If you’ve been cocooned up this winter, it’s time to come out of hibernation and start planning some trips out of the city! Let’s remind ourselves how lucky us Aucklanders are to have so many wonderful destinations just a stones throw from home to soak up some much needed vitamin D and debut that new summer wardrobe. Here’s our top three must-go spots for the warmer months:
Though best known as a spot for keen surfers, don’t fret if you’ve got the balance of a toddler on roller-skates – this little town has much more to offer weekend travellers than its surf breaks. Start the day with a coffee from Raglan Roast - arguably one the best coffee spots in the North Island - or grab a scrumptious filled roll from The Shack.
Given the stunning scenery and quintessential chilled-out kiwi atmosphere- it’s no wonder Raglan has a thriving arts scene; so check out some of the incredible galleries, or pick up some nifty trinkets from the stores along Wainui road.
Bridal Veil Falls
We recommend spending the night in one of the various up-cycled lodgings at Solscape. With offerings ranging from simple to luxe, you can choose to stay in the quirky garden domes, recycled cabooses, or give glamping a go in the lovely tipi forest. For those looking for a bit more privacy try the sweeping sea views and rustic charm of the Ivy Cottage.
If you’re feeling sceptical that winter really is behind us, then the best place to head is Matakana Village, where the Awanui cherry blossoms are out in full force! Matakana is the best little getaway to clear your lungs and forget about city stresses.
Head there early on a Saturday morning for the Matakana Village Farmers Markets; a foodie haven centred around fresh local artisanal goods. The Sculptureum is not to be missed, with galleries, a vineyard and three sculpture gardens which have been curated over a decade. This hidden gem is an art lovers paradise, and kid-friendly. Grown-ups, book yourself in for a wine-tasting tour in one of the numerous vineyards of the region.
If you convinced yourself that exercise was too risky an endeavour this winter, it might be time to dust your walking shoes off and head north to try one of the stunning hikes at Bream Head. While this one is a little further from Auckland, the views are well worth the trek! Even a cloudy day can’t dim the beauty of the rugged coastline at Oceans Beach.
If your muscles are still thawing out and need a bit of coaxing, try the Smugglers Bay walk, an easy 40 minute walk over farmland, with some killer views to boot. For those feeling a bit more adventurous, the Te Whara Loop Track boasts some incredible 360 degree views. Take a picnic and your camera, this is one walk that you won't want to forget.