Why Aucklanders should explore their city centre this autumn

As the weather turns colder, it’s common for people to book in new adventures to get them through the gloom of the autumn and winter months.

But you don’t have to travel far to discover new experiences. Sometimes the best little adventures can be found in your own backyard – and if your backyard happens to be Auckland, then you really are spoilt for choice.

So here are a few ideas for a little fun in Tāmaki Makaurau that require almost no advance planning and won’t break the bank.

Take it to the top

If you fancy a view to go with your drink, make autumn the season where you experience some of Auckland’s rooftop bars.

Several of the city’s hotels have a rooftop bar tucked away to enjoy, including Bar Albert at Voco with its range of single batch spirits to sip while taking in uninterrupted views.

Sunset Bar on the top floor of the Sudima also offers seasonal cocktails to go with its Mumbai street eats-inspired snack menu, while HI-SO is a luxury bar perched on the 16th floor of SO.

You could also arrange to meet friends at the Rooftop at QT where the cocktails and wine list are matched with Mediterranean bites, or head over to The Churchill at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, which boasts a luxurious cocktail menu and nearly 200 styles of gin to sample while enjoying those panoramic views.

Explore the world on the one street

One of the best things about travelling is tasting the local cuisine, but Aucklanders don’t need to travel far for a bit of that action. In fact, many flavours of the world can be found just along Karangahape Road.

Try the delicious handmade pasta at Cotto, the Iberian-inspired cuisine at Candela, or French-inspired delights at Bar Céleste or Apéro. Or if you’re feeling like some really big and bold flavours, head to Java for delicious Indonesian street food.

Or simply pop into St Kevin’s Arcade and try one of the restaurants tucked away there, such as Pici, with its fresh pasta and wine, or Gemmayze Street and its beautiful Lebanese cuisine.

Of course, you can find delicious eats all over Auckland.

Spend an afternoon or evening sampling something new, like authentic Italian food at Bossi on Commerce Street, or Bivacco with its handmade pasta and wood fired pizza on the waterfront. Or try the French cuisine made with fresh New Zealand produce at Origine or Spanish flavours paired with local seasonal ingredients at MoVida.

Make a day of it

There’s always something new to check out in Auckland – and the city’s line-up of events for autumn is no exception.

Head over to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki for the impressive new exhibition, Light from Tate: 1700s to Now. Curated from the collections of Tate, UK, it features nearly 100 artworks from around the world, spanning the 18th century to the present day.

Over at the Maritime Museum, the Captains, Collectors, Friends & Adventurers exhibition is on until June and features hidden treasures with unexpected stories. While you’re there, you can also check out the mural by Cinzah Merkens that spans the entire western wall of the museum.

April sees a limited season of Wicked the Musical landing at SkyCity Theatre. The musical takes a look at the characters from the Wizard of Oz before Dorothy arrived on the scene and has become one of the longest-running shows on Broadway.

Meanwhile, the popular Auckland Arts Festival is back this month with international and local artists performing across dance, theatre, visual arts, and music.

The Auckland Vegan Food Truck Festival is also coming to Victoria Park on Sunday, April 2 and promises enough sweet and savoury treats to delight everyone in your group, including those usually dedicated to eating meat. Festivalgoers can enjoy live music and an onsite bar on the day.

Channel your inner tourist

If you’re looking for something different to do one afternoon, you could try one of these memorable experiences around the Sky City precinct.

There’s the SkySlide up the Sky Tower, which takes people on a virtual reality tour of Auckland’s skyline, or stay closer to the ground and take a tour at the All Blacks Experience and Wētā Workshop Unleashed. Both activities get you closer to two things New Zealand is famous for - rugby and fantastical movie sets - and make for an entertaining afternoon.

Relax and take it slow

But if you’ve had your fill of exhibitions, festivals, and food, you might choose to unwind with a more relaxing outing.

Up your weekly yoga game with an hour-long Hatha Yoga class at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. You can improve your balance, flexibility and strength while surrounded by beautiful art at various spaces around the gallery.

If markets are more your style, catch the bus into town and explore the Britomart Saturday Market, which takes place every Saturday from 8am in Takutai Square. This little inner-city gem has the usual fresh produce, coffee, and cut flowers, as well as vegan foods, pastries, crepes, and juices.

While you’re in town, have a wander around and admire some of the amazing street art nearby.

There’s Reuben Paterson’s Guide Kaiārahi, a 10-metre tall waka made with iridescent crystals casting a beautiful glow outside the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki; the Lighthouse/ Tū Whenua-a-Kura artwork by Michael Parekōwhai at Queen’s Wharf; or Shane Cotton’s Maunga, a five-storey permanent artwork that covers the western wall of Excelsior House at Britomart.

But whatever it is you choose to do, you’ll realise there’s always plenty to discover and appreciate in your own backyard.

This content was sponsored by 100% Pure New Zealand. You can find out more about all that Auckland has to offer locals this autumn at AucklandNZ.com/visit


More New Zealand stories