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Daniel Vernon

Browsing Britomart

By | Activities, food & Drink, kids activities, Nightlife | No Comments

In many of our blogs and guides to the city, we have briefly touched on Britomart, a small boutique collection of shops and cafes at the bottom of Queen street near the waterfront. Over the past few years, this space has blossomed into a popular heaven for shoppers and those with an exotic taste for food. In this blog we take a closer look at what makes this place such a must-visit destination:

Boutique Shopping

Wardrobe in need of a refresh, and have you got some money to burn? Then you are going to find the little craven of Britomart to be a shoppers’ paradise, with all your favourite brands in one shoppable space! This includes a mix New Zealand’s hottest fashion designers including Deadly Ponies, Juliette Hogan, Karen Walker, and Trelise Cooper as well as the hottest high-end international brands such as Prada, Gucci, Jo Malone London, Lululemon, Ted Baker, Tiffany & Co, just to name a few.

Catchup, Stroll and Brunch!

One of the greatest benefits of Britomart is the urban modern space which allows for a perfect walk’n’talk catch-up with friends with a follow up of brunch. Wander through Takutai Square and to nearby Queens Wharf. There’s always something happening at both these spots: the square is home to a Saturday morning market and the wharf regularly hosts art exhibitions and food trucks. If you’re really up for a stroll, head west to North Wharf and along the Westhaven Promenade. To take in the instagrammable views of the Waitemata Harbour.

The Nightlife

Britomart is perfect for those looking for a decent meal and a good night out. The quarter has a bit of everything to please all palate, including classic American-style burgers at better burger, take in some Vietnamese at Café Hanoi, a mix of traditional Japanese at Ebisu, or the French goodies at L’assiette. When it comes to having a night on the town, we would recommend starting at Brew on Quay for their dizzying selection of craft beers on tap, a stop at the one and only 1885 is a suburb and classy stable of the city, and Caretaker brings out the golden age New York feel in its intimate setting with a menu filled with delicious beverages.

La Cigale Market

But don’t feel like this place is only buzzing during the night, during Saturdays from 8am to 1pm you’ll come across a market that injects a sense of Parisian flair into the traditional kiwi market model. The result? A beautiful collision of locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetable stalls sit alongside international fare such as cured meats, specialty chocolates and nut butters. There are more than twenty stalls to peruse – constantly changing in theme, taste and flair!

Worth The Walk: Five Great Walks In Auckland

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It’s nearly November, the weather is getting warmer, the flowers are blooming and the beaches are looking more and more attractive. Summer in Auckland can be spent many ways, but we believe that some of the best ways to explore the city and the country for that matter, is on foot. In this blog we are going to look at some of Auckland’s best walks that cover our beautiful nature, some of our historical parks as well as taking you across romantic walks by the water, to give you some inspiration to tie up your laces and get exploring on foot.  

Cornwall Park 

This walks is located a stones-throw away from our motel, so there is no excuse to visit her. And during summer and spring its worth a visit alone for the cherry trees providing you with enchanting pink flowers that make the park look like something out of a postcard.   

Hobson Bay Walkway 

We understand that sometimes you have a big schedule and a huge walk just can’t really fit in. Well, that where Hobson bay is perfect: the short-but-sweet walk will have you enjoying the scenery of boats, birds, boardwalks, Victorian style houses and a lookout to Rangitoto, North Head, and Mount Victoria. But be sure to check the tides, You can only access this walk at low tide. 

Coast To Coast Walkway  

There are not many places in the world where you can literally walk from one coastline to the other. This is a true taste of Auckland and all it has to offer, you’ll walk through inner city ‘burbs, volcanic mountains, historic sites, all the way through to Manukau Harbour. You can also do the round trip right from the doorstep of the motel as one of the stops is our neighbor, one tree hill.   

White’s Beach Day Walk  

The west coast of Auckland has a secret, and we’re willing to share. The White’s Beach day walk is an hour long and begins down a local resident’s driveway, so be sure to be respectful, from there, signs will direct you to White’s Beach, where the track meanders down toward the big blue, where sand dunes await. Scramble over the sandy hills, play in the sea and witness exactly why Auckland’s West Coast has become one of the countries most sought-after destinations.   

Narrow Neck Beach  

Devonport is an amazing little village, with its ice cream shops, boutique fashion and bookstores and historic sights, you’d have to be crazy to not visit this waterside village –  but there it also boasts the beautiful Narrow Neck Beach. This will deliver the goods with views of Rangitoto and the city, its perfect for a slow stroll with someone you love.

