Mangawhai, Auckland

Explore Mangawhai: planning your Auckland road trip

It’s summer. You’ve picked up your sleek new rental car in downtown Auckland and it’s time for an epic road trip. But with so many choices in the area and only a weekend getaway’s worth of leave up your sleeve, where should you go?

Well whether you’ve gathered the old crew of mates, corralled the family, or you’re hitting the open road solo for some well-earned you-time, you’ll find exactly the adventure you’re looking for on the road to Mangawhai. It’s the ultimate weekend road trip, no matter who you’re taking for the ride.

So pack those bags and get ready for the beach, because by the end of this article you’ll wish you were in Mangawhai already.

Hitting the open road

While the clear first step for any road trip is making sure you have the perfect ride sorted and ready to go, we’re going to skip over that part. Because with four convenient Hertz locations in Auckland and an experienced team ready and waiting to ensure your hire car is perfect for your needs and budget, that’s the easy bit.

Taking the most direct route, in good traffic conditions, the drive to Mangawhai should only take you an hour and a half. However, there are so many great sights to see along the way, you should plan for a few hours at least.

While we’ll give a couple of starting point recommendations here, one of the best tips we can give for road tripping to Mangawhai is just to keep an eye out along the road. In-country New Zealand, a lot of quaint and unique destinations don’t have up-to-date websites or social media, so there are a lot of hidden gems you wouldn’t find by Googling and may drive right on past if you’re not paying attention. Be prepared for frequent stops.

However, for those of you who need an itinerary in advance (we get it, so do we), a great spot for lunch can be found at the Brick Bay Wines & Sculpture Trail. Set to a lush rainforest backdrop, this is a stunning walk through native wildlife alongside ponds bursting with waterlilies. Best of along, all along the trail are contemporary sculptures by some of New Zealand’s most renowned artists – it truly is a hidden treasure and a must-see destination on your way up to Mangawhai.

To top it all off, they have a great restaurant offering modern New Zealand cuisine, and wine offerings from the region’s many wineries – what more could you want? It is worth noting that they do recommend booking a table in advance during peak seasons, as they get quite busy with people hitting the weekend roads just like you.

Beaches and more in Mangawhai

Welcome to Mangawhai! So you’ve finally arrived after your hour-and-a-half journey turned into at least a half-day with all the great places you stopped along the way. Now what?

Well Mangawhai is best known as the place for cooling down in the water and relaxing on the sand. Whether you prefer a surf beach or calm flat-water, Mangawhai has both to offer. If surfing and or just playing in the waves is more your thing, be sure to check out Te Arai Point – it’s roughly a 20-minute drive from the town centre of Mangawhai, and is renowned by local surfers as one of the best breaks in the region. The broad, white-sand beach is also known for its consistently safe conditions, so it’s a great day out for the whole family.

Alternatively, if you prefer your water calm and your beach closer to shops and restaurants, the Mangawhai harbour district is probably more your speed. When you’re done soaking up the rays, be sure to wander around the town and check out the thriving local art scene. Many artists come to this region to retire, so the art stores and galleries are abundant.

When you’re ready for a bite to eat and something cool to wash it down with, stop by Wood Street Freehouse for some of the area’s best craft beers and top-notch pub food in a laid back, friendly atmosphere.

And if it’s a full-day activity you’re after, you may want to consider adding the Beyond Fairways Golf Tour to your itinerary. The course is known in the area as one of New Zealand’s best, and they have a range of different tour options to suit your budget, desires and golfing ability.

No matter what you choose to do, you’re going to have a great time on your weekend road trip from Auckland to Mangawhai. We’re actually kind of jealous.