Pavlova, Island Wine, and Hobbits

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This might come as a surprise, but Auckland is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the Pacific. Almost forty percent of her residents are foreign born and ten percent of Aucklanders are Māori (the indigenous people of NZ). Large communities of people from India, China, and the Pacific Islands as well as a smaller population of Malaysians have opened interesting restaurants that offer everything from street food to haute cuisine.

Auckland skyline (Photo: Brent Petersen)

But Auckland offers much more than ethnic restaurants. With world-class museums and public art installations, an excellent wine region, and a burgeoning craft beer scene, hikes leading to incredible vistas and waterways waiting to be explored, Auckland can fill up an entire vacation by itself and still leave lots left for a return trip.

A Short History

The Māori people originally navigated their boats from Polynesia to New Zealand around 1280AD. Eventually, Māori settled in Tāmaki Makau Rau (present-day Auckland) around 1350. Several Māori tribes lived in the area over the next 500 years prior to European arrival.

James Cook had claimed the North Island (including Auckland) as part of the British colonial empire and subsequent European encroachment pushed the Māori to smaller and smaller areas of land. Their population was also decimated by the introduction of diseases like smallpox.

One of the many utility boxes painted with street art (Photo: Brent Petersen)

As the city was built up and became more prosperous, Auckland was chosen as New Zealand’s capital in 1841 (a quarter century later, Wellington became the capital, a position it holds today).

Extensive immigration from the U.K. increased the population of the city during the 19th century, forcing expansion further and further away from the busy port area. The building of a tram system allowed more people to live outside the city while still having access to it.

In 1985, Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship, was waiting to sail to French Polynesia to protest French nuclear testing there. While moored in the harbor, the ship was bombed and sunk by members of the French intelligence service (the equivalent of the American CIA). A photographer was killed and two French officers were arrested. It was later revealed that the French intelligence service had infiltrated Greenpeace to gain information about their operations and the plan to carry out the attack was approved by high level members of the organization. Eventually, the Minister of Defense in France was forced to resign.

Today, business is thriving in Auckland with a building frenzy in the city. Real estate prices have risen to eye-popping levels leaving many locals wondering how they can afford to the live in the city they love.

Foodie Auckland

Take a tour

One of the best ways to get a feel for the food scene in a city is to take a food tour. Practically every city has one nowadays and Auckland has several to choose from.

The problem I have is that many of these food tours have become prohibitively expensive for the average traveler. Paying $200 or more for a four hour tasting tour seems excessive.

I find the best tours give you an education about the food culture of the city and indulge a few tastings, not full meals. That way you can get a sense of what a city has to offer without gorging yourself.

Eat Auckland Tours has several excellent food tours to choose from and they’re priced right, most at around $50US. EAT has tours of the hip Ponsonby neighborhood, a Korean food tour (there is a sizable Korean population in Auckland), and a dumpling tour (there is also a huge Chinese population in Auckalnd). But, my favorite tour is the Sandringham Food & Spice Tour.

Sandringham is a nearby suburb of Auckland that is home to a large Indian and Sri Lankan community. The Sandringham Food & Spice Tour visits five restaurants for small tastings as well as talking to chefs and stops at local spice markets.


Pavlova is wonderful dessert available all over New Zealand. It is similar to meringue in that egg whites are whipped until quite stiff before sugar and an acid (lemon juice, vinegar, etc) is added. Unlike meringue, cornstarch is added, too.

After baking the Pavlova a crunchy crust forms on the top while the inside is fluffy like a marshmallow. The Pavlova is then topped with fruit, like Kiwi, of course!

There’s lots of variations on the Pavlova, especially when it comes to the toppings. I like the Pavlova at Cibo where you can choose from three different kinds, including a salted caramel and peanut brittle. $14US for dessert might seem steep, but these folks know their pav.

I love a good culinary controversy, and the question of who can claim to have invented the Pavlova is a good one.

