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Auckland by day, Wellington by night

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Auckland has it all — three harbours, more than 50 islands, beaches, vineyards, excellent food and wine, mixed cultures and a deep love of sport. The vibrant city is New Zealand's leading city, even though Wellington is actually the capital. To contrast the two cities, Getaway explored Auckland by day and Wellington by night.

Auckland has 48 extinct volcanoes, 1.3 million residents and the world's largest Polynesian population.

Viaduct Harbour is the newest area on Auckland's block and its once-dingy docks are now a sociable area for world-class yachting, dining and drinking. It gives credence as to why Auckland is known as The City of Sails. It has hosted the America's Cup and there are some pretty impressive boats moored in its harbour.

The fun way to get around a city is by scooter, and you can rent one from Scootling. They are easy on petrol, pop into tiny parking spots and are perfect for zipping around the compact city.

The suburb of Ponsonby is tops for shopping, cafe culture, restaurants and nightlife. It has an eclectic mix of designer shops and boutiques and some rather wonderful heritage buildings.

While you're there, you may like to visit Soul. The popular bar and bistro has views across the harbour and its all-weather terrace catches spectacular sunsets to enjoy with a drink before a memorable meal.

One 2 One is a family-friendly cafe in Ponsonby. They serve cafe-style food and have a terrific area just for children. If you are there on Thursday or Friday, stick around for live music.

Most major world cities have towers, but Auckland's Sky Tower is one with a difference. It gives you SkyWalk, for those willing to take the challenge of walking the circumference of the tower on a ledge just 1.2m wide and 192m above the ground!

The idea is that you walk onto the pergola and walk 360-degrees around, stopping for your guide who points out places of interest, with a smattering of Kiwi humour.

If that's not enough, you can actually leap off the Sky Tower platform, plummeting 192m straight down. It's like base jumping while attached to a wire and is a thrilling experience. You fall at around 85km/h for about 11 seconds to a very smooth landing in the plaza below.


Wellington is the world's southernmost capital city and the furthest from any other national capital. It also boasts more restaurants, cafes and bars per capita than New York City.

It is scenic and cosmopolitan and small enough to easily enjoy. Its location in the Roaring Forties latitudes and exposure to omnipresent winds blowing across Cook Strait has earned it the name Windy Wellington.

There's plenty of fun to be had; Cuba Street is a red-hot city night spot, lined with establishments designed to entertain. The street's name comes from an early settlers' ship, The Cuba, and as you would expect, there is a cafe called Fidel's. Food there is not Cuban, but they have great pizzas and creamy coffee and it's a popular gathering place for students from the nearby university.

For something a little more sophisticated, Matterhorn has been serving up soul food and music since 1963. Open every day, patrons can enjoy Matterhorn indoors, outdoors or fireside and are able to select from more than 300 wines and 200 spirits.

They serve the very expensive "Bling Bling" cocktail. For around $100 you too can taste one. It's made up of Grey Goose vodka, Tanqueray No Ten gin, Appleton Estate Jamaican rum, Gran Centenario tequila and Grand Marnier. Buy one of those and your name is engraved on a trophy that stays in the bar.

The Mighty Mighty bar is fun, kitsch and laid-back. It has live music, pinball machines and a vinyl juke box. Menus are in old record covers and locals say the bar's toasties are the best in town. Ditto the dance floor.


Wellington, New Zealand's capital and Auckland, both on the North Island.


SkyWalk at Sky Tower 75-minute walks cost $135 for adults and $100 for children 10-15 years of age. They operate between 10.15am and 4.30pm every day.

Scootling 50cc scooter hire is around $20 for a half day and $30 for a full day. Helmet, lock and standard insurance are included, and an Australian driver's licence is all you'll need.

Europcar has car hire starting at $35 a day.

Best Western is offering two nights' stay for the price of one at selected properties throughout New Zealand. This is valid for stays until December 21, 2008 and the first 100 callers will receive a bottle of wine and chocolates. Blackout days apply and this offer is subject to availability. Quote "Getaway New Zealand".

Air New Zealand has special fares to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin or Hamilton. You'll have to be quick — they are only available until 11.59pm September 27, 2008 AEST and conditions apply.

One-way fares from:

  • Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne $229
  • Adelaide $359
  • Perth $509

Prices correct at September 25, 2008.

For further information

SkyWalk 360
Level 2, Sky City
Sky Tower
Federal and Victoria streets
New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 368 1835
Fax: +64 9 368 1839

11 Great North Road
New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 3600 717

Café One 2 One
121 Ponsonby Street
New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 376 4954

Soul Bar
Viaduct Harbour
New Zealand
Ph: +64 9 356 7249

234 Cuba Street
New Zealand

106 Cuba Street
New Zealand
Ph: +64 4 384 3359

Mighty Mighty
104 Cuba Street
Central City
New Zealand
Ph: +64 4 385 2890
Fax: +64 4 384 3340

Ph: 1300 131 390

Best Western
Ph: 1300 WESTERN

Tourism New Zealand

Air New Zealand

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