I recommend joining in the coast 2 coast eco tour. They'll pick you up in the morning from Auckland CBD and drop you off around 18:00. You'll have a great day out, get to see vineyards, craft fairs, honey producers and the tour operators' farm. Check out my full report here:
If you are in the Auckland region make sure make a trip out to Piha or the other west coast surf beaches. It is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. Relaxing by the beach pack a bbq picnic and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Beware of swimming at the surf beaches as it is very dangerous. Every year there are several tourist that drown in the surf. There can be very strong rip / undercurrents in the water. Always swim between the red and orange lifeguard flags. Stay safe and enjoy your holiday!
My Auckland Travel Guide by Thaistyle
From the car park of Tawharanui Regional Park different tracks start to all directions. We did the track to the right (North Coast Track) along 'the long drop', climbing a steep hill (see picture on the intro page), through meadows with 'wild' cows to Tokatu Point Look Out. During our walk and from the look out we had splendid views over the coastline and Hauraki Gulf with lots of islands. It takes about 1½ hours walking for the roundtrip.
There is an information board close to the car park. Tawharanui Regional Park has camping facilities (see website).
In combination with your visit to Goat Island an ideal day trip.
Worth a visit for its rough coastline and (black sand) beaches, but most of all for the large gannet colony.
From the car park is an easy walkway to a couple of viewing platforms. No problem to find your way, otherwise you will most probably smell where you have to go.
From these platforms you have a good view on the birds some metres beneath.
There are other 'colonies' on small islands offshore. On the platforms are information boards, which tell you the amazing story of the Gannets and their flight to Australia.
You might see these beautiful birds from August till late February/early March. We have visited these colony twice in February and did see also the (little) chicks. The parents flying on and off gathering food in the Tasman Sea
for their 'children'.
North and South of these Gannet Colony are black sanded beaches. As almost everywhere on the 'wild' west coast it is dangerous to swim. Take care !!!
There are camping facilities in Muriwai Regional Park (see website).
Piha Beach is situated at the end of Piha Road going through dense native bush.
Suddenly the road winds down to the coast. There are wonderful views over Piha Beach, divided through the huge 100 metres high Lion Rock. There is a track to the top with a splendid view over the coastline.
Piha Beach is famous for the never ending swells of the Tasman Sea on the wild west coast of New Zealand and an excellent place for surfing.
The black sanded (iron) beach might be very hot when the sun is shining in the summer. It is dangerous to swim at Piha Beach. Take care !!
There are two more beaches - Karekare and Anawhata - which can be accessed from Piha Road.
There are camping facilities at Piha (see website).
Arataki Vistor Centre is an ‘obliged’ starting point before visiting Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.
Everything you want to know about this ‘city forest’ you can get from the staff of the centre. If you are planning a walk or hike, just buy the Recreation and Track Guide.
Inside you find information about the history, flora and fauna of the region. And also some huge beautiful carved Maori guardian posts (‘pou’ in Maori language).
Outside, just opposite the building, start three nature loop trails through the dense forest.
There is a magnificent view over the Ranges and downtown Auckland.
If visiting Auckland, just take your walking boots with you. In Waitakere Ranges Regional Park you will find about 150 walks and tracks: easy, difficult, short, long, along the coastline and through native bush and along cascades.
We walked a couple and one of them was the so called 'Auckland City Walk'. This walk starts from the car park on Falls Road and follows the Waitakere Stream through forest with even some kauri’s. It is about 1,5 km and will take less than 1 hour.
Starting in the township of Titirangi follow Huia Road; soon you will have views over Manukau Harbour. Make a detour to Cornwallis with its wharf. Everywhere along the road tracks and viewing points.
Huia has a Settlers Museum (for openinghours see website below ) and you can take a visit to the dam of the Lower Huia Reservoir. After this (last) township Whatipu Road turns into a narrow winding gravel road.
Be careful !!
On your right hand is a road to Mt. Donald McLean, one of the highest peaks in the Ranges, accessible over a rather steep walk.
At the end of the road, next to the car park, is Whatipu Lodge. These old wooden buildings nowadays offer some accommodation on this very remote place, just 30 km’s from downtown Auckland. There is also a small shop for some refreshments.
