An easy bus trip about Tamaki Drive lands you to the inner eastern beaches of Mission Bay, Kohimarama (my favorite) and St Heliers and, over the Harbour Bridge, the exceptional beach streets of the North Shore, stretching out from Devonport to Long Bay. Way out west are the sensational black-sand surfing beaches: a true Auckland experience.
Insider tip: Piha and Muriwai will be the most effortlessly reached western coast beaches; a surfing shuttle service runs to Piha, but you will require your own private transport for Muriwai. Movie lovers will recognise these shorelines from clips in the Oscar winning film, ‘The Piano’.
Auckland is surrounded by magnificent conservation land, with 100s of kilometres of hiking trails through varied terrain, including woodlands, rural land, cliffs and countryside. Well guided walks are a good idea, as some of these places are remote.
Local Advice: Get the authentic experience of Auckland by trekking right across it on the self-led Coast to Coast Walkway. For a taste of native flora & fauna, try the rugged Waitakere Ranges.
Aucklanders absolutely adore the open air! Sailing, mountain-biking, horse trekking, sky-jumping, parachuting, scuba-diving, surfing, sportfishing, jet-skiing – even snowboarding – are readily accessible, plus a lot more. But for the quintessential Kiwi sporting encounter you really want to be here in the winter and experience a rugby match at Eden Park.
Insider tip: These are rugby. The Rugby World Cup is to be held in Auckland Oct-Nov 2011. This will possibly be a great or bad time to travel to Auckland dependent upon on your curiosity about rugby. Suffice to say holiday accommodation will be limited and in all probability more pricey that normal. If you are not really a rugby enthusiast I would advise not booking a trip around that time.