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How to have the ultimate luxury getaway in Auckland

I’m sitting on the deck of a 60-foot white, sleek catamaran, champagne in hand, surrounded by an aqua ocean glistening under the autumn sun. We’re moored at Motuihe Island, less than an hour from Auckland city, where we are staying at the new Park Hyatt Auckland in Wynyard Quarter.

The hotel is the city’s most luxurious property and has partnered with Cruise New Zealand to offer this, and other island-hopping experiences to guests. I take a sip of champagne and gaze across the Hauraki Gulf, taking in the view. On either side of me are two other islands, Motutapu and Waiheke, both so vibrantly green it’s as if they’ve been photoshopped. Standing here, in the middle of this striking gulf, it’s obvious why New Zealand has a clean, green tagline.

Sailing in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand is one of the many reasons why Auckland is a must-do for the ultimate luxury getaway
Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf is dotted with islands

Fresh food philosophy at Onemata restaurant in Wynyard Quarter

New Zealand’s clean, green philosophy is one of the reasons chef Brent Martin, who is with us on the cruise, came back to his homeland to head Park Hyatt Auckland’s culinary operation after more than two decades aboard. It’s proved a winning recipe too, with the hotel’s signature restaurant, Onemata, awarded a chef hat earlier this year in Cusine Magazine’s Best Food Awards.

“I love that Auckland has true seasons. In the US you can source strawberries year-round, but here, I can be adaptable and use true seasonal food.”

He says being able to visit the origin of the produce he’s using is also vitally important. Something he says he wasn’t able to do in other parts of the world.

“I’ve been to sheep farms on Stewart Island, olive oil producers in Clevedon [in Auckland’s east], and farms in Kaikoura, where, by the way,” he says with a cheeky grin “the cows have the best views in the world.”

Some of the incredible dishes you'll be treated to at Onemata at the Park Hyatt Auckland
Just one of the decadent dishes you can expect at Onemata

The ultimate in luxury awaits at Auckland’s newest waterfront hotel

As the boat glides back to the Waitematā Harbour, Park Hyatt Auckland comes into view. Everywhere is a nod to the local culture. Native totara pouwhenua (carvings) line the entrances. While inside, local Māori artist Peata Larkin’s dramatic blue and green artwork dominates the hotel lobby. Each of the 195 rooms features custom designed tukutuku panels and rugs, made from New Zealand wool.

I wander into my Harbour Suite to the sound of lapping waves through the open sliding doors that lead to a private, furnished balcony with views across the Waitematā Harbour where boats bob on the water. The restaurants at the Viaduct Harbour, directly opposite the hotel, glisten in the darkening sky. In the bathroom, a large egg-shaped bath faces floor to ceiling windows, where I can see all the way to the 328-metre Sky Tower, New Zealand’s tallest building.

On the top floor of the hotel is the NZ$12,000 a night Presidential Suite. Bigger than most apartments, it’s 245 sqm of opulence, with a grand piano, internal courtyard and dining table for 10. There’s also an additional 125 sqm balcony, where you’ll have front row seats to the cityscape and glistening harbour – and I feel like if I stayed in this room, I might never go home.

The Presidential Suite at The Park Hyatt Auckland is reason alone why Auckland is a must-do for the ultimate luxury getaway
The NZ$12,000 a night Presidential Suite is the most luxurious suite in the hotel with a wraparound balcony offering some of the best views in the city

Read: The game changing Park Hyatt Auckland brings a new level of luxury to Auckland

Exploring the more than 50 islands there are in the Hauraki Gulf

The next day we’re whisked away in the hotel’s hybrid BMW to Heletranz just north of the city, another premier partner, where a Eurocopter EC130 awaits. We’re headed to Waiheke Island – home to more than 25 wineries and vineyards.

We soar over Rangitoto and multiple other of those fluoro green islands. Then, in less than 15 minutes, we’re making our descent and land at Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant. Here, you can learn about the onsite vineyard and do a tasting of the property’s wines. Don’t miss the flagship Bordeaux blend, Velvet – which tastes exactly like its name, and smells like a rich bouquet of fresh flowers. Only 3,000 bottles are released each year – you can buy a bottle to take home for NZ$160. That’s if you don’t drink it first.

The view from the helicopter landing site at Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant, Waiheke Island.
Land to views out to Rangitoto Island and the city skyline at Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant

Infinity pool and massages in a state-of-the-art spa

Weary after all that wine and food, some of our group head for Park Hyatt Auckland’s 25-metre infinity pool. To sit beside it with a cocktail in hand, or swim, I’m not sure. I choose a sensory stone massage at ‘The Spa’. Smooth volcanic rocks are massaged in a sweeping motion to release tension, and I leave feeling lighter than I did after a few of those world-class wines.

We dine at Onemata on dishes of chicken liver pate with kumara syrup and toast; scampi risotto, thyme and crayfish bisque. The main is lamb agnolotti, parmesan brood and pistachio, and we finish with soft chocolate, hazelnut, Jerusalem artichoke caramel and truffle ice cream. Martin appears at the table, wearing that same cheeky smile as before.

“Pretty special place, aye.” He says in his thick Kiwi accent, retained despite decades away.

I smile and ask him his plans for this place, not that he needs any. The food is as perfect as the harbour setting.

“I want to showcase our international brand in Auckland and put us on the map.” He says.

Job done, I say.

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