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πŸš— self-drive itinerary

πŸ›οΈ minimum 2 night stay recommended

🍽️ dining suggestions offered

πŸ“… visit any time of year


The majority of visitors that travel to New Zealand come through Auckland Airport, but this part of the city has much more than just flights on offer. Discover the east’s sparkling blue waters, white-sand beaches, rolling countryside, boutique wineries and the largest native forest in the Auckland region. Auckland’s south is a melting pot of cultures from around the world, a place where history, adventure and beautiful landscapes combine.


Highlights can include:

  • ramble through wide green spaces and the volcanic peak of Maungakiekie / One Tree HillDomain which together with neighbouring Cornwall Park forms the largest area of parkland in Auckland City πŸ“Έ
  • take a nostalgic 15km trip back in time through the beautiful countryside aboard the lovingly restored steam train on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway πŸš‚
  • spend time at Hunua Falls with a picnic or lace up your walking shoes and head up one of the multiple signposted tracks for a better view from above πŸ‘Ÿ
  • conveniently close to Auckland's Airport, Villa Maria offers delicious food and wines from its vineyard cafΓ©, and the Auckland Cellar Door provides tours of their wine making process πŸ·
  • Auckland Botanic Gardens provides 64 hectares of beautiful gardens and native forest and home to over 10,000 plants - entry is free and is considered a garden of national significance πŸŒΊ
  • inspire a love of star gazing at Stardome Observatory and Planetarium - the sky of the Southern Hemisphere contains star clusters and patterns that can only be seen from this latitude πŸ€©πŸ”­πŸŒŒ
  • no matter what airline or class you are flying, Strata Lounge invites you to enjoy a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere before your international flight departure at Auckland International Airport πŸ›¬πŸ‘¨β€βœˆοΈπŸ›«
  • Spookers is a popular live entertainment experience in which you move through a theatrically themed Haunted House environment populated by sets, props and live scare-actors πŸ˜±
  • the journey to Awhitu Peninsula is as good as the destination, with vast panoramas, sweeping coastlines and tranquil bays, top of the list is a trip to historical Manukau Heads Lighthouse, open to the public πŸš—
  • with over 20 rides and attractions, there's something for everyone at Rainbow's End, a family fun theme park featuring thrill rides for those brave enough, and family friendly adventures like the Log Flume πŸŽ’πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦
  • shop 'til you drop at Sylvia Park, New Zealand's largest shopping centre and often considered to be Auckland's premier retail and fashion destination πŸ›οΈ
  • interact with villagers in period costumes as they go about daily tasks, play Victorian era children’s games at Howick Historical Village and experience village life in New Zealand in the mid to late 1800s πŸ—οΈπŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦
  • the affluent seaside suburb of St Heliers Bay is a warm, sunny-side village nestled in to the east of Auckland - enjoy the bohemian atmosphere, cafes and shops while you're here πŸš
  • see the butterfly house, Dinosaur Kingdom, New Zealand's only salt water crocodiles, farm animals, alligators, bugs, monkeys and a bird aviary at Butterfly Creek, family fun next to Auckland Airport πŸ¦‹πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦
  • The Pohutukawa Coast provides the opportunity for a great coastal road adventure, especially when combined with beachside dining in Maraetai, walking Duder Regional Park and looping back via Clevedon Village πŸš—πŸ‘Ÿ
  • the world's largest Polynesian market, held on Saturdays mornings, Otara Markets teem with shoppers seeking everything from crafts to exotic foods to island music CDs πŸ›οΈ



πŸ“ # of Visitors3.0

🐚 Beaches4.5

🌦️ Chance of Rain4.0

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ Family Fun4.0

πŸ›’ Shopping7.5

🍽️ Food + Wine 3.0

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ LGBTQI+ friendly πŸ‘

Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0


πŸŽ₯video courtesy of AV Photography NZ on Facebook


Length of stay
  • Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you. 


    Day 1 : Arrive in South Auckland or East Auckland

    A great place to begin or end your trip around New Zealand. Upon arrival into either South Auckland or East Auckland you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your neighbourhood for the next 2 nights.


    This afternoon, make the most of Villa Maria's conveniently located Cellar Door and CafΓ© offering delicious food paired with fine wine.  Then take in the sights over New Zealand's largest city from the iconic volcanic peak One Tree Hill and wander beautiful surroundings provided by Cornwall Park taking in the views and probably a few selfies too.


    Tonight, we'll offer suggestions on the best places to eat dependant on your accommodation location. 


    Day 2 : making the most of every minute

    Today you'll explore the best of both South and East Auckland with a mini-road trip around the region.  Don't worry, I know you're thinking traffic nightmare, but the roads we are taking you on should, for the most part, be easy going.


    Start the adventure by heading to the Auckland Botanic Gardens where you can choose to wander the day away, or just easily spend the morning sipping on coffee and interacting with locals at the great onsite cafΓ©.  


    Next stop is delightful Clevedon Village which is home to a great little farmers' market on Sundays, but also a great place to pick up something delicious from a local cafΓ© or bakery to take away with you to your next stop.


    Hunua Falls can be heaving with people on a summers day one day, extremely quiet the next.  Either way, it's a great spot to go on a short walk through lush New Zealand native bush to a waterfall, the perfect spot for a picturesque picnic.  


    Next comes the fun part of the drive, as you travel through farmland to the Pohutukawa Coast, and follow the road through to the seaside favourites Maraetai and Beachlands.  Both offer great beaches with brilliant views, and of course cafΓ©s for those longing for their next caffeine fix.  Agreat spot to relax for a few hours and either get acquainted with New Zealand's typical culture and timezone; or reflect on your time and the highlights of your visit around New Zealand before you say goodbye.


    Tonight we' arrange dinner for you to celebrate your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants where you won't be disappointed by delicious fresh New Zealand food.


    Day 3 : Depart South Auckland or East Auckland

    Today might be the last day of your New Zealand visit, so take the opportunity to grab a few gifts for friends and family back home from Sylvia Park shopping centre before jetting off to the airport where you'll check in with plenty of time, so you can enjoy shopping Auckland Airport (our personal favourite ArtPort) and relaxing Strata Lounge before your flight home. 


    However, if you're just beginning your trip, you might be raring to go!  We'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.