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Travel guide

Auckland Road Trips

  • 5 minutes

New Zealand, Auckland on a plate

  • Imagine a city (Auckland) with three wine / vineyard districts nearby, Kumeu, Waiheke Island & the Matakana Coast
  • Find a place where coast to coast there are beaches, water activities and quiet towns, the preserve of Regional Parks
  • Discover the Hauraki Gulf, conservation islands, waterways and marine reefs
  • Nature is not a visitor experience, it’s Auckland’s backyard
  • Countryside, nature is wrapped up with an urban vibe (translation: great coffee everywhere)
  • Auckland is New Zealand on a plate

Discover an Auckland roadie, a day exploring, or a leisurely weekend in a vineyard to sample local award-winning wine, a road trip with the family, beaches, nature reserves, walk from coast to coast mixed and stirred with a vibrant unique Maori & Pasifika culture you have New Zealand on a plate. Visit Auckland and try the place out, you might never leave.

Japanese Friendship Public Garden, Auckland, New Zealand
Japanese Friendship Public Garden

AUCKLAND GARDENS & REGIONAL PARKS

  • Regional parks wrapped around estuaries, rivers and beaches where nature is the experience
  • Gardens to picnic and enjoy the changing seasons from the award winning Hamilton Public Gardens to over fifty regional parks within 2 hours of Auckland.
  • Garden festivals from Auckland’s Botanic Gardens summer sculpture walk to Waikato’s spring and autumn festivals

AUCKLAND CULTURE WITH A DASH OF FOOD & DRINK

  • Whitiangi (Coromandel) with its lively art scene, local artist studios and annual summer art and craft festival
  • Matakana with its vineyards surrounded by art studios, creative souls showcasing sculpture trails and pottery workshops
  • Whangarei with a river walk defined by its sculpture interpretations of local history, Hunderwasster and art studios
  • Hamilton (Waikato) flourishing Maori culture, fascinating museums and galleries
  • Waikato towns Cambridge and Matamata where galleries, arty crafty shops jostle for attention with weekend markets
Whangarei The Hub boardwalk sculpture installation, New Zealand
Whangarei The Hub boardwalk sculpture installation
Dotterel Rotoroa Island, New Zealand
Dotterel, Rotoroa Island

AUCKLAND OUTDOORS, NATURE’S BOUNTY

  • Birdlife – wildlife, Miranda Shorebird Centre, Rotoroa and Tiritiri Matangi Hauraki Gulf Islands, NZ fur seals on rocky foreshores and gannets wheeling above Muriwahi Beach
  • Walks, with over 400 short walks, day hikes and access to native forests, ocean cliffs and rolling farmland there is a walk for all seasons and fitness levels from Auckland
  • Conservation areas and sustainable practices are evident

Get Inspired with the Best Kiwi Motorhome Itineraries

Planning an unforgettable road trip is easy with our extensive selection of motorhome friendly itineraries. We'll guide you through the very best that New Zealand has to offer from the winterless north all the way down to the deep south.

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Lake Tekapo Wilderness, motorhome, New Zealand
Lake Pukaki, motorhome, New Zealand
Lake Pukaki, road New Zealand

GO NORTH – AUCKLAND ROAD TRIP

Discover small kiwi towns with their own quirky character, scenic highlights & heritage stories. Summer holidays and winter escapes from the chill of Auckland embrace the idea of roadie to Whangarei.

Warkworth travel, road trip, what to do and see

Warkworth there are plenty of things to do. Warkworth, wrapped around the Mahurangi River is an urban buzz meets regional New Zealand town with a bustling main street, ducks along its river banks and a gateway to vineyards, artisan crafts, Goat Island marine reserve and regional parks…

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Warkworth Wilsons Cement, New Zealand
Warkworth museum early 20th century life, New Zealand
Warkworth museum shop, New Zealand

Auckland day trip to Kaipara Harbour

Imagine a geothermal hot pool experience as a reward for fish n chips on the beach. Places to go include the imaginative garden centre Kaipara Coast Gardens with its sculpture trail and newly constructed Conservation trail and a quick peek at Helensville, the location for the TV Series ‘BrokenWood.’

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Shelly Bay, Kaipara Harbour, jetty at low tide, note high tide mark, New Zealand
Kaipara Harbour in the distance viewpoint Kaipara Coast Sculpture Garden, Auckland, New Zealand
Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens, female figure, Auckland, New Zealand

What’s so great about Omaha beach & Whangateau Harbour

White fine quartz sand sifting through your toes with shallow blue water and lifeguards is the stuff of summer holidays. There are wooden boardwalks between beach holiday homes and sand dunes with access paths.

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Omaha & Point Wells, New Zealand @Matakana Coast
The Value of Mangroves in Whangateau Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand @whangateauharbour
Omaha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand @Chris Gorman, Herald on Sunday

What’s so great about Kumeu

Urban vibe meets country charm, Kumeu is a great place for a day trip from Auckland to experience wineries, cellar door tastings, pop up to Piha to curl up the toes in the warmth of iron sand beaches or simply explore the weekend markets.

