Butterfly CreekAuckland AirportOne of the coolest children's activities for little ones who love animals in Auckland by far. Butterfly Creek is home to one of the largest tropical butterfly houses in New Zealand and, whether you are young or old, it's a total must-see. There's also lots of other animals at Butterfly Creek, including life-sized dinosaurs.
Lock N Load AdventuresAuckland AirportI love the idea of paintball but to be honest, I'm a bit of a sissy, which is why I was super-stoked to discover that Lock N Load Paintball at Auckland Airport has a low-impact paintball option, perfect for kids (and big kids like me!). With a whole lot of different themed fields (my wishlist includes tackling the UFO landing and Wild West), this is a very cool spot to play paintball put together by industry professionals.
Rocket RopesAuckland AirportWant to take the kids to an outdoor activity that builds their confidence and gets them working together as a team? Go no further than Rocket Ropes at Auckland Airport. This outdoor high ropes course is a gem of a family activity to try on a beautiful summer day.
- 422I love Phil Greig Strawberry Gardens in Kumeu because it's one of the only places in Auckland where you can pick your own strawberries. A truly Kiwi summer tradition, you can head out into their abundant strawberry patches from Boxing Day onwards. Because nothing tastes better than a sun-ripened, juicy strawberry straight off the vine.
Sounds Of SeaAuckland CentralI've lived in Auckland all my life and until today I never knew how cool this art installation at North Wharf truly is. It's all about showing Auckland's history, as well as being a spot where you can create art and sound by speaking into the installation. Look for the big, silver sculptures sticking out of the ground and then have a play. I hid in one and scared a friend as she walked past. Awesome fun!
Moda KitchensNew LynnWhen it comes to kitchen design, I'm a big fan of clean, sharp lines, "less-is-more" design and a seriously cool splashback. Does my kitchen look like this? Not yet but I'm dreaming of my dream kitchen so imagine my surprise to have discovered the best kitchen design are in my local West Auckland area - New Lynn, to be exact. Owner Rebecca shares her customers' passion for creating show-stopping kitchens, laundry and wardrobes that are all about form and function but have a beautiful design twist. Their team are really knowledgable and make the process of choosing different fittings and products a cinch. Highly recommended!
GoodnestAuckland CentralGoodnest are an awesome way to book great local tradies and get your house cleaned, your lawns mowed or even electrical and plumbing work. Created by a couple of clever Kiwis, Goodnest matches you to the best tradie for your requirements, you pay online and voila! someone turns up to your place to do the job you need. What a way to make your nest a whole lot better and brighter!
Resene ColorShop AlbanyAlbanyA lot of my friends are painter-decorators by trade and the only paint they use is NZ-made Resene. World leaders in paint technology, this incredible company based in Lower Hutt in Wellington creates great paint that sticks and stays. For anyone who has done their own DIY painting, you'll know it's all about the consistency and Resene paints allow you to create clean walls with no streaky runs. Plus their colour palette is wide-ranging and there's no colours every season.
Central Landscape & Garden SuppliesAuckland CentralI love the fact that Central Landscape and Garden Supplies has a great selection of dry firewood available for winter. They often do deals on free delivery and it's awesome to know that you are buying firewood from a local, NZ-owned business. My local yards are in Swanson and in Glen Eden and I know when winter hits, these are the guys to call to find the firewood I need. And no matter which yard you choose, I reckon you always get a great result.
Bed Bath & Beyond NewmarketNewmarketIf you want to buy a sweet onesie for a fraction of the price of anywhere else then Bed, Bath and Beyond is the place to go. We picked up a choice camo onesie for about $20 on sale and, last winter, it became like my husband's second skin. There's also good options for kids too and the best thing about a onesie is it keeps you warm all winter!
Food Truck Garage PonsonbyPonsonbyI checked out the new Food Truck Garage in Ponsonby with a serious chicken burger craving and wow did the new menu deliver! Buckwheat-encrusted chicken with out-of-this-world delicious green goddess mayo and tomato relish with dates. The sauce to bun-meat ratio is just right in these delicious burgers. Mr One who was with us loved his kumara fries. I'll be back again for another healthy lunch date very soon.
Point Wells General StorePoint WellsMy husband loves his burgers and likes to taste test the best local burgers when he's on the road working. He reckons Point Wells General Store serve up some of the best homemade burgers in the whole country and I'm looking forward to heading out of the city soon and north to try these tasty bites. Their fresh fish and chips come highly recommended too! Support these locals, they are awesome Kiwis who deserve your dollars.
Burger GeekAuckland CentralBurger Geek has only just opened and already it's so popular that I'm yet to have a chance to personally wrap my lips around one of their stunning burgers. However, many Auckland foodie friends have already recommended this great burger restaurant as THE place to go and get takeaway in the Auckland CBD right now. I've got my eyes on their classic burger - Morty.
Tiger BurgerGrey LynnI discovered the beauty that is Tiger Burger after reading about their meat-free patty in The Herald's Viva. The Goguma, as it's known by this unique Korean restaurant in the heart of Grey Lynn, is based on a patty made from shiitake mushrooms and kumara. It's out of this world and a must-try. Book a dinner date here now.
