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10 Best Day Trip Adventures from Auckland: A Complete Guide

10 Best Day Trip Adventures from Auckland A Complete Guide

Auckland is undoubtedly brimming with good travel spots and adventures. That said, there are moments when the hustle and bustle of the city gets overwhelming, and we crave some time away—even if it’s just a day away from the city.

If you’re feeling like you need to recharge and reconnect with nature but don’t know where to go, we’ve got you! We compiled a list of the best day trip destinations from Auckland to help you plan the perfect getaway!

Explore the historic town of Puhoi

From @accidentallywesanderson

Distance from Auckland: 47 minutes

Address: Puhoi, North Island, New Zealand

Escape the hustle and bustle of Auckland and venture 50 kilometres north to the charming town of Puhoi. This hidden gem offers a perfect escape for those who enjoy a blend of history and culture in their travels. 

For those seeking history, the Puhoi Historic Village gives you a glimpse of what this former Bohemian settlement area was in the mid-1800s. Plus, the European influence still lingers in its quaint streets and buildings, so you’ll love the vintage charm it has. 

The Puhoi Pub is another must-visit if you want to truly immerse yourself in the Puhoi culture, as you’ll find lots of locals and tourists here. If your tummy isn’t too full yet, do check out the Puhoi Cottage Tea Rooms, too, for a rural dining experience.

Pro Tip: The Puhoi Village Market opens in Puhoi Domain on the last Sunday of each month. The market offers a range of delicious food, artisan stalls, and even live music, making it one of the most sought-after events in the town.

Go on a food shopping spree in Matakana

Distance from Auckland: 1 hour and 6 minutes

Address: Matakana, North Island, New Zealand

A little over an hour’s drive away from Auckland, you’ll find Matakana, a haven for foodies. The Matakana Farmers’ Markets offers a fabulous selection of fresh produce, artisan food items, baked goods, and some handmade items. 

The town also has a flourishing wine scene, so don’t miss the chance to take a tour of Matakana’s boutique vineyards and wineries. If you’re more of a beer person, then a visit to the Sawmill Brewery will absolutely make your day!

Before going back to Auckland, drop by the Sculptureum and take time to appreciate some of the most wonderful art pieces in the world. Containing over 750 masterpieces from various artists, including Picasso and Rodin, it’s the perfect way to end a day trip!

Pro Tip: Matakana is just an 8-minute drive away from the popular Omaha Beach. If you’re thinking of extending your trip, the beach might be the perfect destination for you!

Embark on an underground adventure at Waitomo Cave

Distance from Auckland: 2 hours and 51 minutes

Address: Waitomo, North Island, New Zealand


The Waitomo village is home to one of New Zealand’s best natural attractions, the Waitomo Caves. These mystical caverns, adorned with thousands of twinkling glow worms unique to New Zealand, are a must-see for any traveller.

The Waitomo Caves can only be accessed by a guided tour, which can last for 45 minutes. While the dark caves may seem intimidating at first, you’ll soon feel like you’re in a fairytale as you get a glimpse of the mesmerizing glow worm display inside.

If touring on a boat doesn’t sound fun enough, you can take on a 3-hour adrenaline-pumping black water rafting tour. You’ll spend your time floating under thousands of glow worms, jumping off waterfalls, and climbing over rocks!

Pro Tip: Bring a change of clothes, towel, shower gel, and shampoo. There’s a high chance you’ll get wet even when you just book a boat tour, so it’s crucial to have something to change into after the tour.

Join a winery tour in Waiheke Island

Distance from Auckland: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Address: Waiheke Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand

Boasting stunning landscapes and picturesque vineyards, Waiheke Island is heaven on Earth for wine and nature lovers. And since it’s just a short ferry trip away from Auckland, it’s a popular day trip destination for those looking for a serene place.

For a convenient day trip, you can join a winery tour hosted by Waiheke Wine Tours and spend the day indulging in delicious wine and food pairing from three of Waiheke Island’s most well-loved wineries. 

However, if their tour packages aren’t that appealing, try renting a bike and exploring the island on your own. You can visit the wineries that you want, try some tasty restaurants, and even go diving or snorkelling if you don’t get tipsy from visiting the island’s wineries!

Pro Tip: The Fullers fast ferry only takes 35 minutes to reach the island. The only catch is you won’t be able to take a car, but there’s a lot of transportation on the island, so you should be fine. 

Unwind and swim at Muriwai Beach

From @josephrian

Distance from Auckland: 43 minutes

Address: 458 Motutara Road, Muriwai 0881, New Zealand


Contact details: +64 9 301 0101

Known for its unique, expansive black sand and rugged coastlines, Muriwai Beach is one of the favourite destinations of both Auckland locals and other tourists. The beach offers visitors the perfect place to swim, surf, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

If you’re bringing your kids, they will love the Gannet colony that flies over to the beach from August to March. If that’s not fun enough for them, there’s a small playground near the beach that will surely seal the deal for the best day trip in their life!

For dinner, drive over to Game Keepers Restaurant and enjoy a hearty meal. After all, there’s no better way to end such a fun day than enjoying one of the country’s best seafood platters!

