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Beyond the City: Must-Try Weekend Getaways from Auckland

Beyond the City Must-Try Weekend Getaways from Auckland

Weekend getaways from Auckland aren’t farfetched dreams, as both the stunning east and west coasts are within our city’s reach.

Tourist hotbeds like Muriwai, Mount Maunganui, and Matakana prove that the AKL’s magic doesn’t start or end in the metropolitan area. Volcanic views, lakeside bliss, countryside charm—they have it all.

Don’t believe us? All the travel details you need, from locations to tips, are waiting below!


How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 40 mins

With black-sand beaches and a gannet breeding ground, Muriwai is the ultimate chill spot for surfers, beach bums, avian enthusiasts, and families looking for a chill-with-thrills weekend getaway.

Here, you’ll slide into the laid-back vibes as you block out the noise and let the rugged coastline, stretching a solid 60 kilometers, be your view for the day.

In addition, Muriwai has several shops where you can rent blokarts, bikes, and kites. But if you simply want to unwind, follow the boardwalk winding along the shoreline and watch the sunset in its unabashed golden glory.

Tip: For a stress-free escapade, consider booking a tour. Contacting a tour provider allows you to relax and enjoy your journey without worrying about logistics.

Mount Maunganui

How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 2 hrs and 44 mins

Why jet off to Miami when you can catch a wave at Mount Maunganui? Ranked among the top 25 beaches globally, this place is an A-lister of coastal getaways—may it be a short weekend trip or a week-long breather.

Mount Maunganui flaunts a white-sand surf beach stretching for days. The real flex, though, is catching those epic 360-degree views from the top of Mauao, a 232-meter dormant volcano offering the finest Bay of Plenty vistas.

Moreover, you can ditch the crowded pools and swim in the relaxing waters of Pilot Bay. Food lovers are in for a sweet treat, too, as Mount Maunganui is famed for its cafes, including joints like Health Street Cafe and Mixture Eatery.

Tip: Swing by Coronation Park at Park Street for Mount Maunganui’s famous Gourmet Night Market.

Hilton Lake Taupo

Address: 80-100 Napier Road, Hilltop, Taupō 3379

Contact Details: 07 378 7080

Check-in: 4 pm

Check-out: 11 am

Travel Time From Auckland: 3 hrs and 18 mins


Hilton Lake Taupo’s 19th-century splendor is too posh to pass up. As a bonus, it’s just a short,10-minute joyride from Taupo town.

Their room options are the right mix of boujee and old-world sleekness with interiors beautifully blending modern decor and Victorian aesthetics. Pristine greenery and majestic mountain outcrops are also viewable inside these crash pads.

As for amenities, there’s an outdoor pool for scorching days, a fitness center for a bit of cardio, and a tennis court for those who want to channel their inner Serena Williams.

Tip: You can take your dog to this getaway. Hilton Lake Taupo has dog-friendly policies and rooms.

Pullman Rotorua – Waiheke Island 

Address: 1135 Arawa Street, Rotorua 3010

Contact Details: 64 (07) 343 9750

Check-in: 2 pm

Check-out: 12 pm

Travel Time From Auckland: 2 hrs and 43 mins


Pullman is a place of respite just a stone’s throw away from Rotorua’s hotspots, such as the Rotorua Lake, shooting geysers, shady forests, and geothermal hot springs.

The hotel also features 130 modern-styled rooms, a gym for the active souls, a vibrant restaurant with a symphony of seasonal flavors, and a chic bar for those who like their cocktails with a side of cool.

Tip: You can gain perks like discounts and convenient booking by joining Pullman Rotorua’s loyalty program.

Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel

From luxury.escapes

Address: 171 Kawaha Point Road, Kawaha Point, Rotorua 3010

Contact Details: 07 346 3602

Check-in: 3 pm

Check-out: 11 am

Travel Time From Auckland: 2 hrs and 40 mins


If you prefer a crash pad literally along the banks of Rotorua Lake, the Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel at Kawaha Point is the ultimate option.

With nine fully appointed rooms that unfold with views of either the serene lakeside or the hotel’s radiant private rose gardens, this place is a sight for sore eyes and tired souls.

It’s not just about the visuals, though. Black Swan has amenities galore, from a swimming pool and sauna to a private jetty.

