Road Trip on the Coast of Auckland
One of the great things about Auckland is the fact that you can enjoy many varied day trips from the city. One day you can be exploring the Hauraki Gulf, the next you can drive up the Matakana Coast.
The Matakana Coast is a section of the North Shore district incorporating both the east and west coast. So whether you’re passing through on your way up north, or sticking around Auckland to work and travel, the Matakana Coast is something fresh and isolated in comparison to the hustle and bustle of the city.
Drive through diverse landscapes, from romantic vineyards to stunning beaches. Go on an adventure by diving in a marine reserve or culture yourself at a Maori village. Take a look at the list below to find some great additions to your backpacking checklist in New Zealand!
1. Goat Island Marine Reserve
This marine reserve surrounding the tiny Goat Island is one of the most popular snorkelling/diving spots in the Auckland Region. Fish are fearless and plentiful, which makes the whole trip worthwhile. Find out how to make the most of your visit with 5 Fun Things to Do at Goat Island Marine Reserve.
The town exudes a strong colonial heritage, so any 1900s fan will be served! Aside from heritage architecture, do not leave the town without checking out the huge kauri trees in the forest nearby. For more activities, see the 10 Wonderful Things to Do in Warkworth. Pro tip: Those on a working holiday will find great fruit picking opportunities in this area, especially towards the end of summer.
More than a simple small village, Puhoi showcases the story of its early settlers: bohemians that came to the country in search of a fresh start.
4. Te Hana Te Ao Marama
Auckland’s leading Maori cultural centre offers a true Maori experience from a guided village tour to a marae stay. Plus, the village’s lighting work is stunning to see at night!
The natural thermal pools of Waiwera are a well-known relaxing spot for Aucklanders. Our tip: try to avoid them in the school and public holidays. While in the area, check out the peaceful Wenderholm Regional Park.
6. Kawau Island
For those with a bit of spare cash, hopping on the ferry to Kawau Island leaving from Sandspit will be a treat. The island boasts wildlife and walks that rival with other islands in the Hauraki Gulf.
7. Matakana Village
If there is a “best” time to visit this small village, it has to be on a Saturday morning. The small market brings the best of the village to life, from colourful products to talkative locals and delicious food.
8. Mahurangi Peninsula
The peninsula is home to multiple beaches, bays and parks: take your pick! Snells Beach, Sandspit and Algie Bay stand out from the lot.
Pakiri Beach is often described in three words: “pristine white sand.” Located only 14km (9 miles) north of Mangawhai, it is a great spot for horse riding, surfing and even bird watching.