Auckland may not be what immediately comes to mind when you think of the world’s most romantic cities. Sure, it’s not Paris or Rome. But would you believe me if I told you that Auckland has some of the quirkiest date ideas in the Southern Hemisphere. First off there’s a stunning island a short ferry ride away where you can go wine tasting; a quirky mini golf experience and possibly the coolest glamping spot in the world – if you’re a sports fan that is.
Whether you’ve been with your loved one for a few months or several years, the date ideas I’ve listed here are sure to blow them away. Every couple is different, that’s why I’ve made sure to list a variety of date options – whether you’re after a more chilled date or an adrenalin-pumping one – this list is sure to have exactly what you’re after.
Read on for 13 of the best date ideas in Auckland that are sure to knock your dates socks off.
Drinks with a view
There’s no better way to impress a suitor than treating them to drinks with a spectacular view. One of the best views in Auckland can be seen from the Sky Cafe at Sky Tower. Located on the 50th floor it’s the highest bar in Auckland and is the prime vantage point to enjoy the sunset. Share a cheese platter or just grab some drinks – either way, being 182 meters above the city is sure to be a date to remember. The Sky Tower is located at the corner of Federal & Victoria Street.
Three floors up and overlooking Viaduct Harbour – Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co. at 204 Quay Street is the perfect rooftop spot on a sunny day. Serving up cocktails, foot-long pizzas and award-winning beers. There’s even a fantastic happy hour that runs Monday – Thursday from 3pm – 7pm, great if you’re on a tight budget.
Some other great bars with a view in Auckland include –
● Rooftop at QT Hotel located at 4 Viaduct Harbour Avenue
● Ostro Bar & Brasserie at 52 Tyler Street
Fancy splurging a little and really impressing your date then why not consider whisking them away on a quirky glamping experience. Canopy Camping Escapes have some really quirky accommodation options dotted throughout New Zealand. And one of the most memorable is just a 45 minute drive from the center of Auckland. ‘The Staydium’ is actually located at Eden Park Stadium, yep, a real-life working sports stadium. This is the ideal stay for any sports lover. You and your loved one will spend the night in a glamping dome with a view over the turf of the pitch. But, fear not – the domes come fully kitted out with a queen-sized bed; a private bathroom with a shower and is stylishly decorated. Should you stay here on game day the buzzing atmosphere can be enjoyed from the comfort of your dome. And when there’s no game you have the entire stadium to yourself. Pretty cool, huh?!
Some other super-cool glamping accommodations near Auckland include Wainamu Luxury Tents at Bethells Beach – just 40 minutes from Auckland and Fossil Bay Lodge on Waiheke Island.
Here’s the scoop on the best ice cream
Giapo at 12 Gore Street has to be the best spot in all of New Zealand for ice cream. I won’t give too much away because the beauty is in walking in and seeing the glorious ice cream creations chef and owner Gianpaolo has come up with. Giapo offers an ice cream experience unlike any other. Yummy flavors presented in ways you wouldn’t ever imagine.
At Giapo imaginative ice cream creations are brought to life. The owner is like a mad scientist but with ice cream! P.S it is always busy – with queues snaking down the street so, get here at off-peak hours if possible.
Beware once you visit Giapo you may start to think that normal ice cream is boring.
Mini golf with a difference
Holey Moley at Viaduct Harbour is not your typical mini golf date night. With 27 unique holes, blaring tunes, a full-service bar and yummy food. It’s an all-round-good-time. The themed holes will leave you wanting more – there’s a shark-themed one, a Simpsons one and even a Game of Thrones themed hole. Our advice is to be sure to snap plenty of photos here with your date!
There’s even a private karaoke booth if you fancy serenading your loved one.
Important to note is that it’s adults only here after 7pm.
Take a hike
Grab your hiking boots and enjoy the spectacular scenery New Zealand is so famous for. Going on a hike for a date is a great way to get to know your partner and take in the incredible scenery. There are dozens of fantastic hikes within easy driving distance of Auckland CBD. We’ve listed some of our favorites below:
● Wattle Bay Loop is a one hour loop track and is part of the Waikowhai Walkway in Hillsborough. The scenery on the hike is a mix of suburban scenery and coastal bush. There’s even a perfect beach-side picnic spot on the track, so make sure to pack a picnic.
● Tapapakanga Regional Park is approximately an hour and a half drive from the CBD. The 2 hour loop track here follows along the western shores of the Firth of Thames feat. rocky beaches, rolling hills and a rich Maori history.
● Easily the most famous viewpoint in all of Auckland can be admired from the top of Mount Eden. It’s a short 10 minute climb to the top. This Mount is actually a volcano and is the highest natural point in Auckland. On your way down, pause to admire the award-winning garden with its colorful plants, waterfalls and native birds.
Read next: Romantic Getaways
Wine tour on Waiheke Island
Sample some of the best wine in New Zealand (sorry Central Otago) on a wine tour on Waiheke Island. Catch the ferry from the Auckland ferry terminal and enjoy the stunning crossing into Waiheke. The ferry can take between 40 minutes – 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on which company you choose.
