True to its reputation as the country’s most cosmopolitan city, Auckland is undoubtedly the best night out in New Zealand. Particularly wild on weekends, a chic, bohemian air hangs around the action in many of the city’s bars and clubs.
The Auckland bar scene is split across four distinct areas of the city, with the center of town acting as a middle ground between the (smarter, older and richer) Parnell and (younger, hipper) Ponsonby crowds.
Naturally, it’s Ponsonby, with its younger, studenty crowd, that’s most likely to appeal to the backpacker in Auckland. Located just west of the city center, it’s home to a host of more alternative cafés and smaller, packed-out side-street bars and restaurants.
Although more expensive, visitors should still visit the Viaduct and Princes Wharf areas of the city (particularly in the summer). Both have a number of vibrant bars and cafés where a drink comes with great views of the bustling waterfront.
Karangahape Road – K Road for short – is another top spot for Auckland nightlife. Toning down its seedy character just a little (although there are still a few strip clubs to the west), it’s now home to many great cafés, bars and several clubs.
Here, (and throughout this stylishly laidback city) dress codes tend to err towards the lax side, although some of the smarter clubs may refuse entry to those wearing trainers or jeans.
As a general rule, many bars in Auckland shut around midnight from Sunday through to Tuesday, with nightclubs tending to close at around 1am. However, on weekends most bars stay open until 2 or 3am and nightclubs keep their doors open until at least 4am.
Auckland is famous for its live music scene and the variety on offer is likely to appeal to most music-lovers. Bars on the Posonby Road often have rock, indie and blues gigs while a couple of places in the Newmarket area put on live Irish music.
With its lively bars and more relaxed café and restaurant scene, few leave the vibrant city of Auckland disappointed. Quiet sophistication sits alongside hedonism in a compelling mixture that’s sure to keep even the most energetic night owls entertained.