Anna Pavlova was a world-famous Russian ballerina who performed in Wellington in 1926. While staying at a Wellington hotel the chef there created a dish for her and the Pavlova was born.

But, not so fast. Australia also claims Pavlova provenance because of a recipe that supposedly appeared in an Aussie cookbook earlier in the same year.

Others say Pavlova was not a invention of a single person but a so-called multiple discovery.

So, whose origin story of Pavlova is correct? Turns out, it’s an American dish. Researchers Dr Andrew Paul Wood and Annabelle Utrecht have traced the Pavlova to a German torte which was modified in America to most closely resemble the current Pavlova.

Whichever story is correct, Kiwis and Aussies battle it out to this day over Pavlovan supremacy.


 Masic Brothers, Glen Innes, Auckland
Masic Brothers, Glen Innes, Auckland

Auckland is a port city so naturally the cuisine is heavy on seafood, especially the local Green-lipped mussels, crayfish (lobster), and calamari. Walking along the waterfront, there are heaps (as the New Zealanders say) of excellent seafood restaurants, but expect to pay a premium to for fresh and well-prepared fish.

For a no-frills seafood spot, much less expensive, and away from the tourists on the wharf, Marsic Brothers in the Glen Innes neighborhood is the place to be. These guys are the real deal, bringing in a fresh catch daily and serving it up at the best prices in town.

Sky City

Federal Deli (Photo: Brent Petersen)

Auckland’s Sky Tower is the iconic symbol of the city, dominating the skyline from almost every angle. Lots of tourist shell out about $20US each to go to the top of the tower and get a great view of the city. Adrenaline junkies will spend about $150US for a “controlled fall” (sort of like a slow bungee jump) from the tower. Still others will drop money at the sad casino in the tower. But, check out my alternatives below for enjoying Sky Tower and getting commanding views.

The area around the Sky Tower is called Sky City and we were told by locals that good restaurants and bars surrounded the tower. I was skeptical because, in my experience, the food offered at places near top tourists attractions is almost always subpar (I’m looking at you, Vatican). But, after hearing from several people about the good places in Sky City, we decided to give it a try.

Federal Deli’s sister restaurant, the Depot Eatery, Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

The Federal Deli is a Kiwi takeoff on a traditional New York style deli. And, they do a pretty darn good job with pastrami, pickles, latkes, and, of course, NY style cheesecake. Sit outside for a nice view of the Sky Tower (crane your neck straight up!).

You’ll also see Montreal Poutine on the menu, which is a nod to the owner’s chain of Montreal style (not the same as NY style) bagel shops in NZ (which I’ll talk about in my post about Wellington).

Speaking of the owner, Al Brown might be New Zealand’s most famous celebrity chef. He’s run restaurants since the mid-90’s and he’s also a TV host and award-winning cookbook author. And, he owns the Fed and the dining establishment nextdoor, the Depot Eatery.

I’m usually not big on celebrity chef eateries, but Mr. Brown knows what he is doing.


Auckland skyline just past dusk (Photo: Brent Petersen)

This sleepy seaside town boasts two great ways to view the Sky Tower. One is by climbing Mount Victoria. The climb is paved and easy, or you can just hike up the side like we did. Some folks will tell you the “Get off the road” scene from Fellowship of the Ring was filmed here, but they are confusing it with Mount Victoria in Wellington. Still, the top of MV in Devonport has great views back to Auckland and the Sky Tower as well as out over the water to other islands.

But, the best place to view the Sky Tower requires almost no physical exertion whatsoever. Disembark the ferry in Devonport, walk outside, turn left, and find a bench along the the waterfront promenade. From here you can see the sun set behind the Sky Tower. After sunset, the tower is lit with colored lights to wonderful effect. Karen and I spent several evenings enjoying the view from this spot. And, if you have to get back to Auckland, the ferry runs late in the summer.


