Today and tomorrow, Auckland Choral and Pipers Sinfonia are performing Handel's Messiah at the Auckland Town Hall. This Baroque masterpiece was written by Handel in just 24 days, and was first performed in Dublin in 1742. Originally an Easter composition, Messiah soon became a fixture of Christmas choral shows around the world. See aucklandlive.co.nz for details. If you can't make it to the shows, go to aucklandchoral.com to watch a feature-length documentary on Auckland Choral's 200the consecutive performance of Messiah.
Where to eat and drink in Auckland
Head uptown to K Rd to be spoilt for choice. At Clay, they're serving natural wines and a vegan pizza with brave quantities of fresh red chilli that is to die for. Customers sit at a tall shared table that runs the length of the restaurant, and you can choose your tipple from the fridges right behind you.
At Carmen Jones, moreish Moorish tapas are the order of the day - think calamari, garlic prawns, paella and baba ganoush, followed by churros and affogato. It's friendly and filling.
Now that Lovebucket has closed, the focus at 309 is less cocktails and more craft beer. Hallertau Tap Haus still has the cosy booths and lovely dark vibe that makes afternoon drinking acceptable, but they're offering the Hallertau brews on tap, and serving an Electric Chicken menu including whole chicken buckets.
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If it's cocktails you're after, Madame George serves theirs with a Peruvian twist. Expect pisco sours (and pisco negronis) and a playful and pretty food menu. The bar is only pocket-sized, so it is always buzzing.
Where to stay close to Auckland City
Hotel Fitzroy is tucked away on the corner of Ponsonby's Fitzroy and Richmond Roads. An historic 1910 villa, with a very modern expansion next door, there are just 10 rooms here scattered between the two buildings. Guests rave about the industrial concrete walls, stylish moody interiors, and the cocktails and canapes hour, which all guests are invited to join. The mini bar is complimentary, as is a cab ride to the city. It's also pet friendly, and there's a 'furry menu' to really make your doggo feel at home.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com