Tip: Don’t miss the chance to elevate your outdoor escapade with the hotel’s new curated picnic spread for just $60.

Matakana Village

How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 51 mins


Matakana Village is pure magic. This weekend getaway draws attention with its delicate cherry blossoms and fresh air noted for its soft, woodsy fragrance.

It also doesn’t lack activities, from browsing gourmet chocolate not found in the CBD to watching flicks at the cutting-edge, three-theater boutique Matakana Cinema.

The village’s famous artisanal eateries draw crowds, too—no matter the season or weather. Must-visit foodie havens like Ringawera Bakery and Matakana Market Kitchen whip up lip-smacking nosh.

Tip: Matakana Village’s events can elevate your weekend getaway. Regularly check their schedule to see what’s on.

Port Waikato

How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 1 hr and 9 mins


When summer scorches, Port Waikato turns into a sizzling surfing spot often frequented by Aucklanders craving a short out-of-the-city trip.

The iron sand beach here flexes massive, Instagrammable (instagrammable spots in auckland) dunes ideal for beachside strolls or jogs. Fishing for mullet and flounder is another go-to activity, with the wharf serving as the top spot for anglers.

Furthermore, this quaint seaside town is where you’ll find Sunset Beach, an aptly-named destination loved for its golden hour outlooks and deep sepia sand.

Tip: Before heading to Port Waikato, check the weather forecast for a seamless experience. The coastal conditions vary, so staying informed will help you pack appropriately and plan activities accordingly.

Waiheke Island

How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 2 hr and 3 mins


There are a plethora of reasons why hopping over to Waiheke Island for a weekend getaway is one of the smartest moves you could make.

First, the island has award-winning wineries for vino enjoyers, enchanting beaches that put your usual sandy haunts to shame, and jet ski adventures that redefine what it means to ride the waves.

For those with a taste for the finer things, you can visit Mudbrick Restaurant and Vineyard. And if you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, Ecozip Adventures in Onetangi offers dual flying fox ziplines and a thrilling forest walk that’ll leave you buzzing.

Tip: Beyond being a top-tier weekend destination, Waiheke Island is well-known for its wedding venues. See the best spots they offer on their website.

Treetops Lodge & Estate

Address: 351 Kearoa Road, Rotorua 3077

Contact Details: +64 7 333 2066

Check-in: 2 pm

Check-out: 11 am

Travel Time From Auckland: 2 hrs and 59 mins


Within the 2,500 acres of native forest where Treetops Lodge & Estate nestles, all our team’s stresses melted away. It shouldn’t be a surprise, as this sanctuary teems with babbling streams, mirror-like lakes, and trails that scream adventure.

Additionally, we enjoyed the estate’s touch of luxury. The modern guestrooms beautifully contrast the green wilderness outside, and the soothing spa also added a layer of indulgence to our stay.

The escapade didn’t end within their gates, too. Treetops Lodge & Estate provided us with wild excursions like hunting, fishing, biking, and horseback riding.

Tip: If you want to learn how to cook using native ingredients, don’t miss this spot’s Wild Food Experiences.

Huka Lodge

Address: 271 Huka Falls Road, Wairakei, Taupō 3384

Contact Details: 07 378 5791

Check-in: 2 pm

Check-out: 11 am

Travel Time From Auckland: 3 hrs and 13 mins


If you want to wake up to the symphony of serenading birds and flowing streams, Huka Lodge is where it’s at.

Perched by the Waikato River, this luxurious destination is more than just a place to crash. It’s a sensory overload of haute suites, high-hedged pathways, and shady groves that’ll make you hate the bustling city.

Don’t be fooled by the genteel ambiance, though; Huka Lodge is no snooze-fest. It’s a playground for thrill-seekers, with guided adventures such as fly fishing, bungee jumping, hiking, and more.

Tip: Honeymoons at Huka offer a complete experience, combining enticing landscapes and luxurious accommodations. Check their packages for your post-wedding retreat.

Solitaire Lodge

Address: 16 Ronald Road, Lake Tarawera, Rotorua 3076

Contact Details: +64 7 362 8208

Check-in: 2 pm

Check-out: 11 am

Travel Time From Auckland: 3 hrs and 6 mins


You’ll never regret the 3-hour drive to Solitaire Lodge, a weekend getaway packed with jaw-dropping views of Lake Tarawera and rugged volcanoes.