Your Guide To Auckland’s Best Bars Part Two

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Sometimes when you’re on holiday you need to treat yourself. You have escaped to treat yourself and sometimes that means sitting down with some good company and enjoying a good drink. Auckland is perfect for this, our bustling metropolis is packed with secret bars, bars with amazing themes, and simple holes in the wall with great history.   

In part one we took you through some of our favorite intimate bars – the ones that host local live music and where you can relax. In part two we showcase some of the more bigger and more publicly known bars if you are feeling like a night out on the town, a dance with your better half or a group of friends, here are some local hotspots: 

Cassette 9 

Renowned for their teapot cocktails, quirky decor and top-of-the-range tunes and local gigs this is the place to be if you are wanting a classy night out, and when we say night out, Cassette is open until four in the morning! Cassette feels like a real city bar, located up a flight of stars, the bar is in a unique U-shape that features a small balcony, bench seating and dancefloor. The hip staff and large selection of drinks make this one of Auckland most frequented bars.

Grand Central 

This one of for the younger crowd, it’s the crown jewel of Ponsonby, known for its laid-back, hospo-friendly attitude and unpretentious ways, guests are sure to leave all inhibitions at the door as they really let loose to the live music or DJ’s on stage. Open until the wee hours of the morn it’s perfect if you are looking for a good boogie. And With late night curry and burger located just across the road and also open late, you have everything you need for a good night out! 


Probably the newest bar on this list, don’t think for a minute this makes Impala any less of a popular hotspot. It has fast become a CBD hotspot mainly for featuring famous and up-and-coming local DJs that bring creative sets that you just can’t find anywhere else in the city. Expect to knock back a Fireball or two, dance until that 3am kebab calls and thank God that this Auckland underground, the class-act club came to town! 


Another Ponsonby institution (Ponsonby really has some of Auckland’s best bars), featuring a DJ dropping beats on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there’s no excuse to skip a night out here, and it’s cater-made for an older crowd – its Restricted 22 after a certain time! This bar features a quirky interior that features a “fire” long stretching deck, couches and ponsonbys most popular dance floor. You might want to add this to the first stop on your list on a crawl as it can be extremely hard to get into during the weekend at peak times.

Your Guide To Auckland’s Best Bars Part One

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Sometimes when you’re on holiday you need to treat yourself. You have escaped to treat yourself and sometimes that means sitting down with some good company and enjoying a good drink. Auckland is perfect for this, our bustling metropolis is packed with secret bars, bars with amazing themes, and simple holes in the wall with great history.  We have filtered through the collection of bars in the city to bring you a diverse collection that features something for everyone.   

Racket Bar  

Racket is the loud and eclectic staple of Britomart that features a cheeky and humorous attitude with a damn good selection of drinks to match this cheeky attitude. With 85 premium rum varieties on the shelf and the self-titled “Auckland’s Most Expensive Fire Hazard” out front, Racket is the perfect place to spend winter nights away from the fierce weather. The modest lighting also makes it acceptable to cozy up in a booth and get submerged in conversation.  


Bonita is the kind of place that you walk in to and feel at home – slightly hidden behind a side street in Ponsonby, it has become a favorite destination for locals, and as a result, it has grown a friendly neighborhood local feel about it. The staff is equally as friendly as the locals the adorn the sidebar, the selection of wines and locally sourced beer are also well worth the visit. With outdoor seating both front and back, it’s the ideal place to catch some afternoon rays and people watch, or to hide away.  

The Wine Cellar  

You’ll have to take a journey down the stairs of St Kevin’s Arcade to find this hidden free-spirited Wine Cellar. The wine cellar is a staple of Auckland and K Road for its exciting and diverse range of local gigs that are often put-on, as well as their alternative them and simple style – that includes old school pinball games. This bar is perfect for those in a large group looking for a night out, or those more attuned to a cozy night.   

The Portland Public House  

This comfortable DIY wonderland where the drinks taste good and you’ll likely rub shoulders with a who’s who of local musicians. This bar is a truly alive, it starts off as a restaurant during the day, then transforms into a venue and dancefloor in the evening, but if you want to sit rather than drink, their back room and outdoor area is perfect for catching up with friends or having a date night. Their beer selection is equally fantastic mixing classics with local craft breweries, as well as having a nice selection of wine to choose from.

Keep the Kids Busy In Auckland Part Two: Activities for All Seasons

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Sometimes traveling with kids can be tiresome and finding activities that they will equally love can be time-consuming, but luckily for you, we have gone out and done the research for you!     

In part two we head out for adventure looking at some of the best indoor and outdoor activities that cans can enjoy and adults and get a little fun out of too. Better yet these activities are great all year round so you can keep the kids busy no matter the weather.  

