No visit to the ‘City of Sails’ is complete without making your way down to the Auckland waterfront. Whether drawn there by the multitude of restaurants and eateries, fantastic designer shopping or just to watch the boats sailing by, you will find yourself at the very heart of Auckland’s most vibrant and bustling surrounds.
Take time out and enjoy a cool drink on a hot summers day, browse the latest exhibitions, take a cooking class, or delight the taste buds today with a visit to the Viaduct Harbour, Wynyard Quarter, Princes Wharf or Queens Wharf areas.
The Viaduct Harbour is synonymous with the best and liveliest of Auckland’s nightlife. Perched right on the waterfront, it’s collection of world class hotels, vibrant bars and award winning restaurants are immensely popular with both locals and tourists alike.
During the day, it is common to see people taking a stroll, sampling some delicious gelato or enjoying a long lunch overlooking the water – watching the world go by. At night the entire area comes alive with entertainment, events, diners and party goers.
Viaduct Harbour Restaurants
Brimming with superb restaurants, cafes and bars the Viaduct is the place to be for the best places to eat in Auckland. From gourmet burgers, fresh seafood and home-grown New Zealand produce to Asian inspired eateries, takeaways and great coffee, consider the Viaduct as the ultimate foodie destination. Need help deciding which restaurant to try first? Take a look at our recommendations below.
- Giraffe By Simon Gault. Choose from a selection of the finest local produce New Zealand has to offer and let the team at Giraffe inspire and challenge your taste buds. Separate menus are available for vegan/vegetarian and gluten free diners. Giraffe is located at 87 Customs Street West, Auckland, phone (09) 358 1093.
- Portofino. Next door to Giraffe is the genuine Italian dining experience Portofino. Family owned and operated in the traditional way, Portofino prides itself on a welcoming atmosphere and good quality food. Portofino is located at 87M Customs Street West, Auckland, phone (09) 3567080.
- Grand Harbour. Chinese style fine dining at its best, Grand Harbour specialises in authentic duck and seafood dishes as well as over 80 different varieties of Dim Sum. Seating over 300 Grand Harbour is perfect for larger groups and family get togethers. Grand Harbour is located on the corner of Pakenham Street and Custom Street West, phone (09) 357 6889.
- SOUL Bar And Bistro. The perfect spot for watching the boats while the sun goes down over the Waitemata Harbour, SOUL provides a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere for all types of diners. SOUL is located on the corner of Lower Hobson Street and Customs Street West, Auckland, phone (09) 356 7249.
- Dr. Rudi’s Beer Brewing Co. For a laid back late lunch or time with friends after work Dr Rudi’s is the place to be. Serving a classic menu consisting of pizzas, platters to share and seafood, Dr Rudi’s is prized for its spectacular views from its roof-top location. Dr Rudi’s is located up the escalators at 204 Quay Street, Auckland, phone (09) 281 3862.
- Oyster And Chop. A meat lover’s paradise, the Oyster and Chop prides itself on superb quality meats presented in a classic manner. An extensive steak menu takes precedence along with oysters and fresh seafood of course. Oyster and Chop is located in Market Square, Auckland Viaduct.
Just to the west of the Viaduct Harbour is the entertainment precinct known as the Wynyard Quarter. Home to an array of things to do, interactive displays and entertainment areas as well as places to eat, the Wynard Quarter is a great place to chill out and enjoy the day.
Hire a bike and take a ride along the waterfront, join in a game of basketball, take part in a yoga session or let the kids loose in the maritime themed Wynyard Playspace complete with sand afoot. Need some inspiration? Take a look below or head over to the Karanga Kiosk for some ideas on what to do in the Wynyard Quarter and beyond.
Things To Do At The Wynyard Quarter
Here are out top picks for the best things to do while visiting the Wynyard Quarter.
- Silo 6. Art is a regular feature of the Wynyard Quarter Silo 6, a modern exhibition space featuring an ever changing display of photography, pop up theatre, and various artists work.
- ASB Waterfront Theatre. With a wide range of shows including drama, comedy, tragedy and documentary style performances there is bound to be something for everyone in this outstanding theatre. See here for show details and times.
- Auckland Seafood School. Cook, learn and eat! Based from the Fish Market on Jellicoe Street, the Auckland Seafood School offers a range of cooking classes centred around New Zealand’s freshest seafood. See here for upcoming cooking classes.
- Waterfront Yoga. Re-focus, clear the mind and enjoy the stunning views as you take part in a Hatha Yoga session suitable for all abilities, booking is not required just turn up, see here for class times.
- Interactive Art. All around the Wynyard Quarter you will find artistic displays, while some are just for looking others are more hands on. Look out for the Wynyard Piano, the interactive Sounds of the Sea funnels and the impressive Wind Tree.
- Auckland Dockline Tram. Jump on on-board one of the lovingly restored 1920’s Trams for a mini sightseeing tour around the nearby streets. The Auckland Dockline Tram operates every Sunday and Public Holiday from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Gelatiamo. On a hot summers day there is nothing better than a crisp cool gelato or sorbet from the team at Gelatiamo. Made with organic milk and fresh fruits in the traditional Italian way the Gelatiamo gelato is hard to beat.
