In the heart of the city there are international restaurants, experiences, stores and destinations that match, if not beat their overseas counterparts. You won’t need your passport for this journey - take a look at where to go to experience international vibes in your own city below.
Experience the laneways of Melbourne with Snickel and Fort Lane
Melbourne is popular for its bustling, creative laneways full of small boutiques, unique restaurants and hole in the wall coffee spots. Here in Auckland you too can experience this thanks to Snickel Lane, a vibrant inner city laneway that's great for socialising, eating and drinking. There's great wall art that is regularly updated to enjoy too, as you grab a takeaway coffee or dine in at places like Altezano Brothers and Mad Samurai. Furthermore, enter Snickel Lane onto another laneway, Fort Lane, which is home to more street art and neon lighting installations, as well as award-winning restaurant Cassia.
Transport to Paris with a visit to Upper Vulcan Lane
When you think about romance, Paris is the obvious choice but you can find romantic streetscapes right here in the city centre. Stroll along and take a look at the European architecture of the Upper Vulcan Lane, and don’t forget to stop at Le Chef for a full French experience. The menu is ever-changing and uses fresh produce, giving you traditional dishes that will quickly become your favourite! If you are unsure of what to get, try their Les Escargots – snails and garlic, or the French cheese selection.
Check out a bar with a view that rivals New York's rooftop scene
New York is famous for its rooftop bars and dining, and Auckland gives it a run for its money with bars boasting views out to the Waitemata Harbour, Sky Tower and beyond. Our top picks are La Zeppa with their Mediterranean style tapas, and creative cocktails; Dr Rudi’s overlooking our stunning Viaduct Harbour, Rooftop at QT which exudes glamour and exclusivity (although anyone can enter!) and The Glass Goose, with garden oasis vibes perched directly below the Sky Tower - a must view at night.
Match London department store vibes with a trip to Smith & Caughey's
No need for Harrods! New Zealand’s best-loved department store with foundations rooted deep in the history of Auckland, Smith & Caughey’s has been serving the best of local, luxury and high end international fashion labels for men, women and children side by side with the best of beauty, home and more since 1880. You're not just coming for the products when you visit - you're coming for the experience.
Escape to the tropics with more rooftop cocktails at Talulah
Summer holiday vibes run year-round at Talulah, a colourful, funky bar in the heart of Britomart. Bright wall art and an exotic fit-out and menu will instantly take you to paradise! There are so many drinks to choose from here, like our favourite Kona cocktail with Jamaican Rum, passionfruit, lemon, honey & pineapple, or if you are after a bigger cocktail to share, don’t worry – they have Jaguar Bowl, Coronado Luau Special or the Neo-Tokyo Punch just for you.
Lap up the vibes of Latin America
Transport to Latin America by doing authentic Mezcal tastings in Snickel Lane at La Fuente. Their tasting flights are served to you with traditional Mexican spiced salts and tapas to match. If you're keen to stick to this theme, another must-try is the Ceviche Bar by Besos Latinos in Wynyard Quarter, who specialise in Latin American seafood dishes and are the first Ceviche Bar in Auckland. Try their Signature Patron Margaritas that pair perfectly with their ceviche dishes.
Experience authentic Asian eats
Head to Asia in just one bite thanks to the explosion of authentic flavours from restaurants in the city centre. Big fan of Chinese cuisine? Check out Huami in Federal Street's dining precinct for your next special occasion, where they serve traditional dishes with a modern twist, and are also the first restaurant in New Zealand to have a commercial wood-fired duck oven. If you're more into street food flavours, try Ghost Street in Britomart, inspired by hole-in-the-wall eateries from Beijing's famous street food scene.
If Vietnamese is on your mind then try its sister restaurant Cafe Hanoi who serve up fresh, lively flavours. And if you're not sure what you quite feel like, we recommend heading to Lorne Street which has a great concentration of Asian restaurants, like popular Korean eatery The Kimchi Project which also has a very unsuspecting stunning outdoor dining area you'll love too.
Go to Brazil with a meal at New Zealand's first Brazilian steakhouse
Dine differently with a Churrasco experience (pronounced as ‘shoe-RHAS’-ko’) at the country's first Brazilian steakhouse, Wildfire Churrascaria. You will be served perfectly seasoned prime cuts, as well as famous Wildfire sausages, fresh seafood and different side dishes! Choose between a lunch special, two-course meal, three-course meal or the Churrasco Premium experience – which includes tapas, tasters, Churrasco, side dishes and dessert. This is an experience you will keep coming back for.