7 Summer Auckland Day Trip Destinations

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Read about '7 Summer Auckland Day Trip Destinations' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

Hiring a van is the perfect way to get out of Auckland city for a day and escape the boredom (as well as the heat!) with friends and family. Going as a group means you can save money on the vehicle rental and petrol costs, as well as share the burden of driving.

7 Of The Best Quick Self Drive Day Trips From Auckland

Short on time or have younger kids in tow? These fantastic day trips are exactly what you need.

1. Duder Regional Park

Duder Regional Park is a large farm park beside the sea, offering spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf. There are a number of gentle and more strenuous walks you can do to fully explore the area, including the foundations of an old Maori settlement. In addition to the farmland you’ll find pockets of native bush including kauri trees and rare bird species.

On the return trip swing by the Hunua Ranges Regional Park and check out the scenic Hunua Falls. At 30 metres the Falls are a lovely place for a picnic or just to stretch the legs.

Access to Duder Regional Park is via the Southern Motorway, turning off near the Botanic Gardens and heading out towards the coast to 933 North Road, Clevedon – only an hour’s drive from Auckland City.

2. Hobsonville Point

Short on time and need something a little closer to home? Hobsonville Point is great destination for the whole family. This historical airbase still has many of its original buildings still intact and an hour long walk leads you around the main features, including a row of houses occupied by officers, barracks and a hangar.

All the structures at Hobsonville Point date between 1925-1937, and are a great portrayal of New Zealand architecture of that time period. There is also a Farmers’ Market every weekend selling fresh local produce plus waterfront bars and cafes.

Situated roughly halfway between Albany and Westgate on State Highway 18, it takes about 20 minutes to drive to Hobsonville Point from the CBD.

3. Matakana

At just under an hours drive from the city, Matakana is a popular destination for Aucklanders looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day. Known for its beautiful natural environment with rivers, forests and beaches, but also its quaint local culture and boutique shops, Matakana is the perfect day trip destination for all ages.

Seek out the popular Farmers’ Market, quirky cafes and wine stores – all part of the attraction. Stop for a coffee on the way at Puhoi and check out the historic colonial buildings, a famous pub and cheese factory.

Matakana is 50 minutes drive from Auckland, heading north across the harbour Bridge and up the east coast.

4. Piha

The seaside village of Piha is situated on the rugged west coast and comes complete with a black sandy beach and that ‘world away from anywhere’ feeling. Popular with surfers the beach offers up some excellent surf, (weather permitting) with strong swells and good breaks. The prominent ‘Lions Rock’ situated mid-way along the beach gives those who wish to scale its slopes some amazing views on a clear day.

The nearby Waitakere Ranges Regional Park has subtropical native rainforest and trails to waterfalls such as Kitekite and Fairy falls and Karekare, to the south, also has a fantastic black sand beach.

Located to the north west of Auckland, Piha is roughly 50 minutes drive away. However be warned the road is narrow and windy at times.

5. Awhitu Peninsula

Taking it to the wilderness lovers today, the Awhitu Peninsula juts out between the Manukau Harbour and the Tasman Sea. This bracing and rugged location is home to the small Awhitu Regional Park where you can explore parkland pastures and wetlands, and enjoy the safe, sandy beaches and sheltered picnic areas.

Drive out to the Manukau Heads Lighthouse along Manukau Heads Road and visit one of the very few accessible lighthouses in New Zealand. Make your way up the 120 steps into the wooden lighthouse and take in the spectacular ocean views – keep an eye out for some rare wildlife while you’re there.

Roughly 95km from Auckland, the drive to Awhitu takes about an hour and 15 minutes heading south on the southern motorway turning off at Drury to head towards the west coast, the route is signposted from Waiuku. The lighthouse is another 15 minutes further on.

6. Ambury Regional Park

Located just 15km from Auckland Central, the Ambury Regional Park is a short drive towards the shores of the beautiful Manukau Harbour. A working farm as well as education centre, Ambury Regional Park has a wide selection of farm animals to view such as sheep, goats, chicken, rabbits and even peacocks strutting their stuff.

There are also lots of coastal walks with amazing views across the harbour, and the area is a favourite spot for bird watchers. The park is open 24 /7 to those on foot, with restricted hours for vehicle entry.

Picnic tables and BBQ’s are located on site and are free to use. Remember to take all rubbish and recycling with you when you leave.

