Here are my top picks for the best day trips from Auckland.
While doing research before my visit to Auckland, I discovered that there are so many awesome day trips available. Although some are only accessible by car, there are also organised tours to many of them as well (perfect for fellow solo travellers). From islands to beaches to quaint towns, keep reading for the top day trips from Auckland.
THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM AUCKLAND
If you like wine, make a beeline for Waiheke Island. A 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland, the popular destination is home to 30 boutique vineyards, which you can experience on a tour. Waiheke Island also has pristine beaches and walking tracks (check out the Church Bay Circuit). The main street is filled with independent shops, cafes and food options as well, and it hosts a market on Saturday mornings.
Rangitoto Island is another Auckland day trip option. The dormant volcano is a popular place for hikers, as you can climb to the summit for stunning Harukai Gulf views. It’s also home to the world’s largest pohutukawa tree forest.
Devonport is a short 12-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. It was on my list to visit for sunset photos from Mount Victoria, but I just ran out of time. Other things to do in Devonport include visiting historic North Head and strolling the main street. I heard Devonport Chocolates is worth a visit, plus there are many galleries.
WAITOMO GLOWWORM CAVES
You can do guided tours of the Waitomo Caves, which look pretty incredible. Look up to see thousands of glowworms on the ceiling. You can also do tubing, rafting, abseiling, zip-lining and adventurous caving experiences in the Waitomo Caves as well.
Puhoi is an historic town located 50 kilometres north of Auckland. Apparently, the must-do activity in Puhoi is kayaking down the river. The Puhoi Valley Cheese Shop is also worth a visit. Just up the road is Matakana as well, which hosts an excellent weekly farmers market.
HOBBITON MOVIE SET
I was contemplating doing a day trip to Hobbiton, but as you can see, it’s not cheap. I couldn’t find a day tour that included transport from Auckland for under $200. It’s definitely more affordable to make your own way there and then do a guided tour of the movie set. You can actually do combined Hobbiton/Waitomo day trips from Auckland as well, if one adventure isn’t enough.
On the west coast is Raglan, a two-hour drive south of Auckland (and inland from Hamilton). It’s the best Auckland day trip for surfers. Advanced surfers will want to head straight to Manu Bay. Don’t miss visiting Bridal Veil Falls either.
One of the most popular day trips from Auckland is visiting the Coromandel Peninsula. While Cathedral Cove is probably the most famous attraction in the peninsula (it instantly reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia), it definitely has more to offer. Top things to do in Coromandel Peninsula include Hot Water Beach, Karangahake Gorge, The Pinnacles and Hauraki Rail Trail.
HEAD TO THE BEACH
Less than an hour’s drive from Auckland, there are many beautiful west coast beaches. There’s Piha, which has Kitekite Falls, Karekare Beach and Waitakere Ranges nearby. Further north is Muriwai Beach and Bethells Beach, which is featured in Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woods music video.
I hope this post inspires you to take a day trip from Auckland. I need to return to tick them off my bucket list as well 😉
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