You can walk to most neighborhoods in Auckland, but the City Bus service is much more convenient. And, if you get an At Hop discount card, trips will be even cheaper than paying cash.

Photo: Brent Petersen

The Interlink bus route hits a lot of close-by, cool neighborhoods in Auckland. Hop on and off with your At Hop discount card and hit a few stops in a single day. Sky City, Britomart, Auckland Museum, K-Road, and Ponsonby are all Interlink stops.

A lot of people call Ponsonby a hipster neighborhood, but to me it’s a little too high rent for that moniker. Sure, you’ll find hipsters working at the many clothing boutiques and cafes, but I’m sure they clear out after dark.

Ponsonby Central, Auckland

Stroll down Ponsonby Road, do a little window shopping, grab a coffee at the Turkish Cafe, and when you’re ready to eat head to Ponsonby Central. This super-cool food hall has something for everyone. There’s a pizza place and burger joint, of course. But, there’s also a Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant, an Argentinian barbeque, and an organic bakery.

My favorite spot is Bird on a Wire. They’re best known for their rotisserie chicken, but I like their salads. For about $13US you can get four different salads on a plate (the Vietnamese noodle salad and the beetroot salad are extraordinary). Karen and I split it for a nice light lunch that saves room for dessert at Foxtrot Parlour.

Drinking in Auckland

Waiheke Island

Wine production in New Zealand is minuscule compared to powerhouses like France and Italy. Even places like Russia and Romania, not exactly known as viticulture hotbeds, produce more wine than tiny New Zealand.

Waiheke Island (photo: Brent Petersen)

And, in New Zealand itself, the wine producing region around Auckland is a little sliver of the already tiny Kiwi wine pie. Hidden in that little corner is a beautiful island where, while production is small, the vino created there is delightful.

Waiheke Island, a short ferry ride from Auckland, is only 36 square miles. So, even by New Zealand standards, Waiheke Island’s wine output is small. However, Waiheke punches far above it’s weight class when it comes to the quality of the wine.

Natalie and Shanti from Wai Tiki Tours (photo: Brent Petersen)

It’s tempting to rent a bike and cycle to the island’s wineries, but this is a big mistake. Unlike the flat terrain of wine country in Napa and Sonoma or in France, Waiheke is hilly. On a bicycle you’ll be huffing and puffing up and down hills. Add a few glasses of wine and an enjoyable day of wine tasting turns into a sweaty disaster.

The best way to see Waiheke Island is by taking a guided wine tour. That way someone else can do the driving and show you around.

Kennedy Point Winery overlooking Kennedy Bay on Waiheke Island (Photo: Brent Petersen)

Wai Tiki Tours is my favorite way to see the island and sip local wine. Owner Natalie Patterson knows Waiheke like the back of her hand. Her and her dog Shanti will pick you up at the ferry landing in Waiheke and take you to her favorite places on the island including scenic lookouts and lunch at Batch Winery with its amazing views of the island.

Man O’ War and Villa Maria are great wineries in their own right, but Kennedy Point might be the best on the island. Their ‘07 Syrah won the Gold & Trophy at the International Wine Challenge, quite a feat for an unknown winery from an undiscovered region.

Their Syrah is still excellent and they also do a fine Pinot Noir. If you can, linger at Kennedy Point (they rent rooms for overnight stays). They welcome picnickers and the view of Kennedy Bay from the vineyard is spectacular.


Auckland isn’t just about wine. In fact, it seems that craft beer is having a moment in The City of Sails. Brothers Beer in the Mt. Eden neighborhood and Vultures Lane, just off Queen Street, are two of the best places to get some craft beer, but there are lots of places that offer local suds and microbrews.

Vultures Lane is actually on Vulcan Lane. But the the road was given the nickname because of the unsavory characters who hung around area. Lawyers opened shop on Vulcan Land and would lean out the windows, eavesdropping on conversations about potentially illegal activities in an attempt to scrounge up business. They were given the nickname of vultures because of how they looked leaning out windows and their questionable business practices.

