Auckland is a city like no other. Built on more than fifty extinct volcanoes, it boasts some of the most extraordinary scenery I have ever seen.
Luscious green tuft mountains stand tall, peaceful, untouched islands float under an hour from the city’s harbour and like everywhere else in New Zealand, the National Parks are only a stone’s throw away.
With so much to offer, you never need to wander far to escape Auckland’s urban, fast-pace. Therefore, I have come up with five great easy day trips from Auckland you should not miss.
1. Waiheke Island
A wine lovers dream, Waiheiki Island is renowned for its rolling vibrant vineyards, crystal clear waters and pretty, peaceful beaches. Only a 40 minute ferry ride from the city, Waiheiki is a popular place to head to for a luxurious day of fabulous food, wine and socialising whilst appreciating its unbeatable panoramic views of Auckland.
Fullers ferries depart regularly from the harbour and cost around $30 return.
2. Rangitoto Island
The largest and youngest volcanic cone in Auckland as well as, a sanctuary for the country’s protected wildlife, Rangitoto Island makes for a great, active day out.
Flaunting unique forestry, flora and fauna, sublime views and a peacefulness hard to describe, it is difficult to believe that this island is so close to the most populated city in New Zealand.
With an easy(ish) walking track up to the summit, Rangitoto is an excellent place to be at one with nature.
Pack a picnic and a lot of water (there are no shops on the island) and enjoy your day of tranquil isolation.
3. Piha and Karekare Beach
Standing proudly on the West Coast of Auckland are the black volcanic sandy beaches of Piha and Karekare.
Nestled deep in to the leafy foliage of a National Park, these majestic beaches are encapsulated by towering, rugged cliffs and offer some of the most dangerous surf in the country (so much so, Piha has its own TV show).
Spend the morning relaxing on the glistening, black sand of Piha before heading to Karekare for a spot of horse riding along the beach – you really couldn’t ask for a better backdrop.
Both beaches can be reached within an hour of the city.
A ridiculously cute suburb across the water from Auckland’s harbour, Devonport has a peaceful seaside town vibe and is the perfect place to head to for a day of cafe hopping, tramping and in good weather, frolicking around on the beach.
Devonport can be reached by a 30 minute ferry from the harbour.
5. Cornwall Park
This one may be a little biased on my part as I work in the park. However, there is a wonderful feel to Cornwall Park, which makes you want to wander its leafy fields for days.
Lined with charismatic old trees, communal BBQs, fields adorned with squishy beanbags, scenic walking trails, a lot of sheep and, most notably, the One Tree Hill monument, Cornwall Park is definitely somewhere worth heading for a picturesque picnic and a day of relaxation.
If you’re an early bird, it is also a stunning spot to watch the sunrise. Gaze at the sky as the milky morning mist melts into a fiery orange horizon. There is no better way to start your day…
Have you ever been to this part of New Zealand? What are your favourite day trips from Auckland?