Enticing foodies, culture-lovers, adventure-seekers and romantics to cross the ditch, Auckland on New Zealand's North Island is perfect for a loved-up short break. Thinking of discovering (or rediscovering) the city for yourself? Fill your itinerary with these incredible experiences for a sensational 48-hour escape...
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After touching down and checking in somewhere luxurious, treat yourselves to a celebratory dinner. Auckland spoils foodies for choice, with an array of acclaimed restaurants spread across the city, each serving the freshest local produce.
A beloved go-to thanks to its views, The Sugar Club on Level 53 of the famous Sky Tower pairs its spectacular vistas with equally spectacular fusion cuisine. Or for going all-out, don your finest wear for dinner at the three-hatted Clooney in Freemans Bay. In this sleek, mood-lit spot you'll be treated to a culinary tour of New Zealand and an expertly curated 300-label wine list. This is the place to go to really spoil yourselves.
If you're more of a hit-the-ground-running couple, get out and see the sights after leaving your bags in the hotel room. An unforgettable way to take it all in, Auckland Sea Kayaks runs sunset sea kayak tours to nearby Rangitoto Island that will get your getaway off to the right start. After meeting at St Heliers Bay boat ramp, your experienced guide will take you across the Waitemata Harbour to Rangitoto Wharf for a twilight mountain trek. Expect 360-degree views (including amazing views of Auckland's skyline) and a sigh-inducing sunset before tucking into a Kiwi-style barbecue dinner at the water's edge. Choice aye, bro?
Kick things off with an indulgent breakfast (or brunch if you can't resist a sleep-in) at one of Auckland's many delightful cafes. Must-visit options include L'eouf in Mount Albert and Ortolana and The Botanist in central-Auckland. Cafe culture-fiends will also love the quirky, light-filled Bestie Cafe that serves up belly-filling breakfasts with a side of picture-perfect city views in a restored 1920s arcade tearoom.
Ready to explore? For a truly special day-trip, catch a passenger ferry over to beautiful Waiheke Island (the scenic journey will take you just under 40 minutes). Here you'll find something for basically any couple. From zip-lining over lush forest to wine-tasting and walks along pristine beaches, there are so many experiences on offer – and all with a dramatically picturesque backdrop. Don't leave without feasting on super-fresh seafood (The Oyster Inn and Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant are great for doing just that) and enjoying sparkling water views wine in-hand from a mountaintop cellar door.
If you prefer to stay in the main city, head to Silo Park near St Mary's Bay. A former industrial site, this trendy community hub hosts events and festivals throughout the year, plus an open-air cinema in the warmer months. After getting your culture fix, wander over to nearby local fave Depot Eatery. An industrial-chic hangout where most meals are cooked over charcoal or hardwood, it's wonderful for delectable small plates and freshly shucked oysters.
Haven't yet had your fill of gastronomic wonders? Indulge in a lazy breakfast at the enchanting Homestead before you fly out. A converted historic home surrounded by manicured lawns, this old-world Hillsborough restaurant is known for its delicious breakfasts and generous homestead platters.
An equally charming spot, Cornwall Park is an inner-city gem definitely worth checking out. Stretching across 172 hectares and home to ancient trees, unique wildlife, bloom-filled gardens, a fabulous bistro and a working farm (with 600 sheep and 60 cows), the park actually rests on the edge of an extinct volcano. Or, see Auckland's cosmopolitan side when you visit the shopping-and-dining suburb of Ponsonby. Grab a coffee at Orphan's Kitchen or lunch at Prego before picking up a souvenir (or two) from one of the area's many high-end boutiques. Sweet as.
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Image sourced via www.clooney.co.nz/gallery/ and www.facebook.com/CornwallParkNZ/, and courtesy of Matthew Crawford and Miles Holden via Tourism NZ.