Backed by the stunning Waitemata Harbour and bordered by beaches and mountain ranges, Auckland is an ideal starting point for any of the adventures New Zealand's North Island has to offer. With seemingly endless stretches of coast, soaring peaks and staggering wilderness all within easy reach of the city centre – there's no shortage of splendour to discover in the island's top end.
What are you waiting for? Pick up your car hire in Auckland and begin your journey with a dose of culture before setting off to see the spectacular sights that surround New Zealand's most diverse metropolitan centre.
Self-confessed foodies with a soft spot for the sea won't be able to resist the fusion of traditional Maori fare and contemporary cuisine on offer in this up-and-coming urban paradise. With a gourmet food scene that's flourished in recent years, the City of Sails is a popular port of call for anyone looking for a dynamic and vibrant culinary journey.
Just 45 minutes north of Auckland, a trip through the sleepy sea-side town of Orwea brings travellers to Warkworth – a charming community flanked by the majestic Mahurangi River and brimming with boutiques and cafes. Adjacent to the Matakana wine region and home to a wealth of world-class vineyards in its own right, Warkworth is a laid-back locale well worth a quick cut-in from the coast.
Occupying an idyllic space amidst the countryside and the coast, a mere 10 kilometres north-east of Warkworth, it's no surprise a steady stream of visitors are drawn in by Matakana's magnetism. Visit on a Saturday morning and you'll find a bountiful harvest on display at the Village and Farmers' Market, from freshly baked bread and seasonal produce to handmade chocolate and locally-roasted coffee.
Surfers rejoice – just 98 kilometres north of the tranquillity of Warkworth and Matakana lies Whangerei, an aquatic playground teeming with marine wildlife and boasting some of the best surf breaks in the world. Rather stay dry? Land-lovers are well looked after with an expansive network of hiking trails in the surrounding foothills. Weave through the canopy of Kauri trees to Whangerei Falls or trek to the top of Mount Manaia – a steep climb promising panoramic views across the Pacific Ocean.
Located on the water's edge between Whangerei and Kerikeri, Paihia is well positioned to access the 144 isles that populate the Bay of Islands. Wade your way through the archipelago by kayak or cruise the coast on a chartered yacht, docking along the way to discover secluded white sand beaches and spectacular walking trails.
From Paihia, travel 100 kilometres north-west to arrive in the sub-tropical hinterland of Kaitaia. Shrouded in dense forest and steeped in the folklore of native Maori culture, this humble town is the gatekeeper of the island's sacred northern-most point. Learn the legend of the historic pohutukawa tree as you traverse the coast-hugging highway to Cape Reinga, where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea collide. Only a few hours from the country's largest city, the clashing currents and sheer cliff edges make a trip to the Cape feel like a journey to the edge of the earth.
Ready to trek to the tip? Browse our wide range of rental cars in Auckland and start planning your adventure today.