New Zealand is renowned for its incredible backdrops and scenery, which is why thousands of tourists flock here every year and more often than not, decide they’d rather stay that get on the excruciatingly long flight back to wherever they came from! Although Auckland is more well-known for its Universities and cafe’s than it’s snow peaked mountains, most of us don’t realise that a day-trip away from the CBD, are some of the prettiest sights that don’t require a 24-hour flight and a passport. Here are my top picks for road-trips when you’ve only got a day to savour:
Manukau Heads Lighthouse
Perched right on the edge of the Awhitu Peninsula – just 1 hour 20 minutes outside of Auckland, is the most beautiful lighthouse and a view of the Tasman Sea that seems to never stop. The drive itself is easy, nothing too rugged! The area is surrounded in hillside and as well as the picturesque lighthouse there is a viewing dock, some people are lucky enough to see Maui dolphins from here – unfortunately, we used up our good luck on the weather! Take a picnic and a camera if you decide to head up, there’s no way you’ll be wanting to leave in a hurry.
Just a short drive from Matakana markets (a Sunday fave of Aucklanders) is Omaha beach. This is by far my favourite beach in New Zealand! The ocean is always super turquoise, which always puts me in the mood for a day spent soaking up the sun. The first time I went was somewhat spontaneous which left me with no towel or togs, therefore no swimming *cry* but I did go for the “thigh-deep paddle to get a good photo” situation ’cause that water is too Instagram-worthy to not! 😉
The falls themselves are not what makes this one of my favourite spots for a day-trip, in fact, it’s the stream of strangely mystical-looking water that follows the longer walking track. I recommend packing a picnic (can you tell I like picnics) and braving the water to get to the rocks opposite the walking track. Most of them are flat enough to sit on and they beat the picnic benches offered next to the toilets at the end of the walk!
Muriwai Surf Beach
Last but definitely not least, is Muriwai surf beach. The beach itself is pretty spectacular, usually the spray from the ocean is so thick that you can’t see the entire stretch of black sand, but what you can see does not disappoint. There is a walk that goes from the main beach, up over the hills and ends with cliff-top views of the sea that seem to get better and better. The walk is scattered with look-outs and every one is worth a picture! My advice: if you go here, make sure your camera has a full charge because you will take photos of EVERYTHING.
And there you go! My fave road-trip locations that don’t involve a tent or communal showers, enjoy!