Everyone who knows Auckland knows about the Sky Tower. Many people adore Waiheke Island, while others relish the local parks and art galleries. If you’re wanting to add something unique and quirky to your New Zealand travel experience, here are nine gems you’ll find in the country’s largest city.
Float your worries away
Spa pampering is great and all, but Float Culture takes zen to a whole new level. Spend an hour inside a futuristic pod that is designed to make you feel completely weightless. Water is set at skin temperature and consists of an extremely saturated Epsom salt solution. As you choose your favourite music to listen to, and block out all surrounding distractions, you’ll feel all your troubles literally floating away.
Have some vegan high tea
Hectors Restaurant at the Heritage Hotel offers a new twist to high tea. After winning the crowds over with chef Jinu Abraham’s raw breakfasts, the restaurant decided to add vegan options to their high tea menu – think sultana scones, chia mousse, wholemeal sandwiches and mini falafels. Bookings are essential and need to made a day in advance.
Visit one of the cat cafes
Yes, you read that correctly. Auckland is home to not one, but two cat cafes: The Cat Lounge on the North Shore and BaristaCats right at the heart of the city. Both of them allow visitors to order some coffee and treats before they go into a separate room to cuddle and play with the house kitties. These cafes are quite popular with locals and advanced bookings are highly recommended.
Volunteer in a pest-free island
Do some good and spend some time getting close to nature. The Department of Conservation hosts volunteer days on many of Auckland’s pest-free paradises. Tree planting in Motuora Island, helping with the upkeep of Tiritiri Matangi and becoming a camp host on Great Barrier Island are among the different opportunities to look out for.
Become a zombie
BodyFX holds regular makeup workshops in Auckland and Wellington. The FX-Zombie school in particular will teach you, in a space of five hours, how to turn yourself into an absolutely terrifying zombie. A special FXpaste, latex, paints, clay, prosthetics among various other materials and techniques are used to teach people how to create the perfect look. There are non-zombie workshops too, including an introductory face-painting course, body art and an epic session on scars and wounds.
Run away from zombies
Travelling with a group? Looking for an adrenaline kick that goes beyond the typical adventure activities? Then the Zombie Survival Challenge will be right up your alley. This is a team-building survival course, where you and your colleagues fight off the zombies as you collaborate to achieve your mission. Their Saturday Night Challenge takes courageous souls into the West Auckland wilderness after a professional briefing and training session.
Make your own Great Escape
Ideal for groups of 3-6 people, the Great Escape is another popular choice for team-building with a thrill factor. You and your friends will be given an hour to solve puzzles as you get yourselves out of a locked room. Creativity, collaboration and a hint of common sense will help you break free. There are four different rooms to choose from: Prison Break, the Psych Ward, Dreams of Alice and the World War II inspired Behind the Enemy Lines.
Make your own pasta (and eat it too)
Mt Eden Restaurant Pasta & Cuore holds regular pasta-making workshops for groups of up to eight people. The basic two-hour course gives you a walk-through of how to make fresh pasta from scratch, honoring the long-held traditions of the Emilia-Romana region of Italy. Under the direction of chef Stefania Ugolini, everyone who partakes in the workshop will learn how to knead, roll, shape, fill and cook pasta to perfection.
Play golf till dusk
Located right outside of Auckland Airport, JK’s World of Golf offers buckets of 100 golf balls for a mere NZ$13. If that’s not enough of a steal, the golf course is also open 24/7, rain or shine, 365 days a year. So if you’re looking for something to do while in transit or you just need to do something productive in the late hours of the night, this is the place to visit.