Eat and drink your way around Vancouver, writes Alison Godfrey, and don't forget to check out the ice hockey.
In just 48 hours you can cover a lot of activities in the British Columbian seaport city Vancouver, from beer tasting to farmers' markets and brisk bike riding. Here's a selection of the best.
Grab a bike and head to Stanley Park for a sunrise ride. Even in brisk weather, it's worth it for the stunning scenery. Totem poles, an abundance of wildlife - squirrels, ducks, geese - I even saw a seagull with a whole starfish wedged in its beak. The trail looping around the seawall offers jaw-dropping views of snowcapped mountains, the stunning harbour and the Lions bridge. The more adventurous may like to tackle some of the interior tracks - just make sure you have a mountain bike and not a cruiser.
DINE AT THE RAW BAR
The Fairmont Pacific Rim's Raw bar is a sushi lovers' delight. Watch as chef Taka Omi slices fresh sustainable salmon, tuna and wagyu into delicate slivers of delicious sushi.
British Columbia salmon really is a cut above the rest. Smooth, silky and incredibly tasty, it's best paired with a local wine. Make sure to ask about the wasabi.
GRAB A SNACK FROM A FOOD TRUCK
Vancouver's grilled cheese truck is not to be missed. Cheap, fresh and tasty, each of Vancouver's food trucks is unique. And the best part is they stay at the same spot so you can always find the ones you love again and again and again.
TRY A CRAFT BEER
Vancouver is experiencing an explosion in craft-beer breweries. One of the original breweries, Steamworks in Gastown, provides a great view of the mountains and powers its brewing process with steam. The most popular beer on tap is the Empress IPA, brewed with Canadian 2 row-malt. This dry-hopped ale is packed with flavour. For a stronger kick there's the Belgian Tripel. This beer uses three times the malt for a sweet finish while lifting the alcohol content to 9 per cent.
GET A MASSAGE
Before boarding a flight it's a good idea to get hydrated. Willow Stream spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim offers a moisturising wrap that will ensure your skin is in shape for the flight home or the cold mountain air ahead.
CHECK OUT THE ICE HOCKEY
Vancouver's Rogers Arena is home to the Vancouver Canucks. Though the team are having a disappointing season, it's still worth checking out the action on ice for something that is a true Canadian experience.
LUNCH AT GRANVILLE ISLAND
Home to the famous farmers' market and artisan shops, Granville Island is the perfect place to relax and spend a few hours sampling local produce from beautiful wines to fresh salmon, olives, pasta and even buffalo. For a sweet treat, check out the macarons at Bon Macaron Patisserie. At Christmas time they feature special flavours like Christmas cake, candy cane and mulled wine. Otherwise it may be hard to go past the candied pecan or the red pepper and vodka. While on the island, it's also worth stopping for a beer at the Granville Island brewery.
COCKTAILS AT JUNIPER
One of the newest bar/restaurants in the up and coming Chinatown area, Juniper specialises in gin cocktails. For something fresh and clean try the cucumber and cracked black pepper. The more adventurous foodies can taste braised bison and elk jerky.
For a boutique and unique shopping experience try strolling through the stylish historical streets of Yaletown and Gastown. These suburbs are home to local fashion designers, craft shops and incredible paddock-to-plate eateries. Both suburbs are home to some of Vancouver's best breweries. So it's easy to fuel up for more local shopping.
Built in 1889, Vancouver's 140m-long Capilano suspension bridge takes tourists 70m above the Capilano River. In winter the bridge is spectacularly lit up, offering a truly unique experience. Or try the park's latest attraction, Cliffwalk - a cantilevered walkway clinging to a granite cliff above the Capilano Canyon. Just make sure you're not afraid of heights.
Air New Zealand flies direct from Auckland to Vancouver, with fares on sale - $500 off return Economy Class fares and $1000 off return Premium Economy and Business Premier fares. airnewzealand.co.nz