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Auckland Business Travel Guide





Located on the North Island, Auckland is New Zealand's largest and most commercial city, supporting 1.2 million residents. Nicknamed "City of Sails," it is home to more sailboats per capita than any other city in the world; it is also home to the world's largest Polynesian population. Significant industries include manufacturing, business services, transportation and agriculture. But tourism has also been a major draw thanks to a revamp of the city's port in 2000 for the America's Cup and the country's worldwide exposure on the silver screen in films such as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.


Facts to Know Before You Go

Currency: New Zealand Dollar

You can exchange money at an airport within the U.S. or in New Zealand once you arrive. Cash machines and currency exchange centers are plentiful and easy to locate, both at the airport and in town.

Transportation:

Taxi:
Taxis can be hired at the airport, and a trip to downtown Auckland will cost about $50 NZ, but service is metered and cost varies depending on traffic. While in the city, it's best to call ahead to book a local taxi service or private car — hailing a cab from the street isn't common.
Shuttle:
For share-ride service to most major hotels, try Airbus Shuttle. Vans run between downtown Auckland and the airport every twenty minutes. Expect to pay about $15 NZ one way.

Bus:
Buses are available in the city center from the main bus terminal on Commerce Street. A service called The Link makes a loop around downtown Auckland; it runs every ten minutes during the week and every fifteen minutes on weekends. $1 NZ for one trip.

Rental Cars:
You can rent cars from the airport upon arrival, starting at about $50 NZ per day.

Information:

The New Zealand Herald is a daily newspaper that includes coverage of local and international business affairs.

The National Business Review hits the stands every Friday, providing business news from around world, with an emphasis on New Zealand.


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Where to Stay

Heritage Auckland
35 Hobson St.
64-9-379-8553

The Art Deco grandeur of Farmers, a once famous department store, is preserved in this 467-room hotel overlooking the waterfront and business district. Extensive facilities inside this 1920s gem include two restaurants (of note is Hector's with its unique sail "ceiling"), two gyms, a heated rooftop swimming pool, indoor heated lap pool, a tennis court and plenty of business extras — thirteen flexible conference and banquet rooms offer breakout areas and space for up to 400. Bedrooms are nicely furnished in contemporary style, and those in the Tower have many nice residential amenities, such as microwaves, washing machines and dryers. Tower Suites add the convenience of kitchenettes, with cooking facilities, utensils and and dishwashers.

Hilton Auckland
Princes Wharf

147 Quay St.
64-9-978-2000


Jutting out over the harbor like a giant cruise ship, this hotel allows you to sleep, dine and drink not just overlooking the water, but literally over the water. Large glass windows and a minimalist white décor enhance the expansive liquid views. The 166-room property underwent a major refurbishment to accommodate the influx of business travelers to the revamped waterfront area. Guestrooms come with work desks with data points and high-speed Internet connections, and there's also a business center, a dozen multi-purpose conference and event spaces and facilities such as a pool and fitness center for unwinding after your meetings. Another great way to relax — and feel like you're on a luxury cruise liner — is with a cocktail in the cool, stark Bellini Bar.

The Langham, Auckland
83 Symonds St.
64-9-379-5132

As a Sheraton, this hotel was popular with business travelers, and a tradition of catering to corporate types continues under the Langham name. The décor is more festive than usually found in executive-friendly lodgings, but all the office essentials are still available, such as high-speed broadband Internet access and two phones with voicemail. Staying in a Langham Club Room gets you exclusive check-in, access to the Club Lounge, a dedicated business center, butler service, and you can even get three garments pressed on arrival. Meeting, board, hospitality and ballrooms are available. A nice selection of dining choices includes Partingtons, serving fresh regional cuisine, and SBF Brasserie. The Winery is a pleasant venue for drinks and weekend entertainment.

Rendezvous Hotel Auckland
Corner Mayoral Drive & Vincent Street
64-9-366-3000

When size matters, head for this business district hotel, which contains one of the largest capacity ballrooms in the city (accommodating up to 800). The hotel's complement of meeting rooms can handle corporate events and private functions, and there are specialists to help with trade shows, themed events and even off-site activities. Corporate services are enhanced by the availability of catering chefs, multi-media experts and a full business center open 24 hours. Among the tasteful guest rooms — decorated with native timbers and floor-to-ceiling windows — are Plaza Club Rooms
on the top three floors, with city and harbor views and access to the Plaza Club Lounge, serving complimentary breakfast and pre-dinner drinks. Executive Suites are designed especially for business travelers and also offer access to the lounge. Leisure facilities include a full gym, indoor lap pool, Japanese roof garden and two restaurants: Pacific and Katsura.



Where to Dine

Cibo
91 St. Georges Bay Rd.

Parnell
64-9-303-9660

14/20
$$$$$

Located in an old chocolate factory in Parnell Historical Village — home to advertising, architecture and design professionals — this modern restaurant showcases chef Kate Fay's creative dishes. It attracts an eclectic clientele, from business types to wedding parties. A sampling of the daring, contemporary dishes include Hapuka poached in garam masala and coconut milk with fresh snow peas and semolina noodles, and Sansho-peppered lamb loin with lamb brain chickpea fritters, miso-braised eggplant and parsley oil. The first-rate wine list includes many New Zealand labels.


