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FOOD & DRINK

Seven Ways to Upgrade an Autumn Staycation in Auckland

Sit down for an indulgent high tea by the water's edge, walk through an exhibition of contemporary Māori art and scale the harbour bridge.
By Ruby Romanos
March 11, 2021
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By Ruby Romanos
March 11, 2021
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in partnership with

If the grind of your weekly routine is getting you down, then why not opt for a quick and refreshing inner city staycation? Staying right in the heart of our vibrant city means there's a plethora of dining, drinking and entertaining activities sitting right on your doorstep. Together with Hilton Auckland, we've rounded up a few of our favourites to help get the vacation vibes flowing this autumn.

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ENJOY FRESH SEAFOOD AND HARBOUR VIEWS AT FISH RESTAURANT

Soak up sunshine and panoramic views across the Waitematā Harbour from the deck of Fish Restaurant. This eatery on level one of Hilton Auckland pays special attention to sustainability, seasonality and supporting local suppliers. It's open for lunch and dinner daily and (unsurprisingly) has a comprehensive menu when it comes to fresh seafood. Take your pick from the indulgent crayfish tail roll, char siu toothfish and market fish with saffron and clam risotto, or go for the comforting serving of fish and chips. If local kai moana isn't your thing, don't count this joint out completely. The freshly made pasta with goat's curd and pistachio isn't to be missed, either. To really top it off, bookings come with three hours complimentary parking Sunday through Thursday, so you can keep your eye on the view rather than the meter.

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LOAD UP ON PASTRIES AND BLOOMS AT BRITOMART SATURDAY MARKET

If the line for a pain aux raisins and an almond flat white at Amano is too long, then stroll across the road and meander through the stalls at the Britomart Saturday Market. This weekly pop-up is host to a wide range of stands, from locally grown produce and florals, coffee and freshly squeezed juice to conscious crafts and, of course, delicious pastries. Previously run by the crowd from La Cigale, the Takutai Square markets are now under new management, with a raft of ideas on the horizon and new stalls popping up every other weekend. The markets are on every Saturday, rain or shine, starting from 8am.

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SIT DOWN FOR INDULGENT HIGH TEA AT BELLINI

Nestled at the end of Princes Wharf with sweeping views of the harbour is Bellini. This hidden treasure, away from the bottomless brunch crowds of Auckland's Viaduct, has pride of place on the ground floor of Hilton Auckland. Really ramp up your staycation by booking in for a classy and delectable high tea. The signature Twisted High Tea starts from a reasonable $49 per person and includes a selection of sweet and savoury treats, as well as tea and coffee and the option to add on bubbles and cocktails. You'll find us in the corner eating everyone's share of coconut sago pudding and washing it down with a Toblerone-flavoured cocktail.

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MAKE A KAYAK HARBOUR CROSSING TO RANGITOTO AT SUNSET

This guided trip with Auckland Sea Kayaks will see you paddle across the harbour to the most photographed volcano in Auckland. Once you've reached the rugged shores of Rangitoto, you'll have ample time to bask in the setting evening sun and refuel with a traditional barbecue dinner. With a free inner city pick up service to the St Heliers Bay boat ramp, this activity is a stress-free way to explore the city from a different point of view. All the gear you need for this sunset excursion is provided and dinner is also included in the $195 ticket price. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the locals, including the endangered blue penguins and petrels.

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Sandy Adsett, Auckland Art Gallery.

WANDER THROUGH A CONTEMPORARY MĀORI ART EXHIBITION AT AUCKLAND ART GALLERY

Incorporate some New Zealand culture into your inner city getaway by visiting the enchanting Auckland Art Gallery. The Gallery's latest and largest exhibition is Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, a breathtaking display featuring over 300 installations from 110 Māori artists from the 1950s to today. Toi Tū Toi Ora doesn't just consist of your standard oil paintings; you can expect to see works from master weavers, sculptors and photographers alike. This exhibition is free to the public and runs until Sunday, May, 9.

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DRINK COCKTAILS 53 FLOORS ABOVE THE CITY AT THE SUGAR CLUB

When the sun sets and the city lights sparkle, pretend you're no longer in Auckland and let this staycation experience transport you abroad. Sitting pretty at the top of the city is The Sugar Club. Embrace your fear of heights in style and head up 53 floors to this sky-high cocktail lounge and restaurant. The Federal Street establishment has an extensive wine list, with local and international drops, but the cocktail list is what it's known for. The bar is currently slinging native ingredient cocktails, which it describes as a "liquid portrayal of New Zealand."cp-line

CONQUER THE CLIMB UP AUCKLAND'S HARBOUR BRIDGE

So you've run over it, sat in traffic on it and maybe even sailed under it — now it's time to climb it. The AJ Hackett Bungy group brings us the Auckland Bridge Climb. No city staycation would be complete without an adventure that makes your evening glass of wine so much more deserved. The guided tour will take you across engineered walkways right to the top, giving you 360-degree views of the city and harbour. Then, once you've conquered the bridge climb, maybe it's time for the bungy?

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Unlock new memories by booking your next staycation at Hilton Auckland.

Published on March 11, 2021 by Ruby Romanos

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