Layover Guide: 24 hours in Auckland

They say that Auckland is one of the most liveable cities in the world, but it’s a great place to visit on business too.

Here is a 24-hour run down of some of the best things to do in the City of Sails.


Start the day with breakfast at beautiful Viaduct Harbour, followed by a leisurely stroll among the boats in the marina. Consume French pastries and coffee overlooking the water at the casual 21 Viaduct Café, located in the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour. Other options popular with business people around here include Salt Café, in the atrium of the NZI Centre, and Mojo Coffee, on the ground floor of the Vodafone Building.

Close by is the New Zealand Maritime Museum, which has an interesting collection of boats, including Polynesian and Maori vessels.

From here, walk up Queen Street, one of the city’s major shopping thoroughfares. To your right is the 328-metre- tall Sky Tower. It’s worth making your way to the top for a bird’s-eye view across the city and harbour. Want to release a little adrenaline? Then totter around an external platform, 192-metres up. Or, leap off the tower secured by a wire.

The Auckland Art Gallery is another attraction that should be on your agenda. There’s a good collection of older and more contemporary art on display, and the Maori portraits are fascinating. You could have a quick lunch in the café here.

Other good places for lunch in the city centre include the French-style bistro Touquet, the healthy-food- eatery Revive Cafe, and the atmospheric Occidental Belgian Beer Café.


Work off lunch with a stroll through the parklands of Auckland Domain, where you will find the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Here you can witness Maori dancing and songs, experience an interactive earthquake floor, and explore war rooms and natural history exhibitions.

Next, take a bus, train or taxi to Mount Eden, just five kilometres from the CBD. It’s a 20-minute walk to the summit of this extinct volcano, and the views of the city and into the volcanic caldera are dramatic. Stay for sunset if you can, and then watch the lights of Auckland twinkle.


High tea at Bellini in the Hilton Auckland is a Thursday to Sunday afternoon favourite with locals in the know, but if you come here later in the day it’s a good place for a pre-dinner cocktail too. There are more than 130 cocktails to choose from, and the harbour outlook from this waterfront bar and restaurant is very special. Sit on an outdoor balcony on a balmy evening.

Stay on for dinner at the Hilton or experience some of the best New Zealand produce during a degustation meal at Kazuya, or The Grove.  Are you alone on business and want something special without looking out of place? Try Depot, where most of the cooking is done over charcoal and you can sit at the bar and watch the chefs at work while eating freshly shucked oysters.

Another option worth considering is Orleans, a moody bar and eatery where you can sip cocktails, and eat pork fried chicken waffles or BBQ ribs, while listening to live jazz or rhythm and blues.

Auckland’s bar scene could keep you going from dusk until the wee hours. Head to Mo’s, a small Amsterdam-style bar famed for its whisky and convivial atmosphere. Sit at the bar at the Gin Room, or enjoy live rock music and DJ sounds in a fun atmosphere at the Ding Dong Lounge.

Getting around and staying in Auckland

Skybus operates Auckland City Express buses all through the day and night from the airport to the city centre. They leave every 10 minutes during peak times and every 15 minutes to 30 minutes at other times. The journey takes around 55 minutes. For information on buses, trains and ferries look up Auckland Transport.

Good places to stay if you are doing business in Auckland include serviced apartments such as CityLife Auckland and the Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland Britomart. Good business hotels include the Grand Millennium Auckland, the Pullman Auckland, and the Grand Mercure Auckland.