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Kumeu, Auckland, New Zealand @Harcourts
Kumeu Hot Rod Festive, Auckland, New Zealand @Kumeuhotrodfestival
Kumeu Market,Auckland, New Zealand @Ang Sarap

What’s so great about Wellsford / Te Hana

The northernmost town in the Auckland province is the gateway to the northern and western reaches of the Matakana Coast. Take time to explore a little known area where visitors are few and far between.

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Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre, Auckland, New Zealand @VisitWellsford
Albertland Heritage Museum, Auckland, New Zealand @Albertlandmuseum
Te Arai Point beach, Auckland, New Zealand

What’s so great about Leigh

Leigh is a great base to explore the Matakana district and surrounding areas. There is Goat Island marine reserve for snorkelling buffs and Ti Point Reptile park creating special holiday moments.

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Leigh Coastal Walk, Auckland, New Zealand @EscapeToLeight
Leigh, Auckland, New Zealand @Wikipedia
Goat Island Marine Reserve near Leigh North Island New Zeland

What’s so great about Puhoi

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.

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Puhoi Public Library, Auckland, New Zealand
Puhoi Museum housed in former Convent School, Auckland, New Zealand
Puhoi Heritage Catholic Church, Auckland, New Zealand

Muriwai Gannet Colony attractions

Observe ocean gannets as they soar above their Muriwai beach nesting site. Discover one of Auckland’s best day trips from the city to Muriwai, a west coast beach.

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Muriwai Gannets, New Zealand
Muriwai Gannets
Muriwai Gannets, New Zealand

Auckland West Coast Beaches attractions, places to go

Discover the wild side of Auckland. West coast beaches are a mere 1 hour drive from Auckland and a must-go road trip. For visitors meet where the Tasman Sea surges and roars onto boundless deep black-sand beaches. It is mind-numbing with its rugged glory.

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Piha Beach, low tide evening light, West Auckland, New Zealand
Aerial view of Whatipu Beach in West Auckland / New Zealand
Muriwai Gannet, New Zealand

GO NORTH FROM AUCKLAND: TRAVELLING DISTANCE

From To Destination
Auckland Puhoi 46 km
Auckland Parakai / Kaipara Harbour 49 km
Auckland Kumeu 26 km
Auckland West Coast Beaches, Muriwhai 43 km
Auckland Kawakawa 214 km
Auckland Whangarei 161 km
Auckland Warkworth 61 km
Auckland Leigh 82 km
Auckland Regional parks

 

There are a number of regional parks both North and South creating a portfolio of natural outdoor spaces making a great day trip.

See Amazing Auckland, Puhoi, Warkworth, Matakana and beyond, beaches and parks – Best Bits

See

Amazing North Auckland Mahurangi Peninsula – Best Bits

 

GO SOUTH – AUCKLAND ROAD TRIP

Delve into the Firth of Thames exploring settlements, galleries and enjoying the contrast between the coast and the magnificent Hunua Ranges and Coromandel Forest Park. Places to go range from Raglan’s surf culture to Hamilton’s world-class public gardens. Then there is Cambridge with its leafy main street, galleries and weekend market.

Auckland day trip: Maraetai Beach, Pohutukawa Coast, etc

Sunshine, beaches with space to spare, native scenery hugging the coastal road. A classic day at the beach complete with ice creams and wharf to jump off. Maraetai is all about the beach.

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Mood at Maraetai Beach, East coast, New Zealand
Pohutukawa Coast Trail, New Zealand
Ocean going waka, New Zealand

Auckland to North Island day trip: autumn leafy highlights

Cool undertones to the morning with warm light in the morning invigorating the day. Nature walks are comfortable with calm sunny days.

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@Cambridge Oaks
Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand @Julia Rachel
Waikato River, New Zealand @Mark Hamilton Photographer

Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre: wrybill, godwit, etc

I went to check out one of New Zealand’s premier birding locations for shorebirds – Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre. It is enthusiasm on speed for all things bird. A great place for everyone to support New Zealand as birds are our top wildlife species.

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Miranda Shore Bird Centre, Auckland, New Zealand
Flock of Flying Birds, Miranda Shore Bird Centre, North Island, New Zealand

What’s so great about Pukekohe

Pukekohe is not just an enormous vegetable patch rather it’s a microcosm of New Zealand’s past with a significant battle site for the nineteenth century Land Wars, the story of the growth of commercial rural agribusiness and magnificent natural reserves and parks in its back yard.

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Pukekohe’s heritage East Presbyterian church, Auckland, New Zealand @aklheritage
Pukekohe wars memorial, Auckland, New Zealand @NZHistory
Pukekohe, Auckland, New Zealand @friendsofpukekoherailstationbuilding

Day trip to Te Aroha

The Edwardian spa town is New Zealand’s intact original spa resort nestled at the base of Mount Te Aroha. Edwardian buildings are current homes for the museum, cafes and the popular natural mineral spa. Indulgence is just a day trip from Auckland.

