Auckland's treasure island

Waiheke Island is one of Auckland's must-see destinations. Located in the Hauraki Gulf, the island offers visitors stunning beaches, coastal walking trails and celebrated vineyards. It is easy to escape the city life by taking one of the daily 40-minute ferry trips from Auckland CBD or Devonport. The ferry cruise is operated by Fullers, who has a vast timetable ranging from early morning to late night which makes it perfect for only spending a day out, or even stay for a couple of days longer. The schedule can be viewed online, and tickets can be purchased on www.fullers.co.nz or at the Auckland harbour.

Re-discover your city with a Photography Walk-Shop

Recently, and for just two hours, I became a tourist in my own town, [the place in which I was born and have lived for over 50 years]. I ended up in places I’d never been, and saw Auckland in a different light. Actually, there was little natural light, because this adventure took place at night. But the sun’s absence was well compensated for by the abundance of man-made luminescence.

Villa Maria

A Kiwi Story of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

You’ve probably heard of Villa Maria before. As a New Zealander, it’s pretty hard not to recognize the brand name and you’ll probably have sampled their world renowned sauvignon blanc at some stage. What you may not be aware of is the amazing story behind Villa Maria. It’s a journey of a kiwi entrepreneur with a passion for wine and with the drive to create an iconic New Zealand success story and leave a legacy that every New Zealander can be proud of.

Pasta & Cuore restaurant

Made with love and care: This is how pasta should be

In New Zealand, most of us think of pasta as one of the quickest and simplest meals. From plastic packet to boiling water - you've got yourself your lazy weekday dinner. But handmade, fresh Italian pasta is something else entirely - making it is an intricate, tricky process that takes hours to complete; it is also tender, light, and totally satisfying. For a meal that is often devoured in just a few minutes, there's only one reason that you would spend the hours required to make it - because you have love and passion for the art of pasta. Restaurant and fresh pasta maker Pasta e Cuore (pasta and heart, in English), has its foundation firmly grounded in the love of fresh food and pasta.

The Chocolate Boutique, Parnell

Chocolates, desserts, and the most top-secret hot chocolate in Auckland

When Barbara opened a pop-up version of The Chocolate Boutique thirty years ago, it was a tiny space selling only hot drinks and chocolates. It is now a spacious cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, a menu with every sweet treat you might hope to eat, and the perfect place to start the afternoon or end the evening. It has become the local establishment in Parnell for desserts, waffles, a dozen kinds of hot chocolate, and, of course, handmade boutique chocolates.

The Midnight Baker

The new toast-based cafe that's changing the way we think about bread

After going gluten-free, The Midnight Baker owner Yeshe sought a way to continue her love of toast. She realised that the supermarket brands are hugely processed (as well as not hugely tasty), so she started to bake her own bread. After six months of experimenting with recipes, baking way past midnight, she created a bread that she loves, named the Freedom Loaf. It's free of wheat, dairy, eggs, refined sugar, yeast, nuts - and her buckwheat loaf is completely celiac-safe. This is a filling and delicious new take on bread, and the foundation for her month-old cafe, The Midnight Baker. 

Jump: What to do on a rainy day

Indoor trampolining parks in Auckland and Hamilton

If you're in Auckland, you're probably sick of looking at grey, cloudy skies. Maybe you're thinking, "I guess it's another movie marathon weekend... Again." To change things up and get active, we decided to give Jump indoor trampolining a go. And yes, it's just as fun as it sounds; how often does anyone get to do something where the whole point is to have fun? 

Giapo, Ice Cream as You've Never Seen It Before

The Giapo mission: to make New Zealand famous for ice cream 

One handbag, a notepad and my right shoe were happily sacrificed at Giapo last week. They all smell like sticky, rich chocolate gelato now; that's what happens when you get so caught up in the beauty of an object that you forget that it melts, and is actually produced to be eaten. A metaphor for life, perhaps? Certainly a recipe for the most gorgeous and extravagant ice creams in the country. 

Kitekite Falls in the Waitakere Ranges

Just follow the sound of running water...

Surrounded by the Waitakere Ranges' lush native bush, the air has a damp, fresh feel to it. Here in the forest, I feel like I've left the busyness of the city completely behind; the only noise is the rustle of leaves, native bird song and my footfalls crunching the ground. 

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