Because a lovely day trip is just what we will need when lockdown ends.
We love Auckland, but sometimes, it is nice to get out of the city and explore something new and exciting nearby. Wonderfully, the North Island offers some iconic gems to discover, and on a boring Spring weekend, venturing on one of the greatest New Zealand day trips could be the pick-me-up you need. From scenic mountain drives to beach adventures, we’ve found something for all ages to enjoy. So, as soon as lockdown lifts, take yourself on a fantastic Spring road trip to one of these ten spots.
1. The Coromandel
Unwind at one of New Zealand’s finest destinations, specifically known for its more relaxed way of life and stunning coastal scenes. With magnificent beaches, incredible hikes and tasty grub — you’ll fall into a realm of tranquility. Highlights include museums, kayaking through the ocean, visiting the renowned Cathedral Cove Rock or Creek Railway, which is an old train ride in the mountains. You’re just two hours and 15 minutes away from this fantastic day trip.
Matakana is just 45 minutes drive from central Auckland, and offers the ultimate weekend foodie experience. Head early to avail of top-notch market deals and chow down on some fantastic cheap eats. Expect award-winning coffees, indulgent brunches, and plenty of sinful sweet options. Equally, there’s an array of shops and boutiques, in the surroundings, where you can shop till your drop. Indeed, a quick and easy day trip near Auckland.
Rotorua is probably one of the most underrated places on the planet. This magical land is only a two hour and 40 minute drive from Auckland. Known as Sulphur City, it is renowned for its bubbling mud pools, breathtaking hikes, natural hot springs and fascinating Maori culture. Perfect for a romantic getaway or an adventure road trip with the kids. You’ll end up pining for a visit after seeing their captivating Instagram feed.
This picturesque sight of carefully preserved world-class 1930s architecture is the greatest tourist attraction in Hawke’s Bay. Interestingly, a 1931 earthquake was responsible for this seaside resort, which gives you all the Great Gatsby vibes through its art deco facades, vintage cars and streetscapes. Get up at the crack of dawn, and drive the totally-worth-it four hours to reach this magical place. With the amount of jaw-dropping places to eat, all you foodies will be in your elements.
5. Auckland’s Wild West
For an adventurous day out, explore the gannet colony and the volcanic black sand beaches of Piha and Karekare by heading just 40 minutes west of Auckland. Opt to climb Lion Rock or hike the Waitakere Ranges Rainforest trails to see unique waterfalls like Fairy Falls. And if this doesn’t impress you, you can practice your surfing on one of the beaches. When you get hungry, head to Piha Store, at the centre of Piha village, for some world-famous pies and appetising grub paired with a hearty coffee to warm you up after all the outdoor activities.
6. Bay of Plenty
At some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you can try all sorts of fun water activities, gorge on some tasty seafood, and take in all this enchanting coastal spot has to offer. Just two hours and 25 minutes drive from Auckland, it makes an excellent day out for all types of travellers. You can visit one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes and take part in lots of forest adventures, just to name a few.
7. Waiheke Island
Take a 40 minute ferry ride to reach one of the most beautiful places in the world. Experience incredible coastal landscape, stunning walking trails, award-winning wineries, adrenaline activities like ziplining and much more. One of our favourite spots on Waiheke is Mudbrick Vineyard which overlooks the Hauraki Gulf and vines offering an iconic dining experience. Perfect for couples looking for an escape from Auckland for a day.
Drive three hours and 13 minutes to discover the natural wonders and take in the majestic views of Lake Taupo. Certainly, this tranquil haven is the best place to sooth your tensions in rare hot pools, embark on various cycling routes and partake in terrific adrenaline activities. Social media influencers will adore this picturesque place. Visit their Instagram feed for more inspiration.
The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings filming locations make a great day trip and one of the best things to do near Auckland this Spring. Just a two hour drive from the city, get ready to explore Alexander family sheep farm, the 12 acre set of the Hobbit Holes and learn how the movies were made. There are various types of tours on offer during the pandemic, although it’s best to check the Hobbiton Tours website for the most up-to-date information.
📍 Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand
Just one hour and 30 minutes drive from Auckland, you’ll reach this stunning village. With a range of diverse activities, from golf to cliff walks to donkey rides, you won’t be left dissatisfied. Opt to lounge on the beach, visit street food markets or fill your belly with wholesome chocolate truffles from the famous Bennetts of Mangawhai Chocolate Shop. Indeed, one of the best day trips from Auckland offering a pleasurable beach and foodie escape.