Burger Fuel HendersonHendersonThis is my local and when it’s the weekend who says you can’t have grass-fed beef burgers for breakfast. Not Burger Fuel! This awesome Kiwi establishment has been smashing out top quality burgers since back in the day. They’ve also released a twist on the NZ classic fish ‘n’ chips by making it into a burger #heaven
LongshotPonsonbyFor the best coffee on Ponsonby Rd right now, you can't go past a visit to Longshot Ponsonby. It's the hot new local opened by the clever folks behind Longroom. I love this sun-drenched spot because I'm able to sit in the courtyard and sip on my favourite local beans, Allpress. The coffees Longshot's crew create are strong, full-bodied and give off a gorgeous aroma. The staff are friendly and passionate - a spot worth making your new Ponsonby Rd regular.
Amano Bakery & ReataurantAuckland CentralAmano is an awesome addition to Britomart and my working neighbourhood. With its farm-to-table philosophy firmly in place thanks to the fact this Auckland bakery is part of the ever-evolving Hip Group, everything is made from scratch on site. The flour is milled out back, the sourdough starters nurtured and the delicate pastries created by some of the most passionate local bakers in the business. I love the fact that Amano offers dairy free milk options - delivered via a tap nonetheless - in the form of buffalo and macadamia milk for my morning coffee. Awesome to see a real working bakery downtown.
Teed Street LarderNewmarketA fantastic Newmarket cafe much-loved by locals, Teed Street Larder is an institution in this part of town and known for serving up some of the best pies, sandwiches and coffee in Auckland. I love their organic Three Beans coffee - this is the place to come for a super-smooth flat white that gives you a decent caffeine kick.
L'Oeuf CafeMt AlbertTucked away in the sleepy back blocks of Mt Albert lies one of Auckland's best breakfast spots, no doubt in part because L'oeuf (meaning egg in French) truly lives up to serving some of the tastiest versions of its namesake. But it's not just the eggs that make this cafe a top spot, they do everything consistently well and I love the fact that you can buy a little bit of L'oeuf love to take home. Before a recent roadtrip, I purchased their house almond butter - a great and much healthier alternative to the more traditional peanut - and it was so good I scoffed most of it down the length of State Highway 1. And with 12 extra seats out front, there's even more reason to take your loved ones and enjoy an indulgent Sunday morning in the summer sunshine.
Humbug CafeGlen EdenIt can be hard to find the divine brew that is Millers Coffee in West Auckland, which is why Glen Eden’s Humbug Cafe is one of my favourites. Millers have been brewing from Cross Street in town since 1988 and the blend has remained unchanged because it is honestly that good. Humbug Cafe is a great spot to go in the morning to catch the sunshine and sip on a smooth flat white.
barrefigureGrey LynnSo many of my friends have been talking about the fact that the 60-minute sessions held by Marysa are some of the best barre classes happening in Auckland right now. It's an hour of toning, sculpting and stretching muscles. As a former dancer, who has spent my fair share of time at the barre, this is the next fitness class in Auckland that I'm determined to try. Who wants to join me?
Four Winds YogaPonsonbyI've recently been introduced to Suzi Carson's classes through a couple of yoga instructor friends and they are absolutely brilliant. Having taught in the Iyengar style for many years, Suzi is full of expert knowledge and advice. Her instructions are clear and easy-to-follow and I leave class feeling revived, rested and rejuvenated. Taking place throughout the week at the Ponsonby Community Centre, it's a beautiful building, surrounded by a green oasis and a world away from the hustle and bustle of Ponsonby Rd. Plus, it's handy central location means that after a morning class I enjoy talking a walk around the corner and grabbing a top-quality chai or flat white from one of the strip's many well-known cafes. I highly recommend this yoga school for both beginner and advanced students alike.
SoulspriteDevonportSoulsprite is a cool way for families to get fit together. It's motivation to get moving and have fun doing it!
Nicolino RestaurantDevonportFor some of the most authentic Greek food and culture in Auckland, Nicolino Restaurant is a Devonport restaurant that delivers. Thursday nights are for live music, dancing and plate-smashing. It's one of the only restaurants in Auckland to offer up this unique Greek experience and their moussaka is so traditional and delicious, I've travelled across the Bridge to the North Shore for this Greek food many times. Highly recommend!
The Refreshment RoomTitirangiAnother triumph of a meal from the clever kitchen team at The Refreshment Room. While the boys had the signature scotch with smashed potatoes and a big handful of rocket from the Titirangi restaurant’s on-site garden, I was rewarded for an adventurous choice - light, pillowy cappelletti encasing a braised beef and spinach filling with pancetta atop and a pumpkin purée underneath. Accompanied with a glass of Martinborough rose, it was a divine Sunday night!
- 357Rocking out all year round, I love visiting Coco's in June when they start serving up their delicious mulled wine. Mulled wine and this favourite Auckland restaurant go together like polenta and the deep-fryer (Coco's polenta chips are another classic here!). Their infusion fills my insides with warmth and gives my exterior a real winter glow. If you do one thing in Auckland this winter, head to Coco's with a loved one and enjoy a few glasses of mulled wine.
Prego RestaurantPonsonbyThere's one and only dish I come to Prego to have and, after more than 10 years of eating at this institution of a Ponsonby restaurant, it is always still as good as the first day I tasted it. The magic meal I'm talking about? Prego's fish of the day. There's always a slight culinary twist so each time you eat the dish, it tastes different (no matter how many times you've had it ... and believe me, I've eaten their fish of the day a lot!). Take my word: Try it now!