By Jay Reeve
We threw the ball to New Zealand media personality Jay Reeve for a hit list of the best ways to tackle his home town, Auckland.
1. Best Places To Have A Drink
Auckland has really grown into an international city that can foot it with the best now. A lot of smart developments in the hospitality sector have us spoilt for choice. Britomart offers up the Seafearers Members club, a great little slice of rooftop drinking, well-considered cocktail and wine lists carried up from Ostro restaurant below. The Jefferson with 500+ whiskeys is also worth a visiting for a tipple. Pocket Bar in Grey Lynn’s old ASB Bank building is a new favoured starter as is Gypsy Tea Room and Elbow Room in Herne Bay. A must visit is Swashbucklers, spilling over with charm and holding court in its prime waterfront location, you can rub shoulders with the developers building the city up, Team New Zealand yacht team and various bikies.
2. Best Places For A Meal
Ponsonby Road has a great selection, Ponsonby Road Bistro, Moo Chow Chow, Blue Breeze inn, S.P.Q.R and Prego all popular with locals and those from abroad. Wood Pecker Hill and Cibo prop up Parnell and down-town, while Ostro and Ebisu are the go to choices. Sky City has N.Z. legend Al Brown’s Depot and Federal Deli, The Grill and Gusto by Sean Conelly, and Masu by Nic Watt, are all worthy of a mention.
3. Best Local Landmarks To Check Out
Being built on a cluster of extinct volcanoes, Auckland is littered with great walks and vantage points to see the city. Devonport on the North Shore of Auckland is a pretty part of the city as is Minnehaha beach, a not-so-secret little beach also north of the bridge. Beaches within an hour's drive of the city centre are worth a visit: Piha and Muriwai on the west, Mangawhai and Te Arai on the east.
4. Best Places To Watch The Footy
The Cavalier has recently been refurbished and offers a great place to scream at a TV screen and clink a couple of handles with the lads. The Grey Lynn Tavern is great for State of Origin and people watching, with some of the cheapest drink prices in a very expensive city.
5. Best Places To Take A Date
Sky City has a great mix of casual to fine dining locations, from Depot through to Masu, with space to park your car and hotel suites above you (depending on how things go).
6. Best Places To Stay
The Langham, Sky City and Hotel DeBrett are all very popular and offer adjoined spa facilities, but Air BnB is becoming an incrreasingly popular choice, offering up some amazing places to stay in the heart of the city and on the fringe for a competitive price.
7. Best Spots For A Weekend Away
Given the opportunity, get out of the city. Coastal retreats like Raglan, Piha, Muriwai, Mangawhai, Te Arai are all great places. The Coromandel and Bay of Plenty are also only a short drive or even shorter flight. Waiheke Island is a short ferry and covered in great accommodation options and vineyards. The greatest place I have ever been, however, is ‘Glamping’ at Castaways, Karioitahi Beach. Mindblowing.