Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
A Luxury Guide to Auckland
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel in Auckland
Hi, I am Annie from Sell Up Go Travel, I was brought up in Auckland New Zealand, I love big dogs, bit of a party animal who loves trance music and endless summers. Currently traveling through Southeast Asia and documenting our adventures along the way on my blog.
I am an expert on luxury travel as I really enjoy sipping on good quality local wine and I keep up with all the latest fashion. I spent most of my time at the gym or the beach exploring what nature has to offer with my dog.
What makes Auckland a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Auckland is a heavenly destination hidden far from the rest of the world, with beautiful mountains, beaches and amazing hiking trails which gives a relaxed feel to the city.
New Zealand has 8 major wine regions and Auckland is one of them, with the stunning sunny days and clear cooler nights it really helps our wines too bring out their exquisite taste.
Auckland has a variety of vineyards particularly toward the west of Auckland with all the beautiful mountains and beaches in Kumeu or Whaiheke Island which is a 30 minute ferry crossing from away from city center.
Auckland has a good selection of shopping malls and nightlife with live jazz music, pently of bars and clubs in the city center. Auckland is the best luxury place to visit and it was rated on the Mercer Quality of Living Survey as the third most liveable city in the world, this destination should be on everyones list to see!
Auckland is built on 48 volcanos and has around 1.5 million people with a large melting pot of cultures. There’s always lots to do in Auckland, especially during the kiwi summer from December – February. Here’s a good infographic on some non-touristy things to do in Auckland. Aucklanders are a pretty relaxed bunch and love rugby, cold beer, fish and chips and mince and cheese pies.
What 5 star hotel is the best in your town?
It has to be Langham, an exquisite hotel right in the heart of Auckland city, at the Langham the moment you walk into the hotel you feel like you have walked into a fantasy world! They really know how to make you feel special from the point you walk in, until you leave.
The hotel has an old world charm to it, with antique furniture giving it that sophisticated yet traditional look. Always check their website for special offers as they often have some good deals – take a look at the ‘five star fling’ package starting at US$200 with a buffet breakfast, valet parking and a bottle of bubbles on arrival!
Langham runs a very popular high tea which is well worth the visit also a buffet restaurant called ‘8’ which offers selections from eight different cuisines Indian, Chinese, seafood, sushi, American style grill cooked, salad bar, freshly made breads and a nice section of desserts
My advice is to have a light breakfast and head to 8’s buffet during the week for lunch at a cost of US$38, dinner is bit pricey at US$73 from Monday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday US$81
While you are staying at the Langham, keep fit by using the fully equipped gym, or enjoy an evening swim in the the heated pool.
Langham: Address – 83 Symonds St Grafton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand. Phone:+64 9-379 5132
While the Amora Hotel is a 4 star hotel, it’s my personal choice after a big night out in the city. It offers affordable rates with all the facilities you need and it’s a short walk into the central city to the theatres and nightlife
When we book a room at the Amora we always check on their website – look under specials and packages as they often have better deals than the third party booking sites. They do have under ground parking at a cost of US$16 per day.
Most rooms have a beautiful view from the balcony over looking Myers park and city centre, be sure to ask the staff for a room with the view. Rooms are nice and spacious with a kitchenette, washer/dyer and the beds are very comfortable. I always book the deluxe king spa room which comes with an in-room spa bath and yes a giant king sized bed.
The buffet breakfast is great, be sure to get downstairs before 10am
Check out time is at 10am but when booking the room ask for a late check out, especially if you have been partying all night
Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler?
New Zealand is well known for it’s adventure activities, if you aren’t scared of heights, try the Auckland harbour bridge walk and enjoy the stunning views of the Waitemata Harbour (US$92). Or if you’re game, jump off the harbour bridge on an AJ Hackett bungy experience (US$124). Best thing is you get half of the bridge walk included!
If you’re looking for something more scenic but still a good adrenaline rush – try a tandem skydive
Jump out of a perfectly good airplane from 9,000 feet, with 25 seconds of free fall. Skydive Auckland has a beautiful drop zone which lets you see Auckland city from a unique birds eye view (US$229)
Where are the best hang outs during the day?
