Five Day Trips from Auckland

Auckland’s awesome, but if you need a break from New Zealand’s largest city, these nearby destinations are worth exploring.

1. Rangitoto Island

View of Motutapu from Rangitoto Island. Photo by Jared, University of Queensland (AUS) (home university: Syracuse University)

Rangitoto Island formed from a volcano in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf just 600 years ago. Today, you can explore the lava caves on the island, as well as go boating, snorkeling and diving, kayaking, swimming, and exploring the island on foot.

Step-by-Step Directions

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Rangitoto Island Ferry (see timetable) — 25 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Rangitoto Wharf

2. Waiheke Island

Photo by Kristin, University of Queensland (AUS) (home university: Purdue University)

Waiheke Island offers countless activities including sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, snorkeling, and wind surfing. In particular, the island is best known for its coastal scenery, high quality cuisine, and winemaking.

Step-by-Step Directions

Arrive at the Downtown Ferry Terminal at 99 Quay St

Take the Fullers Auckland-Waiheke Island Ferry (see timetable) — 40 min

Arrive at the Rangitoto Island Ferry Terminal on the Matiatia Wharf

3. Piha

Photo by Kristin, University of Queensland (AUS) (home university: Purdue University)

The seaside town of Piha has a lot to offer. Rolling green hills, black sand beaches with turquoise water, and lush forests in the nearby Waitakere Ranges Regional Park — go check out Kitekite Falls — make Piha worth the drive.

Step-by-Step Directions

Starting from 51 Victoria St W, Auckland, 1010

Head west on Victoria St W toward Federal St — 500 ft

Turn left at the 2nd cross street onto Hobson St — 0.5 mi

Take the ramp to SH 16 — 175 ft

Keep right at the fork, follow signs for State Highway 16 W/Waitakere/Helensville and merge onto SH 16 — 3.4 mi

Keep right to stay on SH 16 — 1.5 mi

Keep right to stay on SH 16, follow signs for Route 13/Te Atatu Road/Henderson — 1.7 mi

Take exit 14 to merge onto Te Atatu Rd/Urban Route 13, Continue to follow Urban Route 13 — 2.0 mi

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Alderman Dr/Urban Route 13 — 800 ft

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Alderman Dr/Urban Route 13 — 335 ft

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Alderman Dr/Urban Route 13, Continue to follow Urban Route 13 — 1.4 mi

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Forest Hill Rd/Urban Route 13 — 0.5 mi

At the roundabout, continue straight to stay on Forest Hill Rd/Urban Route 13, Continue to follow Urban Route 13 — 3.7 mi

Turn right onto Scenic Dr — 0.25 mi

Slight left onto Piha Rd — 8.5 mi

Turn left onto Seaview Rd — 1.0 mi

Arriving at 55 Marine Parade N, Piha 0772

4. Hobbiton Movie Set

Photo by Sydney, University of Auckland (home university: George Washington University)

No Lord of the Rings fan can come to New Zealand without visiting Hobbiton, the filming location for the world-famous fantasy trilogy. Enter the world of Bilbo Baggins as you explore his little village of “hobbit holes,” colorful doorways built into hillsides.

Step-by-Step Directions

Starting from 51 Victoria St W, Auckland, 1010

Head west on Victoria St W toward Federal St — 500 ft

Turn left at the 2nd cross street onto Hobson St — 0.5 mi

Take the ramp to State Highway 1 — 175 ft

Keep left at the fork, follow signs for State Highway 1 S/Manukau/Hamilton and merge onto State Highway 1 — 61 mi

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto State Highway 1/State Highway 1B — 0.3 mi

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on State Highway 1/State Highway 1B — 1.0 mi

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto State Highway 1B — 750 ft

At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on State Highway 1B — 8.1 mi

Turn left to stay on State Highway 1B — 3.1 mi

Turn left to stay on State Highway 1B — 5.5 mi

Turn left onto Morrinsville Rd/SH 26 (signs for Cambridge/Route 26) — 0.7 mi

Turn right onto State Highway 1B (signs for Cambridge/Route 1B) — 4.9 mi

Turn left to stay on State Highway 1B — 3.4 mi

Turn left to merge onto State Highway 1 — 6.5 mi

Turn left onto Karapiro Rd — 2.4 mi

Slight left onto Buckland RdDestination will be on the right

Arriving at Hobbiton Movie Set, 508-632 Buckland Rd, Matamata 3472

5. Whangarei

Whangarei Falls. Photo by Jared, University of Queensland (AUS) (home university: Syracuse University)

The northernmost “city” in New Zealand and the capital of the Northland region, Whangarei is filled with natural beauty that makes it worth a drive. In particular, check out the Whangarei Falls — located in Whangarei Scenic Reserve and part of the Hatea River, one of the most popular swimming spot around the city.

Step-by-Step Directions

Starting from 51 Victoria St W, Auckland, 1010

Head west on Victoria St W toward Federal St — 0.7 mi

Turn right onto Beaumont St — 1,000 ft

Take the State Highway 1/Motorway ramp to Whangarei/North Shore — 0.3 mi

Merge onto State Highway 1 — 0.6 mi

Keep right at the fork to continue on Northern Motorway/State Highway 1, follow signs for State Hwy 1 — 1.7 mi

Keep right to continue on State Highway 1Partial toll road — 50 mi

Continue onto State Highway 1 — 27 mi

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit — 650 ft

Continue onto State Highway 1 — 15.7 mi

Turn right onto Tarewa Rd (signs for Whangarei Heads) — 0.5 mi

Continue onto Lower Tarewa Rd — 1,200 ft

At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Walton StDestination will be on the left

Arriving at 79 Walton St, Whangarei, 0110

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