Book a stay, and you’ll indulge in state-of-the-art accommodations that come with a complimentary mini-bar, pre-dinner drinks and canapés, and a breakfast spread that’s a wake-up call to your taste buds.

The cherry on top is the trip to the Tarawera Thermal Springs. This escapade is a 15-minute private launch excursion leading to gentle thermal waters embraced by unspoiled native bush and soft sunlight filtered by trees.

Tip: Solitaire Lodge’s private peninsula setting makes it an unmatched location for small weddings and private parties.


How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 1 hr and 25 mins


Over 145 parks and gardens, 63 sports areas, and a whopping 1,000 hectares of open space are in Hamilton’s calling card. If these highlights don’t lure you in for a getaway, we’re not sure what will.

The city is simply a hub of world-class attractions and unique gems. For instance, there’s the Hamilton Gardens, a majestic public park crowned the 2014 International Garden of the Year.

Art buffs will have a field day, too, as the city is alive with artwork, from gallery masterpieces to street art. Hamilton Lake also unfolds with jogging and cycling paths, while destinations like Zealong Tea Estate offer countryside odysseys.

Tip: Concerts, comedy gigs, exhibits—Hamilton has events for days. Check their events calendar to find one that suits your likes.

Plume Villas

Address: 37 Sharp Road, Matakana 0982

Contact Details: 09 283 3630

Check-in: 2 pm

Check-out: 10 am

Travel Time From Auckland: 50 mins


We constantly crave country accommodations, and Plume Villas is one of the reasons why. Tucked within sun-drenched vineyards, this spot’s twelve villas will give you the weekend break you deserve.

We also have to talk about the Plume Restaurant. Its true-blue NZ menu featuring pork belly, chicken, and pork lettuce wraps is something you can’t overlook—foodie or not.

In terms of activities, you can revel in wine tastings, pétanque matches, and swimming—all while relishing Matakana’s idyllic scenery.

Tip: Complete your visit by bringing home a bottle (or bottles) from Plume Villas’s cellar or shop.


From surfgirlnz

How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 1 hr and 53 mins

Surfing and scenery are two of the best gifts Raglan provides. The typical activities here range from swimming and surfing to horse treks, kayak hire, or a stand-up paddle tour.

Beach hopping is also huge here. Some of the must-visit beaches include the family-friendly Papahua Beach, where you can leap the footbridge, and Ruapuke Beach, an off-grid, uncrowded coastline.

There’s also Manu Bay, a surfing paradise famed for being featured in the film Endless Summer. For those who love a good challenge, Whale Bay is the best option, as it’s known for the adrenaline-pumping waves surfing pros love.

Tip: Utilize online maps for real-time navigation and seamless exploration of Raglan’s picturesque streets, trails, and attractions.

Ka Iwi Lakes

– From northlandz

How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 2 hrs and 46 mins

Some consider journeying to Ka Iwi Lakes a weekend tradition, and honestly, who can blame them? These lakes have been around since the Pleistocene Epoch and their splendor can still put modern waterparks to shame.

With pristine white sands and inviting shallow areas, you can go for a swim, find a cozy spot for trout fishing, or paddle around in a kayak here.

The surrounding pine forest provides enough shade for lakeside picnics, too. But if breaking a sweat is more our style, hit the 4-km Kai Iwi Lakes Coastal Track.

Tip: Stay at the Ka Iwi Lake Campgrounds for a convenient experience. If you prefer resort-style accommodation, the best alternative is Ka Iwi Lakes Resort.


How To Get Here: Route

Travel Time From Auckland: 56 mins


Despite being just an hour’s drive from Auckland, Waiuku feels like a whole different world. This little gem is a treasure trove of captivating attractions, like the Manukau Heads Lighthouse, Tamakae Reserve, Awhitu Wines, and the Waiuku Forest.

However, what reels tourists the most is Glam Camping at Castaways. On this glamping (glamping auckland) spot, you’ll kick back in a tree tent suspended between two mighty totara trees or de-stress amid secluded cliffs that unveil views of Karioitahi Beach.

Tip: Take advantage of the clear night skies by bringing a telescope or using a stargazing app on your phone.