So you’ve sampled the best of the City of Sails, touring the mainland isthmus with a cheap car hire from the Hertz Auckland Airport Car Rental location. What next? Venture out into the harbour with a day trip to one of these magnificent islands.
Beaches, forest, vineyards, cafes and fine dining can all be found on this gem of an island, just half an hour by ferry from the city. With a bit of luck, you might even spot a few dolphins or seals. Located in the heart of the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke is a haven for lovers of food, wine and art – not to mention the great outdoors. Experience nature by bike if you’ve got the stamina, or take a more leisurely approach with a scenic tour. There are amazing views to be found everywhere and many walkways to explore. Wind down with a wander through one of the local galleries and your beverage of choice as you watch the sun set.
Just a ferry ride away from downtown lies the legendary Motutapu, or Sacred, Island. It dates back many centuries and is currently undergoing a 50 year conservation project. A walker’s paradise, it’s covered with tracks that lead to all kinds of interesting sites, such as WWII gun emplacements, military tunnels and bunkers. As a picnic destination, Motutapu is ideal, with extensive coastlines, pristine beaches, and panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf to be enjoyed. There are no shops on the island, so stock up on supplies before arrival.
Further afield is Great Barrier Island, 90km north east and three hours by ferry. It’s like taking a step back in time. Life moves at a slower pace here, from the forest ranges on the west coast to the white sandy beaches on the east. Walking tracks yield treasures from waterfalls to hot springs, and the unspoilt beauty provides a stunning backdrop to many endangered species such as the black petrel, dotterel and kaka. It’s a bird watcher’s sanctuary, though golfers, surfers, divers, kayakers and fishers will all find plenty to do here.