Snow Planet: 

Snowplanet is Auckland’s only indoor ski slope. Grab your beanies and warm jackets for a fantastic day out, only 30 minutes north of the city. At Snowplanet there is something for everyone; a chilly snow dome to ski, snowboard or snow tube and a warm relaxing restaurant for a bite to eat and coffee with panoramic views to watch all the action. 

Escape Masters:  

This internationally popular phenomenon promises a vivid experience where you can become the main character of a captivating mystery. An adventure, where you and your friends are locked in a themed room with the common goal to break out within an hour. To escape, you will need to find clues and solve unique puzzles. 

Bounce and Beyond:  

The whole family will have a blast playing at Bounce & Beyond’s indoor playground. There are inflatable slides, obstacle course, bounce houses, interactive games, toddler activities and more. Bring a book, bring your friends, and enjoy a coffee while your little one runs wild in the 1800 square meter inflatable playground.  

Around-The-World Mini Golf  

Prepare for a trip around the world, see the Arc de Triomphe, Effiel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the kings of the beasts on the African plains.  

Rainbows End  

It’s fun on demand at Rainbow’s End!  With over 20 rides and attractions, there’s something for everyone. Thrill seekers can try the big 5 Thrill Rides: Stratosfear, Fearfall, Invader, Power Surge and the Corkscrew Roller Coaster. Or for something to suit the entire family try the Log Flume, Dodgems or Family Karts. It’s your fun, and you can put it together any way you like.  

Kelly Tarltons 

With over 80 marine species and over 1000 amazing creatures across 13 themed zones, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium has it all. You can enjoy after dark events, animal encounters, special animals talks and feeds and so much more!  


Rocket Ropes has an adventure high ropes course for kids aged 6 years plus and adults. Plus there is a Rocketeer course for kids aged 2 to 6 years old, to experience a climbing course using carabiners. They can scale the pirate ship, delve into the tunnels, bounce on the spring steps and more to give them a climbing adventure like no other. Bookings are essential.

Keep the Kids Busy In Auckland Part One: The Best Playgrounds in Auckland

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Sometimes traveling with kids can be tiresome and finding activities that they will equally love can be time-consuming, but luckily for you, we have gone out and done the research for you!  In part one, we hit the bark, jump on the monkey bars and reach the sky on some swings and list some of the best playgrounds in Auckland for the little ones to pour all that pent-up energy into! 

  1. Tui Glen Park 

Located in Henderson this wooden wonderland is based around a ‘tree-top’ theme to reflect the natural landscape of mature towering trees, and the history of it being a previous campsite – New Zealand’s first in fact. Kids will feel like they live up in the trees with the Eagle nest and Pyramid tower, as well as the dual flying fox and tree hut makes this a young adventurers paradise.  

  1. Madills Farm Playground 

This colorful playground is located on a bustling green park and features all the major staples of a great playground: Climbing nets, baskets swing, climbing frames, sea-saws and it’s all full fenced so you can relax and take in the sunshine! 

  1. Takapuna beach Reserve Playground

Full warning: this is a kid’s dream come true, a twisty turvey playground located right next to the beach and ice cream? It’s heaven for kids. Located right by the water, this playground features slides that look like they have jumped right out of a Dr. Suess book, basket swings, climbing tower, merry-go-round, trampolines, and even a hamster wheel?! 

  1. Onepoto Domain  

There seems to be one thing kids love these days – scooters. And if yours have decided to pack theirs with them on your trip away – then we have the perfect park for you! This playground has all the classics such as a slide, swings and flying fox, but also features fantastic bike and scooter tracks as well as a duck pond!  

  1. Western Park 

This recently renovated park located in Freemans Bay is a perfect adventure playground for kids of all ages and features two slides great for racing, two treehouses, swings, a seesaw, balancing features, two small trampolines, and a flying fox! Located close to Ponsonby, it’s a great way to use up the kid’s energy before doing a spot of shopping or lunch!  

  1. Myers Park Playground 

Located right on the waterfront and next to a bunch of fantastic restaurants and cafes (if you need a coffee to keep up with the little ones) This quirky playground features animal themed climbing frames, birds, sculptures, and a giant basket swing!

Low Cost Adventures In Auckland: Learning and Exploring

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There’s nothing like saving money on holiday and the best way to do that is by utilizing the best free activities a location has to offer, and in Auckland, there are plenty. In this blog we have gathered three of some of the most well-loved activities and what they have to offer and have focused on activities that are great for people of all ages, and that can offer something a little more, whether that be a little bit of learning, exercise or adventure, we have it covered. 

