For many New Zealand travelers, Auckland is the first touch to this country of hobbits and gorgeous landscapes. Even though Auckland, as the biggest city in New Zealand, offers many things to see, we have to say that the best places are located outside the city center of Auckland. That’s why you should definitely not only stay in Auckland but also make day trips and explore the surroundings. There are plenty of beautiful things to see around Auckland like nice beaches, trekking routes, waterfalls and regional parks.
We have done our best to explore places around Auckland on our days off. Here we have listed places that we recommend to other travelers too. You can visit these places by doing a day trip from Auckland so you don’t need to stay overnight. We still have several places on our bucket list too so there will be a second part coming later on.
The public transport in Auckland is not the best so if you fancy going to places outside the city center, the best way to move around is by car. If you are not planning to buy a car while traveling in New Zealand, you can also rent a car for one day for a reasonable price.
Piha beach is one of the most popular beaches in Auckland and it is known especially as a surfing spot. This rocky beach with black sand and big waves is located on the west coast of Auckland, about 40 kilometers from the city center. Just the journey to Piha beach is idyllic itself as the small winding road leads you through the wooden house districts of Auckland. On the top of the hill, a breathtaking view on the coast opens up. There is also a gorgeous view cafe named Elevation on the way. On the cafe terrace, you can see Auckland at its full size. After seeing the view, it’s easy to agree with the saying that Auckland is the world’s biggest village. The wooden house districts spread on an unbelievably wide area around the city center.
Even though Piha beach is great for surfing, you should think twice before swimming there. The currents are strong and the waves might swallow the swimmer suddenly even if the water is only up to the knees. We have heard so many horror stories from locals that we are happy to skip swimming on the west coast. Anyhow, Piha beach is a nice place to spend a summer day and you can also visit the numerous cafes and restaurants in the area.
Once you are around Piha, you can also go check out the nearby Kitekite Falls and continue your trip up on the west coast. In the north, you can find Muriwai beach beside other beaches. It is another black sand beach with gorgeous landscapes. The place is especially well-known for its gannet birds that nest on the beach rocks.
Devonport is located only within a 10-minute ferry ride from central Auckland but it offers a nice break from the bustling city center. Devonport is a cozy village with many restaurants, cafes, and pubs as well as colorful boutiques. There are many beaches and volcano hills in the area that you can climb to see the landscapes and bunkers from the world war times. The typical Devonport dish is fish and chips. We can also recommend an affordable sushi restaurant called Asahi. At Devonport ferry port, you often get a chance to see a gorgeous sunset when the sun goes down behind the city skyline.
Hunua is located within a one-hour drive to the southeast from Auckland. The regional park features trekking routes in a native forest where you can enjoy some real nature. Anyhow, many people visit the place just to see the gorgeous Hunua falls. We also went there just to admire the waterfall but didn’t really do any trekking. The road leading to Hunua is idyllic and you can see hilly countryside landscapes and sheep ranges on the way.
Duder Regional Park
Duder park is in the same direction as Hunua Ranges so you can even visit both during the same day. You can walk around the park in less than two hours and see beautiful beach and sea landscapes. The peninsula offers a view to almost every direction. The easy walking route is suitable also for families.
Once you visit Duder, why not to stop by in the nearby Clevedon village and grab a lunch there. There is also a farmer’s market in the village on Sundays. Oh, and you shouldn’t miss the Clevedon Strawberries strawberry farm next to Clevedon as they sell the best strawberry ice cream in the world!