Wondering what to do with a spare couple of hours in Auckland?
Well grab a pair of comfy shoes , make sure you’ve got a good appetite and try this easy loop walk with plenty of refreshment stops.
I started at Princes Wharf on the waterfront, home of the Hilton Hotel and one of the few places that you can get close enough to the harbour to make a splash (not recommended). From here, I wandered through the Viaduct Basin beside swanky apartments and million dollar yachts and along the Maritime Trail which was part of the developments made in Auckland prior to the America’s Cup in 2000. The corner of Halsey and Fanshawe Streets was my first stop.
The GreenKeeper Cafe is a nice spot tucked into the corner of Victoria Park. The 1906 caretaker’s cottage has been recently renovated is now a much-reviewed and consequently very busy cafe. Inside, there are interesting photographs of bygone days. Everything on the menu is delicious; don’t miss the American style deli sandwiches (hoagies). I couldn’t choose between the Philly steak and cheese or the slow roasted pulled pork with cumin coleslaw and chipotle aioli.
Victoria Park is bordered by busy roads and surrounded by beautiful London plane trees which were planted in 1905 when the park opened. The park is always busy with sports teams (cricket and touch rugby are popular), joggers, walkers and early morning boot campers. You will easily spot Victoria Park Market across the road with its tall red brick chimney where rubbish used to be incinerated. The old market stalls are long gone and the space has been transformed after a $20 million dollar refurbishment. New shops and restaurants are moving in and then the people will come!
Your walk so far has been pretty easy (and flat) but now you have to change gear and head uphill along Wellesley Street back towards the city centre. Trust me, it will be worth it. It’s not the most scenic route but before you know it you will be at City Works Depot, one of Auckland’s hottest new spots. This is an open precinct offering spacious architecturally designed sheds which are slowly being filled by creative businesses and exciting places to grab a bite.
I could live at City Works Depot. In the morning, I’d have coffee and a bagel from Best Ugly Bagels (always spread with the best hazelnut spread IN THE WORLD). Then, at lunch time I’d sit outside in the courtyard at The Foodtruck Garage and work my way through the menu of tasty street food – think hot dogs, burgers, salads and wraps but not like you’ve seen before, unless you’ve been watching NZ TV and seen the Foodtruck man (chef Mike Van de Elzen) of course. In the afternoon, I might waddle over to Shed Five, a motor cycle showroom- cum- cafe for a coffee, or maybe indulge in a cup of fragrant tea and a blow dry at Dry & Tea Works Depot. At happy hour I’d settle in at Brothers Beer with a glass of hand crafted beer in my hand. Yes, I could be very happy there 🙂
You might be feeling like a nap at this point but wait, there’s more! A little further up Wellesley Street you’ll begin to head downhill to Queen Street and the bustle of central Auckland. The Sky City complex will be on your left (theatre, casino, restaurants, hotel) and St Matthew-in-the-City will be on your right and you will probably have had to fight your way through the crowd of people milling about outside a tiny blink-and-you’d-miss-it shop called Moustache close to the Civic Theatre on the corner of Queen and Wellesley.
Moustache is the first Milk and Cookie Bar in Auckland. It is the dreamchild of Deanna the Chief Cookie Officer who has poured her heart and soul into making cookies that are little bites of hand- made heaven. Ask her to pop a few in a bag for you. You deserve it.
At this point you have choices. The Auckland Art Gallery waits for you straight ahead, turning right will take you to Upper Queen Street and colourful K Road (that’s another blog post). I turned left and wandered down Queen Street and headed back to the waterfront clutching my cookies in a bag.
Categories: New Zealand