No matter how in control you think you are of your life, things can sometimes get a bit cray. Whether work is doing your head in or lingering stress is starting to balloon in a big way, there is no better way to hit the reset button than spending some quality time with Mother Nature.
To help you out, we’ve tracked down some of the best nature getaways in and around Auckland. Reeelax and unwind.
Waitakere Ranges Regional Park
This one is a no-brainer. Just a 40-minute drive from the city and you’re in the stunning Waitakere Ranges—your soul and body will thank you from the moment you arrive. There’s more than 250 kilometres of walking tracks, which will take you through native bush, past spectacular waterfalls and to lookouts offering mind-blowing views. If you’re in need of a serious getaway, the Hillary Trail will do the trick. Named after Sir Ed, the four-day, self-guided tramp takes you along the wild coastline and is sure to get you back in sync.
Auckland Botanic Gardens
Before you get yourself ready for a nature-seeking roadie, remember that we’ve got a garden sanctuary right here in Auckland. Located in Manurewa, the Auckland Botanic Gardens is a whopping 64-hectare site and home to more than 10,000 plants from all around the globe. From African plants and palm gardens to a lush native forest and rose garden, there’s so much nature, your senses won’t know what hit them.
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Nothing screams nature like a wildlife sanctuary and Tiritiri Matangi is the ticket. The 220-hectare island was once stripped of 94 per cent of its native bush but as one of New Zealand’s most exiting conservation project, 60 per cent of the island’s forest is now back in action. You can get there by ferry from Auckland and spend the day walking around the island, checking out the lighthouse and swimming at Hobbs beach.
The wild, wild west coast is home to several breath-taking beaches but Whatipu is a winner. This remote beach isn’t great for swimming (just don’t, there’s zero surf patrol) yet once you get there, that won’t even matter. There’s so much to do. Clear out your mind and go for a stroll, try your hand and bouldering, or visit the caves. Yonks ago, the largest cave was used as a dancehall (!) so BYO portable speakers and have yourself a cave rave.
Duder Regional Park
Ever want to throw in the towel, buy some chickens and move to a farm? Duder Regional Park will let you get a taste of that life in one day. Around 40-minutes from Auckland City, this coastal farm park will have you frolicking while taking in the sweeping views of the city, Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel Peninsula. There are sheep (and lambies!) so your precious pup will have to hold the fort at home. If you happen to have a horse, however, just pick up a free permit and he or she will be welcome.
Tapapakanga Regional Park
Is it a farm or is it beach? Tapapakanga Regional Park combines working farmland with beautiful coastline, making it the perfect spot to get away from it all. There’s plenty of places to sit and enjoy a picnic with your crew. During summer, the beachfront campground is where you want to be. It’s nestled amongst the pohutukawa trees, isn’t too busy and has epic views of the Coro—what more could you want from a getaway?
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Image credit: Polkadot Passport