Auckland Region, New Zealand
When going from Paihia (Bay of Islands) to the Haruru Falls, you can follow the Haruru Falls track. The Falls were a bit disappointing (probably because I had seen the Whangarei Falls some days earlier) but the +/- 1 hour track was very nice. One moment you are wandering about in the dense forest, the next moment you are completely taken by surprise by the open view on the river and the Hutia Creek. The walk through the mangrove forest boardwalk was my personal highlight on this track.
Note : this is in fact a one way track, but you can always go back the way you came
On the Rangitoto Island, near Auckland, in the Hauraki Gulf.
Most of the passengers that took the ferry to visit this volcanic island immediately head to the crater. Though this popular climb is quite steep, the paths are sufficiently comfortable and kept very clean. The brave (and pounding) hearts do get to see some amazing views and the volcanic landscape creates an unearthly atmosphere but still, it is a real pity that so few people stop and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Mc Kenzie Bay. The glistening sand of the flat beach, the charming seatower and the soothing waves make a very peaceful scenery.
I was in New Zealand during winter and sat down on this beach for almost an hour without seeing anybody else. I doubt this is also the case during summer.
If you have some time, it's nice to visit Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf, out from Auckland City. There are regular ferries leaving from downtown Auckland at the Ferry Building. Many people live on Waiheke and work in the city, so there are commuter ferries running making the schedule very regular.
This is in someways just another suburb of Auckland however the climate out there is very mild and appealing.
Traditionally it has been a place for weekends and holidays and you will find a lot of holiday homes, humble and original, which we call "baches". But now things are changing and there is a large population of permanent residents in 'proper' houses, mostly really nice stylish designs.
Waiheke has nice vineyards, cafés and lots of little cute beaches.
You can rent vehicles or bikes out there and have a fun time getting around.
See more photos and information on my page here.