Celebrate Auckland's anniversary weekend in true Auckland style
What better time is there to celebrate Auckland and all its many wonders than our very own Auckland Anniversary Weekend.
Now is the weekend for you to indulge in something quintessentially Auckland. To get the most out of living in our sprawling super city.
So here is our list of five of the best activities for this weekend to enjoy what it means to be living it up in Auckland.
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1. Hit the beach
Auckland is a coastal city, blessed with some wonderful beaches, so is there a better way to enjoy Auckland than getting to a beach this long weekend. But which to choose? Karekare on the west coast has won the distinction of being declared the second best beach in the world by Passport magazine, a US publication aimed at an LGBT+ audience. It won praise from the judge's for its "fine dark sand, rough-hewn peaks, and overpowering elements."
"The beach itself has a wildness, an out-there quality that makes it exciting" the magazine website states and has "overpowering elements, the impression of being out at the edge of the world." So get out there and judge it for yourself.
2. Lunch on Ponsonby Road
If you live in Auckland, you are almost obligated to lunch on Ponsonby Road at least once. Our top pick, Dizengoff. Somewhat of a Ponsonby institution these days, Dizengoff remains firmly popular with the hip crowd - people you'll recognise from the telly, even Lorde has been known to pop in. The place is almost always packed so you may have to queue up on a weekend during peak brunch hours of 10am to midday.
The menu is pretty straightforward brunch fare; eggs on toast, sausages, big breakfast, bagels, porridge, muesli. The coffee is consistently good. A handy tip is to ask for an upstairs table if downstairs looks too full.
3. A Weekend Market
If you prefer hunting down your own food and taking it home, then visit one of the many weekend markets dotted round the city. Our pick is the City Farmers' Market, bringing a taste of country into the heart of the CBD.
The ethos is about supporting local produce growers while offering some quality market food and coffee to enjoy. Why not stage an impromptu picnic on the waterfront or at Takutai Square.
4. Take a bite of an Asian steamed bun
Auckland is proudly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. So celebrate that diversity with that most ubiquitous staple of any Asian meal, the humble bao. Be it on the menu of a prestige restaurant, picked up at a night market stall or served at a yum cha luncheon, the steamed bun adds delight to any Chinese meal.The light and fluffy pillow of bread can be filled with so many different meats and flavours, there is a steamed bao to please everyone.
Our pick is Chinoiserie, in Mt Albert's Owairaka Ave. Its house steamed milk buns come in five different flavours, all packed with taste. If we were to go for a favourite, it would be the seared chicken thigh with garlic, ginger, classic Hoisin sauce and a touch of cucumber (to make it even cooler) or the classic braised spicy pork belly. Having said that, it is hard to resist the sesame pulled beef cheek bao, the fried squid with lemon mayo or the satay tofu.
5. Mini Break
Or perhaps you want a break away from the big city, without having to actually leave the city. Remember, outside of the CBD and its encircling suburbia, there is a beautiful rural expanse. So head north for Leigh and the Goat Island marine reserve. With pristine waters and friendly fish, Goat Island is a world away. You can tog up in a wetsuit provided by the local rental snorkelling shop and get in amongst the fish, or if you don't want to get wet there are kayaks or a glass-bottomed boat offering 45-minute tours of the marine life.
Then drift back to Leigh for a meal and drink to relax and talk about everything you've seen. Its easily achievable in a day trip or you could book into one of the local lodges or B'n'Bs to make a weekend of it - and check out some of the other local attractions and wineries further south in Matakana.