Things to do


The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien and subsequent movies by director Peter Jackson are incredibly popular. The movies were shot in New Zealand, and there are several sites around the country that you can visit where scenes were shot. Unfortunately most of the film sets themselves were dismantled.

The exception is Hobbiton, home of Bilbo and his friends. The set was built for the original film trilogy, and later rebuilt for the 2012 movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

There are dozens of Hobbit Holes, several of which you can enter, Bilbo’s Bag End, and a replica of the Green Dragon. There’s also a cafe where you can get a “second breakfast.”

Hobbiton isn’t really close to New Zealand’s major cities. Auckland is a two hour drive (2 1/2 hours by bus), Rotorua is an hour, and Hamilton is 45 minutes. But, there are lots of tour companies that will take you door to door from Auckland to Hobbiton and back. The Hobbiton website helpfully lists them for you.

The thing to know is this. Once inside Hobbiton, everyone takes the same tour. So, getting the best price to and from the movie set is paramount. The best deal is the Intercity Hobbiton Day Tour. The cost is less than half what some other operators charge.

Best of all, in addition to round trip transport to Auckland, they also offer trips that pick you up in Auckland, take you to Hobbiton and deposit you at the end of the day in Rotorua where the Whakarewarewa Māori Village is located. So, if you plan your trip well, you can have time in Auckland and at the end head to Hobbiton and then Rotorua.

Māori Culture

New Zealand can’t be fully appreciated without trying to understand the original New Zealanders, the Māori.

Whakarewarewa Māori Village is a living village well worth your time if you can make the trek from Auckland. It’s a three hour car ride, but if you plan carefully, you can make a trip as part of a pilgrimage to Hobbiton as outlined above. At Whakarewarewa, there are guided tours and nature walks. But, the cultural performances that include dances, songs, and the famous haka war challenge are not to be missed. You can even get a hāngi, a traditional Māori meal cooked using the geothermal hot springs and stream present at the village.

If you want to stay near Auckland, there’s excellent tours by Tāmaki Hikoi that will teach you about culture of the Māori. One of the best is the Heaven to Earth tour which takes folks to Mount Eden (Maungawhau).

Public Art

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to look for street art and public art. These works are often not publicized by the local tourist board because there is no money in viewing free outdoor art. However, I find that outdoor art often conveys a message about the soul and psyche of a city. For example, in Berlin, the street art is edgy while in Auckland it is more whimsical and thoughtful. For an in-depth look at Auckland street art, there’s a great Facebook page dedicated to the topic.

Mural by Benjamin Work in Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

Benjamin Work is an Auckland artist who got his start in graffiti. Today, his work is world famous and has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. He also has several fantastic murals around Auckland.

A few years ago artists began painting utility boxes in Auckland. This caused issues for the electric company as paint dripped into the box damaging the circuitry and dried paint often made the doors difficult to open. The city came up with a solution; hire local artists to paint the utility boxes under the city’s supervision.

Now, hundreds of utility boxes are colorfully decorated in Auckland with pictures ranging from silly to serious and everything in between. And, if you’re inspired to paint your local utility box, be sure to get permission or else you could end up in trouble like 80 year old Elaine Rowe who started painting boxes as a way of dealing with the loss of her husband. Ms. Rowe found herself in hot water with the electrical company for painting the boxes without permission. Luckily, it seems that they’ve worked out a compromise.

Sculptures outside the Britomart Pavilion in Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

Outside the Britomart Pavilion is a series of cone-shaped sculptures that look like they might just be a visually pleasing repeating pattern. But, they actually represent the volcanoes that created New Zealand millions of years ago.

Also in Britomart is a temporary work of art on the sidewalk. Over several blocks, colorful water drops shapes appear under your feet. Charlotte Graham created the Māori influenced exhibit. The exhibit was taken down in 2019, but you can still see some of the work on the website.

