The Hobbiton Movie Set, located on a sprawling 1250 acre cattle farm on New Zealand’s North Island, lies almost 200 km from Auckland. Initially serving only as a movie set for the Lord of the Rings movies, it was partly torn down after the completion of the trilogy. When the Hobbit trilogy began shooting, the set was rebuilt, and a more permanent structure was put in place this time. The Hobbiton Movie set is now a world-famous tourist attraction; guided tours of the farm show tourists what went into making some of the most iconic sets and most enduring movies of recent history.
Waiheke is a fabulous island just 35 minutes from the mainland. Famous for its rows and rows of vineyards and olive farms, Waiheke Island is home to some of New Zealand's most celebrated wineries and creating some of its most renowned wines. Waiheke Island is New Zealand's most densely populated island. The fact that it has permanent residents and is a tourist hotspot means that it has evolved a good number of activities for you to indulge in.
Piha is a small village with approx 600 residents and is located on the Western coast of Auckland, it is a 45-50 minutes drive away destination from the city. Piha, famous for its the black-iron sand beach, is a major tourist attraction and one of the most favourite getaway destinations for Aucklanders during summer. The beach is home to the surfers across the globe. The strong water current and high waves of Piha Beach provides the best destination for surfing. The Tasman Sea is both moody and enchanting, that allows the surfers to play around the challenges.
Rangitoto is the youngest and the largest volcano of Auckland's extensive volcanic field. This island can be seen directly from the mainland as it's wide symmetric conical shape forms an iconic silhouette in the distance. After taking the ferry from the harbour, which is a picturesque experience in itself, you'll find yourself on this imposing volcano island. Hike up to the top, exploring the black lava caves on the way, to enjoy a view well worth the labour!
Devonport is situated on the North Shore, lying across the Auckland Harbour Bridge and is separated from Auckland by a short 12-minute ferry ride away. This small neighbourhood has a population of fewer than 6000 people and is one of the oldest colonial settlements in New Zealand. Devonport is well-known for its quaint, harbourside charm, with many boutiques and antique stores lining the harbour. The main navy base for the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum ensure that the presence of the navy is strongly felt in Devonport.
One Tree Hill is the second largest volcanic mountain in Auckland. It is visited often because of its parks, and also features an Obelisk and the Stardome Observatory. One Tree Hill is so called because when the Europeans arrived, there was a solitary totara tree at the summit of the hill, which was cut by the British and subsequently replaced with a Monterey pine. The tree was cut down for good in 2001 as it created an unrest among the indigenous Maori, who believed that the non-native tree should not be atop the 'Maungakiekie'.
Mahurangi Regional Park is located in New Zealand. It encompasses some of the most beautiful sandy spots in the Kiwi land that have distinct beauty and charm to themselves. The Pohutakawa trees are native to the area and look splendid. Being on the brink of the Puhoi River, Mahurangi Regional Park is an amazing place for swimming and kayaking. This is a boater’s paradise. However, sufficient caution about the tides must be taken. Fit for picnics, the park is a perfect place for a family holiday or for a weekend getaway for the locals.
Located in Leigh, Goat Island is New Zealand's first marine reserve created in 1975. It is a part of the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve, New Zealand's first marine reserve. Within a decade, this marine reserve has transformed into one of the most ecologically rich and diverse hotspots. This island is a reserve that belongs to Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park. Moreover, it is also spiritually important to local Māori tribe, Ngāti Manuhiri, because their ancestral waka (canoe), Moe Karaka, is said to have lived nearby.
An island where the sweet chirping of birds never stops echoing, Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of the most active and significant wildlife sanctuaries in New Zealand. The wildlife conservation island is a predator-free environment that provides for a suitable habitat for about 87 varieties of species of birds, among which 12 are said to be endemic. The island is truly a wildlife wonderland and attracts around 32,000 tourists every year. A 75-minute ferry ride is all it takes to get to the bird’s paradise from the Auckland mainland.
Motutapu Island is one of New Zealand’s oldest islands and was one of the first to be formed amongst the Auckland Volcanic Field. It was inhabited first by early Maori and Polynesian settlers, and then eventually European immigrants as well. A volcanic eruption that resulted in the formation of the nearby, but much younger, Rangitoto Island, destroyed most traces of civilisation and vegetation on the island. Motutapu island has now become a haven for trekkers looking for a day-trip away from Auckland and is a bushwalker’s paradise.