Auckland has many options when it comes to beaches here are my 2 favorites
Waiheke Island is amazing for a day trip, its only 35 minutes away from Auckland, hop on a ferry from downtown (USD$35 return). Go on a wine tasting tour there are plenty of vineyards on this island, after doing some wine tasting head down to the beach to relax and work on the tan, there are heaps of other activates to be enjoyed, go for a bush walk, shop for unique arts and crafts in Oneroa, kayak around the coast of the island or find a nice cafe for a long lunch.
Murawai beach is one of Auckands unique black sand west coast beach’s, there is so much to see and do, mountain biking, learning to surf, taking your dog for swim, fishing and much more check out this link for more details on Murawai
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Auckland and what are their best dishes (include any location information you have)?
Skycity’s Orbit revolving restaurant located on the top of the sky tower is a romantic place for a meal and to enjoy the beautiful view – 360degree in the 190 meter high skytower, which goes through a full rotation every hour. You get to enjoy the magnificent view of the habour and the city center. The price is affordable for US$55 you get an entree, main and your choice of dessert.
When going to Orbit you don’t have to worry about parking as Skycity has plenty of underground parking. If you spend a minimum of USD$31 at the restaurant you will only pay USD$4 for the car parking best of all this dinning experience allows you to head up to the sky tower view point for free!
What to order? Whenever I go to Orbit I always order the same!
Entree – Roasted scallops
Main – Akaro habour salmon smokey glayzed
Dessert -Warm Pecan pie with beautiful night cappuccino black raspberry liqueur
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?
I am absolutely in love with the Langham ‘8’ restaurant as there is no place in Auckland that really has a dessert buffet, great value for money if you have a sweet tooth like me :)
The runner up has to be the Chocolate Bouquet cafe in Parnell, it’s not a big cafe, big but has a awesome collection of sweets, coffee and of course desserts.
If you want something healthy in Auckland, you can find that too!
Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers? Are there designers we should make sure to meet?
Queen street is the hub of shopping you can find all the big brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton. There are plenty of shops on High street with trendy fashion designers, accessories, art and gadgets.
Famous local designers like Trelise Cooper can be found on the walking street in Britomart down town. Karen Walker’s collection can also be found on the walking street or at Smith and Caughey’s. Kate Sylvester’s collection is at Smith and Caugheys department store on Queen street.
What are a couple of the best salons and spas in Auckland?
Rodney Wayne is one of the more popular hair salons chains around town, their staff are highly qualified and they will make sure you always come out feeling like a million dollars. Our whole family has been using Rodney wayne salons for more than 13 years!
Mollies day spa is a elegant place to unwind with your loved ones as they cater for both men and women. Mollies offers a variety of treaments from therapeutic facials to smoothing massage therapy and pedicures. Relax and enjoy your time getting pampered.
Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?
Devonport is one of those destinations you won’t easily forget, it’s not a very big town, but it’s very unique with gorgeous boutique craft stores, homely cafes and quaint bars. Devonport also has a couple of nice beaches where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the sunset.
Take a picnic and wind down with glass of wine in one hand, great company on the other hand. It’s only 10 minutes ride from down town ferry terminal at a cost of just US$9. During the Summer the best time to watch the sunset is around 8:30pm. Before you go head out check the current sunset times.
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us in on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great per-gaming spot.
Skycity casino never sleeps, providing you with live bands, nice bars and dj’s playing your favorite tunes seven days a week, it is one of those places where you really have to dress to impress!
Skycity has your entertainment sorted, lot’s of gameing machines and if you want to get bit more serious there are the table games as well, my favorite game to play is roulette.
For dining they have a huge selection of food, 16 restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world Chinese, Japanese or the deli if you want to grab a quick bite on the run. I really enjoy The grill by Sean Connolly as they do the best scotch fillet in town
My standard order at the Grill
Entree – Prawn with garlic butter
Main – Scotch fillet with a baby beetroot salad
Dessert– Carrot cake
You can get started at the Skycity bar’s, play some games and if you feel like a boogie, there are few clubs in the casino to get you going!
If you end the night at a fancy club, which one do you head towards?
Once you are done with your dining and played a few hands at the gaming tables, lets go dancing! You don’t have to go very far – the XO bar is on the same level as the casino, XO is one of the most exclusive and up market bars in Auckland city.
This place is beautiful and very sophisticated providing a wide range of drinks and a great range of hot finger food from 6pm – 2am. A Great place for groups or for people who enjoy high quality nightlife.
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