“Maraetai is one of my favourite Auckland beaches, it’s this long stretch of white sand with views out to Waiheke Island. Walk out to the wharf at Magazine Bay then grab fish and chips to eat on the beach.”
Sir John Kirwan
Taking a Sunday drive to one of Auckland’s markets is a good way to make your day seem longer, and the farmers’ market at Clevedon is great for really fresh fruit and vegetables, most of it grown in the surrounding countryside. Don’t have breakfast before you go though – grab a crepe or a hot whitebait fritter.
Waitawa Regional Park only opened a couple of years ago and it has some amazing views out to the islands, good coastal walks, and a beautiful beach with calm water for swimming or kayaking. It’s also got plenty of picnic spots, and two barbecues at Mataitai Bay. Barbie season’s not far off.
If you’re after something really different, check out Howick Historical Village for a look into what life was like for some of the early New Zealand settlers. As well as the colonial buildings, they have monthly events where villagers get into costume and really bring it to life. Definitely a goodie if you’ve got kids.
Hunua Ranges is an amazing place to escape without going too far from home, with plenty of short walking tracks and the Hunua Falls. If you want something more challenging though, there are heaps of longer walks and mountain bike trails too. There’s something so peaceful about the falls, but you still get a bit of exercise – best of both worlds!