6 of the Best Day Trips from Auckland

6 Day Trips from Auckalnd

Containing about a third of New Zealand’s population and a large proportion of the big businesses, it’s easy to see why lots of backpackers and ex-pats decide to make Auckland home. The city is hardly bustling in comparison with London, Sydney and New York but the surrounding suburbs are charming and packed full of independent bars and restaurants to relax in after work. In the CBD, it can be easy to forget you’re in one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world but you don’t have to travel far to get a taste of the real Kiwi lifestyle. Here are some of my favourite day trips from Auckland for when you just want to leave the city behind.

Piha Beach

Piha Beach by Real World Runaway

Drive Time: 50mins

Located on the West Coast, Piha beach is a surfer’s paradise. Take advantage of the rough waters of the Tasman Sea or explore the various nooks and crannies along the shoreline. If you’re feeling up to it, climb Lion Rock for amazing views over the black sand.

Kitekite Falls

Kitekite Falls by Real World Runaway

Drive Time: 50mins

Located in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, Kitekite Falls is a great place to relax for a day. The walking track is about an hour and half round trip to the base of the falls but it’s definitely worth the extra 20 minutes to get to the top. Go on a weekday and with a little luck, you’ll get the pools to yourself. They can get pretty cold but the views over the ranges are not to be missed.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island by Real World Runaway

Drive Time: 40 minute ferry

For wine lovers, a trip to Waiheke Island is a must. You can pay for a wine tour but most of the vineyards just let you rock up and do a tasting for around $10/20. For a bit of added fun, head to Wild on Waiheke where they offer archery and clay pigeon shooting as well as food and tastings. Maybe go for the dangerous activities pre-wine though. Just to be safe.

Manukau Heads

Manukau Heads Lighthouse by Real World Runaway
Drive Time: 1hr 30mins

Often described as one of Auckland’s “hidden gems”, the Manukau Lighthouse provides some amazing views of the Waitakere Ranges across the water. Despite this, it’s a long way to drive for the lighthouse alone. Make the trip worthwhile by visiting one of the amazing nearby beaches. Even in summer they’re pretty empty and you can have a whole stretch of sand all to yourself.

Goat Island

Goat Island by Real World Runaway

Drive Time: 1hr 30mins

The Goat Island Marine Reserve is a snorkeler’s dream, full of interesting sea creatures to discover. Don’t expect water full of tropical reefs, instead, go hunting for string rays and comb through the seaweed for beautiful fish. It’s more of a treasure hunt than a window display. If snorkelling isn’t for you, rent a kayak or take a glass bottom boat tour.

Added Bonus: The little town closed to the reserve is the only place I’ve found that does a proper bacon sandwich.

Karekare Falls

Day trips from Auckland: Karekare Falls
Drive Time: 50mins

Close to Kitekite Falls (in name and location), Karekare is usually a little less busy. The base of the waterfall is right off the road but most people tend to not stray far from their cars, meaning the track to the top is often quiet. Follow the stream to the end to find the oasis style pools that feed the waterfall. Just don’t forget a towel. It’s pretty chilly without one.

Where’s your favourite place in Auckland to escape the city? Let me know below!

Katie x



  1. March 25, 2017 / 9:10 am

    I have not been to NZ, but every single time I look at a photograph I wonder why the hell I am not booking a ticket on the first plane going there. I have never seen a bad photo – damn, it looks beautiful! As a country it has absolutely everything I love. I think I need to move there – the waterfalls and sea views are to die for!

    • katieackerley
      March 25, 2017 / 9:13 am

      It really is as beautiful in person! I’m from the UK and moved here 2 months ago and it still impresses me everyday!

  2. March 25, 2017 / 9:14 am

    So glad to see some Auckland appreciation! I spent three years in NZ and I feel like every other backpacker I met just moaned about how “boring” it was. These look like some very fun and very un-boring options to me!

    • katieackerley
      March 25, 2017 / 9:16 am

      I really loved living there! People don’t give it a chance but it can be a great place to live! So many cute restaurants and bars and so much amazing nature around!

  3. March 25, 2017 / 9:31 am

    We spent 4 weeks road tripping New Zealand last year, but unfortunately couldn’t squeeze Auckland in there. There’s just soooo much beautiful spots in New Zealand it’s impossible to see them all in such a short visit. We’ll probably visit again one day though, as New Zealand was our favourite country on our 1 year trip around the world. 😉

    • katieackerley
      March 25, 2017 / 9:33 am

      Yeah there are so many amazing things to see in New Zealand! I’m here for a year and there’s no way I’ll see everything I want to! It’s just all so beautiful!

  4. March 25, 2017 / 10:09 am

    Love reading about hidden gems! keeping this for future reference.

    • katieackerley
      March 25, 2017 / 10:12 am

      Thanks! I love discovering hidden gems too!

  5. March 25, 2017 / 11:22 am

    My parents are visiting New Zealand next year (so jealous!) so I’ll be sending this post to them. The Karekare Falls look so peaceful!

    • katieackerley
      March 26, 2017 / 7:18 am

      Thanks! Hope your parents have a great time!

  6. March 25, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    I loved Piha and Karekare beaches, they are so mystical! My favourite escapes were probably any hikes in the Waitakere, we used to go pretty much every weekend. Long Bay Regional Park was also really gorgeous and Rangitoto Island is well worth a trip! Beautiful photos!

    • katieackerley
      March 26, 2017 / 7:19 am

      Yeah having the ranges on your doorstep is amazing!

  7. April 1, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    oh my God!! My dream is to visit New Zealand!!!! I heard a few bad things about Aukland, glad that you put it in a different approach! 🙂