Cuisine and couture, wilderness and wineries: Auckland, New Zealand is where you can spoil yourself silly, all while being surrounded by nature's finest—tropical jungle, stunning beaches, and endless ocean views. The city is booming as Kiwis come for work and play, which means visitors get to benefit from the newest hotspots—gourmet restaurants, flagship fashion houses, and funky boutique hotels. Pack your bags, but only half full: There’s a lot in Auckland you’ll want to bring home with you.
Where to shop
One of the coutry's leading fashion houses, Zambesi is worth visiting for its edgy pieces. The flagship store also carries pieces from Maison Martin Margiela and Raf Simons.
Find them at: 56 Tyler Street
Footwear designer, Kathryn Wilson, specializes in chic peep-toes and platforms, desert boots, and ballet slippers in bold colors and patterns.
Find them at: 10 Te Ara Tahuhu Walking Lane
World calls itself "a factory of ideas and experiments," where playful clothing adorns the racks for both guys and girls. Don't forget to check out its beauty counter—on-hand are hard-to-find fragrances, luxe candles, and skin care.
Find them at: 60 Tyler Street
Where to eat
With a bistro menu that focuses on Italian cuisine, this is the spot to see and be seen, where Aucklanders gather for a long lunch, or an even longer dinner.
Find them at: 33 Tyler Street
Prepare yourself for a queue for Milse's sophisticated sweets. The atmosphere is dark and glossy, conducive to a tryst with its famed pecan and Pohutakawa honey tart.
Find them at: 27 Tyler Street
Stash the kiwi- and feijoa-flavored Koko the Kiwi and Praline the Pukeko chocolate cups in your carry-on. Shoe addicts, get the milk chocolate stiletto available in five styles.
Where to stay
If you want to be in the heart of Auckland's action, this is the best choice for your home away from home. Decor is funky and colorful with a Kiwi touch that celebrates local designers: Staff is keen to help, be it with finding the best spa or simply helping with shopping bags. Plus, the location can't be beat—it's a five-minute walk to the shopping district and the waterfront.
*This article was originally published in Preview Magazine's April 2014 issue.