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Auckland road trips, east to west coast, Puhoi, Matakana, Titirangi & Goat Island

Delve into a road trip of contrasts. From Matakana or Puhoi village markets, to skydiving adventures in Helensville or Kumea wine trail with platters brimming with local goodies the Auckland region has plenty to offer visitors. You will wander through Tawharanui Regional Park pest free sanctuary or snorkel a marine reserve in Leigh, Goat Island. Take your time and savour what Auckland has to offer on this self-guided road trip.

3 - 5 days
2 - 4 nights

Trip Overview

Puhoi heritage, Matakana & Kumeu wine trails, Helensville adventures, Titirangi art galleries & Goat Island marine reserve

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Puhoi historic village
  • Matakana beach culture wrapped around a sophisticated village hospitality spirit
  • Helensville, adventures from skydiving to a leisurely Kaipara Harbour cruise
  • Iron sands, pounding surf and gannets, glorious soaring seabirds
  • Titirangi’s cultural delights from art galleries to cafes with local artists adorning the walls
Start Auckland
Finish Auckland
Start Auckland
Finish Auckland

Route map

Auckland, Puhoi, Matakana, Wellsford, Helenville, Kumea, Muriwai, Te Henga (Bethells), Pihai, Titirangi and Auckland

Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city. Strolling along the coastal inlets, hiking on a volcanic island, spending an afternoon at the Auckland Museum perched above the Memorial Gardens or a cruise the harbour are just a few ways to absorb the delights of the city. This city has the largest Polynesian population in the world, contributing to the Pacifika vibe of cosmopolitan and dynamic appeal of Auckland. High-end fashion houses, sophisticated restaurants and chic bars compliment the abundance of outdoor activities.

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Puhoi

Puhoi Heritage Catholic Church, Auckland, New Zealand
Puhoi Heritage Catholic Church

A village where the life of the Bohemian refugee (19th century) is celebrated. The settlement stories are documented with photographs, objects and memorabilia in the local museum while buildings and dray wagons are lovingly  preserved. The Puhoi River is a picturesque backdrop and a reminder of the importance of waterways being a crucial part of the transport networks in earlier times. Today kayakers enjoy exploring the Puhoi with a journey down the river finishing at the Wenderholm Regional Park and river estuary. Puhoi is part of the Matakana Coast Experience.

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Matakana

Matakana Village, Auckland, New Zealand @LOUISE MUNRO
Matakana Village @LOUISE MUNRO

The sophisticated urban vibe of Matakana can feel as though you have not yet left Auckland. The picturesque village has developed around vineyard trails, public art gardens and a popular weekend market showcasing the best the region has to offer. Visitors could be waylaid into spending several days on the Matakana coast exploring. For what to see and do check out Matakana travel guide & Matakana wine and food trails.

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Goat Island

Goat Island Marine Reserve near Leigh North Island New Zeland

Diving and snorkeling buffs have Goat Island as a must-go destination. For visitors who want to keep their feet dry there is a glass boat excursion. For visitors short of time, roll up the pant cuffs and wander around the tidal rocks and observe the prolific outdoor aquarium. Superb explanatory information panels explain what you are looking at.

For details check out Amazing Auckland, Leigh, Goat Island and beyond, beaches and parks.

Duration ½ day to several days.

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Tawharanui Regional Park

Detour

Tawharanui Regional Park, New Zealand @ilmapo85
Tawharanui Regional Park @ilmapo85

Tawharanui Regional Park is white sandy beaches overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. Farmland pastoral scenery, shingle beaches where low tide exposes pippi (shellfish) beds, native coastal bush and forest and regenerating wetlands. The road to Tawharanui passes Warkworth and Matakana and continues winding through rolling farms. The end is in sight when you reach the gravel narrow road. The Tawharanui Regional Park embraces the end of a peninsula that extends into the Pacific Ocean just north of Kawau Island.

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Wellsford

Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre, Auckland, New Zealand @VisitWellsford
Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre @VisitWellsford

Continue north towards Wellsford with rolling farmland and orchards a backdrop. At Wellsford heritage buffs could include a visit to the Albertland Heritage Museum or spend time participating in a cultural experience at Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre

From Wellsford the route is now looping back to Auckland on State Highway 16. You are skirting the massive waterways of the Kaipara Harbour. New Zealand’s largest harbour system and one of the world’s largest as well. Your route offers spectacular views of the southern edge of the Kaipara system.

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Helensville

Helensville 1911 Heritage former Post Office
Helensville 1911 Heritage former Post Office

Helensville tempts visitors to linger with adrenaline laced skydiving adventure or to cruise the mighty Kaipara Harbour waterways to Dargaville and back. The town is part of the Kaipara Harbour and the Kaipara River flows through the town. For a small town, Helensville is home to two museums. The Helensville Museum houses a regional collection of memorabilia, photographs, objects and equipment telling the story of the district.

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Kumeu

Kumeu, Auckland, New Zealand@One Roof
Kumeu @One Roof

Urban vibe meets country charm, Kumeu is a great place for culture lovers or wine and foodie buffs with wineries and cellar door tastings. For art lovers, Art in the Vineyards is an annual summer favourite. Not to be missed is the cooperative supporting local artists, Kumeu Arts Centre. A superb starting place for visitors indulging in a culture and art exploration. And a weekend visit offers a chance to indulge in retail therapy at one of regional Auckland’s outstanding local markets.

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