The land captured our hearts, we settled. Experiences as tourists and of everyday life are shared within these pages.
Secluded Bays and vast black iron sand beaches
The west has a vast, wild and untamed coastline with popular surfing beaches like Piha, Karekare, Bethells and Muriwai. The larger beaches are surrounded by bush and wetlands which set the scene for a dramatic approach to the beach itself. Smaller bays are protectively surrounded by rugged cliffs and require more effort to reach.
Bush and rainforest
The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is puffer between the western suburbs and the west coast beaches. Here is the chance to explore bush and rainforest. For hikers and trampers are more than 240 km trail to walk through bush and rainforest past kauri giants, water crossings, water holes and waterfalls. Trails lead high up along ridges over viewing valleys or the coastline towards the Tasman Sea. The Hillary Trail gives in depth insights into the Ranges and their water reservoirs on a tramping exploration that takes 4 days and 3 nights.
Many helping hands work to keep it wild with a thriving wildlife
The west’s charm comes from the wild, unspoiled, untamed, vast and rugged appearance. This picture is preserved by many volunteering hands that work together in keeping the beaches and parks free of debris. On long walks through sometimes almost impenetrable bush hill up and down traps are set and pests are monitored. The goal is to make the rainforest and bush again a safe place for endangered native wildlife and birdlife.
In between all those activities are popular festivals that celebrate the differences of all New Zealanders and bring people together to share the highlights of their cultural heritage. Among celebrated cultural highlights are film, music and theatre festivals. These take place in a smaller scale in the suburbs of Auckland but through the closeness to the city bigger events are easily accessible.
Closeness to city and city activities
Who would imagine that in less than an hours’ drive the thrill of the largest metropolitan area in New Zealand gives a very different impression. There cultural highlights, cafes and restaurants are all in walking distance of the CBD. The inner city beaches along the bays are also the most crowded beaches that are found in New Zealand. Beach and sun lovers gather for leisurely strolls, visits to the cafes with view over the Hauraki Gulf and lively beach and water activities.
In driving distance to 20+ Regional Parks
Once done with the Waitakere Ranges there are more Regional Parks all in driving distance around Auckland. Each has something different to make them worth a visit. For those keen on adventure activities bungy jumping, jet boating, canyoning, quad biking, 4 wheel driving, sailing or game fishing might spike interest. There are also one or multiple day tours leaving from Auckland to discover Northland, wine regions or the Waikato and Rotorua area.
During the last decade we lived, walked, tramped, swam, skimmed, visited, photographed and took part. Still, we are very fond of our chosen home country with its many, many hours of sunshine :) Don’t get me wrong there is a very rainy season during autumn and spring but it rarely lasts for long and the sun comes through on most days for some time.
Do you have memorable NZ Christmas holiday activity?
We start 2014 with a contest. Drop by and enter what activity made your NZ Christmas holiday memorable.
Online e-cards let you share regional impressions of New Zealand vacations with friends and family. For those still in travel preparations the free online puzzle games introduce regional delights and the travel stories written by readers might give some insights.
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