Discover the Best Day Trips from Auckland in 2023


Get ready to embark on unforgettable adventures just a stone’s throw away from Auckland! 2023 has never looked so exciting with our list of the best day trips from Auckland, offering a diverse array of experiences, from exploring Middle Earth to discovering hidden gems off the beaten path. Dive into the mesmerising world of geothermal wonders and Mori culture, unwind on pristine beaches, or immerse yourself in the charm of picturesque towns. The journey begins now, so buckle up and let’s explore the North Island together!

Short Summary

  • Explore the best day trips from Auckland, including Middle Earth, beaches and islands!
  • Rent a car or campervan & take guided tours for an enjoyable experience.
  • Discover unique sights like Hobbiton Movie Set, Waitomo Caves & Hot Water Beach.

Attractions in Auckland You Must Visit

Exploring Middle Earth: Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves

Step into the enchanting world of Middle Earth with a day trip to the Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Caves. These popular day trips from Auckland offer a magical experience for both Lord of the Rings fans and nature enthusiasts alike.

Imagine wandering through the lush landscapes of the Shire, exploring hobbit holes, and marvelling at the ethereal beauty of glowworms illuminating the darkness of the caves.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Located just a two-hour drive from Auckland, the Hobbiton Movie Set is a must-visit for any movie buff or fantasy fan. Here, you’ll be transported to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, where you can join a guided tour and even dress up as your favourite character from the Lord of the Rings series.

Wander through the meticulously recreated hobbit holes, take a break at the Green Dragon Inn, and snap unforgettable photos at the iconic Party Tree. This magical day trip is sure to leave you spellbound!

Waitomo Caves

Another gem awaits you on your journey through Middle Earth is the Waitomo Caves, a breathtaking network of underground caverns renowned for their mesmerising glowworms. Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Auckland, these caves offer a unique experience as you explore stunning stalagmites and stalactites before hopping on a boat and gliding through the enchanting glowworm grotto.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, the Waitomo Caves also provide thrilling activities such as black water rafting, allowing you to experience the awe-inspiring cave formations from a different perspective. With a combination of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping excitement, the Waitomo Caves are a must-visit destination for any Auckland day trip.

Beach Escapes: Muriwai, Piha, and Bethells Beach

For those craving a beach escape, Auckland offers a stunning array of west coast beaches within the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Muriwai, Piha, and Bethells Beach provide the perfect setting for a day of relaxation, exploration, and adventure.

These black sand beaches boast unique attractions, such as gannet colonies and awe-inspiring waterfalls, making them ideal destinations for unforgettable day trips from Auckland.

Muriwai Beach and Gannet Colony

Muriwai Beach is not only known for its dramatic black sand and rugged coastline, but also for its fascinating gannet colony. Between August and April, you can witness the spectacle of over 1,200 gannets coming to breed at the colony, making it a truly unique experience.

In addition to birdwatching, Muriwai Beach offers a variety of walking trails and stunning views of the coastline that will leave you speechless.

Piha Beach

If surfing is your passion, Piha Beach is the place to be. With its legendary black sand and powerful waves, Piha Beach lures surfers from all around the world. Just a  40-kilometre (25 miles) drive from Auckland, it offers not only world-class surfing, but also a serene atmosphere for beach walks and relaxation.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore nearby Karekare Beach, another gem hidden along the west coast.

Bethells Beach

For a truly immersive experience in nature, head to Bethells Beach and explore the Te Henga Walkway, which offers breathtaking views of the Tasman Sea. Along the way, you’ll come across cascading waterfalls that add to the beach’s captivating charm.

With its magnificent landscapes, Bethells Beach is the perfect day trip destination for those seeking tranquillity and serenity away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland city.

