New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is a favourite on the bucket lists of many travellers. While you can spend weeks on end exploring all the urban highlights of this great city, make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to join outstanding day trips. Auckland urban buzz as you explore the nearby countrywide, a match made in holiday heaven.
We’ve rounded up 8 unmissable day trips overseas travellers and locals will absolutely love. Find out what to do nearby Auckland and start planning your next holiday break.
The Coromandel Peninsula looms large in the world of Auckland day trips. It’s the first thought on many travellers’ minds as soon as they pick up their Auckland City car rental.
Coromandel town with its fun adventure Diving Creek attraction is 2.5 hours from Auckland. The picturesque coastal drive bursts into colour with the annual blooms of pohutukawa trees framing numerous small beaches.
Visit Whitianga and enjoy exploring well known places such as the world-renowned New Chums Beach, Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
The Coromandel Peninsula is a remarkable Auckland day trip no traveller will regret not taking.
For a trip closer to Auckland, consider Waiheke Island. Just a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, this bucolic island is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the neighbouring city.
Waiheke is packed full of picturesque beaches including Onetangi Beach, Palm Beach, Oneroa Beach, and Little Oneroa Beach, perfect for family fun.
The island is also well-known for a stunning collection of wineries. Some of the most acclaimed vineyards on the island include Stonyridge, Te Whau, Man O’ War.
Waiheke Island is the perfect location for your harbour cruise. Enjoy a day on the Hauraki Gulf on a great day trip to Waiheke Island.
This beach is an outstanding surfing destination and one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. A mere 45-minute drive from Auckland, it’s a popular location for bird-watching.
You can head here to spy a famous gannet colony, with approximately 1,200 pairs of gannets nesting here from August to March each year.
The beach also boasts a lengthy coastal walk, which will allow you to soak up all the majesty of the Tasman Sea.
Rangitoto Island is accessible from Auckland via a short 25-minute ferry ride. This stunning volcanic island sits in the Hauraki Gulf.
The island allows travellers to pass through lava fields – don’t worry, they aren’t what they sound like! These fields are replete with native flora which has regenerated on the fields over hundreds of years.
Gain a geological understanding of the area as you walk through lava caves and tunnels created by lava flows. Once you’re done exploring, head over to Islington Bay for a picnic or a swim.
Another amazing element of the island is the panoramic views it offers of Auckland city. It’s a truly stunning way to soak in the beautiful landscapes New Zealand’s largest city offers.’
Check out our ultimate family beach guide to ensure your day in the sun goes off without a hitch.
Waitomo Caves day trip is perhaps the most popular Auckland short journey. In 2.5 hours from Auckland you are observing the famous glowworms which call the cave home.
The Ruakuri Cave boasts hanging stalactites, limestone formations and an underground river. It’s an utterly unique piece of New Zealand geography you don’t want to miss out on seeing.
Specialised tours are available, instructing you on the significance of these caves to the local Māori people.
There are also plenty of above-ground attractions on offer, such as abseiling, rock climbing and ziplining. There’s even a gift shop to ensure you never forget your visit.
Love The Lord of the Rings? Then Hobbiton is one Auckland day trip you can’t afford to miss out on.
A short 2 hour drive is all you need to be transported to Middle Earth. Perhaps the best way to take in this iconic location is via a lengthy walking tour, where you can see the exterior of the hobbit holes made famous in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Enjoy a meal and a drink and local eateries including the Green Dragon Inn and the Shire’s Rest Cafe.
The whole time you’re there, you’ll pick up fascinating behind-the-scenes secrets about the production of the films, including how forced perspective played a major role in creating the illusion of each character being a radically different height.
While there are plenty of coastal attractions to explore nearby Auckland, a drive through beautiful farmland takes you to Karangahake Gorge.
The gold mining history of this area is on full display. You can explore artefacts such as ore-crushing machinery and the Victoria Battery.
Follow the historic Crown Tramway track through a range of bush and tunnels. You can also check in at a private hot tub with views overlooking your gorge.
Karangahake Gorge is an ideal location for a family day trip, as you can educate your little ones on the history of gold mining and even watch them try their hand at gold panning.
There are plenty of reasons to head to Rotorua. A 2 hour and 45-minute drive showcases one of New Zealand’s most interesting and unique cities. The city has plenty of interesting urban sights and is one of the best places to soak up Māori culture.
However, special mention must be made of Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa. This open-air attraction offers 20 therapeutic pools. You can even book your very own private pool, hidden within native gardens or the lakeside area.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a spa without various other wellness services on offer. You can get a massage, manicure or a facial to boost your relaxation outcomes.
If you’re in the mood for some education, guided tours are also available to showcase the history of the region, and the role played by its geothermal landscape.
It’s no surprise to see how many breathtaking day trips are available just a short distance from Auckland. Any one of these destinations will ensure you have an incredible time as you enjoy New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
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