After traveling around the north island of New Zealand with our family, we decided to spend one night in Auckland before heading over to Australia. Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. (We passed through this city to get to Wellington – catch up on our New Zealand travels here and here.) I wish we would have spent more time in Auckland, but that’s ok… an excuse to come back.
Where to Stay
SkyCity Grand Hotel – SkyCity seemed to be THE place to stay in Auckland. It reminded me of a hotel you would find in Las Vegas. There are two options – Skycity Hotel or Skycity Grand Hotel. We opted for Skycity Grand as it seemed a bit nicer. The casino is located in Skycity Hotel. We didn’t have time to gamble, but we did take a look around. There are also 15 restaurants and 6 bars to choose from. Another great perk to this hotel is Sky Tower, an iconic part of Auckland’s skyline that gives 360º views of the city.
Where to Eat
Federal Delicatessen – This NYC style deli is a quick and convenient place to grab a bite for breakfast. It’s one of SkyCity’s restaurants.
Sky Café – This restaurant is convenient to go to after the Sky Tower, but I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise. The sandwiches are pre-made and don’t have a good meat to bread ratio, although they are tasty. They sell authentic New Zealand ice cream that is legit. If anything, after you do the Sky Tower you should get a scoop of Hokey Pokey ice cream. It’s vanilla ice cream with lumps of honeycomb in it. Sooooo good. But if honey isn’t your thing, they have lots of other flavors too.
Soul Bar & Bistro – I landed on this restaurant after I couldn’t get a reservation at Orbit 360. I’m actually really glad it worked out the way it did. It was a beautiful night in Auckland and Soul is located right on the harbor. We were set up outside on their beautiful patio. The entire patio ceiling was covered in hanging floral baskets. The food was superb too. It was the perfect place to have a final dinner with Aunt Liny and Uncle Terry before moving on to Australia. I highly recommend this restaurant.
Things To Do
With only one day in Auckland, we didn’t have much time to explore anything more than Sky Tower. I’m including a few things we did and a few things we didn’t get to.
Sky Tower – As I mentioned above, this tower is an iconic part of Auckland’s skyline and is an absolute must if you only have one day. It is a tourist trap, but the views of Auckland are incredible and definitely worth the wait. Below is a great photo of the Auckland skyline. The tower is the tallest building on the right.
Auckland Volcanoes – Auckland has 48 volcanic cones. We could easily spot them from Sky Tower as they are large and lush green hills. I wish we had time to climb up one or two.
Gamble – It’s always fun to gamble in different casinos around the world. It would have been nice to get in a game of black jack, but our flight was too early the next day. We just didn’t have time to squeeze it in.
Get a Massage – Chris and I had a little bit of time to kill before we could check into our room and the spa in our hotel was rated “New Zealand’s Best Hotel Spa” two years in a row. They conveniently had last-minute availability for us to get a couples massage. We highly enjoyed our time there.
New Zealand is an amazing country. I wish we had more time to spend there. We only saw the North Island. If we make it back, we will explore the South Island for sure.
Coming to the blog soon: Melbourne, Australia! Melbourne is SUCH a cool city and I cannot wait to share!