First up is the Waitakere Ranges, located just forty minutes outside of the city, you’ll find the pristine bush, thriving native wildlife, and rugged black sand surf beaches. Many who visit the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park describe it as having a ‘wild west’ feel for its breath-taking natural towering sculptures and tranquil serenity that you don’t quite get living in the city.  

For all those out there who love a good walk in natural splendor, the regional park boasts 250 kilometers of walking tracks, surrounded by spectacular scenery. Notable scenic spots such as the Karekare Falls, are very accessible by foot – an experience for all members of the family. The Kitekite track (45 minutes) which will take you on a tour of the best things New Zealand’s native bushes have to offer, including waterfalls, streams, pools and beautiful native wildlife. The ranges also hold some of the countries most famous beaches – These beautiful west coast black-sand surf beaches are famous for their long stretching curves and tumbling waves. 

Next, we have The Auckland Museum, this famous landmark has shifted around a few sites in Auckland since its beginnings in 1852, including a farmer’s cottage and the Auckland Society before finally landing on top of Pukekawa in 1921, to commemorate the fallen soldiers of war world one. Since opening the museum has had a number of upgrades and renovations including an administration annex with a large semi-circular courtyard was added to the southern rear to commemorate the soldiers of war world two. 

The museum house a number of popular exhibitions including a large collection of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts, including a life-sized meeting house and Te Toki ā Tāpiri – the last great war canoe used in battle and carved from a giant totara tree. The museum also has floors dedicated to domestic and international wars, landmarks and encounters that contains art and artifacts, as well as fossils, history of toys, fashion and more. 

The museum is free for entry for Auckland locals, a donation is required for New Zealand residents, and international visitors have an admission fee of $25 for adults. 

Finally, Nestled below the rolling slopes of Albert Park in central Auckland is the Auckland Art Gallery. The gallery features its own in-house café that does a selection of food and beverages, otherwise why not walk just above the gallery and sit in Albert Park and enjoy a picnic by the fountain or below its many grand old trees? A mere two-minute walk will land you on Queen Street, one of Auckland’s oldest and most populated streets, filled with history, food, and shopping that leads you down to the waterfront which is a grand historic walk on a nice day, that features a bevy of restaurants and bars.

Views and Vineyards: Great Day Trips in Auckland

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Auckland, being built on hundreds of extinct volcanos, has resulted in a landscape that features some great walks, explorations, and adventures that are well worth your time. Whether it be climbing Rangitoto, exploring historic Devonport, or enjoying a wine on Waiheke, here are some of the most iconic location that has taken thousands of years to form for your enjoyment: 


For a more adventurous island escape, check out Rangitoto. Emerging from the sea 600 years ago, Rangitoto Island is one of Auckland’s many volcanoes – and one of the last that is considered “active”. An iconic Auckland landmark, it’s a popular day trip for those keen on hiking, boating and all things nature. The summit track will take you through the world’s largest pohutukawa forest and the views from the pinnacle will take your breath away. The walk up is only an hour long, but make sure you set aside some time to crawl through the lava caves and tunnels you’ll pass on the way up, and take a walk around some of the old abandoned batches that still sparsely litter the shore. 

Mount Eden  

We can’t do a list like this without mentioning our neighboring summit Mt. Eden. The perfect place to catch a sunrise or sunset, this is a paradise for romancers and adventurers. Once you’re at the top, the views of Auckland and the ocean are pretty spectacular. The last eruption left a crater 50 meters deep which widens as you wind your way to the summit. Walk all around the top to make sure you see Auckland from every angle then check out Eden Gardens, a 5.5 acre award-winning garden on the slopes of the mountain. Be sure to reward yourself with the many food and beverage offerings in Eden Village too. 


Arguably one of Auckland’s prettiest and most vintage villages that is historical Devonport. Accessible by ferry or by car (the ferry is a great time, heads up), Devonport is situated on a picturesque peninsula and boasts some of the most beautiful bays in Auckland. stroll through the town browsing their tempting selection of cafes and boutiques that includes second-hand books and clothes for all you hipster types as well as some of the most gorgeous and award-winning restaurants by the water. Climb up Mount Victoria for incredible views of Auckland city and its harbor, then tackle North Head for awe-inspiring vistas of Rangitoto and the Hauraki Gulf. 

Waiheke Island  

Known as the island of wine, and just a small ferry ride from the city is Waiheke Island which is home to a plethora of interesting art galleries and eateries – but the real attractions are Waiheke’s beautiful beaches and stunning vineyards. Join a guided tour for tastings of some of New Zealand’s best wines or take things at your own pace and break up all that booze with a stroll along Oneroa or Onetangi beach. Whether you’re there for a day trip or a weekend, it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with Waiheke.