Make the absolute best of your weekend by taking a road trip that will find you away from the masses. From rugged coastlines and beautiful beaches, to endless hiking trails and natural wonders, Auckland really isn’t that far from something mind-blowing.
Whether you’re seeking wildlife, somewhere to ride the waves or a place to make you say ‘wow!’, check out these off-the-beaten track road trips to take this weekend.
Boasting some of the most picture-perfect and secluded blinding white beaches, Motuhie island is a must-visit. Here you’ll find splash-worthy, crystal clear waters—it’s sure as hell worth the short boat trip to get there. We recommend packing a picnic and lacing up those walking boots for a perfect day trip out. Take the time to explore the coast and rolling luscious pastures, unearth the island’s history and get ready for spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and beyond! Take to the many tramping tracks and keep an eye and ear out for all of the native wildlife that resides here! I Spy, anyone?
Although this small seaside town features a sublime stretch of pure white sand to stroll the day away, Waipu also boasts a line-up of non-beachy things to do, too! Head off-the-beaten-track and into the Waipu Caves for a whole lotta ‘ooh’s’ and ‘ah's!’ Take a torch and spend your time exploring the stalactite-ridden darkness before rewarding yourself with the starry-esque light from the residing glow worms! No trip there would be complete without a hike through picturesque bushland to the mighty Piroa Falls. Take a dip in the many swimming holes if you dare! After all that exploring, your tum is bound to be calling out for some good grub, so why not hit up the renowned McLeod’s Pizza Barn for some incredible doughy goodness? Getting up early and hitting the road has never looked so good, believe us!
Tapapakanga is a complete and utter smorgasbord of delights! Not only is it a real working farm and regional park rolled into one, it also boasts a gorgeous pohutukawa-lined beach! Whether you’re into lazy days spent lounging by the sea or prefer exploring the coast in a kayak with a paddle in hand, you’re sure to spot a few rare and native birds. If you want to keep the sand out of your shoes, lace up and take to the many coastal and farmland tracks instead. Rich in Maori and European history, set amongst killer sights and views, whichever path you choose, you won’t be disappointed! As you’ve already got your exploring pants on, it would be a waste not to stop off at Hunua Falls on your way back to visit one of Auckland’s most spectacular sights!
Chances are, if you’re heading west for a weekend day trip, you’ll no doubt be hitting up the much-loved Piha, Karekare or Bethells beaches. Are we right? Always. Well, we may have just found your new west is best destination in the form of Whatipu. Sitting pretty at the bottom of the West Coast and featuring some of the most magnificent and magical photo opportunities and jaw-dropping scenes, it’s a complete ten out of ten from us! Start your day with a heavy-breathed hike up the Omanawanui Track for —you guessed it!—INCREDIBLE views and endless selfie taking. Head back down and into the neighbouring caves for even more exploring and investigating. Finish your day with the sea breeze in your hair as you watch the sunset against nine pin rock with a bottle of the good stuff in hand. Sounds like bliss to us!
Who said hitting the beach was only for the sun-filled summer days? Not us, although no one would ever complain about getting a tan either! With such a beautiful selection of beaches to choose from, why not hit up the ever-so-stunning Pakiri for your next day trip adventure? Recently featured on The Bachelor NZ, we won’t get you competing for a place in Zac’s surf life saving club, instead, we will tell you that this stretch of 14 km white sand beach is definitely worth a visit! If surfing is your jam, Pakiri’s tumbling waves are perfect for hitting the board all year round. For a real beach adventure, strap a saddle on and jump aboard a horse for the ultimate trekking experience. Gallop along the never-ending sands and get ready to feel like you’re a part of a rom-com, complete with slow motion wind in the hair moments!
If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a fun-filled day but want to be back in time for supper and Family Feud, look no further than Awhitu. In just a one-hour drive from Auckland's CBD, prepare to feel like you’re in your very own secret escape, complete with rugged black sand beaches and vast panoramic views. No trip to this South Auckland gem would be complete without a trek to the top of the lighthouse for even more stellar sights. If you truly want to feel the breeze in your hair and blow out any remaining cobwebs, take to the regional park and explore the rolling pastures and short trails. Stop off at one of the white sand beaches for a pit stop before donning your togs for a short but sweet splash in the cool waters!
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Image: Chris McLennan