Accommodation and entertainment
I don't know the City Lodge personally, never having needed inner city accommodation.
Located at 150 Vincent Street, it is at the upper end of the CBD, two blocks over from Queen Street, the main road running through the central city. I know it has had some very positive reviews in recent years, and from asking around, seems to be the top-rated backpackers in town.
Walking up the hill from the hotel, you'll find yourself on Karangahape Road (shortened simply to K Rd). During my university days, this was a less than reputable area of town, but in the last few years has become a popular area and the dives that used to exist have been replaced by nice bars and restaurants. Definitely worth a look for food. Given that it is the highest point of the city precinct, it makes the post entertainment stagger home much easier.
Walking down the hill, via Vincent St, Hobson St or Queen St, you'll find yourself down at the waterfront. A tip for young players, when you reach the waters edge, stop walking!
The Viaduct and the surrounding areas are the most vibrant part of Auckland, and I suspect will be the focus for all the WMG social activities. This area was completely redeveloped leading into NZ's defence of the America's Cup in 2000 and has continued to flourish.
Obviously, with all that walking, you're going to need to rehydrate, so some "hydration stops" that will be worth checking out include: -
There are some fabulous restaurants spread around the Viaduct, with a huge variety of dining choices. Even Beatle will struggle to eat his way through all of them.
When it comes to culture, you might want to know a few Maori words. The most import one is "Kai" (pronounced "Ki" - sounds like the first part of kite). It means food. There is also a traditional maori cabbage called Puha. Don't get it confused with Electric Puha, which will get you arrested for possession of a Class A drug.
Auckland has some fantastic bars and restaurants, and a subsequent blog will focus on some quality dining choices for those of you that want to enjoy a great meal with your significant other, away from the bourgeois antics of the rest of the team.