Premium Auckland Waterfront Accommodation
Want to make the most of Auckland’s waterfront and spectacular views why not find accommodation near the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter and make your visit a memorable one. Expect to be wowed with this line up of great places to stay near the Auckland waterfront.
Internationally renowned, the Hilton Hotel in Auckland is a top luxury accommodation provider. Perched right on the waterfront and just minutes from the lively viaduct area, it offers stunning views across to Devonport and the North Shore.
- Room rates: Range from around $500 to $2000 per night
- Location: Princes Wharf 147 Quay Street
- Contact: 09 978 2000
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Hotel
Sitting on the edge of the Viaduct Harbour, the Sofitel offers guests a spectacular luxury waterfront accommodation close to all the action. The complementary spa, 25m lap pool, steam room and sauna along with top quality accommodations make the Sofitel a popular choice for many.
- Room rates: Range from around $600 to $1000 per night
- Location: 21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue
- Contact: 09 909 9000
The Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Offering contemporary apartment style accommodation with stunning waterfront views, the Sebel is modern, stylish and comfortable. Fully serviced studio and one bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchens are available all within easy walking distance of Auckland’s best restaurants and amenities.
- Room rates: Range from around $500 to $600 per night.
- Location: 85 – 89 Customs Street West
- Contact: 09 978 4000
Overlooking the Princes Wharf, M Social provides contemporary stylish accommodation right at the heart of the warterfront. With some of the best views out over the Viaduct Harbour, the Princes Wharf and beyond staying at M Social will not disappoint.
- Room rates: Range from around $400 to $700 per night
- Location: 196 – 200 Quay Street
- Contact: 09 377 0349
Top 5 Auckland Waterfront Highlights
Heading down to the waterfront and want to see the best of the Wynyard Quarter, Princes Wharf, Viaduct Harbour and beyond? Here are some highlights of the Auckland Waterfront area not to be missed.
1. The Old Ferry Building
The ferry building located at the harbour front in Auckland is an exceptional example of carefully preserved historic architecture being preserved and used for modern businesses. Here you can not only buy tickets for cruises and ferry trips around the harbour, but also enjoy the cafes and shops that have made it their home.
2. The Port Gates
While visiting the Old Ferry Building it’s hard to miss the iconic red painted Port Gates. Originally built to cordon off the Queens Wharf area, original parts of the Port Gates date back to 1913. More recent additions to the red fence have been made over the years as well as restorations and modifications.
3. The Auckland Fish Markets
Find a diverse range of the freshest fish you can buy at the Auckland Fish Markets. Choose from whole fish like Snapper, Gurnard and Salmon, live fresh or frozen shellfish and crustaceans, filleted fish or freshly smoked fish. Open every day from 7 am to 6pm, the markets are a great place to pick up everything you need for a quick easy fish focused dinner.
4. The Britomart Precinct
One of Auckland’s premium shopping destinations, Britomart offers an exciting range of boutique designer shopping, bars, cafes and much more. The 6.5 hectare precinct merges the old and the new with a mix of heritage buildings and modern spaces coming together to create a unique destination in its own right.
5. The New Zealand Maritime Museum
Experience the best of New Zealand’s seafaring heritage with the New Zealand Maritime Museum. Fid an extensive collection of nautical artefacts from NZ’s first Polynesian settlers right through to today’s more modern day maritime exploits. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm the Museum even offers one hour sailing expeditions on the Waitemata Harbour.
Auckland Waterfront Parking
Good news for those with a rental car, Auckland’s waterfront has a good range of affordable car parking options. Read on for daily rates and locations.
- Viaduct Car Park. The Viaduct car park is a multi-level 350 space parking building set right in the heart of the Viaduct Harbour precinct. Open 24 hours 7 days a week the car park entrance is off Sturdee Street. Daily rates are around $39.
- Maritime Car Park. With 400 parking spaces the Maritime parking building is very conveniently located near Maritime Square and the base of the Viaduct Harbour. Open 24 hours, the car park entrance is off Pakenham Street East. Daily rates are around $45.
- Britomart Car Park. As the name suggests the Britomart carpark is very near the Britomart Precinct. Open 24 hours seven days a week, the Britomart car park holds over 1200 vehicles and has a daily rate of around $45, entrance off Quay Street.
- Arena Car Park. Located on Dockside Lane, the Arena car park is very near Spark Arena – perfect for attending events. The 500 space parking building is open 7 days a week 24 hours a day and is priced from around $25 per day.
- Downtown Car Park. With nearly 2000 spaces available the Downtown car parking building is a good choice when visiting the Auckland waterfront area. However it does have limited opening hours, these are currently Monday to Thursday from 6 am to 1 am, Friday 6 am through to midnight Sunday. Entrance is off Customs Street West.
- Eastern Viaduct Car Park. Extending out into the Viaduct Basin, the Eastern Viaduct car park has limited spaces but is perfect for a visit to the Maritime Museum or for a quick lunch on Princes Wharf. Expect to pay around $12 for three hours, spaces are limited.
Make the most of your visit to Auckland Central and spend some time exploring the sights and sounds of Auckland’s waterfront today.
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