Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and home to lots of remarkable hidden gems – you just need to know where to find them. Thankfully, we’ve collected our favourites, so all you need to do is pack your walking shoes, sunhat and picnic lunch, and you’re ready to roll!
1. Hunua Falls
Hunua Ranges, New Zealand
The Hunua Falls are located on the Wairoa River in Auckland. With easy access, it’s just a short walk from the carpark to the falls, plus two 30 minute walks to look outs located right nearby.
What makes these falls so unique? The river falls over a basalt lava plug, meaning lava bombs and tuff rings are visible along the walls of the waterfall. Talk about a picturesque view!
Pack a picnic to enjoy by the falls or avoid the crowds by finding your own secluded picnic spot on one of the other walking tracks in the path. From the Falls, the track will loop back through seemingly untouched forest lands and back to the base of the Falls. With only 800m to the falls, it’s a short walk for plenty of play!
2. Tawharanui Peninsula
Tawharanui Peninsula, New Zealand
Tawharanui Peninsula is a finger of land projecting into the Hauraki Gulf, from the east coast of New Zealand.
Because the area is so well protected, you’ll have no problems exploring its natural beauty: snorkelling and swimming is a must, followed by some fish & chips along the beachfront.
This extends out to the Tawharanui Marine Reserve, which is known for its Pohutukawa-lined beaches, swimming spots and greywacke – an ancient rock that hails from the Jurassic period, studded with rare marine fossils!
Home to 50 species of fish, these extensive reefs support a thriving population of lobster, bottlenose dolphins and orcas that occasionally visit the area.
3. Gibbs Farm
Makarau, New Zealand
Gibbs Farm is an open-air sculpture park located in Kaipara Harbour, roughly 47-km north of Auckland.
It contains the largest collection of large-scale outdoor sculptures in New Zealand, including a private collection that is open to the public on select days throughout the year.
One particular sculpture, The Harbour, is so vast that it occupies the entire horizon along the beach. When the tide falls, the ‘shallows’ are exposed for kilometres, while sunlight bounces off the land.
Each sculpture is simply so unique, walking through them helps you appreciate the artist’s vision and how they’ve tied their work back to the natural landscape.
Next time you’re in Makarau, be sure to check our Gibbs Farm!
Piha, New Zealand
If you’re a surfer then chances are you will have heard of Piha. As one of the most famous surf beaches, it’s situated on the West coast of the North Island, 40-km from Auckland city.
This black iron-sand beach has a reputation for an incredible surf, while it rolls in from the Tasman Sea to create a moody, misty and mysterious atmosphere. Just be aware – during summer time, this place is crawling with locals and the odd tourist!
If that’s your scene, you can take surf lessons or even try abseiling down the Piha canyon. The local beachside surf club is a well known destination to grab a bite to eat, before heading on one of the many coastal walks Piha has.
Don’t miss Piha the next time you’re around – it’s one of our top hidden gems around Auckland.
As you’ve heard and seen before, Auckland has so much to offer – but it’s the little secrets that make it even better!
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.