Pro Tip: If you’re up for more adventures, join horse trekking organized by Muriwai Beach Horse Treks! This will make exploring the entire beach much faster and more fun.

Discover geothermal wonders and Maori culture at Rotorua

Distance from Auckland: 2 hours and 48 minutes

Address: Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand


Contact details: +64 7 351 7006

Rotorua is one captivating city just a few hours’ drive away from Auckland; you should visit even at least once! It’s widely known for its geothermal activities, but the city is also home to thriving Maori culture and a myriad of adrenaline-pumping activities.

When in the city, make sure to pay Te Puia a visit to see the Pohutu Geyser, one of the only two geyser fields in the world, erupting! After that, you can relax in any of Te Puia’s mud pools or learn more about Maori people’s weaving and carving art. 

If you still have some time after exploring Te Puia, then don’t miss the chance to go skydiving, zip lining, luge racing, or rafting down Tutea Falls, a seven-metre-high waterfall on the Kaituna River.

Pro Tip: Since Rotorua is about 2 hours and 48 minutes away from Auckland, it’s crucial to leave Auckland as early as possible to be able to explore the city.

Surf the famous waves of Raglan

From @charlotte_n_james and @greenwaveraglan

Distance from Auckland: 2 hours

Address: Raglan, North Island, New Zealand


Contact details: +64 7 825 8929

There’s no better water wonderland near Auckland than Raglan. The coastal town is just a two-hour drive away from Auckland and is an absolute paradise for avid surfers, swimmers, and just anyone who loves spending time in the water!

If you don’t plan on spending the entire day surfing and swimming, drop by Bridal Veil Falls first. This is one of the most breathtaking views in Raglan, and it only takes a quick 10-minute walk from the car park to see it.

After this, head over to Ngarunui Beach, one of the best places to go swimming and learn surfing. There are several surfing lessons offered near the beach, which can be helpful for those new to surfing, and the waves aren’t too intimidating for beginners. 

Pro Tip: The restaurants and cafes are quite far from Ngarunui Beach. Make sure to drop by a restaurant on the way to have a meal or buy take-out.

Make your own hot tub at Coromandel Peninsula

– From @sangeetmusik

Distance from Auckland: 2 hours and 53 minutes

Address: Coromandel Peninsula, Kaimarama 3591, New Zealand


The Coromandel Peninsula, spanning 85 kilometres, has so much to offer that a day isn’t enough to truly explore it. But if you only have a day, spend it in Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, which are just a 10-minute drive away from each other. 

Those who have watched Narnia will probably be familiar with Cathedral Cove, as it was used as a filming site in the film. The cove’s turquoise waters and natural rock formations make it the perfect spot for relaxation and cold swimming.

The Hot Water Beach, on the other hand, boasts geothermally heated water that bubbles up through the sand. During low tide, you can dig up your own thermal pool in the sand, perfect for a warm and soothing spa experience by the beach!

Pro Tip: It’s recommended to join a tour when going to the Coromandel Peninsula. The guides will be able to tell you when the low tide is, which is essential to enjoying your own hot pool in the Hot Water Beach. 

Spot rare birds at Tiritiri Matangi Island

Distance from Auckland: 1 hour and 15 minutes 

Address: Tiritiri Matangi Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand


Tiritiri Matangi Island, one of the oldest island sanctuaries in the country, houses eighty-seven species of bird, including rare bird species, like tieke, hihi, and kokako, making it a popular destination for birdwatching.

The island doesn’t have any predators, so birds and reptiles are able to regenerate peacefully. Maintaining a no-predator environment is essential for the island as some of the most endangered birds in the country, like Kiwi and Takehe, live there.

Guided group tours are your best option if you want to get as much information about the island’s wildlife as possible, but you can also explore it on your own. Either way is fine, but don’t forget to take a photo with the lighthouse to commemorate your visit!

Pro Tip: Make sure to bring your own food and drinks because there’s nowhere to buy them once you’re on the island. Put them in the sealed container to make sure no seed or anything that can disrupt the island’s ecosystem will be left behind.

Relive iconic moments from The Lord of The Rings at the Hobbiton Movie Set

Distance from Auckland: 1 hour and 57 minutes

Address: 501 Buckland Road, Matamata 3472, New Zealand


Contact details: +64 7 888 1505

As the filming set for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, it’s not surprising that the Hobbiton Movie Set is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of New Zealand that’s on the bucket list of almost everyone visiting the country. 

The 12-acre site can only be accessed through a tour, which can take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 4.5 hours, depending on the tour you choose. Tours range from a fully guided tour of the whole movie set to tours that include breakfasts and banquets.

After a tour of The Hobbiton, you still have plenty of time to explore other places. The Hamilton Gardens is just a little over half an hour’s drive away from the Hobbiton, making it an ideal stop-over on your way to the set or on your way back to Auckland.

Pro Tip: The earliest tour is typically the least busy, so it’s best if you want to take great photos. But if you’re set on taking the evening tour, make sure to book it in advance because the demand for the tour is very high.