Speaking of artwork, the Britomart neighborhood has a place where you can get edible works of art.

Giapo is a shop that makes terrific ice cream. That is reason enough to visit. But, they also do something called ice cream sculptures which are truly fantastic. The giant squid has tentacles while the Auckland Sky Tower is shaped like the city’s famous landmark. Truly inspired work. If you know what you want, go around the corner and order from the little window. Otherwise, you can stand in a long line and wait with the other tourists while they taste samples and struggle to make an ice cream-based decision.


The Hemp Store on K-Road (photo: Brent Petersen)

Grungy Karangahape Road, known locally as K-Road, can be a little too much for some folks but I find the energy intoxicating.

Both the Citylink and Interlink bus routes take you to K-Road, making it an easy ride from the center of Auckland. Plus, if you take the bus you won’t have the walk up the big hill from the center of town to K-Road.

Quirky K-Road has lots of offbeat shops, restaurants, and clubs. But, one of the best places to go is St. Kevin’s Arcade. While hip spots have popped up all around, 90 year old St. Kevin’s holds strong.

In the arcade are two great choices for dining. Bestie cafe has good coffee with a view back to the city and Sky Tower from the atrium. For a more substantial meal Gemmayze St. has a great Lebanese food with an option for “jeeb” which translates to “bring it.” The jeeb menu is about $44US per person and for that the Lebanese food comes in waves and waves. Of course you can order a la carte as well at the friendly family-run restaurant.

Wynyard Quarter

Wynyard Quarter is the newest neighborhood in Auckland. What used to be an industrial wasteland known as the Tank Farm because of the huge number of gas storage tanks has become a pedestrian friendly area with restaurants, bars, and a lovely promenade.

Walking west from the ferry terminal along the waterfront leads to the new Wynyard Crossing, a drawbridge that, when raised, allows boat traffic to pass into the Viaduct Basin. Photographers enjoy getting shots of the raised bridge with sailboats below and the Sky Tower in the background.

Further along on Jellicoe Street and Wynyard Crossing are several restaurants and bars including 16 Tun which has one of the best selections of craft beer on tap in the city.

A block and half from 16 Tun on Jellicoe Street is Silo Park. During the summer, Silo Park hosts food trucks and free movies. Check their website for times and dates.


A rental car might be a good idea for long haul trips to Hobbiton or Rotorua although there are buses available for those locations as well. Public transport in Auckland is very reliable and services most of the city. Uber and taxis are also widely available.

Auckland Airport

New Zealand’s largest airport with international flights and flights within the country.

Ray Emery Dr, Auckland Airport, Auckland 2022, New Zealand

Sky Bus

Airport transportation.

Auckland Ferry

Auckland Ferry (photo: Brent Petersen)

Service to Devonport, Waiheke Island, and other nearby locations.

139 Quay Street, Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland Bus

Public bus service covering the metro area. The At Hop card makes trips less expensive.

Auckland Train Service

Four main train lines service a good part of the city and suburbs.


There are plenty of places to rent bikes, including bikeshare with Nextbike.

Index of Things to Do in Auckland

Aucky Walky Tours

Several walking tours including an Auckland food tour

Auckland Free Walking Tours

Marty, a great guide on the Auckland Free Walking Tour (photo: Brent Petersen)

Free walking tour of Auckland (don’t forget to tip your guide)

The Big Foodie Food Tours

Several excellent tours to choose from.

Tamaki Hikoi Tours

Experience Maori culture on these Auckland walking tours.

Eat Auckland Tours

Multiple food tours including some focused on the Asian cuisine of Auckland

Auckland Fine Wine and Food Tours

Phil Parker knows wine and New Zealand and he shares it with you on his tours.

Wai Tiki Tours

Wine tour of Waiheke Island. Hosted by Natalie and her cute dog, Shanti. Recommended.

