Spending part of your summer in Auckland? After you’ve selfied at all the landmarks, hit up all the hot spots, and worked your way through the guidebook, why not try these home-grown alternatives to having some fun? Here’s a 48-hour guide that not only offers you a tour of the city but encourages you to enjoy your weekend the way a local would.
Friday night: A movie (and picnic) in the park
This one is a tradition the world over, but Auckland does have a unique take with Silo Park Cinema. As New Zealand’s biggest city, and one nearly surrounded by water, Auckland has a lot of waterfront construction areas. The city reclaimed this area and has made use of its distinct characteristics to show outdoor movies. Now, it’s outfitted with a grassy lawn area complete with food trucks. Bring a blanket and picnic of your own or enjoy local eats at the picnic tables.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Head out and get a taste of the town
This isn’t a culinary outing, as you’ve already eaten under the stars and in front of the silver screen. This proposed excursion is more to wet the beak. If you want a varied and eclectic mix of bars that you can easily stroll about to and from, then head to Ponsonby. This affluent area is the hipster’s playground after nightfall and caters to all tastes and all budgets. Some of our favourites include the illustrious Mea Culpa, The Whiskey, Bonita and Win-Win.
Saturday morning: Enjoy brioche for breakfast
Discover a hidden piece of France in a little neighborhood of Auckland known as Parnell. Modeled after the farmers’ markets in France, La Cigale offers everything from patisseries to boucheries amongst the plentiful stalls. Enjoy a café au lait with a freshly baked pastry, then peruse the shops for tasty treats or French-inspired Kiwi ware.
Saturday afternoon: Have fun in the sun
Auckland is teeming with beaches, each with its own appeal, whether that’s the black sand and surf of famous beaches like Piha on the west coast, or family-friendly beaches like Orewa in North Auckland. Some of the local towns offer their own Saturday or Sunday markets, while Takapuna is the name of both the beach and the town with great restaurants and even better shopping.
If you’re looking for more city-centered activities, Auckland has a full line-up almost every weekend, including things like ’10 Days of Fashion’ with fashion shows and sales, cultural events like the Pasifika Festival that celebrates Pacific Island culture, and the citywide Auckland Arts Festival.
Saturday evening: Visit the local speedway
For a truly local treat, head to one of the speedways — such as the Springs Speedway or the Waikaraka Speedway — for race car action. Bring a blanket to cozy up and enjoy concession-stand favorites like hot dogs, fries, fried donuts, and ice cream. The roar of the motors will get your blood pumping, and the event is usually over by 10:30, so you can still get plenty of sleep in preparation for an early Sunday morning.
Saturday late night: Party the night away
It is the weekend after all, and there is such a thing as letting your hair down. If you’re finding the urge to liberate a few cocktails from the frosty confines of their glasses and to shake your tail feather, then may we recommend heading to Neck of the Woods, where the beats are popping until 4am. That’s also the perfect time for a cheeky pie from your nearest 24/7 corner shop. That’s a proper Kiwi experience.
Sunday morning: Take a yoga class
No mat? No problem! With the Yoga Outdoors series, mats are included in the $15 price tag. The class is from 8:30 to 9:30am, offering you a little bit of a lie-in but getting you up in time to enjoy a full day. Bikes and Bends offers the class, and tickets can be purchased here.
Sunday afternoon: Stroll around the market
No need to change out of your active wear. Whether you go before yoga or after, no one will judge you at the Avondale Sunday Market. Bring a camera for the sights and a rolling cart for all the goodies you’re going to buy. Don’t forget to stop by “the bread man” for a delicious loaf of South American bread filled with fruits and seeds, as well as a croissant. Fresh fruits and vegetables are on sale at almost every table, while there are rows of flea market goods on the outskirts of the market. Grab a bag of some banana pancakes, which are essentially large, round banana bread donut holes on steroids.
Sunday afternoon: Explore the Domain
As part of the Music in the Parks series organized by the Auckland City Council, enjoy an afternoon of jazz at the pagoda in the Auckland Domain. If you’re looking for something more active than laying on a blanket, take a walk through the glorious Wintergardens — two greenhouses with a courtyard, complete with a pond and verdant fernery — or visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum, both of which are also located in the Domain.
Sunday night: Stay up for the night market
The Auckland Night Markets are based on the Asian night market model, with stalls filled with every type of food conceivable and lots of cheap goods to paw through. Stop to have your shoes shined by an old man from New Orleans, watch the Asian Michael Jackson perform his dance moves, and enjoy some food on a stick while listening to the plethora of languages being spoken around you. Breathe in the scents of kimchi rice, Louisiana ribs, and Spanish paella, while enjoying 20 dumplings for just $5.
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