City of Sails: 24 hours in Auckland

Silo Marina

It has 150,000 yachts and launches, and one in three households has a boat. Tristan Rutherford reveals how to sip, spa and shop your day around the City of Sails in New Zealand during your maritime expedition

1. Silo Marina

Arrive in Silo Marina, the superyacht port of choice, accommodating vessels up to 116 metres. Head for breakfast at contemporary restaurant Giraffe by Simon Gault, famous for fresh New Zealand produce, and order the west coast whitebait fritter with ginger and lime crème fraiche. Afterwards stroll to Unity Books. The independent shop is home to Taschen’s back catalogue and prides itself on being able to track down any book in the world.

Picture courtesy of / Superyachts in Auckland

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

To discover the best of New Zealand, start with a visit to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki, sitting in the corner of Albert Park. The 130-year-old institution exhibits European masters and Pacific modernism. Renaissance Florence storms into town, by way of Caravaggio and Botticelli, until 21 January.

Picture courtesy of /  alarico

Waiheke Island

Walk downhill back to the marina. After a quick refresh, take a five minute drive to Mechanics Bay and grab a Heletranz flight to Waiheke Island, New Zealand's natural playground, for wine tasting and lunch at Tantalus Estate or Cable Bay Vineyard (the chopper will land you at both).

Picture courtesy of /  Naska Raspopina

Princes Wharf

After lunch head back to the mainland and get dropped at Princes Wharf so you can walk to Britomart for a spot of retail therapy. Head to Trelise Cooper’s boutique – she is the New Zealand fashionista who designed clothes for Sex and the City and reinvented the once dowdy Air New Zealand uniforms.

East Day Spa

If there’s no time to luxuriate at East Day Spa, the city’s premier wellness centre, hit its pop-up studio on level three of the SkyCity Grand Hotel. Its 30 minute Prêt-à-Porter facial will provide a serum-rich glow in time for dinner.

O'Connell St Bistro

Rejuvenated, head for dinner at O’Connell St Bistro – one of the best New Zealand foodie experiences. Relax in the intimate dining room, which has only 12 tables, and order head chef Mark Southon’s tasting menu. It includes confit pork belly served with pickled apple, dashi, onion and popped crackling, paired with a Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon.

Bellini Bar

After dinner enjoy a stroll back to the boat and, if you don’t want the evening to end, stop for a final drink at the waterfront Bellini. The glass-sided establishment has more than 130 cocktails on offer – but you can’t go wrong with its namesake.

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