Do you have annual leave burning a hole in your holiday pocket?
Now that the trans-Tasman bubble between Brisbane and New Zealand is in full swing, it’s time to dust off the passport and book a holiday across the ditch.
A short three-hour flight from Brisbane Airport connects the two, so you can easily choose from a long weekend or a week-long escape.
Get ready to explore New Zealand’s art and culture scene, dine on local produce and smash your daily step count as you navigate your way around New Zealand’s largest city, following this guide.
1. Spend the day on Waiheke Island
Thought touching down in New Zealand was your ‘island escape’?
Head to Waiheke Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland, to take your island holiday up a notch with white sandy beaches, native forest and vineyards to explore.
Turn up the dial on adventure and zipline through the local forest or choose a slower pace with a nature walk or exploring local art galleries.
Take your hire car on the ferry to navigate the 92-square-kilometre island or hire a mountain bike, scooter or car once you arrive.
If you plan on wining-and-dining while on the island at one (or more) of the wineries, there are also public buses and taxis to shuttle you around the island to save choosing a designated driver.
If you’ve got additional days up your holiday sleeve, book a beach house to extend your Waiheke Island escape over two days.
2. Explore Auckland City
As the largest metropolitan city in New Zealand, get ready to tie up the laces and step-it-out around Auckland city to explore the local sights.
Before you start to pound the pavement, head to the Sky Tower, 220 metres above street level, to get your bearings of the city with panoramic 360 degree views up to 80 kilometres in every direction.
Once you’ve located the city’s landmarks from above, head back down and navigate your way to the city’s top attractions.
Learn about the local history and culture at the Auckland Museum with over 2,000 Māori artefacts – from rare carvings to a war canoe carved from a giant Totara tree or see seven centuries of art and up to 15,000 works under one roof at the Auckland Art Gallery.
3. Climb Maungawhau / Mount Eden Summit
Follow the lead of over one million people who follow the path each year to the Maungawhau / Mt Eden summit.
While Maungawhau erupted over 28,000 years ago, it’s now one of Auckland’s most visited mountains with views over the city and Waitematā Harbour.
You’ll want to allow up to 40 minutes to tackle the 2.1 kilometre loop, sitting at 196 metres above sea level.
There are four access points to the walk, but the easiest way is to look for the Maungawhau / Mt Eden Summit sign along Puhi Huia Road.
4. Dine at local cafes
Whether you’ve worked up an appetite climbing Maungawhau or you’re just searching for a place to #TreatYoself, plan breakfast or lunch at one of the local cafes in Mount Eden Village.
Because walking and carbs are a perfect match, stop by Olaf’s Artisan Bakery Café for homemade European style bread and bakery items – from French Pain au Levain to German Vollkorn.
Also in the heart of Auckland's Mt Eden Village, is Circus Circus cafe, offering fresh, local fare in a unique setting paired with exceptional service.
5. Kayak to Rangitoto Island
If you’ve already ticked off the Maungawhau / Mount Eden Summit or Sky Tower from this list, likely you’ve already caught a glimpse of Rangitoto Island – the distinctively symmetrical cone-shaped island off the coastline.
While you can get to the island by ferry, book a kayak tour to explore Auckland’s youngest volcano and soak up the harbour views and catch the local marine life as you glide along the water’s surface at oar speed.
For the ultimate experience, choose a night-time kayak to catch a sunset over the summit as you navigate your way to Rangitoto and the twinkle of the city lights on your return.
6. Visit Auckland Domain
Not all inner-city parks are created equal, and Auckland Domain proves the point.
With over 200 acres of green space, two large greenhouses (aka the Wintergardens) filled with tropical plants, a fishpond, statues and an amphitheatre formed from a volcano activity dating back 140,000 years, this is one city park not to be missed.
7. Discover Auckland’s West Coast
In contrast to the white sandy beaches on Waiheke Island, Auckland’s West Coast is home to black sand beaches.
A short 45 kilometres from the Auckland CBD, enjoy a toes-between-the-black-sand moment at Piha Beach – one of Auckland’s most popular surfing beaches.
Stretch your legs along the two-kilometre stretch of black sand or book a surfing lesson to test your skills on these popular waves.
While there, make sure you allow enough time for the next point.
8. Climb Lion Rock
No trip to Auckland’s Piha Beach is complete without climbing its most identifiable landmark, Lion Rock.
Like Simba standing over his pride, Lion Rock stands watching over the waves as they crash around the rock formation.
While you can’t climb to the top of the eroded neck of a volcano, you’ll find a small stone seat at the end of the 500m track to soak up the views of the Pacific Ocean.
Take time to read the interactive plaques along the walk and the Māori carving to learn about the local Māori connection to this area as well as the local community who served in the First World War.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL
BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
It may have been a while since you last flew overseas. It's a fantastic time to remember the basics of international travel as well as learn about what's changed.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal, see you soon!