If you are feeling adventurous and want to hire a car, my top recommendations would be the wild west coast of Auckland, especially Piha & Karekare.
The Waitakere Ranges (also in the west) have a great range of walking tracks, including the Hillary trail.
West Auckland also has a great range of vineyards and wineries.
Auckland is renowned for its excellent cuisine and service. There is such a variety to choose from but my favourite by far are Cibo, Ostro, Mekong Baby, Euro, Soul Bar, Prego, Woodpecker Hill, Non Solo Pizza and The Blue Breeze Inn. I would definitely recommend visiting Waiheke Island, just a short 40 minute ferry ride from Auckland city centre. My favourite vineyards and restaurants in Waiheke are Cable Bay, Mudbrick Vineyard, Tantalus Estate, Man O’War and the Oyster Inn. If you’re lucky enough to visit our South Island, I would definitely make a trip to Queenstown and Milford Sounds. There are beautiful vineyards in Queenstown, including Amisfield, Peregrine, Gibbston Valley and many more. My favourite restaurants are Amisfield, Madam Woo, Rata and Botswana Butchery. If you’re a keen golfer, Millbrook Resort is the place to be (their spa is pretty awesome too!)
My favourite “free / low cost” things to do:
Walk to the Auckland Domain Winter Gardens. Just a 15 minute walk from the Auckland CBD. It’s a beautiful serene vibe and you can admire rare and spectacular plants in an ever changing display.
Take the double decker bus from Downtown to Takapuna Beach, on Auckland’s North Shore. You will enjoy a view of Auckland Harbour on the approx. 15 minute ride. Grab an icecream, coffee (or both!) and walk along the Takapuna Beach promenade. Admire the volcano view (600-year-old Rangitoto Island is the youngest volcano in NZ), people watch, and relax to the sound of the sea. My favourite icecream and coffee stop is Takapuna Beach Café, 22 The Promenade. Try the licorice flavoured icecream it’s delightful.
Head out of town to the suburb of Mt Eden. Walk (about 35 minutes), or the route 274 and 277 buses from Downtown will get you there in 10 minutes. Take a walk up to the top of Mt Eden. If you time this for around 5.30pm, you will see the sun set across the city. Head back down the mountain afterwards and walk for about 10 minutes into the Mt Eden Village. Choose from a big variety of food options – there are plenty of bars and cafes here. Or, if you would like to try fish and chips (a NZ favourite takeaway meal), stop in at The Ancient Mariner fish and chip shop, located on Mt Eden Rd, near Esplanade Rd. The fish is fresh daily. The visitor book in the shop is full of praise from international and local fish and chip lovers. You can sit at the tables provided to eat, or take away. This is my local shop, and I love it.
The inner city is fascinating and steeped in history. Download this pdf brochure about Auckland City Heritage Walks and find out so much more as you stroll downtown.
or get the Auckland City Heritage Walk app
New Zealand is renowned for its excellent fly fishing and the following links will provide further information about where and how.
nzfishing.com is the complete guide to New Zealand trout and salmon fishing when you’re planning a fly fishing trip or angling vacation in any part of the North or South Island.
The New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides’ Association is the national body representing fishing guides throughout New Zealand. Our fishing guide members are located in all areas of New Zealand and this website provides links to individual members websites.