Euro
Shed 22, Princes Wharf
64-9-309-9866
16/20
$$$$$

Looking to impress and finesse? Try this hip and modern bistro in the hotter than hot Shed area. Past the curvy wood bar with its Philippe Starck bar stools, we found one of the most eclectic and adventurous menus in town. The menu is ever-changing, but previous main courses have included seared medallions of venison, parmesan-crusted pork or prosciutto-wrapped veal rump. The entrées have featured smoked beef tartar with duck fat and truffle-poached egg, and crisp fried snails and red wine-braised chicken with a garlic-herb cappuccino. As if that weren't enough, there is a delicious gourmet pizza selection. Although you shouldn't overlook the fish and lamb from the char-griller, the stunner is the wood oven-baked double entrecôte of beef with crayfish hollandaise, truffle-roasted potatoes and caviar crème fraîche.


O'Connell St. Bistro
3 O'Connell St.
64-9-377-1884

14/20
$$$$$

This is an intimate, cozy café for wine lovers, more reminiscent of the romantic Left Bank of Paris than the invigorating streets of Auckland. Sweetbreads, wild hare, confit of duck leg, and Valrhona chocolate crème brulée are just a few of the house favorites — all served by romantic candlelight. The excellent wine list is highly rated, and the bar, with its after dinner cognacs and cigars, is a favorite with corporate types.


Otto's
40 Kitchener St.
Metropolis Building
64-9-300-9595
17/20
$$$$$

Located in the Old Magistrates Court House Building, on the second floor of the Ascott Metropolis, Otto's sleek, contemporary décor doesn't distract from the grandness of the original architecture, featuring high ceilings and a large stone fireplace. Executive chef Philip Reynolds hails from Harrods in London and offers an eclectic modern European menu. Entree ingredients range from duck liver to ostrich, and main dish highlights include Venison Fillet, Char-grilled Fillet of Beef and Roast Blue Nose Groper. The exclusive Reidel Room is perfect for small, private business gatherings.



Soul Bar & Bistro
Viaduct Harbor
64-9-356-7249
13/20
$$$$$

Famous Kiwi Judith Tabron shines at this waterside hot spot on the viaduct. But the real star here is the cuisine of chef Gareth Stewart: seafood with a Moroccan flair, offered hot and cold under the "Soul Food" menu. Try the flounder cooked four ways or the chowder made with local Hapuku, mussels and saffron; then order a side of creamed feta spinach with fried almonds. With an open, airy feel and large outdoor patio, Soul is very popular for business lunches. Service can be spotty, so don't come if you're in a rush.


Off the Clock

Parnell Village

Step back in time in this charming colonial village only a few miles from Auckland's city center. Cobblestone streets, leafy walkways and beautifully restored period buildings frame enchanting, flower-bedecked and lamp-lit courtyards. Singular specialty shops house some of Auckland's finest retailers. The products (and people) are as colorful as the ornate rooftops and hand-painted signs — fine jewelry, designer clothing, hand-made arts and crafts, sheepskin products and antiques. Dozens of top galleries showcase works by local artists and sculptors. This tiny village also boasts over fifty top eateries, offering excellent cuisine and lively jazz bars.


Sailing
Auckland Harbor

It is called the "City of Sails." And it has hosted the America's Cup. No matter what your interest is in sailing — voyeur or participant — you'll find something to suit you in Auckland: you can watch a regatta, take a sailing lesson, charter your own craft or leave the technical stuff to the experts and embark on a sunset dinner cruise. When it comes to recreation, hitting the water is a favorite with both locals and visitors alike. Tourism Auckland is a great place to get started.

Sky Tower
Corner Victoria & Federal Streets
64-9-363-6000

This space age monument — and gamblers' heaven — towers over the city. It is taller than the Eiffel Tower and offers more in the way of entertainment. Here you can dine in a rotating café and drink and gamble the night away with panoramic views of Auckland and the harbor. The casino consists mostly of slot machines, but there is a second level for high rollers, complete with a dress code and more traditional roulette games. If you've had a particularly hard day at work, you can release all that tension in a Sky Jump off the observation platform in a controlled plummet to the street below.


Waiheke Island


No trip to Auckland would be complete without taking the quick, thirty minute ferry ride north to Waikheke Island, whose subtropical climate is ideal for growing grapes. You will find awe-inspiring views, luxury lodges, great restaurants and over thirty wineries … not bad for what was known as "hippie island" in the ‘70s. We found the lamb, Cabernet, service and views from Mudbrick Restaurant & Vineyard to be the most stunning. You can also take a tour with long-term resident Jenny McDonald at Ananda Tours to learn the secrets of the island, including where to find the clothing optional beach!

Wildfire
Princes Wharf, Quay St.
64-9-353-7595

Ready to cut loose after a long day at the conference table? Unwind by immersing yourself in the flamboyant and energetic rhythms of South America. You can dance the night away to live Latin bands right on the waterfront beneath the moonlight. Wildfire is a large but modest, traditional Brazilian churrascaria by day, but after 11 p.m. the tables are pushed back and a mixed crowd parties until the wee hours. Private parties of up to 260 can be accommodated indoors, with another 80 on the outdoor promenade area, making this an original site for a corporate event.

Going to New Zealand? Check our Guide.

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(Updated: 06/13/13 JDM)

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