This vibrant, triathlon-loving city has spectacular scenery, adventurous opportunities and outstanding food and wine.
Go: In January or February, when the temperature averages 74 degrees F.
Fly: Air New Zealand, for its friendly staff, plethora of free TV and movie options and complimentary wine for the long flight. Nonstop flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Stay: The five-star Sky City Grand Hotel offers modern, spacious rooms in a convenient downtown location, with two award-winning restaurants and a full-service spa (Skycityauckland.co.nz/hotels).
Dine: Eat at The Foodstore, with organic, kiwi-centric food served from an interactive kitchen (Thefoodstore.tv), or pop in to the Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar for small plates cooked over charcoal or hardwood, local wines on tap and freshly shucked oysters (Eatatdepot.co.nz). Grab a cocktail at the funky outdoor garden bar The Britomart Country Club (Britomartcountryclub.co.nz).
Repel Down, Dive in
A guide will pick you up for the 45-minute trip to the popular surf town of Piha. You’ll abseil (aka rappel) down waterfalls, jump off high rocks and crawl into caves as you learn about the native forest. Awoladventures.co.nz Half-day, $145; Full day, $175; Night tour, $165
Wine Lover’s Paradise
Take a 35-minute ferry ride to the stunning and vineyard-filled Waiheke Island. Hop aboard a Waiheke Island Wine Tour with a knowledgeable local guide who will show you around three diverse wineries. End with a wine tasting plus food pairing at Peacock Sky Vineyard and save room for lunch (order the massive guacamole-topped “Bulldog” burger). Waihekeislandwinetours.co.nz, $99; Round-trip ferry ticket, $35
Eat Your Way Through
La Cigale Farmers Market
Head to the French-style La Cigale market on weekend mornings for local produce, scrumptious pastries, fresh artisanal bread, coffee, cheese, jams and more. Laciagale.co.nz
Such Great Heights
Test your fear of heights with a walk around the 192-meter-high Sky Tower (or do the SkyJump if you’re really feeling brave). You will be harnessed in from above as you cautiously stroll around the tower and face different “challenges”—thankfully the 360-degree views are worth it. Skywalk.co.nz, $145
The second-ever Ironman 70.3 Auckland will take place Jan. 19, 2014. After a swim in the Viaduct Harbour, bike along the coast and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge (the first time a triathlon has done so) and run two laps through the city and along the waterfront. Ironmanauckland.com
Try a Stroke and Stride event, held on weekday evenings November through March at Mission Bay. Distances range from 500m–1000m swim followed by a 3K–5K run. Swimrun.org/race-information
Catch your favorite short-course athletes at the first race in the ITU World Triathlon Series April 6–7. Auckland.triathlon.org
Prices shown are in New Zealand dollars. As of press time, the New Zealand dollar is equivalent to about $0.83 U.S.
More “Tour Guides” from Triathlete.com.