Island Adventures: Waiheke, Rangitoto, and Tiritiri Matangi

Island adventures await you just off the coast of Auckland, with day trips to Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island, and Tiritiri Matangi Wildlife Sanctuary offering a diverse range of experiences. From exploring stunning walking trails, indulging in wine tasting, and spotting rare native birds, these island escapes provide the perfect getaway for every type of  traveller.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out or an action-packed adventure, these islands have something for everyone. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the native bush, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or explore the many historical sites. With so much to see and do, you’ll be amazed.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is a haven for wine lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, boasting an array of amazing vineyards, pristine beaches, and adventure activities. Just a 40-minute ferry ride from central Auckland, Waiheke offers a unique island experience with its beautiful walking trails, kayaking opportunities, and world-class wine tasting.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Waiheke Island is the perfect day trip destination to satisfy your wanderlust.

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Rangitoto Island

Embark on a volcanic adventure with a day trip to Rangitoto Island, the largest and youngest volcano in the Auckland Volcanic Field. Discover the island’s unique attractions, such as its otherworldly lava fields, mysterious caves, and lush native bush.

Rangitoto Island provides a fascinating insight into the geological history of the region and offers stunning views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf. Don’t miss the chance to explore this volcanic wonderland on your next Auckland day trip.

Tiritiri Matangi Wildlife Sanctuary

For birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers, Tiritiri Matangi Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit destination. This open bird sanctuary island is home to a variety of rare native birds and offers an immersive experience in the heart of New Zealand’s unique wildlife.

With walking trails, bird hides, and the chance to spot some truly rare species, Tiritiri Matangi provides an unforgettable day trip for anyone looking to connect with nature and learn more about the country’s conservation efforts.

Attractions in Auckland You Must Visit

Geothermal Wonders and Maori Culture: Rotorua

Witness the awe-inspiring power of nature with a day trip to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland and center for Mori culture. Dive into a world of bubbling mud pools, soaring geysers, and vibrant Mori traditions, all while experiencing thrilling adventures such as skydiving, zip-lining, and bungy jumping.

Rotorua offers an unparalleled experience for those seeking to explore the unique geothermal wonders and rich cultural heritage of New Zealand.

Te Puia

Te Puia, one of the world’s only two geyser fields, offers a fascinating insight into the power of the Earth’s geothermal activity. Witness the awe-inspiring Pohutu Geyser, marvel at the bubbling mud pools, and explore the hot springs and silica formations.

Te Puia also houses the national schools of wood carving, weaving, stone, and bone carving, offering an immersive experience in Mori culture and tradition. This geothermal wonder is a must-visit destination for any Auckland day trip.

Te Whakarewarewa

Experience the vibrant Mori culture with a visit to Te Whakarewarewa, a Maori village in Rotorua that’s home to the Thourangi Ngti Whiao people. This geothermal valley boasts an array of hot pools, boiling mud, and geysers, offering a glimpse into the fascinating world of Mori tradition and geothermal activity.

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of New Zealand with a day trip to Te Whakarewarewa and discover the unique connection between the Maori people and the natural world.

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Coromandel Peninsula: Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

The stunning Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect destination for a day trip from Auckland, offering breathtaking natural attractions like Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Plan your visit around the tides to make the most of these unique experiences.

Consider joining a tour to ensure you don’t miss any of the highlights this beautiful region has to offer.

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove, a natural landmark on the Coromandel Peninsula, is a must-visit destination for its pristine white sandy beaches and picturesque pohutukawa trees. This idyllic cove is accessible via a 2.5 km walking trail from the trailhead and offers stunning views of the surrounding coastline.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, Cathedral Cove is a captivating spot to spend a day exploring the beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula.

Hot Water Beach

Experience the unique phenomenon of Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, where you can dig your own hot pools in the sand during low tide. This popular attraction draws visitors from all over the world, eager to experience the natural hot springs beneath the beach’s surface.

Be sure to check the tide times before planning your visit and come prepared with a shovel to create your very own beachfront spa.

Off the Beaten Path: Hunua Ranges and Whangaparāoa Peninsula

Venture off the beaten path and discover the hidden gems of the Hunua Ranges Regional Park and Whangaparāoa Peninsula. These lesser-known destinations are perfect for day trips from Auckland, offering stunning waterfalls, walking trails, and the chance to encounter rare native birds and frogs.

