Where to Soak Up the Natural Beauty of Auckland
If you’re planning a trip to Auckland, don’t confine yourself to the city’s urban spaces. Renowned for its unique scenery, the greater Auckland area is overflowing with natural beauty.
Tranquil harbours, marine reserves and untamed wilderness can be found scattered throughout New Zealand. Whether you want to explore the region’s rugged coastline or marvel at its volcanic landscapes, we can help you discover the best things to do in Auckland.
Nestled on the coast of New Zealand’s picturesque North Island, Auckland is the only metropolis in the world built on an active basaltic volcano field. Boasting mineral hot springs and towering rock formations, it’s hard to imagine a more geographically captivating city.
Parakai Hot Springs is one of the most popular geothermal attractions near Auckland. It has indoor and outdoor thermal pools, two hydro-slides, a picnic area and a waterpark. Located just a 40-minute drive from the city centre, there’s no better place to enjoy the region’s volcanic features.
The Auckland area is also peppered with volcanic cones. Formed thousands of years ago, these hills are made from tons of solidified lava. Climbing a volcanic cone is a great way to see Auckland’s natural beauty, as they offer incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
Rangitoto Island Sunset Kayak Tour
The most famous volcanic cone in Auckland is Rangitoto Island, a 260m-high landmass in the Hauraki Gulf. Created by a series of volcanic eruptions over 6,000 years ago, it’s one of New Zealand’s most famous natural landmarks.
To see this volcanic cone at its most beautiful, take a sunset kayak tour to Rangitoto. Separated from the mainland by a narrow canal, it doesn’t take long to reach by boat. After paddling to the base of the island, you can hike to the top and watch the sun go down over Auckland.
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
The Waitomo Glow Worm Caves are one of Auckland’s most enchanting destinations. Thousands of glow worms cast a luminous blue light over the caves’ unique limestone formations, providing an unforgettable experience.
The glow worm species, Arachnocampa luminosa, is native to New Zealand. They may be small, but these luminescent creatures glow brightly, even in the depths of the caves.
Organised tours are available at the Waitomo Caves, including a boat ride that travels beneath thousands of glow worms.
Auckland is surrounded by rivers and lagoons, several of which boast cascading waterfalls. These are some of the best waterfalls found just outside the city:
- Kitekite Falls – Accessible via an easy bushwalk, Kitekite Falls is a three-tier waterfall located on the western side of Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Standing 40 metres tall, it’s one of the largest and most breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls near Auckland.
- Hunua Falls – Hidden deep within Hunua Ranges National Park, this spectacular 30m waterfall is carved into the side of an ancient volcano. It’s approximately a 50-minute drive from Auckland city.
- Maketu Waterfall – Perfect for summertime swims, Maketu Waterfall is located just outside of Ramarama, a small community at the southern end of the Auckland region.
The Hillary Trail
Covering a network of walking tracks, the Hillary Trail winds its way through the Waitakere Ranges. Taking in diverse scenic landscapes, the trail acts as a gateway to Auckland’s beautiful coastline and native forests.
Named after Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand’s most famous mountaineer, the Hillary Trail features a combination of flat walking tracks and sections of rougher terrain. Tailor your hike to suit your level of fitness.
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