With so many things to do in Auckland, there are plenty of people who are choosing to stick around during their holidays—and we can hardly blame them. The City of Sails is something to behold, with it’s spectacular, sparkling harbour, epic food scene and numerous events around to make sure boredom simply isn’t an option. But, if you do need a little adventuring or some time out of the Big Smoke, never fear as there are plenty of last-minute summer escapes you can plan for. So pack up that car and get ready for a roadie!
Omaha & Matakana
Omaha is one stunning beach and heading there is perfectly manageable as a day trip. Get up early and take a pit-stop at Matakana, where you can enjoy some Oob Ice Cream and find some nifty things at the markets. Then head along to Omaha beach, where you can get sink down onto the sand and enjoy some body boarding for the day. Once you’re done with the beach, visit Leigh’s Sawmill Brewery en route home—because we all know you can’t leave a road trip on an empty stomach. Plus, they have live music there on the weekends and we’re picking that it’s going to be one of the hottest places to be in summer. We called it first!
You may want a weekend in Raglan, but it’s also great for a day trip. This little surfer town will sure make you thankful you made the journey. Roughly two hours from Auckland (traffic dependant), you will find yourself in a sleepy town with a rugged West Coast beach. Book yourself in for a surf lesson with some of the best waves around and then find your inner Zen with a night spent at Solscape. If you’re looking for a good feed, stop off at The Shack for a breakfast that’s every bit as good you’ll find in Auckland.
We hope by now, after all of our wonderful West Coast stories, you’ve explored at least some of this area. If not, we suggest popping it onto your must-do list for these holidays. Start your trip at Piha, where you can try your hand at surfing, followed by a few bevvies with the locals at the Piha Surf Club bar—taking care to have a sober driver, of course. Then, head to Bethells Beach where you can hike some of the Hillary Trail, because being #fitspo is so on trend. On your journey back, stretch out all of your summer holiday sins with a yoga class at Yoga West.
If you’re a bit of a surf dog then no doubt you’ve been to these spots, but it can’t hurt to get a few more these hols. Choose from three of our favourite East Coast surf beaches—Tawharanui, Te Arai and Forestry or, try them all!
Mangawhai is a glorious place, home to Bennetts Of Mangawhai and the Hen and Chicken Islands. At the other end of Te Arai is an area that’s less well known, Black Swamp. While such a name probably puts tourists off, beach-goers have been known to swim with dolphins here. Make a weekend trip to Mangawhai and don’t complain about the drive—there are plenty of people that do the commute daily just to enjoy the lifestyle.
Great Barrier Island
Book a flight and get to Barrier Island, stat. With the Medlands being infamous for its white sandy beaches, you’ll feel like you’re in Fiji—but it’s even better ‘cause you’re still in NZ. With plenty to do, you’ll find it difficult to chose from diving, fishing, surfing, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking.
We love the Coromandel, if not for the totally ‘gram worthy spot of Cathedral Cove, but also for its private, New Chums Beach, which is perhaps one of the most beautiful in New Zealand—and that’s a big claim! Really, you can’t call it a Kiwi summer without one trip to the Coromandel. Book a bach and stay anywhere along the coastline, hike the Pinnacles, and call it a day after visiting Cathedral Cove just to prove you’ve been.
If you’re doing things reeeally last minute and you don’t have time to book accommodation, jump on the ferry and head to Waiheke for the day. We recommend heading to Cable Bay, where you can enjoy soaking in the views on outdoor beanbags or a lunch at its top-notch restaurant. Just don’t forget to catch the last ferry back or you’ll be stranded!
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Image credit: The Coromandel