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of these remarkable locations.

Hunua Ranges Regional Park

The Hunua Ranges Regional Park, the largest forested area in Auckland, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the rare Hochstetter frog and the endangered kokako bird. Explore the park’s abundant walking trails, take in the breathtaking beauty of the 30-meter Hunua Falls, and marvel at the reservoirs and dams that supply water to the city.

Just an hour’s drive from the city center, the Hunua Ranges Regional Park is an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking a tranquil escape.

Whangaparāoa Peninsula

Explore the picturesque Whangaparāoa Peninsula, with its stunning coastal walks, historical sites, and breathtaking elevated views from the Manakau Heads Lighthouse. This hidden gem is located on the east coast of Auckland and offers a range of activities for visitors, from relaxing on beautiful beaches to birdwatching and strolling through native bush.

Whangaparāoa Peninsula is a must-visit destination for those seeking a peaceful day trip away from the tourist crowds.

Charming Towns: Matakana and Raglan

Delight in the charm of Matakana and Raglan, two picturesque towns that are perfect for day trips from Auckland. With their bustling local markets, white sand beaches, wineries, and galleries, these quaint towns offer a diverse range of experiences that will leave you enchanted and inspired.


Just 55 minutes away from Auckland, Matakana is a small town that boasts a vibrant atmosphere and a range of attractions to suit all tastes. Stroll through the lively Saturday morning markets, sample local wines at the nearby vineyards, and visit the town’s art galleries for a cultural experience.

Don’t forget to indulge your sweet tooth at the local ice cream parlour and learn about the fascinating world of manuka honey production. Matakana is the perfect destination for a day trip filled with charm and character.


Raglan, a coastal beach town located 155 kilometres from Auckland, is renowned for its huge waves and laid-back vibes. This charming town offers a range of activities, from surfing and beach walks to exploring local art galleries.

Embrace the relaxed atmosphere and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Raglan, making it an ideal day trip destination for those seeking a tranquil escape from the city.

Tips for Planning Your Auckland Day Trip

Before embarking on your Auckland day trip, consider some useful tips to help you make the most of your adventure. From renting a car or campervan to taking guided tours, these suggestions will ensure that you have a smooth and enjoyable trip, allowing you to focus on the unforgettable experiences that await you.

Renting a car or campervan is a great way to explore the city and its surroundings. You can easily find rental companies in the city centre, and they offer a variety of vehicles to suit your needs.

Renting a Car or Campervan

Renting a car or campervan for your day trip offers several advantages, such as greater flexibility and the ability to explore more remote locations. Check out resources like for rental cars and Motorhome Republic for campervans, and be sure to review the rental company’s policies and have all your documents ready.

A well-prepared journey will allow you to focus on experiencing the wonders of your Auckland day trip.

Guided Tours

For those who prefer a more organised and informative experience, guided tours can be an excellent option for day trips from Auckland. Guided tours offer the expertise of a knowledgeable guide, ensuring that you don’t miss out on any hidden gems or interesting facts about your destination.

When choosing a guided tour, consider factors such as price, duration, and the guide’s experience to find the perfect fit for your day trip adventure.


From Middle Earth to volcanic islands, black sand beaches to charming towns, Auckland offers a wealth of day trip possibilities that cater to every traveller’s tastes and interests. With our comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on unforgettable adventures and create lasting memories in this diverse and enchanting region. So pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the incredible experiences that await you just a short journey from Auckland’s city center.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which city is close to Auckland, New Zealand?

If you’re looking for a city close to Auckland, New Zealand then head to Hamilton. It’s only a short drive away from Auckland and is full of things to explore and experience.

Hamilton is a great destination for those looking for a weekend getaway or a longer stay. It has a vibrant city centre, plenty of outdoor activities, and a range of cultural activities.

What is 3 hours away from Auckland?

Take a 3-hour road trip from Auckland and you can discover the city of Rotorua, known for its bubbling mud pools and geysers. This vibrant city has a range of activities from ziplining, mountain biking and sightseeing – all just a short drive away from Auckland.