While Wellington may be the actual capital of New Zealand, there can be no question that the city of Auckland is widely considered to be the nation’s cultural capital. The city serves as New Zealand’s hub for film, art and heritage, and there is no end to the incredible attractions that you can explore during a trip there. No matter what your interests are, you will find things to see and do that perfectly fit your passions in Auckland. Discover some of the best attractions in a range of categories found in New Zealand’s cultural capital.
Drinking and Dining
A large part of Auckland’s thriving cultural landscape revolves around the culinary arts. Whether you are searching for authentic ethnic cuisine from around the world or progressive dining from some of the country’s most distinguished chefs, Auckland has it all. Thanks to a large immigration population, there is a variety of Asian restaurants serving up incredible and affordable cuisine. Some of the top picks include the stalls at the Ponsonby International Food Court and Saika Japanese on Elliott Street. If you want to splurge on fine dining, try the French fare at Dallow’s Restaurant, fusion dishes at Bistro 222, or Italian seafood favourites at Fish. Specialty cocktails can be found at Bar Tabac and Deschlers in the city centre. If you want to master the culinary arts yourself, consider taking classes in Thai, Japanese, Indian and Vietnamese cuisine at Sachies Kitchen.
No trip to Auckland would be complete without admiring some of the performing arts events held in the city. From ballet to choral performances, Auckland has an impressive selection of offerings. Major venues include the Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre and Auckland Town Hall, each of which host comedians, orchestras from around the world, community theatre, and plenty more.
Architecture in Auckland
Although there are several key buildings of interest in the city of Auckland, it is rarely thought of as an architectural destination. However, those with a passion for buildings will discover that the city has a lot to offer. One of the best ways to see it all in a short amount of time is to join up with an organised tour led by staff from the Auckland Architecture Association. If you choose a self-guided tour, don’t miss buildings like the Sky Tower, Vero Centre or the nineteenth century Imperial Hotel.
Art and Sculpture
There is no doubt that the art and sculpture in Auckland is a major part of the city’s culture. The Auckland Art Gallery is the epicentre of this art scene, and it boasts the largest collection of art in New Zealand. For some lesser-known artists, check out the online page called The Neighbourhood, which is run by the gallery. They list upcoming art events in Auckland that you might be interested in checking out. Also be sure to visit the Flametree Art Garden and Gallery, which is home to breathtaking sculptures and art installations in a carefully manicured garden.
Heritage and History
It is impossible to get a full perspective on Auckland without exploring the city’s impressive past. Thankfully, there are a range of fantastic museums and attractions designed to share the city’s heritage with visitors and residents. The Stardome lets you appreciate the wonders of the galaxy as well as Auckland’s location in the universe. At the Auckland War Memorial Museum, you can learn more about the last 100 years of New Zealand’s history, but major highlights definitely include works of art by Māori groups, as well as daily cultural performances on site. At the New Zealand Maritime Museum, you will see how the sea has played a major role in shaping the history and culture of the country. A particularly fun activity you can partake in there is learning to make nets in the traditional style.
Trying to experience all of Auckland’s cultural attractions at once can be challenging, but hiring a car will make the process easier to manage. Europcar Auckland is the best way to see as much of the city as possible in a short time frame, and it will allow you to experience the cuisine, performance arts, films, music, art and history of New Zealand’s cultural capital.
Image courtesy of falconne on Flickr