7. Anawhata Beach

Anawhata Beach is a popular West Coast surfing, swimming and fishing beach that is great for those wanting to escape the crowds of neighboring beaches. You will find it is a relatively small beach nestled between rocky outcrops with a large rock formation in the centre. 

The forest you walk through on the way is filled with fantail, tui, morepork and kereru which will be chiming out all year long. The beach itself is not safe for swimming, so enjoy it from the sand and go for a paddle if you get too hot.

Head to Titirangi Village, and follow Scenic Drive until you read Piha Road then Anawhata Road – this is about 40km from Auckland City. You’ll also need to walk around 30 minutes to reach the beach, but the reward for this is an extremely sheltered and private beach experience.

Top 5 Auckland Road Trip Destinations

Want to head out for more than just a day? Think big with these ones and let’s hit the road!

1. Pahia

Known as the gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands, Paihia offers up plenty to see and do for the day. Don’t miss the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (the birthplace of New Zealand’s founding settlement document) and the giant Maori canoe.

Swim with dolphins or enjoy a sailing tour around the Islands, visiting the interesting ‘Hole in the Rock’ formation. Or take the ferry across to Russell and grab some lunch in one of the many cafes, wander the streets and admire the iconic history of the place or just hit the beach and soak up some sun.

The very scenic drive to Paihia ia roughly 3 hours by car, heading north out of Auckland on State Highway 1 you will pass through the three big ‘W’s’ – Warkworth, Wellsford and Whangarei.

2. Raglan

The little gem of the Waikato, Raglan is situated on the west coast of the North Island. Its rugged windswept beach and rough coastline provide a picturesque backdrop to the Small Township and the nearby Pirongia Forest Park – perfect for hiking and tramping.

Grab a surfing lesson down on the beach or take a dip in the wild waves to refresh the mind and body. Feeling adventurous? Why not try your hand at rock climbing, caving or kayaking? Or if you are after a slower pace check out the great walking tracks in the area.

Raglan is approximately 2 hours’ drive from Auckland taking State Highway 1 south, turning off just before reaching Hamilton. There are plenty of cafes, shops and places to stay in Raglan.

3. Coromandel Peninsula

With the Coromandel Forest Park on one side and the oceanic Firth of Thames on the other this drive following the edge of the Coromandel Peninsula is easily one of them most scenic coastal drives in New Zealand.

Take a railway tour on New Zealand’s steepest railway with the Driving Creek Railway team, go mountain biking, kayaking or tackle the epic Coromandel Coastal Walkway. The Coromandel is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Make a round trip out of it and head down to Hot Water Beach for the afternoon before returning via Tairua and Hikuai.

The drive to Coromandel takes around 2.5 hours, grab a coffee at Thames on the way and one on the way back at Tairua and it will help break up the journey perfectly!

4. Mount Maunganui

The perfect summer paradise, Mount Maunganui offers up a ‘remote beach resort’ feel with the added bonus of great shopping, restaurants and cafes just across the water in Tauranga’s township.

The beautiful beach at ‘The Mount’ as it’s known by the locals (named after the nearby prominent volcanic cone), is perfect for swimming, surfing and sun bathing. Join in a game of beach volley ball, take a stroll along the boardwalk and grab a real fruit ice cream in the heat of the day. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb right to the top of the Mount for the best views.

Roughly two and a half hours drive from Auckland, Mount Maunganui is the ultimate day trip destination.

5. Rotorua

Boiling mud pools any one? Rotorua is the best place to experience New Zealand’s geothermal wonders without having to get too far off the beaten track. Experience the best of the steaming geysers and boiling mud pools while immersing yourself in the local Maori culture.

Rotorua is also famous for being the tourism mecca of the North Island. Take on Zorbing, Whitewater Rafting, Jet Boating, ride the Gondola, hit the Luge, Parasailing, Ziplining and much much more.

Just 2 hours 45 minutes from Auckland, Rotorua is an extremely popular road trip destination for travellers from all around New Zealand.

Auckland rental van road trips are a great way to enjoy the natural environments surrounding the city, providing the opportunity to escape and relax with friends and family. USAVE offer a range of spacious and affordable van and minibus rental vehicles ranging from 8 seater people carriers to luxury 12 seater coaches.


Tags: , , ,