Auckland - Lifestyle & Culture
New Zealand’s rich cultural heritage is proudly celebrated in a number of excellent attractions dotted around Auckland and its environs. Auckland’s rich cultural stew is also celebrated in the city’s many festivals, its fiercely contested sporting events and the healthy revival of its Maori heritage (witnessed in the city’s thriving music and arts scene).
Auckland War Memorial Museum, Domain Drive. Somewhat mis-named, this wonderful museum is the by-proxy national history museum, celebrating the island’s cultural identity, its arts and crafts and its geographical context too (the city rises from an active volcanic region). Its programme of events and exhibitions makes this one destination you really should save time to explore.
Auckland Art Gallery, Wellesley Street. A vibrant and exciting selection of national and international art, spanning the very best Australasian art, but strong on Pacific Rim and Asian pieces too.
While New Zealand could never be said to be one of the world’s most vital nightlife centres, the city certainly punches above its weight when it comes to stylish bars, laid-back after-hours haunts and romantic spots to while away the evening in.
Head to the swanky development of Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour for a clutch of cool cocktail bars, bistros and grill-bars. Here you’ll find current hot-spot, the Soul Bar and Bistro. Quay Street, along the waterfront, offers cosy Kiwi bars and a sociable mix of brew-pubs and bistros attracting a youngish crowd of backpackers and city workers.
Britomart (Auckland’s most popular shopping and entertainment complex, down by the waterfront) has a good collection of late-night spots including Racket’s Cuban-themed bar, the excellent Northern Steamship Company and 1885 Britomart’s multi-level bar and club development, another recent addition, proving extremely popular with the in-crowd.
If you’re desperate for a bit of home comfort, look for the Cock and Bull chain of English themed pubs - dotted throughout the city - for a more-or-less authentic take on a traditional ‘Olde English’ tavern, complete with a pint of John Smiths and a packet of pork scratchings!
Fort Street is backpackers-central and, as such, has no-end of cheap and cheerful bars to discover.