Staff Recommendations: Auckland, New Zealand

When traveling to your next destination, it’s great to have a local’s perspective and ‘inside’ knowledge on what the location and its surrounds have on offer. Hertz interviewed local staff in various locations around Australia and New Zealand to provide customers and travellers with the inside track on what not to miss, and what you won’t always find in a travel brochure. Here’s what our employees recommend in Auckland, New Zealand:

Must Dos

Auckland Sky Tower:
OK, you will find this in every travel brochure and book, but there’s a good reason – reaching into the clouds, it’s impossible to miss. This iconic tower provides the best panoramic view of Auckland and the city’s surrounds. Take in the city from 220 metres high while eating at the fine dining restaurant – there’s even a revolving floor. A must try on the menu is the ‘Wairarapa Beef Carpaccio’ as you enjoy the 360 degree view gently transform.

Auckland Harbour Bridge:
Take a stroll over the Auckland Harbour Bridge to take in the sparkling beauty of Waitemata Harbour. If you’re the more adventurous type, embark upon the Auckland Bridge Climb or dip your head in the water with Bridge Bungy. Commercial Bungee jumping was created in New Zealand. In fact, Auckland’s Greenhithe Bridge was the site of the World’s first ever commercial jump in 1986.

Auckland Domain:
Explore Auckland’s oldest and largest park. Including a very impressive and very large crater, the Auckland Domain was formed by volcanic activity (Pukekawa Volcano) over 140,00 years ago. The Auckland Museum is just at the top of the hill and well worth exploring.

Ferry ride to Waiheke Island:
With blue-green waters stretching as far as the eye can see, you won’t regret taking the 40 minute ferry ride to Waiheke Island. Its pristine beaches, great wines, cuisine and breathtaking coastal trails makes this one island every nature lover and foodie alike shouldn’t miss.

Best Restaurants

Eight Restaurant:
Located in Grafton, eight kitchens won’t disappoint with – surprisingly – 8 different kitchens to interact with, you can savour the freshly made flavours from eight international locations. We’re guessing the meeting to come up with the name ‘Eight Kitchens’ probably went for about 8 seconds.

The Grove Restaurant:
This upscale restaurant offers modern New Zealand food with a French twist. Enjoy a sophisticated, chic atmosphere with the option of exquisite wine pairing to each dish. Bon Appetit!

Wild Fire, Princes Wharf:
This eatery is based on Brazilian style cuisine with a New Zealand touch. It’s the first restaurant to introduce traditional Portuguese Barbecue (Churrasco) to the NZ food scene. They make the most basic of foods taste wholesome, healthy, and above all, lip smackingly delicious.

Moo Chow Chow:
Situated in Ponsonby, this zesty set up takes you on a journey through the streets of Bangkok to appease your tastebuds with everything ‘sweet, sour, salty and of course hot’. Oh and the craft cocktails are a must have addition to every meal.

Coco’s Cantina:
Cozy and vibrant, this hangout satisfies your desire for home-style Italian food made from local produce, quality ingredients and handed down recipes from generations of Nonnas. Coco’s Cantina invites you into their home for a lively experience that feels like a dinner gathering at one of your close friends’ houses.

Hidden Gems

Muriwai Beach:
Located on the west coast of the Auckland Region and just over an hour’s drive from the inner city, this diamond in the ruff is home to serene trails and black sand beaches. Visit one of the local cafes, have a surf, watch the local gannet colony, or take a horseback ride across the rugged coast.

Formosa Golf Resort:
A well-kept secret for the sophisticated traveller (that’s you), this is one of the best resorts around Auckland and only about 40 minutes from the city. Enjoy views over the Hauraki Gulf and the beautiful Pohutukawa Coast.

Auckland Art Gallery:
The Auckland Art Gallery is home to the most all-encompassing collection of national and international art in NZ. The gallery is an unexpected and peaceful haven to experience. Oh, and it’s free (accepting donations).

Drive along Huia Rd to Whatipu:
Keen for an adventure? Take a break from the city to explore the road to Whatipu via Huia Road. About an hour and twenty minutes from the city, Whatipu is a remote, untamed beach in the Auckland Region. Whatipu hosts the famous Whatipu caves, black sands, camping grounds, picnic spots, and bush trails with fantastic outlooks. Insiders tip - sunset for that magical touch.

Local Events

Auckland Lantern Festival:
Usually taking place in February/March. Surround yourself with Chinese culture at the Lantern Festival in Auckland. The festival is a major celebration of Chinese New Year. Absorb the electric atmosphere with handmade pieces, art, dance performances, traditional festivities, and (“I’ll just have one more taster plate I promise”) Asian cuisine.

Coca Cola Christmas in the Park:
Celebrate the holiday season this year with Coca Cola’s lineup of New Zealand entertainment talent and free outdoor music spectaculars. Ending the night with fireworks, join in the Kiwi Christmas festivities at Auckland Domain.

Pasifika Festival:
Immerse yourself in the local culture at a unique Pacific island themed festival. Family friendly and free, relish the atmosphere, diverse performances, mouth-watering eats of gourmet proportions and handmade crafts. Don’t miss a chance to listen to the Cook Island drummers or the beat of the Maori to stir up ‘islander’ blood you may not have even known you had.

Taste of Auckland:
Leading chefs. Signature dishes. Auckland’s best restaurants. Pop up winery stands. Need we say more? Create your own eating and drinking experience as you pick and choose which culinary delicacies to sample, all while listening to great live music.