that has cleverly become home to markets, a venue for movies in the summer months, and live music. Or to the Kings Arms Tavern – I love music. I love it live, I love it raw and grimy. The Kings Arms is THAT venue. Some of the greatest gigs of my life have been here. I have fallen in love and rocked and rolled in these grounds.


Relax and get chatting. Having travelled a bit it is true that you can get a conversation going with a kiwi very easily.



Ripe Deli: A delicatessan on Richmond Rd in Ponsonby. The food is outstanding. Grab a coffee and a salad or pie. Sit down and enjoy the people watching. This is a deli and not a fine dining experience.


Mid range.


ADDRESS: 172 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn 1021, Auckland, New Zealand +64 9-360 6159

Queenies Lunch Room: I like the queen, there are a number of queens here. Good, straight forward poached eggs and supreme (the brand and the adjective) coffee. It’s a cute joint and you are close to the waterfront and Victoria Park.




ADDRESS: 24 Spring Street, Freemans Bay 1011, New Zealand +64 9-378 8977

 Depot: If I’m in the mood for a quick bite then it will always be the bacon and egg doona at Depot. Incredible. And their coffee is cranking too. Getting this take away and heading to the waterfront is an absolute heaven on earth sin.


Mid range.


ADDRESS: 86 Federal Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand +64 9-363 7048

Blue Breeze Inn: It’s all in the pork bun and nothing else matters. Actually, make sure you grab a spot on the balcony. Yup – bun and balcony. They also have the new Stoke (a Nelson based craft beer brewery) 2stoke. Its a low alcohol beer that is actually palatable. Crucial in NZ at the moment as laws around drink driving have tightened up. So make that bun, beer and balcony.


If the balcony is tight don’t panic, you’re on the door step of Ponsonby Central. Chop chop, the pizza joint, jimmy the fish. Good Kai galore!


Mid range.


ADDRESS: 146 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand +64 9-360 0303

Dizengoff: These kids are so good they don’t need a website. This simple decor cafe with Jewish roots is a popular spot with the locals. For obvious reasons there is a lack of bacon but I defy you to locate a better French toast breakfast in this city. Grab an Allpress coffee, maybe 2, and enjoy. It’s definitely a place to be seen so large dark glasses, slick jeans and you’re well traveled chucks will be welcome here.


Mid range.


ADDRESS: 256 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby 1011, New Zealand +64 9-360 0108


  1. Get on the water. Kayak. Boat. Float.
  2. Auckland Art Gallery.
  3. Climb or drive up Mount Eden. Mt Eden is the way to get high and see both the east and west coast at once. Here’s a challenge – walk up. Mt Eden is one of Auckland’s many volcanoes so feel free to grab the nearest one but I like this as it is close to the city and there are a number of great spots to eat at Mt Eden Village. You aren’t able to go into the crater now but think about how as a child it was acceptable to get a cardboard box and slide down to the bottom. Yes, where the rocks are.


  1. There are volcanoes everywhere, however, these are mostly dormant and do provide excellent view points. They are also part of the reason that our produce is so good! Notable volcanoes are Rangitoto and Mt Eden, both of which can be climbed. You can just drive up or climb Mount Eden.
  2. Hobbits are not real and will never be sighted in Auckland. Ever. And don’t ask a local about them. Ever.
  3. There are no wild, dangerous animals that will threaten your life while tramping or camping in the surrounding ranges.

A 40 min drive from Auckland is Matakana. Go for the brilliant food markets and boutique wineries and just around the corner is Leigh – you can experience supreme diving or snorkelling from here around Goat Island – NZ’s first marine reserve. 


If you are in one spot for a while get to a market and enjoy some local produce at half the price of supermarkets! Don’t skimp on paying for good coffee and do not go anywhere that has fake leather chairs. Walking, tramping and sitting on a beach costs you nothing but it is likely that transport or petrol may cost a little more. Budget for this! You won’t regret it. 

Public transport is below average in Auckland. The train comically does not follow a loop and has only just been electrified. Buses can be good in central locations but won’t run very late into the evening and you will find a limited service on Sunday’s. I would recommend hiring a car to really get to the outskirts and when in the city, get your beautiful legs out with a pair of comfortable shoes!

Auckland is small and relatively safe compared with other cities around the world but as always do take care. SUNSCREEN. Wear it. This is no joke. New Zealand has a significantly depleted ozone and it will hurt you to get burnt here. A lot. It is very common for restaurants and bars to provide sunscreen if they have an outdoor area. But I would slather it on every day before leaving the hotel or hostel. Even if you have a darker complexion.

Bad coffee joints. We don’t have many Starbucks here but we have some evil Australian knock-offs. However, If you need wifi, I get it and I would allow you to enter an Esquires – they have an above exceptional tea range . Otherwise, dig it in and find an independent. Great coffee brands are kokako, supreme, allpresshavana, and cafe l’affare.

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