Let’s be honest, Mother Nature is one amazing lady. She’s the mastermind behind some of life’s finest things: beaches, waterfalls, mountains, forests…the list goes on. And, every night, she puts on a stunning display as the sun sinks behind the horizon. It’s a spectacular moment that deserves to be savoured.
Keen to head off on a sun-chasing road trip, the friendly folk at MINI let us borrow the brand new MINI Countryman (we’re so lucky, right?!). Music cranking, we plugged in our destinations into the in-built mapping system and headed off into the sunset—literally. To give you some sun-spiration, here are six sunset-friendly places we stumbled upon on our adventure.
First things first, no list of Auckland sunsets would be complete without talking about the much-loved Piha Beach. This is the West Coast at its finest—black sand, rugged coastlines and enormous surf. Pop a picnic rug on the sand or climb the iconic Lion Rock for a good vantage point of the sun’s rays. Pro tip: Be sure to pack a jacket because Piha gets super chilly once the sun goes down.
There are not many places in the world where you can sit on the banks of a volcano to watch the sun set—but in Auckland, you can! There are more than 50 volcanoes to choose from but one of our sunset faves is Mount Eden. The suburban volcano boasts 360-degree views of the city and beyond. Lay in the arms of your significant other as you watch the sun set over the Waitakere Ranges—romantic much?
Overlooking the glistening Waitemata Harbour, you’ll find sunset hotspot Bastion Point. From here, you can watch the city’s skyline turn into a silhouette as the sun says goodbye for the day. What’s more, Bastion Point is just around the corner from Mission Bay so it’s the perfect spot for a pre or post-sunset dinner or ice-cream.
Maori Bay And/Or Muriwai Beach
We loaded up the MINI Countryman with everything we needed for an adventure (thank goodness for a tonne a boot space!) and headed for Muriwai Beach and nearby Maori Bay. The gannet colony is the perfect subject matter for budding photographers. Wildlife, surf and dramatic cliffs…talk about being picture perfect! Alternatively, opt to get fish and chips from the local takeaway shop and find a spot on the black sand beach of Muriwai or Maori Bay as you watch the sun go down.
Another fab volcano to witness a sunset from is Mount Victoria on the North Shore. The grassy banks provide the perfect pozzy to set up a picnic and there’s even a few conveniently placed benches looking towards the city’s skyline. For the ultimate sunset seat, the MINI Countryman has a picnic bench that unfolds from the boot—genius! From Mount Vic, you also get a bird’s-eye view of the super cute Devonport villas below—total house goals.
You haven’t seen a sunset until you’ve witnessed a Waiheke sunset! This oh-so-Instagramable spot is praised for putting on quite the show. Think incredible cloud formations and breathtaking colours of red, violet and everything in between. Find a perch overlooking the island’s vineyards and sit back and enjoy—preferably with a glass of vino in hand!
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Image credit: Rowan Nicholson and Kellie Blizard