Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Auckland’s Best Kept Secrets – 2020 Les Clefs d’Or Award Nominee – New Zealand

Kia Ora Nau Mai Haere Mai! Auckland is one of the most liveable cities in the world, and below is a collection of my hidden gems and must do’s when you visit.

Takapuna to Milford stunning coastal walk – 10km from SkyCity Auckland

Explore and experience a sunrise like no other. This 6km coastal beach walk is from Takapuna Beach to Milford and includes a range of natural beauties. The walk includes the interesting rock formations, formed from the Pupuke eruption over 200,000 years ago, while taking in the stunning views of Auckland’s youngest Volcano Rangitoto. This walk is best enjoyed at low tide with a coffee from the seaside Takapuna Beach Café at the entrance of the walk.

The Matakana Village Farmer’s Market – 67.6km from SkyCity Auckland

Situated 45 minutes’ drive north of Auckland on the foot of a small river surrounded by boutique local shops, is the ‘must visit’ Matakana Markets. Local Matakana producers sell bespoke products at this eclectic farmers market, including fresh, sustainable artisan food and some of the finest New Zealand Manuka honey. On your way back pay a visit to Honest Chocolat, Nico the chocolatier will be more than happy to organize a tasting, or you can purchase any of the award-winning chocolates to take home.

The secret picnic spot – 15km from SkyCity or a ferry ride

A picnic which you will remember for years to come is a hidden gem to locals and sits on the side of Mt Victoria, in one of Auckland’s most affluent suburbs of Devonport. For a real Kiwi picnic, you can head to a local winery such as Ascension Wine Estate or drop into Puhoi Valley which creates and sells international award-winning New Zealand cheeses such as Mahurangi Brie and Kawau Style Blue. To top your picnic off swing into Wild Wheat Devonport for award-winning sourdough. Climb from the base of Mt Victoria and as you reach the summit head 100m to your right and you will find the perfect picnic spot that overlooks popular beachside suburb Takapuna and the stunning Hauraki Gulf.

Fantail House – Authentic New Zealand Art & Souvenirs

In the lively heritage suburb of Parnell, tucked away in the fabulous inner village you will find the Fantail House, this unique treasure that was built 40 years ago by a famous local Les Harvey. His art and souvenir shop sells a range of products on behalf of popular New Zealand artists. You can also take home a piece of Kiwiana, the famous greenstone or as the Maori call it Pounamu. Chat with the owner Lisa or the artists who frequently drop by and give interesting Q&A’s.

You can always visit me at SkyCity Hotel, the platform to explore Auckland and home to the iconic Sky Tower. Ask me for more insider tips and information about my vibrant city. Discover the hidden gems of Auckland.

Meet the Author
Rick Karsten

Rick Karsten is a dedicated Concierge at the award-winning 4.5-star SkyCity Hotel in Auckland and currently holds the Secretary of Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand role.

His passion for hospitality was passed on from his parents who have lived and breathed hospitality since he was born.

In 2010 Rick and his wife immigrated to New Zealand and started their Kiwi journey in the popular lakeside town of Queenstown before switching to the beachside town of Takapuna, Auckland.

Rick comes with a wealth of hospitality and tourism experience and knowledge and has created strong networks and relationships in Auckland and parts of New Zealand that make him a destination expert in his city. From restaurant owners to tour operators and doorman, Rick has the connections for guests to get a table when it’s booked out or discover hidden gems that not even locals know about.

Rick’s most memorable moment in life is his wedding at Rumours Resort in Rarotonga, a short plane ride from Auckland.

Rick is a passionate advocate for Les Clef d’or and works hard to encourage young people to join this amazing industry and aspires to lead Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand in the future.

SkyCity Hotel

Make the most of every minute SkyCity Hotel is the platform to stay and play in Auckland city. Perfectly situated in the heart of central Auckland this 4.5-star award winning hotel has entertainment at its core. Its located within the main hub of SkyCity Auckland, a short stroll to Auckland’s arts and culture scene and Spark Arena, New Zealand’s largest sports and entertainment stadium.

With 323 well-appointed rooms and suites guests will be treated to quality services of dedicated teams from the minute they arrive. Plus, guests can tap into the hidden gems and must dos of Auckland with the expert concierge team.

All guests have access to a well-equipped gym, 24/7 support reception, free unlimited wi-fi and more! As part of the SkyCity Auckland precinct, that now covers three city blocks, guests will be directly connected to a world-class casino, 20+ restaurants, the iconic Sky Tower and the soon-to-be-opened Weta Workshop and All Blacks Experience. FB: @skycityhotelauckland


+64 9 363 6000

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