Only a few months ago we took our first trip to New Zealand. Because we only had a short 4 days (and limited access to direct flights from Brisbane), we decided to base ourselves in Auckland and explore the North Island from there. Unfortunately, a cyclone was due to hit the coast in the middle of our stay, so we were confined to the inner city and surrounds a little more than we had planned. Whilst this might seem a little disappointing, it meant we had a whole lot more time to explore all of Auckland’s healthy restaurants and organic cafes (tough gig, I know!). Here are my top recommendations:
Little Bird Unbakery – Ponsonby
AKA Auckland’s very own raw food heaven. This gorgeous warehouse converted organic cafe is a mecca for whole-foodies and the like. All dishes are 100% organic and full of nourishing goodness. They serve both breakfast, lunch, coffee, tea, smoothies and some delicious looking raw food desserts (so many choices!). Perfect place to shelter from the cold. Loved this place.
Kokako Organic Coffee Roasters – Grey Lynne
If you’re looking for a healthy restaurant or cafe for breakfast or lunch, this is a winner. We ate breakfast here almost every morning of our stay. We opted for the eggs or the roasted vegetable fritatta, but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you could try the buckwheat pancakes, brown rice porridge or bubble ‘n’ squeak hash. Whilst we didn’t stay for lunch they had a variety of delicious take-away whole-food wraps and salads available.
Wilder and Hunt – Ponsonby and St Heliers
The team at Wilder and Hunt celebrate ‘real food’. This mostly organic cafe is paleo focused and offers breakfast, lunch, dessert and healthy take-home options. There isn’t a lot of space for dining in at St Heliers (although I heard the Ponsonby store has rectified this), so we just grabbed some delicious sugar-free and grain-free food for the road. If it is a nice day, you can take your paleo finds down to the water at St Heliers and enjoy the view.
Ortolana – Britomart Complex
This gorgeous, rustic, bistro serves up fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a real ‘garden to fork’ focus with some of the ingredients being picked fresh from the restaurant’s very own farm – love it! A little more up-market than the above cafe’s, but definitely worth a visit.
SIP Kitchen – Mairangi Bay
We never got to SIP Kitchen but we heard amazing things about their organic menu (their salads in particular). They do lots of smoothies, fresh juices and raw desserts also.
Orphans Kitchen – Ponsonby
“The home of unadulterated food and naughty wine”. This place is really cute. We stopped by for some oven baked sweet potato fries and one of those “naughty wines” they speak of. The dinner menu was a little short however, don’t let this deter you, the options that were there looked delicious and really quite inventive! They are a sustainable restaurant, aiming to use all cuts of meat and vegetables to enhance delicious flavour. For a sneak peak of the food they have on offer, jump on over to their facebook page.
I also heard Cosset in Mont Albert is a vegetarian cafe worth trying.
If you’re looking for a bit of night-life, anywhere along Ponsonby Road, you will find some great bars. Also the Britomart precinct houses some really trendy bars and restaurants. One of our favourites was the Tyler Street Garage – an industrial chic bar overlooking the wharf, with a great atmosphere. Once you leave Tyler Street Garage, take a right and follow your senses, it’s a great place to get lost.
If you’re looking for places to stay in Auckland, we stayed at the Rendezvous Grand Hotel Auckland. What sold us was the location, perfectly central to everything and walking distance to Ponsonby and the night-spots on the wharf.
If you do stay in Auckland and are looking for a day trip, we drove the loop around the loop around the Coromandel Peninsula for the day and did some stunning ‘mini’ hikes along the way. I highly recommend the hike to Cathedral cove – allow yourself 90 minutes max (I think we did it in less than 60minutes with time for some incredible photos).
We also jumped on an afternoon wine tour, pick-up and drop off from the inner city. Great fun!