Once on Waiheke, you can either start a guided wine tour or drive yourself (provided you’ve brought your car over on the ferry). There are 25 gorgeous boutique vineyards on Waiheke, our personal favorites are Tantalus Estate and Man O’War Vineyards. The compact size of the island (just 92 km²) means that you can visit lots of vineyards in a day. On your way to the vineyards make sure you stop and admire the stunning views.
Eat the best food in New Zealand (and no that doesn’t mean expensive)
On a budget – luckily, there are plenty of cheap but excellent places to eat in Auckland. One of our favorite ‘cheap eats’ is No 1 Pancakes on Lorne Street. It’s a tiny kiosk and as the name suggests serves up sweet and savory pancakes. There’s no seating so you’ll have to take your pancakes and date to nearby Albert Park or Victoria Park to enjoy.
For handmade pasta Cotto on K Street is fantastic and everything on the menu averages around $20 for a main dish. Plus, its chic and stylish interior is sure to impress your date too!
Does 20 dumplings for $13 sound like a good deal to you? It’s a steal for Auckland and you can nab them at New Flavour Restaurant on Balmoral and Parnell Streets. Luckily, they taste really good too. This spot is very popular! They also serve up noodle and rice dishes.
See some art
Auckland has several art galleries – the largest being Auckland Art Gallery on the corner of Kitchener & Wellesley Streets which holds a whopping 150,000 works of art over four floors. From Maori art to modern art and even art workshops -it’s a decidedly cultured date idea. There’s a great Cafe on-site too.
Or you could go on a Walking Art Tour through Auckland City. Discover cool street art as well as the city’s best art galleries. You will even be given a peek inside an artist’s working studio. This is the perfect date idea for art-lovers. Auckland Walking Art Tours are held every Wednesday at 1pm and Friday at 10am, with prices from $80 per person.
For the adventurous – there’s a kayak tour to a volcano
A sunset tour like no other – a 6 hour kayaking trip to Auckland’s youngest volcano – Rangitoto. This unique date experience is operated by Fergs Kayaks in Okahu Bay. It’s about an hour of paddling to get to the volcano, once you get here you will enjoy a guided hike to the summit of the volcano. From the top, you will be treated to 360-degree views of Auckland city and the Hauraki Gulf.
The coolest part of this trip, we think, is that you get to paddle back into Auckland in the dark – guided only by the stars (and your experienced guide of course).
Learn some cooking skills
Impress your date with your cooking skills – added bonus with this date idea you can cook an amazing dinner at home on your next date with the skills you’ve learned!
One of the most popular cooking classes in Auckland is the Asian-inspired Sachie’s Kitchen. Located on St Georges Bay Road in Parnell. Each class is approximately 2.5-3hrs which gives you the opportunity to cook 3 unique recipes. There are four classes to choose from: Taste of Japan; Taste of India; Taste of Vietnam and Taste of Malaysia. At the end of your class – sit back, relax and enjoy your cooking. You can purchase Asian beer, wine, and soft drinks to enjoy with your meal.
With over 50,000 graduates in its 7 years, this is certainly one of the most popular cooking classes in all of New Zealand.
We also highly recommend Main Course – if you want to re-create Michelin star-worthy dishes. You can do a call here in just about every cuisine imaginable from French to Mexican to Italian. They also do chocolate making classes as well as cheesemaking classes. Main Course is located at 20 Beaumont Street in Freemans Bay.
Play some board games
But not at home, silly – at a board game Cafe!
At Cakes and Ladders on 173 Symonds Street, you pay by the hour and you can choose from hundreds of board games. You can get some light food here, cakes, coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages. It’s open until 10pm but is closed on Monday & Tuesday.
You will need to venture away from the bright city lights for this date night experience. Take a picnic blanket, some snacks and drinks and gaze at the blanket of stars. You can even download the free app SkyView to your phone and it will immediately identify stars for you.
We’ve found the best places to go stargazing near Auckland, first up is Awhitu just over an hour’s drive from Auckland. Watch the stars from a white-sand beach here. Worth noting is the entrance gates close at 9pm during the Summer.
Another great stargazing spot near Auckland is Te Haruhi Bay campground in Shakespear Regional Park. This is a little closer to the city and is under a 50 minute drive away. The best spot is among the sand dunes near the campground.
Go to a unique movie theater
Why not consider an outdoor movie theater?! Running from February to April every year the completely free Movies in Parks is a great date idea in Auckland. Imagine this – a balmy summer evening, your favorite movie and a loved one. The perfect simple date idea. Held at some of Auckland’s nicest parks, the movies typically start just after sunset. There are also food trucks and pre-movie entertainment. Worth noting is Movies in Parks is completely alcohol-free.
Some other quirky indoor movie theaters in Auckland include:
● Hidden in a basement on 44 Lorne Street, Academy Cinemas has a cosy 16-seat theater with a bar serving up cocktails, beers & more.
● Monetery Cinemas Howick on Fencible Drive is a historic theater that dates back to the 1930s. It has been recently renovated into a boutique cinema. Ticket prices here are excellent value-for-money.
And there you have it – 13 of the quirkiest and most unique date ideas in Auckland. I don’t know about you but this blog post has me itching to experience Auckland on a date with my partner.