Enjoy on-street cafes, park-like picnic areas and safe sandy beaches just minutes from Auckland's central business district.

Tamaki Drive, the scenic waterfront route around Auckland's eastern bays, has a dedicated cycle lane and is also popular with walkers, runners and skaters. Kayaking is another way to make the journey. Peaceful views across the harbour to the volcanic island Rangitoto accompany you all the way.

The premier beach along this route is Mission Bay, where you'll find white sand and an extensive grassed area ideal for throwing a frisbee, kicking a ball or simply snoozing under one of the large pohutukawa trees. Across the road from the park is a huge selection of cafes and food outlets. A walking track leads up the western headland to Bastion Point - a well maintained park reserve. Here you can enjoy panoramic views of the harbour and islands, explore remnants of World War II defence structures or stroll through the gardens of the memorial to a visionary New Zealand Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage.

The next sandy beach is Kohimarama, which is quieter with fewer cafes. It is perhaps best known for its small-boat yacht club, where many of New Zealand's world champion sailors first honed their skills.

The seaside village of Saint Heliers provides the backdrop for Tamaki Drive's final beach. Behind the waterfront cafes, a collection of small local shops offers the option of a little idle retail therapy.

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