Make a walk on the wild beach and trough the swampland along Abel Tasman Sea.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a scientific reserve and bird sanctuary located off the eastern tip of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, in the northern part of Auckland Region. The island has undergone intensive re-planting in order to restore it to what it might have looked like before it was cleared for farming. Several speices of rare native birds have been re-introduced or introduced to the island. These include kiwi, North Island Kokako and Hihi (Stichbird). One of the best ways to visit the island is with a volunteer Tiri guide. The guides will make your day on the island so much more interesting with information about the efforts to revegetate the island and the birds that are found there.
The tallest man-made structure in New Zealand is the Skytower.
To reach the observation deck meant a journey for us in a glass fronted lift, thankgoodness it wasn't in the one with the glass floor! They travel at 18 kph and reach the deck in 40 seconds.
Every 15minutes, a lift is ready to whisk you to the top or bottom!
We walked around enjoying the views when we noticed somebody going to jump over the side of the building! Wow!!!! You wouldn't catch me doing that! One moment there, next moment gone, all happened so quick, I couldn't catch it on camera. Waited and waited, but nobody else took the plunge!
I did take the plunge and stood on the glass floor!
Also on the skytower are Restaurants, and down the bottom a gift shop.
The place to go for amazing views of Auckland!
Sunday - Thursday 8.30am - 10.30pm (last tickets sold at 10pm)
Friday & Saturday 8.30am - 11.30pm (last tickets sold at 11pm
Total Tower Experience
Main Observation Sky Lounge Bar/Cafe Sky Deck (220 metres & the highest viewing point in Auckland)
ADMISSION IN 2010....Adult $28.00 Child (5-14 years) $11.00
Main Observation Sky Lounge Bar/CafE
ADMISSION IN 2010...Adult $25.00 Child (5-14 years) $8.00
If you want to see a live Kiwi, then come to the Auckland Zoo. This is why we came. The Kiwi is in a nocturnal house featuring kiwi and tuatara.
The nocturnal house lighting is set to a dim moonlight, so you can watch the kiwi forage for small bugs and worms.
The tuatara can be found by looking through a glass into a replica den from inside the nocturnal house
OPEN... from 9.30am to 5.30pm (except Christmas Day), with last admissions into the Zoo at 4.15pm.
During winter (1 June to 31 August), the Zoo closes at 5.00pm.
Child (4 to 15 years) $9.00
Infants (under 4) FREE
Family prices and rates
1 Adult + 2 children $35.00
SIR EDMUND HILLARY STATUE, we found in Hillary Square at Orewa, just north of Auckland
I should think everybody knows that he and his sherpa were the 1st to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953.
Hillary later devoted much of his life to helping the Sherpa people by founding the Himalayan Trust, which built schools and hospitals in this remote region of Nepal.
Sir Edmund Hillary sadly passed away on January 12th, 2008, aged 88 years.
He will be remembered.......
"The legendary mountaineer, adventurer, and philanthropist is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived."
One Tree Hill Lookout was excellent, there were great views from here over Auckland. The problem was, where to park, it was so popular, all the parks were full!
The highest point of the hill is topped with a single pine tree (replacing the original native Totara), a monument, and the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, the 'founding father' of Auckland City.
Its grassy slopes and gardens are popular with picnickers as we found out!
One of my favourite things to do in Auckland is to get out on the harbour on a nice sunny day and take in the fresh sea breeze and stunning harbour views.
Taking the ferry out to Waiheke Island is a good way to see an interesting number of the islands in the harbour from afar and also see the harbour bridge and city views as you leave and return.
Check out the different harbour tours and prices on the Fullers website.
The America's Cup and the Challenger Series' Louis Vuitton Cup were major events in Auckland in the 2002-03 summer. There were challenger boats from different parts of the globe all vying for the right to race Team New Zealand for the America's Cup.
One of the best things about the America's Cup was that the area called the Viaduct Basin in downtown Auckland got a completely new look. Now it is full of restaurants and bars and the surrounding area also has apartments and a few hotels.
It is possible to take a ride on a couple of the NZ boats (NZL40 and NZL41) used in previous America's Cup events. You need to go tot he Viaduct Harbour and in front of Degree Restaurant & Bar is the departure point. Sail NZ is the name of the operator and the sailing experience is 2 hours in duration. Cost is NZ$150 for adults.
The rooms and hotel in general were nicer than expected, and service was good. While this hotel may...more
83 Delamore Drive, PO Box 572, Waiheke Island, North Island, New Zealand
Good for: Couples
29 Kaitoke Lane, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand
Good for: Couples