Waiheke Island, located in the Hauraki Gulf of Auckland, is only 35 minutes from Auckland by ferry. There is a great range of activities on Waiheke Island including sightseeing, mountain biking, sea kayaking, tours, walks, cafes, wineries, beaches and much more.
While here, be sure to go to Stony Batter Historic Reserve which is renowned for its remarkable rock outcrops and extensive tunnels and gun sites dating back to World War II.
Hop on a ferry and head to the historic seaside village of Devonport, which has a charming and relaxed atmosphere. Stroll around the village at your leisure and visit some of its attractions including the many art galleries, historic points of interest and lookouts.
Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island is a remote, tranquil and untouched paradise 90km north east of Auckland. Located at the edge of the Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island is one of the most unspoilt places you’ll ever find. From tramping through native forest, to sea kayaking around coves and inlets, there are endless ways to explore this stunning adventurer’s paradise. Great Barrier Island can be reached by plane or ferry.
Visit Kawau Island to discover its unusual history, and enjoy sightseeing, fishing, swimming and boating. A major feature of the island is the historic, stately mansion of the first Governor of New Zealand, Sir George Grey. Grey imported many exotic plants and animals to the island, and to this day wallabies and peacocks still remain. From Mansion House Bay, walking tracks lead through the regenerating native forest to beaches, Maori pa sites and old copper mines.
Motuihe Island is located just 30 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland and is renowned for its sandy beaches and clear waters. In an effort to restore the island’s vegetation and wildlife, the Motuihe Island Restoration Project has been developed. Through this project it is hoped that Motuihe will be transformed to an island of beaches, native forests and open spaces, which provides a home to rare and endangered native birds and insects. Visitors to the island can play a part in helping to implement this vision by participating in the Restoration Project’s tree planting programme. Spend some time planting trees before enjoying some free time taking in the views, soaking up some sun on the beach and picnicking in beautiful natural surroundings.
Rangitoto Island is a unique volcanic island located just off Auckland City in the Hauraki Gulf. It emerged from the sea around 600 years ago in a series of volcanic eruptions which caused its cone-like shape. Growing from the mass of jagged basalt lava that leads to the mouth of the dormant volcano is the world’s largest pohutukawa forest (New Zealand’s native ‘Christmas’ tree, known for its brilliant red flowers and twisted trunk).
Situated only a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, you can choose from either taking a guided tour, or exploring the island at your leisure. Discover lava tunnels which can be walked through, climb to the summit for amazing views and learn of the protected archaeological and historic sites including the site of a prisoners’ camp from the early 1900s.
Goat Island Marine Reserve
Renowned for its amazing marine-life, Goat Island, New Zealand’s first marine reserve, is a great place to spend a day in the outdoors with friends and family. There are several options for viewing marine-life at Goat Island. You can snorkel and dive around the island and why not try the eco-adventure cruise on the Glass Bottom Boat which provides views of the abundant sea life through the glass panel at the bottom of the boat. The boat cruises around Goat Island and explores the outer reefs and caves, providing an amazing view both above and below the water.
Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritiri Matangi is an island sanctuary that provides a pest-free habitat for many rare native bird species. Several of the birds were close to extinction and can now often be spotted on the island. These include the saddleback, takahe, parakeet, North Island robin, kokako, little spotted kiwi and brown teal duck. As an open sanctuary, visitors are welcome to explore Tiritiri Matangi and see some of New Zealand’s most endangered birds in the wild.
Mission Bay, The Promenade is just a short, picturesque drive from the city along Auckland’s beautiful waterfront. Originally known for its Mission House, the golden beach and thriving café scene now make Mission Bay a favourite destination for Aucklanders.