A business traveller's guide to Auckland

It doesn't have to be all work and no play – there is plenty to see and do, and you can fit a lot into a short trip to this amazing city.

New Zealand's business capital has more to offer than just board meetings.
  • Gwen McClure
  • March 2019

Don’t just zip from airport to boardroom and back. When you’re in such a buzzing city, you can take in art, great food and drinks and also sightsee – you just have to know where to go.

Rent a bike

To tick off your daily fitness goals for the day and see a bit of the city, skip the hotel gym and rent an e-bike opens in new window instead. Auckland opens in new window is cycle-friendly and an electric bike is an ideal, low-impact way to get around. Start your ride at Quay Street, then head up the Grafton Gully cycleway and along Te Ara I Whiti, the famous pink lightpath. If you have more energy, extend your trip to Mount Eden. At the summit, you’ll be treated to great views across the city.

Check out the local art

The Auckland Art Gallery opens in new window is conveniently located in the heart of the CBD in a late-19th century French chateau-style building with a view towards Albert Park. The impressive collection holds more than 17,000 works, including pieces by famous New Zealand artists Gottfried Lindauer, Charles F Goldie and Gretchen Albrecht. There is no permanent exhibition but around 800 pieces are on display at any time – perfect for checking out on a lunch break.

The Auckland Art Gallery is ideal for a quick culture fix.
The Auckland Art Gallery is ideal for a quick culture fix.

Make lunch count

Dining at a food court might seem a bit odd, especially in a city packed with celebrated restaurants, but Queen’s Rise opens in new window is different. Located near the bottom of Queen Street in the middle of the CBD, this food court is a perfectly curated collection of delicious eateries. Most of the spots at Queen’s Rise have their own space, making them feel like standalone restaurants rather than cafeteria vendors. If you are stopping in for a quick bite, try Poké Bar for a healthy option (it’s also ideal for a solo lunch). For a more traditional business lunch, Ottoman Mezze Lounge offers Turkish fare. Looking for something in between? Tuck into the wood-fired pizzas at Dantes.

Poké Bar will make you rethink what 'fast food' is.
Poké Bar will make you rethink what 'fast food' is.

Sneak in some wine tasting

Much of the charm of Auckland is what’s right outside the CBD – there are beaches, islands and the Waitakere Ranges on the city’s doorstep. Of course, when you’re travelling for business, it can be hard to sneak away for more than a few hours, which is why Villa Maria opens in new window, a vineyard and restaurant in Mangere, is ideal. With its rows of vines and sprawling green lawn, it’s easy to forget you’re actually just around the corner from an industrial complex and less than a 10-minute drive from the airport. It’s perfect for stopping by for lunch or a glass of wine tasting on the way in or out of town.

Villa Maria is great for winding down after a day in the city.
Villa Maria is great for winding down after a day in the city.

Dine like the locals

If, like me, you have a rule to never order room service, try Apéro opens in new window on Karangahape Road – or “K-Road”, as the locals say (it’s just outside the city centre and a bit edgier than the CBD). This casual and cosy restaurant has excellent food and wine offerings and knowledgeable staff who will help you navigate the tapas-style menu. The venue is small enough that you can tuck into a corner with a book or your laptop and not feel out of place when dining alone.