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- Mollies on Tweed – small boutique hotel in Aukland
- Hotel DeBrett – downtown Auckland boutique hotel
- Hilton Auckland – There are great views of Aukland and comfortable rooms. It looks like a Hilton.
- Sofitel Viaduct Harbor – In central Aukland on the harbor. Beautiful views, very contemporary
- Puka Park on the Coromandel Peninsula. Great restaurant (order the NZ mussels)
- Brooklands Country Estate is way out in the woods. It’s not easy to find but it’s really relaxing
- Huka Lodge has a great location near Rotoruta. It’s less than a 2 hour drive o Aukland or Wellington
- Mangapapa Lodge is in the vineyards and orchards of Hawkes Bay. An excellent restaurant and of first plate of NZ lamb. Near Napier.
- Wharekauhau Country Estate – Beautiful country estate close to Wellington
- War Memorial museum – Aukland
- Sky Jump from the Sky Tower (I wouldn’t do it but I’d watch) – Aukland
- Sky Tower Observation Deck
- Aukland Art Gallery – Aukland
- Huka Falls
- Napier – the Art Deco Town
- Whakarewarewa – the thermal mud and geysers
- Otorohanga Kiwi House
- Coromandel Peninsula
- Bay of Islands
- Wellington – the furthest south of the North Island
- 100% New Zealand online magazine
FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
Very similar to Australian food with lots of European and Asian influences. Bar-B-Que is big here or the Maori version of grilling in a open pit called an hangi. The specialties include: New Zealand lamb, New Zealand green mussels, Bluff oysters, Paua (similar to abalone), mussels, pipis and tuatua (more types of small shellfish), meat pies, fish and chips, roast meats and Colonial Goose, which is actually leg of lamb.
Desserts include: Pavlova, a fruit and cream filled merrangue that’s kind of the national dessert although we’ve also had it in Australia so it’s hard to tell where it really came from. The also serve Lamingtons (sponge cake with chocolate and coconut), ANZAC biscuits and Hokey-Pokey ice cream (vanilla with toffee pieces).
The wines tend to be mostly white (sauvignon blanc and chardonnay) but there are some very good Pinot Noir and some excellent rich cabs from around Hawkes Bay. Our favorites were the Te Mata Coloraine (cabernet/merlot blend) from Hawkes Bay and the Stoney Ridge Larose (Bordeaux style) from Waiheke Island, about a 35 minute boatride from Aukland.