Maungawhau (Mount Eden)

Dormant volcano and the tallest point in Auckland.

Mount Eden Road, Auckland Central, Auckland 1024, New Zealand

One Tree Hill

Beautiful hike to reach amazing views that inspired the U2 song about their friend Gregg Carroll

670 Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland Central, Auckland 1023, New Zealand

Sky Tower

View from the base of the Sky Tower (photo: Brent Petersen)

Auckland’s iconic landmark. You can go to the top for a great view or even do a “controlled jump” from a platform.

Victoria St W, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Auckland Museum

Interesting but expensive museum of Maori culture doubling as a war memorial.

The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Domain Wintergarden

Botanic garden

Wintergarden Rd, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Auckland Art Gallery

Free for Kiwis but pricey for tourists art gallery filled with interesting exhibits

Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley St, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Benjamin Work

Auckland artist with several murals around the city.

Albert Park

Once part of a military fort, now a formal Victorian garden

33-43 Princes St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

The Lighthouse

Not a navigation beacon but a piece of public art meant to inspire reflection.

89 Quay Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Silo Park

Food trucks, DJs, family fun every weekend with movies on Friday nights Dec-March.

Corner Beaumont Street and Jellicoe, Jellicoe St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Takarunga – Mount Victoria

Folks enjoying the view from Mount Victoria in Devonport (photo: Brent Petersen)

Dormant volcano with incredible views of Auckland and the harbor.

Kerr Street, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand

Sculpture on the Gulf

Take the ferry from Auckland to this incredible exhibition of sculptures along the shore. Open seasonally, check website for hours.

Oneroa, Waiheke Island 2 Korora Road, Oneroa, Auckland, Waiheke Island 1081, New Zealand

Kennedy Point Winery

View of Kennedy Bay from Kennedy Point Winery, Waiheke Island (photo: Brent Petersen)

Excellent certified organic winery on Waiheke Island

44 Donald Bruce Rd, Surfdale, 1081, New Zealand

Villa Maria Winery

Top rated New Zealand winery

118 Montgomerie Rd, Mangere, Auckland 2153, New Zealand

Man O’ War Vineyards

One of the best wineries on Waiheke Island.

725 Man O War Bay Road, Waiheke Island 1971, New Zealand

Awaroa Winery

Sampling the goods at Awaroa Winery, Waiheke Island (photo: Brent Petersen)

Organic winery on Waiheke Island

324 Waiheke Rd, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Batch Winery

Spectacular views with good food and wine.

129 Carsons Road, Thomas Estate Vineyard, Auckland, Waiheke Island 1971, New Zealand

Cable Bay Vineyards

More incredible views at this Waiheke Island winery

12 Nick Johnstone Drive, Oneroa, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

The Arts House Trust, Pah Homestead

Museum in a Victorian house on Devonport. Come as much for the view as the artwork.

72 Hillsborough Road, Auckland Central, Auckland 1042, New Zealand

Muriwai Gannet Colony

Gannet nesting colony active from August to March. 1 hour drive from Auckland.

428 Motutara Road, Waitakere, Muriwai 0881, New Zealand

Whakarewarewa Māori Village

Authentic Māori cultural experience including Hāngi (a traditional meal).

17 Tryon Street, Whakarewarewa Village, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

1 Tau Henare Dr, Paihia, New Zealand

Index of Food & Drink in Auckland


Excellent café in the city center.

43 High St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand


Depot Eatery, Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

Industrial chic casual restaurant by celebrity NZ chef Al Brown.

86 Federal St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Federal Deli

Menu at the Federal Deli, Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

NY style deli near the Sky Tower. Also run by Al Brown.

86 Federal St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand


Café featuring seasonal and organic ingredients. Many vegan items

33 Victoria St E, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand


Modern New Zealand fare in a casual atmosphere.

