edited by. / Erin Berryman
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has a reputation for being equal parts dynamic and cosmopolitan. Scratch the surface and you’ll soon discover Tāmaki Makaurau is a city that punches well above its weight. To help guide your trip, we’ve curated the ultimate 72-hour itinerary, which promises to put Auckland’s best on show.
A sparkling harbour backdrop, award-winning restaurants, eclectic bars, and a thriving arts and culture scene, are among the drawcards that keep visitors flocking. Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, solo or as a couple, Auckland offers something for everyone.
The key to a successful weekend getaway lies in your base as much as the itinerary. When time is of the essence, you’ll want to be close to the action. Set in the heart of the CBD, with the best of the city right on your doorstep, the newly refurbished Pullman Hotel Auckland is the ideal place to rest your head (and so much more). While hyper-connected to many of the city’s main sights, it’s somewhat of an antidote to the hustle and bustle, striking that rare balance between convenience and calm.
Day One: Explore
For a day of exploring, fuel is key. Tapestry Bar & Grill, located on the lobby level of Pullman Hotel, take the most important meal of the day very seriously. Leave á la carte behind as you peruse a colourful mosaic of morning favourites; baskets of pastries, artisan breads, tropical fruits, charcuterie boards, and a hot station with bacon piled high, fluffy scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes, hashbrowns, and more. You can even create your own omelette or order your eggs just how you like them—poached or fried—with hollandaise on the side.
The first destination to tick off is Albert Park, conveniently located opposite the Pullman’s entrance. Follow the one-kilometre path that loops around the landscaped grounds. You’ll pass a range of statues and memorials, including the Boyd statue erected in 1900 and the Victorian fountain in the centre of the park, which is an iconic Auckland photo location.
Next stop is New Zealand’s largest visual arts centre, Auckland Art Gallery. The gallery showcases over 17,000 artworks, including historic, modern and contemporary art, alongside works by Māori and Pacific artists. Prior to visiting you can check out the rolling line-up of exhibitions on their website.
Keep your journey going on foot, making your way towards Auckland’s number one attraction, the iconic Sky Tower (less than 10 minutes’ walk). Experience 360-degree views across Tāmaki Makaurau, from ancient volcanoes to sparkling harbours and beyond. If you’re up for a rush, there’s also adrenaline-fueled activities on offer like the SkyJump—a 192-metre wired base jump—and SkySlide, a high-speed virtual reality experience.
A leisurely downhill walk will lead you to Auckland’s most popular dining precinct, Viaduct Harbour. From contemporary Asian fusion at Hello Beasty to world renowned Bluff oysters at Oyster & Chop, there’s options for every palette. If you can only go to one though, Soul Bar & Bistro is an Auckland institution. Holding prime position, with tables overlooking the harbour and florals festooned above, there’s no better place to see out golden hour. The salt & pepper squid, crayfish lasagne, and macaroni cheese are their must-order signature dishes. Sitting front and centre of the marina, you’ll instantly see why Auckland earned its nickname, the City of Sails.
Day Two: Escape
With no shortage of beautiful vineyards, restaurants, beaches, and activities to pick from, Waiheke feels a world away, although it’s just a 40-minute ferry from downtown. If you’re keen to clock up some steps, explore the island’s trails, which meander along cliff tops, down to the beaches and into enclaves of native forest. For a slower pace, head to one of the many world-class wineries for a long lunch, each serving up a distinct experience. For breath-taking scenery and views, Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant can’t be rivalled. Or, for a fine dining experience with local flair, the highly acclaimed Tantalus Estate sits in a league of its own. You’ll even find a little slice of Spain on the island at Casita Miro, which serves up Mediterranean sharing style plates, set to a backdrop of rolling vines.
Not ready to call it a day just yet? From moody basement cocktail lounges to rooftop terraces, there’s plenty of places to keep the party going when you return to land – Little Culprit, Caretaker, Sunset, and HI-SO Rooftop Bar, to name a few.
Day Three: Indulge
Squeezing in some self-care over a weekend is easy, thanks to Luxe Spa, located on the lower floor of Pullman Hotel. No ordinary day spa (although you’ll find the usual suspects here too), Luxe Spa is an inner-city retreat with an emphasis on personalisation. From relaxing to pressure relieving to rejuvenating, your therapist can tailor a treatment unique to your needs complete with targeted massage oils. Be sure to arrive an hour before to make the most of the facilities, which include an expansive sun terrace, 25-metre heated indoor lap pool, sauna, steam room, spa pool, and cutting-edge fitness equipment. Tip: the spa’s private lounge and chill-out zone is ideal for group bookings.
Now it’s time to indulge in a dose of retail therapy. There are four key shopping precincts to note: Ponsonby, Newmarket, Britomart, and Commercial Bay – the latter two are just a 10-minute stroll away. A short taxi will take you to Ponsonby Road, a chic and upscale strip lined with boutiques, bars, and restaurants. There’s a real emphasis on local designers, from Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester to Zambesi, while international designers can be found at the likes of Adorno, Muse Boutique and Superette. Whichever direction you make your way up or down, you’ll find plenty of places for an afternoon tipple or bite. At one end you’ll find SPQR, famous for its espresso martinis and people watching, then at the other, Hotel Ponsonby, a gastropub with a sun-soaked courtyard, ideal for inner-city sundowners.
Cap off your 72 hours in Auckland where you started with dinner at Tapestry Bar & Grill. Here you’ll find a modern yet refined menu with New Zealand produce at its heart. Think sustainably sourced scotch fillet dried in-house for up to 27 days, herb crusted lamb rump, and freshly caught market fish doused in laksa sauce with mussels and clams. Leaving room for dessert is highly recommended. Ask for Executive Chef Johnny Roullier’s vanilla crème brulee. Trust us.
Pullman Auckland hotel & Apartments ☆☆☆☆☆
Cnr Waterloo Quadrant & Princes Street, 1010 Auckland
Tel: +64 9 353 1000
Fax: +64 9 353 1002