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There’s so much you can see, eat and do in the City of Sails without having to empty your savings account.
Big and brash, Auckland is renowned as a place to splash plenty of cash, but its many free natural and cultural attractions also make it a great destination for those on a budget. It helps that some of the city’s cheaper eateries happen to serve up some of the best food in town.
Here’s our itinerary for how you can spend a day in the City of Sails on a $50 budget.
9am: Breakfast at No.1 Pancake ($4.50)
No.1 Pancake serves up one of the best value breakfasts in town.
No.1 Pancake whips up traditional Korean pancakes so good people are willing to queue for them – one bite into the crispy dough stuffed with your choice of sweet or savoury filling and you’ll understand why. The sweet of teeth should enjoy the red bean and cinnamon and sugar versions, while the beef and cheese is a bit like a pancake version of the classic Kiwi mince and cheese pie. Starting from $4.50 each, they’re one of the best value breakfasts in town.
No.1 Pancake, 10 Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD. no1pancake.co.nz
10am: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (free)
The free Auckland Art Gallery will keep you occupied for hours.
Housing more than 17,000 artworks in a contemporary complex that incorporates the original French Chateau-style building, the Auckland Art Gallery could keep you occupied for hours. Widely considered to comprise New Zealand’s pre-eminent public art collection, the works on display help tell the story of Aotearoa from the time Māori first encountered Europeans in the 1600s. The Māori and Pacific Island collections are superb, and there are plenty of interesting international pieces, the oldest being a sandstone figure from a North Indian temple dating back to the 10th to 12th centuries.
Auckland Art Gallery, cnr Kitchen and Wellesley Streets, Auckland CBD. aucklandartgallery.com
11.30am: The Lightpath ($4)
The Lightpath is Auckland’s very Instagrammable hot pink cycleway.
Hire a bike from bike-share platform nextbike and make your way along Symonds Street, Karangahape Road and Upper Queen Street to the start of the city’s famous hot pink cycleway. A repurposed motorway offramp, The Lightpath Te Ara I Whiti offers up Illuminated by programmable LED lights which create interactive displays at night, the bike path officially ends at Union Street, but you can ride in protected cycle lanes all the way to the Viaduct.
Enter The Lightpath on Canada Street and continue down Nelson Street. nextbike.co.nz
12.30pm: Lunch at Britomart ($16)
Head to &Sushi restaurant in Britomart for an affordable Japanese lunch.
Britomart is home to some of the best restaurants in town, many of which are at the pricier end of the spectrum – but there are still bargains to be had, especially at lunchtime. For affordable Japanese food with harbour views, head to &Sushi for donburi, yakisoba, noodle soups, and of course, sushi. The chicken katsu don donburi bowl with cauliflower “rice”, miso sauce and sesame sauce-topped cabbage salad will set you back $16.
&Sushi, 2 Tyler St, Britomart. andsushi.co.nz
1pm: Catch the ferry to Devonport ($15)
The ferry from Downtown to Devonport takes just 12 minutes.
Auckland is the City of Sails, so get amongst the action by catching the ferry to Devonport, which will set you back $15 for a return ticket. Fullers ferries run frequently and transport you in 12 short minutes to a seaside suburb which, with its cute Victorian villas, boutiques, galleries and pretty beaches, seems half a world (or at least half a city) away from the busy CBD.
Downtown Ferry Terminal, Quay Street, Auckland CBD. fullers.co.nz
1.15pm: Explore North Head and Cheltenham Beach (free)
Ther/North Head offers one of the best views of the city skyline.
A two-kilometre stroll along Devonport’s King Edward Parade will take you to Maungauika/North Head, a volcanic cone with military tunnels, bunkers and gun emplacements offering one of the city’s best views. Follow the Te Araroa Trail – which runs the entire length of New Zealand – to Cheltenham Beach, a long stretch of golden sand backed by some of Auckland’s most sought-after villas with a full-frontal view of Rangitoto. It’s a favourite local spot for swimming and sunbathing, but if you need more action you can continue along to Narrow Neck beach or climb another volcano, nearby Takarunga/Mt Victoria.
6pm: Stroll to Silo Park (free)
Silo Park transforms into an open-air cienma during the summer months.
When you’re back at the Downtown Ferry Terminal, stroll past stylish bars and restaurants, super-expensive superyachts and the Emirates Team New Zealand base to Silo Park in Wynyard Quarter. Centred around seven tall silos once used to store cement, it’s very industrial chic. Silo 6 is now used as an exhibition space, while movies are projected onto the walls of 35-metre-tall Silo 7 in the summer months. The whānau-friendly space regularly hosts food trucks, local DJs and events, but it’s worth visiting for the views across to Westhaven Marina and the Harbour Bridge alone. It’s pretty spectacular at any time of day, but extra special when the sun goes down.
Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter. silopark.co.nz
7pm: Dinner at Sumthin Dumplin ($10.50)
Sumthin Dumplin’s tasty morsels have developed a cult following.
Head back up towards Queen Street for dinner at Sumthin Dumplin, whose hand-rolled Shanghai-inspired dumplings have developed something of a cult following. Opt for a traditional filling such as pork and cabbage or tofu or shiitake mushroom and spinach, or go for the Kiwi mince and cheese pie-inspired beef, onion, mozzarella and parmesan. Prices start from $10.50 for six dumplings.
Sumthin Dumplin, cnr Lorne Street and Wellesley Street, Auckland CBD. sumthindumplin.co.nz
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