48 hours in Auckland – Day 2
Welcome to Day 2 of our 48-hour guide to Auckland! (Jumping the gun? Head back to Day 1.)
So with a good night’s rest under your belt, it’s time to explore Auckland’s two other wine regions: Kumeu and Matakana. As we mentioned in Day 1, you’ll need to rent a car for today’s adventures as they involve trekking north of the city. Now, first things first: let’s eat.
Since you’ll head over the Harbour Bridge regardless, we recommend popping up to Takapuna for breakfast. A little seaside suburb set right on the water, it’s got beautiful views out to Rangitoto (a volcanic island just off the coast), and its main beach (Takapuna Beach) is widely regarded as one of the best in the city. You may even want to take a little stroll along it on your way to Takapuna Beach Café, especially if you’re a dog person. So. Many. Doggos.
The wait may be a bit long once you get to TBC, so if the menu strikes your fancy, we recommend making a reservation. But if you find yourself without a booking and you don’t want to stick around, their takeaway café will happily furnish you with one of NZ’s famously excellent coffees and a house-made pastry. (They also make fairly legendary gelato, and you’re on holiday. You thinking what we’re thinking?)
On the other hand, if you had your heart set on a sit-down breakfast and TBC’s too long a wait for you, Jam Organic Café is another A-plus option, with omelettes, eggs benedict, smashed avocado, protein hotcakes, and plenty of vegan and gluten-free options on offer.
From Takapuna, drive west to Muriwai to see the North Island’s arrestingly beautiful, rugged West Coast. A black-sand beach at the tip of a 60-kilometre stretch of coastline, Muriwai is also home to an impressive gannet colony (literally thousands of birds), which you can see by taking a short walk to their nests.
Once you’ve had your fill of the view (the birds wheeling over the cliffs, the waves crashing against huge rocks out at sea, and the surfers who may or may not be slightly insane), hop back in the car and head out for your first wine tasting of the day.
A short 20-minute drive inland from Muriwai, Kumeu is located in the second of Auckland’s wine subregions (West Auckland) and is best known for harbouring many of New Zealand’s oldest winemaking families.
One of those families, the Brajkovichs, have been toiling away at Kumeu River since the 1940s, crafting some of New Zealand’s best examples of chardonnay: perfectly balanced between ripe richness and crisp freshness. So head there for a tasting (be aware that they’re closed on Sundays), and then let’s move on to...
Once you’re done in Kumeu, the next stop is Auckland’s third wine region: Matakana. An hour’s drive north, it’s a seriously cute little town with a bunch of boutiques, some good restaurants, and a pretty amazing indie cinema. If you happen to be there on a Saturday before 1:00pm, it also has an epic farmers' market featuring tons of local vendors.
If you've missed the market and its local produce resupply options, don't stress. Drive just a little bit past Matakana at first (a real little bit; around five minutes) and hit up Sawmill for lunch. One of New Zealand’s best craft breweries, they opened their Smoko Room a few years ago as a place to display their full range of beers (their IPA and ‘The Doctor’ bock are truly exceptional), and they offer a seasonal menu with items like salted pork scratchings and smoked eel pâté.
After lunch, make a beeline for Hyperion Wines, where you can taste their range of chardonnay, malbec, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah — and from there drive south to Heron’s Flight, which offers a bit more of an eclectic selection, specialising in dolcetto and sangiovese. Post-vino Italiano, hit your final stop at Matakana Estate, which offers exceptional pinot gris, chardonnay, and syrah.
Regardless of which Matakana wineries you stop at, you’ll get a taste for what the region’s warm and sunny climate produces: wine that’s smoothly textured, rich in mouthfeel, and strong in backbone.
Back to Auckland for a little adventure…
Time to make the 45-minute drive back down to Auckland — but let’s make a pitstop once you hit the far side of the Harbour Bridge. Since you’ve been funnelling that liquid courage into your stomach all day, we think now’s the perfect time to take a bit of a leap. Literally.
AJ Hackett’s Auckland Bridge Bungy is a 40-metre jump from one of the City of Sails’ most recognisable landmarks, and it. Is. So. Fun.
If you really can’t bring yourself to bungy but still want to do something a bit off-the-beaten-path, head to Quay Street and drop in at Holey Moley — an insanely cool mini-golf-course-meets-bar hybrid.
Since you’re likely already down by the harbour at this point, we recommend grabbing dinner at one of the restaurants near the waterfront. Favourites include Ortolana (European food), Culprit (beautiful food, excellent wine list), and Industry Zen (Japanese).
We hope you enjoyed our 48-Hour guide to Auckland, mofos! Let us know if reckon we've missed something vital that you'd add to the list.