You’ll find the best of both worlds in Auckland, with beautiful rainforest, parks and beaches all so close to the city centre. The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park west of the city centre has more than 250 kilometres of walking and hiking tracks through lush native rainforest, past cascading waterfalls and along a magnificent coastline. Walk through the region’s largest native forest in the Hunua Ranges or explore the striking landscapes of some of Auckland’s 26 regional parks, such as Duder, Shakespear, Tapapakanga or Awhitu.
You’re never far from the sea in Auckland. Bring your board to one of the black-sand surf beaches on the wild west coast – Karekare, Piha, Te Henga (Bethells), Muriwai and more. Head north to the expansive golden sands and clear waters of Tāwharanui and Pakiri. Closer to the city centre, visit Mission Bay, Kohimarama or St Heliers, just a 15-minute drive from downtown Auckland. Enjoy a stroll along the promenade, hire a kayak or stand up paddleboard, or tuck into fresh fish and chips.
Explore Auckland’s magnificent Hauraki Gulf and its beautiful islands. The jewel of the gulf is Waiheke Island, a haven of vineyards, olive groves, beaches and fine dining, just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland.
For an exciting day trip, discover the history and sandy coves of Rotoroa Island, explore the open wildlife sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi Island or climb the volcanic cone of Rangitoto Island for incredible views from the summit. If you have a little more time, travel by light plane to Great Barrier Island, renowned for its rugged beauty and unspoilt wilderness.
Auckland has an impressive variety of restaurants, cafes and bars to suit every taste and budget. In the inner city you’ll find modern dining at Britomart, Federal Street and City Works Depot. Enjoy dinner and drinks or a casual bite on Auckland’s beautiful waterfront in the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter precincts.
Auckland has three main wine growing regions, where superb wine and stunning scenery go hand in hand. Visit Waiheke Island, known as ‘the island of wine’ for its 30 wineries and vineyards. North of the city discover Matakana’s boutique wineries set amid picturesque coastal countryside. Kumeu in the west is home to Auckland’s oldest established vineyards and is surround by market gardens and organic produce.