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Te Aroha, New Zealand @tearohanz
Te Aroha Holiday Park & Hot Pools, New Zealand @ Booking
Te Aroha Borough Council Chambers, New Zealand @tourismmedia

Top 10 things to do around Thames

Have you thought about stopping in Thames, and I don’t mean just visiting the public toilet? The town is not the prettiest in the Coromandal, it does not have numerous picturesque beaches on its doorstep or quirky railways circumnavigating a spectacular pottery creation yet it is worth a stop or even an overnight stay.

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Thames School of Mines, New Zealand
Thames Coastal Walkway, New Zealand @Bookman's travel reports
Thames, New Zealand @Nourish Magazine

Things to do around Raglan not involving surfing

What can you do at the beach if you don't want to surf?

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Raglan Te Kopua Estuary Beach high tide, New Zealand
Raglan Wharf, New Zealand
@Raglan

Raglan what to do with kids, family and friends holiday ideas

Raglan is a local bach (simple holiday home) destination for generations of New Zealanders living in Auckland and Hamilton. You are leaving the urban week for a weekend of bare feet, floppy board shorts with a shirt in case it’s cool.

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Surf culture two teeenage boys Manu beach, New Zealand
Whale Bay Raglan District, New Zealand
Gravel road views of farmland and sea inlets (estuary)

GO SOUTH FROM AUCKLAND: TRAVELLING DISTANCE

From To Destination (one way)
Auckland Pukekohe 50 km
Auckland Hamilton 121 km
Auckland Cambridge 145 km
Auckland Miranda Shorebirds 83 km
Auckland Rotorua 227 km
Auckland Taupo 272 km

 

GO SHOPPING, MARKETS, FOOD & DRINK – AUCKLAND ROAD TRIP

Indulge in a day trip exploring foodie destinations where emerging food producers market their wares, enjoy sampling goodies from a local deli or sipping craft beer from an artisan brewpub. There are plenty of places to go near Auckland. And the best bit this is a great year round escape inspiration.

10 weekend markets a short drive from Auckland

A weekend market is a quintessential inspiration on what to do on Saturday. Combined with activities around the market from walks in a nearby reserve, exploring a well known art gallery or indulging in a leisurely afternoon in a vineyard courtyard your day is sorted.

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Matakana village farmers market, New Zealand @TODD EYRE
Matakana village farmers market, New Zealand @TODD EYRE
@Mangawhai Tavern Market

Matakana wine trail where to go

Diversity is the Matakana’s drawcard with family based vineyards offering visitors a highly individual personal touch to each winery. Together with artist trails and foodie treats Matakana is where you meet friendly locals and listen to their stories.

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Matakana Wine market @matakanawine
@thevintrymatakana
@Mahurangi River Winery

ISLAND TIME (HAURAKI GULF) – AUCKLAND TRIPS

Get away from it all doesn’t come any better than a boat trip to an island. The journey’s magic weaves its spell as the ferry pulls away from the viaduct, Auckland wharf departure terminal. From Waiheke vineyards to island sanctuaries for rare and endangered New Zealand wildlife there is a place in the Hauraki Gulf to find your special place.

Auckland day trip to Motuihe Island

Auckland skyline and Hauraki Gulf are the backdrop to safe sandy beaches and interesting walks through regenerating bush. From downtown Auckland you can take a day trip to Motuihe Island, where there’s a choice of superb beaches and several easy coastal walks.

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Motuihe Island @Motuihe Island
Motuihe Island, New Zealand @Imgur

Wildlife, conservation, responsible holidays in Auckland, Hauraki Gulf

Make a difference. Want a holiday that is sustainable and supports conservation? Auckland has places to visit where visitors will feel positive about the impact of people on the environment. It’s a holiday, from your routine with a difference.

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Little blue penguin, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand
@motuora
Great Barrier Island, Aotea, New Zealand @Andris Apse

Weekend escape to your private island, Rotoroa Island, Hauraki Gulf

Hauraki Gulf is a world away from the urban bustle of Auckland. Combined with the spectacular predator free sanctuary of Rotoroa Island visitors are immersed in a New Zealand natural environment where nature is in charge.

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Rotoroa views, New Zealand
Chris Booth Sculpture, New Zealand
Tui perched on Kowhai tree, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand. September.

What’s so great about Kawau Island

Visit Kawau Island, discover historic Mansion House or take the Royal Mail Run cruise from Sandspit for a great family day out near Matakana. Kawau escapulates the story of New Zealand with an early governor, Sir George Grey setting up residence in a grand Victorian homestead, importing ‘pests’ Australian wallabies, a copper mining operation and today passionate locals are dedicated to the well being of the flora and fauna surrounding them.

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Mansion House, Kawau Island, Auckland
Mansion House, Kawau Island, Hauraki Gulf, North Island New Zealand
Kawau Island, New Zealand

SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL – HAURAKI GULF

Nature is not a visitor experience; it’s Auckland’s backyard. Donate, give time and enjoy the reward of giving when you become part of the journey to a sustainable environment.

 

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

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