Auckland’s wide open geography, relaxed attitudes and “edge-of-the-world” vibe can make for an interesting environment in which to do business, but once you’re off the clock, New Zealand’s largest city has plenty of appeal for the business traveller.
The attributes that make Auckland an attractive destination for leisure travellers – wide open geography, relaxed attitudes and an “edge-of-the-world” vibe – can pose challenges for those visiting the city on business. But once you’ve adjusted to these conditions, New Zealand’s largest city can be a hugely rewarding place to do business, and also take some well-earned time off. Add the following key destinations to your GPS and you won’t look back!
Best place for a business breakfast
There’s an energy about this smart cafe in the Ponsonby Central foodie strip that makes it the ideal breakfast spot for those in need of more than caffeine to kick-start the day. The eclectic crowd of professionals who convene here are drawn primarily by the rock-solid coffee (courtesy of local roaster Three Beans) and a breakfast menu that combines staple fuel-me-up dishes with more inventive fare. Feeling adventurous? Try the lauded pan-fried livers with confit leek and roasted apple, or sample the French toast, drizzled with blue cheese sauce and maple syrup.
136 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby; +64 9 555 1229 toru-cafe
Best place for a lunchtime meeting
With views of the harbour, well-spaced tables in the expansive dining room and some of Auckland’s most disciplined wait-staff on hand, it almost wouldn’t matter if the food at Ostro was any good. But NZ Masterchef’s Josh Emett’s selection of classic mains and fresh seafood is reliably excellent, so no matter how your lunch meeting unfolds, you’re guaranteed to feel good about something at the end of the meal. Try the roast duck pappardelle (served with pickled mushroom and duck crackling) for a light lunch, or order the legendary beef burger (with pickled radish, smoked cheese and plenty more trimmings) if you’re feeling confident.
Seafarers Building, 52 Tyler Street, Britomart; seafarers.co.nz
No cafe survives in Auckland unless it makes world-class coffee, so your chances of drinking a dud cup are slim to none. What sets Chuffed apart from its inner-city rivals is the serenity: it’s hidden behind a nondescript office building and feels truly tucked away. The main courtyard area has a retractable roof, which allows the space to adapt to the seasons, and there’s plenty of comfortable seating. It hasn’t been open long, but Chuffed has already become a favourite of savvy city workers, who bring clients here for less formal meetings. With pour-over, cold-drip and batch-brew coffee to augment the espresso, plus feel-good meals such as hand-made pasta and daily salad, it’s a place that encourages lingering.
43 High Street, city; chuffedcoffee.com
Best co-working space
This long-running space in central Auckland is partially modelled on private members’ clubs: in addition to hot-desking areas, there’s a lounge with plenty of couches and armchairs and even a full-time barman/barista. The atmosphere is chummy but focused, with plenty of opportunities for interaction as well as work-only zones. The co-working market in Auckland has traditionally ignored transiting professionals, focusing instead on providing permanent bases for local start-ups, but at Generator there is a good range of membership tiers, from one-off/casual to full-time, making it ideal for visitors from overseas.
22-28 Customs Street East, city; generatornz.com
A favourite of the CBD’s corporate workers, Habit Vero is also the city’s best option for visitors from out of town who don’t want to compromise on quality. Relatively high fees keep the gym from becoming too crowded – a boon for the time-poor – and the facilities are of the highest standard. There is a suite of one-on-one services, from personal training and physiotherapy to massage, plus unconventional group classes including barre, TRX (an exercise circuit that utilises giant rubber bands) and TriggerPoint (intense, self-administered Swedish massage).
48 Shortland Street, city; habit.co.nz
The clientele at this inner-city salon is a mix of New Zealand socialites and Auckland power-brokers. Luckily, the staff know how to cater to both crowds. The salon space is separated into discreet areas by timber screens and the atmosphere remains calm even during busy periods. Prices vary depending on the seniority of your hairdresser, but Ryder only employs those with talent. There’s coffee, tea, and wine, plus complimentary iPads and a valet-parking service.
56 Customs Street East, Britomart; rydersalon.com