July 20, 2016

Holiday destinations. Over the years, the usual cities and locales which many have traditionally flocked to in order to get away from the world have become cursed with a sinister, creeping monotony. Europe? The continent has become passé. The crumbling architecture of the old world no longer impresses and its societal turmoil burns to a crisp any possibility of getting away from the cares in the world. The pacific islands? The majority of tourists will stay in their hotel resorts. They will also never explore the hidden wonders outside the sanitised embrace of the bars and hammocks in the touristy traps they’re staying in.   

So where, you may ask, is the perfect holiday destination located? What can I do there? And will there be anything there to keep me occupied and excited? The answers to all these questions can be found in New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud. Situated in the picturesque fields of the nations North Island is a getaway destination to impress even the most cynical traveller, Auckland city. Also known as the “City of sails”, the town has become popular, with even celebrities such as James Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson travelling thousands of miles to Auckland for their getaway.

Why should I go to Auckland? There are many reasons, chief among which are the number of activities and attractions which can peel you away from the hotel bar. From the turquoise blue waters of Waitemata Harbour to the vineyards on the outskirts of the city, a visit to Auckland is almost certain to be an eventful stay and a memorable one that will leave an inedible impression. 

Auckland Sky Tower (Photo Courtesy of skycityauckland.co.nz)

A good place to start is the sky tower, located in the heart of the central business district. Standing at an imposing 328 metres, it is the tallest man made structure in the southern hemisphere. The view from the 60th floor observation deck is breathtaking, and you can take as many photos to your heart’s content. Once you have finished admiring the skyline, you can head down to the restaurant, cocktail bar or cafe below. I highly recommend the cocktail bar, “The Sugar Club”. Designed by award winning New Zealand restaurateur Peter Gordon, you can still enjoy the view while sipping a glass of wine and eating a plate of Gordon’s legendary Otago Linguine.

If that doesn’t suit your fancy, I suggest you take a cruise on the sparkling waters of Waitemata Harbour. There are many boat services operating in Auckland, but only two should be considered. The first is Explore Events Company. Operating three America’s cup yachts that had seen action in the actual regatta itself, for a fee, you can experience the speed and thrills that can only be found on some of the fastest sailing vessels ever built, cruising around the most beautiful harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. The second boat is a jet boat run by “Auckland Jet Boat Tours”. Powered by a V8, the company’s jet boat can execute astonishing feats that other boats cannot hold a candle to. The most famous is the Hamilton turn–after building up speed, the captain cuts the throttle and turns the wheel, sending the jet boat into a thrilling spin. This manoeuvre has been known to be a crowd-pleaser. 

Auckland Jet Boat Tours (Photo Courtesy of aucklandjetboattours.co.nz)

If you fear sea sickness and desire a more exclusive attraction, look no further than Auckland’s premier helicopter service and clay pigeon shooting range. If you desire the best scenic helicopter flight, Heletranz is the one to call. Boasting a fleet of four helicopters, they have a wide variety of packages for their customers. Your choices range from a simple scenic flight over Auckland in the day to a romantic sunset run over Waitemata Harbour with a champagne bottle. Heletranz also offers trips outside of Auckland. The one I recommend the most is the wine tasting package. This route will take you to the Cable Bay Vineyard situated on Waiheke Island off the coast of Auckland. There, you will have the chance to sample some of the best New Zealand wines.

Finally, we have Beretta at Bracu. Located at the Simunovich Olive Estate, a short drive south of Auckland is one of New Zealand’s finest clay pigeon shooting fields. Set on a manmade lake, you have at your disposal weapons provided by the world’s biggest sports shotgun manufacturer to bring down your targets. Alternatively, Simunovich Estate also has a range for air pistols, air rifles, archery and even knife throwing if you’re in a particularly daring mood. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Bracu restaurant and sample the finest bread and olive oil in the country.