Top 5 Places You’ve Never Heard of in Auckland

Travel Tips — By Marie Szamborski on August 6, 2010 at 7:12 am

You can bungy jump off the Harbour Bridge and you can take a lift up the Sky Tower for a view of Auckland. You can even climb up Mt. Eden to say you’ve stood on a volcano, but I bet you didn’t know about these 5 things. The Nile Guiders here have been set a challenge to find 5 places in our city nobody has ever heard of. This is a challenge when your city only boasts 1 million people. There really is nowhere to hide! Or is there? Observe Aucklanders relaxing and shopping in their natural habitat, take in a historical view that is relatively unknown to outsiders or experience what Kiwi kids like to do.

Bastion Point

Bastion Point by unincorporated on Flickr

This historical spot is usually off the radar for most tourists because you really need to either drive up, or take a bus down Tamaki Drive and do a bit of a hike. I have to admit, I didn’t even know it was there for years. The sweeping views are well worth it, though. You can imagine what it was like as a former Pa (Maori village) with a good vantage point.

St. Patrick’s Square

1-Main-Facade-St-Patrick-Cathedral-Auckland-New-Zealand by bernardoh on Flickr

This has got to be one of the least know oases in the city as most people don’t have any reason to happen upon it unless they work in one of the surrounding buildings. There’s really not much here save a fountain with water trickles that could send you to sleep, a few benches, and a couple of pigeons. If you’re looking for a place to chill out after your bungy jump off the bridge or just want to write a few postcards with a takeaway coffee or noodles from nearby Food Alley, this would be a good choice.

Benediction Cafe

Benediction Cafe by Marie on Nile Guide

When people talk about the cafe culture in Auckland they aren’t talking about chain cafes, they are talking about places like this. The people are friendly, the food is amazing and the coffee awesome. And it’s very local, so if you are trying to get in some Kiwi-accent listening practice, you’ll get heaps here. It’s also, as most cafes in NZ, kid friendly.

Pauanesia

Pauanesia

No, you don’t have to buy cheesy souvenirs! You can go to Pauanesia on Lorne Street and buy something locally made that reflects New Zealand’s identity as an island in the Pacific. I love the stuff in this shop and have systematically transported their wares from Auckland to many parts of the world as presents for friends over the years. All items have been graciously accepted as unique and interesting.

Flying Foxes

Flying Fox by Cheetah100 on Flickr

In New Zealand we still like to let kids do things that some countries might consider a bit dangerous, like flinging them down a line while sitting on no more than a giant button. It’s, uh…character building, right?  But who am I kidding, I’ve seen more over-10s than under-10s in the parks that host flying foxes. Just make sure you let the kids have a go once in a while, too! There’s one in Gribblehirst Park off Sandringham Road and one in Grey Lynn Park at the Williamsons Avenue end. You can also walk to the one in Tahaki Reserve in Mt. Eden from a couple of good watering holes, but you didn’t hear it from me!

Tags: Auckland, secrets

    5 Comments

  • Hey, Paunesia was where I went to get my sister that pavlova tea towel. A great, gift, well appreciated, and has now been to Auckland, Santiago, Mexico, New York, and is soon to get to San Francisco. Lucky tea towel!

    Now I’ll have to come back and do the other four things!

  • Marie says:

    It just goes to show that you should never underestimate the secret life of a tea towel. I’m pretty jealous, actually.

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