90 Wellesley St W, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand


Modern Indian food

90 Federal Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand


Amano, Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

Excellent Italian restaurant near the ferry using seasonal ingredients. Bakery, too

68 Tyler Street, Britomart, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Marsic Brothers

Top pick for fresh and inexpensive seafood. Located in the Glen Innes neighborhood.

47 Mayfair Place, Glen Innes, Auckland, New Zealand

Brothers Beer

Craft beer brewery and BBQ joint.

90 Wellesley St W, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Vultures Lane

Lots of good beer on tap

10  Vulcan Lane, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Gemmayze St.

Friendly atmosphere at this Lebanese restaurant.

Shop 16, St Kevin’s Arcade, 183 Karangahape Road, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Bestie Café

Sweet little café in the St. Kevin’s Arcade

179/183 Karangahape Rd, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

16 Tun

Huge beer selection at this bar in the Wynyard Quarter.

10/26 Jellicoe St, Auckland, 1050, New Zealand

Madame George

Interesting menu, excellent cocktails, what more could you want?

490 Karangahape Road, Newton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Verona Bar & Café

Verona Bar and Cafe, Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

Funky little bar on K-Road

169 Karangahape Road, Newton, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Galbraiths Alehouse

House brewed beer

2 Mount Eden Rd, Eden Terrace, Auckland 1023, New Zealand

Ponsonby Central

Photo: Brent Petersen

Food hall with several great restaurants

136-146 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand

Bird on a Wire

One of the best restaurants in Ponsonby Central. Terrific salads. Three locations.

Multiple Locations

Foxtrot Parlour

Excellent cakes by the slice. Located in Ponsonby Central.

7 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021, New Zealand


Each dish a work of art. Worth a splurge.

283 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, 1011, New Zealand

Gypsy Tea Room

Chill bar in the West Lynn neighborhood

455 Richmond Road, Auckland Central, Auckland 1021, New Zealand

Turkish Cafe Ponsonby

No frills Turkish cafe with a great menu including several vegetarian options.

294 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand


Giapo, Auckland (photo: Brent Petersen)

Excellent ice cream. They also make amazing sculptures of of ice cream. Expect a line.

12 Gore Street, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand


The place in Auckland to get the iconic Pavlova dessert.

91 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell, Auckland 1052, New Zealand

Frieda Margolis

Wine bar and funky live music venue

440 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021, New Zealand

Te Motu

Award winning restaurant on Waiheke Island

76 Onetangi Road, Waiheke Island, Auckland, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Index of Shopping in Auckland

St. Kevin’s Arcade

Shopping and restaurant arcade on hip K-Road

183 Karangahape Rd, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand


Vintage clothing store on K-Road, Auckland

Auckland’s once red light district is now hip and bohemian with cafes and shops

Karangahape Road, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand


Neighborhood filled with shopping, cafes, and restaurants.

Ponsonby Road, Auckland, New Zealand

Toi Gallery

Art gallery on Waiheke Island featuring local artists work including Chris Bailey and Sally Smith

145 Ocean View Road, Auckland 0627, New Zealand

Waiheke Wine Centre

The place to pick up bottles from Waiheke wineries.

153 Oceanview Rd, Oneroa, Auckland 1081, New Zealand

Chocolate Fish

Fish-shaped marshmallow covered in chocolate. Available at most grocery and convenience stores. A Kiwi favorite.

Index of Places to Stay in Auckland

Haka Hotel

Modern hotel with studios, suites, one and two bedroom options.

2 Day Street, Central Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Grand Millenium Hotel

Nice hotel a couple of blocks from Sky City.

71 Mayoral Drive, Cnr Vincent Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Bavaria B&B

Bavaria B&B, Auckland

Cute B&B in Mt. Eden neighborhood.

83 Valley Road, Mt. Eden, Auckland Central, Auckland 1024, New Zealand

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides in New Zealand to Wellington, Christchurch, and Napier. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.