Few people know Auckland as well as designer Karen Walker. “I was born here and I have never lived anywhere else,” she says. Walker has four boutiques in her home town (Australian stockists include David Jones and Myer) and she’s watched the city evolve. “It’s always had the harbour and incredible coastlines and parks but it’s completely changed in terms of shopping, food, culture and design.” The result? “It’s a wonderful city to be in.”

Best for Breakfast

Ortolana and Little & Friday

“At Ortolana, it’s not the usual eggs Benny; there’s nothing on the menu you’ve had elsewhere. There’s berry-and-peach crumble iced tea and fresh juices such as broccoli, apple, celery and herbs. I also love Little & Friday in Ponsonby. It has these crumpets with blackberry compote, mascarpone and honeycomb that are out of this world.”

Ortolana: The Pavilions at Britomart, 33 Tyler Street, Auckland

Little & Friday: 42 Douglas Street, Ponsonby

Best Restaurant

The French Café

“It’s considered one of Auckland’s best fine-dining spots and I’ve been going there for years. The three-hour dégustation with wines is fantastic but you can also have a quick and simple lunch or dinner. I’m vegetarian and there’s a full veg menu; the goat’s cheese and beetroot tart is my favourite. You cannot go wrong here.”

210 Symonds Street, Auckland

Best for Drinks

The Golden Dawn

This is my local bar. You enter via a side door behind a building; it’s very low-key and hipster. They do a great take on a Welsh rarebit and I like the smashed edamame and peas. They have a fantastic wine and sherry list and also do good cocktails. There’s a little courtyard that’s just magic.”

Corner of Richmond and Ponsonby roads, Ponsonby

Best Shopping


“There’s a careful edit of brands at Britomart – every single outlet is an A-player. Tiffany & Co. and Chanel have opened here, I’ve got a store and there’s a dessert bar called Milse. On nearby Queen Street, you’ll also find big luxury brands, including Prada and Dior.”

Takutai Square, 44 Galway Street, Auckland

Best Spa

Room Nine

“I come here for a treatment every three to four weeks. The director, Amelia Story, gives me the most wonderful facials using Osmosis products and LED lights, to stimulate circulation. I always come
out looking like I’ve just had
a month-long holiday.”

19 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn

Best Daytrip

Waiheke Island

“We’ve got a lot of beautiful islands in our gulf but Waiheke is the jewel in the crown. The boat ride there, which is about 35 minutes from downtown, is such a pleasure. The food and wine are amazing – I always
eat at The Oyster Inn – and I love the beach that’s near there. It’s really lovely in October and November and then again from February to April.

Best for Instagram

Te Henga (Bethells Beach)

“This is one of our really wild west-coast beaches. It has black sand, seals, secret bays and The Bethells Cafe, which is a caravan parked in the sand dunes with a few chairs strewn around it. They make great coffee, organic cakes and beautiful burgers.”

SEE ALSO: Nicole Warne’s Stylish Guide to Auckland

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