The Best Auckland Day Trips
Just a short drive north, south and West of Auckland you can find some much needed escape from the hustle and bustle of New Zealand’s largest city. In this regard, Auckland is blessed to be so close to so many beautiful spots that make for the perfect getaway even just for the day.
Bay of Islands
Even though we are well into autumn, the Bay of Islands is still a magical destination for those who love pristine beaches and a rich and quirky history. The backpacker trail leads its way to Paihia where bunk bed hostels, cafes and bars overlook the stunning golden sands. From there you can walk 30 minutes down the road to Waitangi and rewind the clock to when the Treaty was signed.
A short ferry trip across the harbour to Russell is also a must. The first capital of New Zealand is one of the most delightful spots in the country – fantastic beaches, rich history and awesome locals who seem to work 3 or 4 jobs in a day, from the front desk at the historic church in the morning to the deep fryer at the Fish N Chips’ shop in the arvo. For Aucklanders, the 3-hour journey is definitely worth the drive, even just for the day or weekend.
Even if you are not a surf-junkie per se, Raglan is a beautiful spot for the day – just 2 hours drive from central Auckland. Whale and Manu Bays are stunning beaches where you will see wanna-be Surfers flock like locus among the rocks and generous swells. The laidback atmosphere of Raglan town where cafes, restaurants and surf shops are filled with chilled out, MTV like locals and tourists, makes for a great getaway from the pace and stress of Auckland.
Perhaps the most amazing part of Raglan is the chance to see one of those truly special West Coast sunsets – the horizon is vast and you can almost see the curvature of the earth. Expect some stunning colours – pink, orange and red!
From Auckland head west and keep going until you find the coast. But before you arrive at your destination make sure to check out a turn off signalled: Karekare. The epic cliffs and vast black sands are an incredible sight, let alone the misty and powerful nature of Karekare’s sea. After a couple of hours there you drive a further 30 minutes and arrive at your main destination: Piha.
Piha has retained much of its natural beauty and isolation over the years with its quintessential blacks sand beach, due to the high iron content, which comes from volcanic origins. The rugged coastline and forested Waitakere Ranges offer a number of walks, or tramps, ranging from easy to very difficult.