With summer just around the corner, these Auckland based girls share their favourite weekend getaways. Whether you’re spontaneous or a planner, prefer adventure or luxury, these girls share their top tips and best recommendations to make sure your summer is filled with Auckland’s best weekend getaway experiences. Keep reading to see what Roxanne, Callie and Kim recommend and make sure you book these into your summer calendar!
If you live in Auckland and haven’t been to the West Coast, you should make it a top priority to book a weekend away and spend your time exploring the area. I recommend looking on Airbnb for accomodation. Piha is a hot spot, especially in summer, so make sure you book your overnight stay in advance!
Piha is only a 50 minute drive from the city centre, making it a great choice for both day trips as well as weekend getaways. If I want to cover a lot of ground on a short trip, I like to do my research first. Other days, I’ll wake up, grab my camera and head outdoors with no real plan. My essentials for a West Coast getaway are a camera, tripod, phone, water bottle, sunnies, togs, towel, lip balm, popcorn and bliss balls. I often take my own food but the Piha Cafe has also has good food and is a great option for a spontaneous trip, I also highly recommend trying the coffee from the Piha Cafe.
I love Auckland’s West Coast for the diversity of its landscape. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to natural gems – from waterfalls to cliffs to black sand beaches! Make the most of the stunning scenery by going for walks and exploring the Waitakere ranges, there is so much to see. Also, make sure you check the council website for updates on the open tracks in the Waitakere ranges – you don’t want to arrive at a track to be left disappointed if it’s closed due to Kauri dieback.
Located southwest of Auckland lies the quaint surf town of Raglan, perfect for a getaway. Quickly becoming the most celebrated surf spot in NZ with its famous left-hand peal, this little town attracts people from all over the world. My favorite things about Raglan are the surf beaches, the vibe, and the people you meet there!
The first time I ever visited Raglan was on a solo backpacking trip throughout the country. If you’re into staying in hostels, LazyStayz is the best hostel in town! It’s a rustic, historic house just off the main street, much better than the usual backpackers as this one is smaller and more homey. Through the hostel you can rent surfboards, wetsuits, and pretty much anything else to make the most of Raglan! Check out LazyStays here.
If you’re not a backpacker however, stay in one of the local campgrounds for a weekend. This is my current favourite way to experience Raglan, loading up our car with surfboards, skateboards and camping gear and making the 2.5 hour drive down from Auckland. The Raglan Holiday Park is situated right across from a beautiful park. It has a bridge you can jump off at high tide, into the inlet. This bridge leads into town for easy restaurant and shopping access. It’s also right next to the skate park, which has some awesome ramps, bowls, and my favorite part, the pump track!
Food can be expensive in town, especially at the ice cream stands and healthy food cafés. While it’s usually more economical to cook your own food, if you’re wanting some good, authentic Kiwi food, head to Jo’s Takeaways. It’s a little yellow shack right by the park and skatepark. Be aware that while the food is incredible (their chocolate thickshakes are superb), the wait can take up to an hour and a half in summertime, so you might need to order far ahead of actually being hungry! Every other Sunday there is a Farmer’s Market perfect for shopping local and on Friday summer nights, you can usually find some kind of live music happening in town!
Never surfed before? Raglan is the best place to try a new activity and have fun in the sun! Every day there are affordable surf lessons and surf rentals right on the main beach. Make sure you stay at the beach for sunset, as Raglan has some of the most vibrant sunsets I have ever seen! Venture beyond the main beach and travel further down the road to check out Manu Bay, Whale Bay, and if you’re up for a 30 minute drive on a winding dirt road, check out Ruapuke Beach. Ruapuke is a further down the coast, but it faces directly west, making for stunning sunset views and some extreme waves! I don’t recommend surfing there for beginners, but it has some great scenery and a long, black sand beach for exploring.
Raglan is the type of small New Zealand town that always has something new and fun to see and do! Even though it might seem small and like you think you can see it all in one day, you’ll quickly find that to fully experience everything it has to offer you need multiple weekend getaways. This is what keeps me coming back again and again!
New Zealand is home to some of the most magically beautiful scenery and PurePods is an experience that captures this. Picture a romantic weekend getaway, away from Auckland, sleeping under the dark night sky, in a breathtakingly sustainable glass pod!
The pod is equipped with all the amenities you’ll need from board games and torches to Bluetooth speakers and luxury deck chairs! As soon as we arrived we unpacked the grazing platter and took in the views (all 360 degrees of it), followed with a self-cook dinner and a perfect sweet treat to complete the meal. The pod is made from heavy duty glass, allowing you to see everything but also strong enough to keep you safe from those strong overnight winds.
As the sun began to set over the Waipara valley, we threw on a cardi and turned on the indoor floor heating while we waited out on the deck for the dark sky to replace what we can only describe as the most beautiful fiery sunset. We spent most of the night staring at the sky from one of the most unique places we’ve ever stayed at.
The PurePod is located about an hour north from Christchurch. While this may seem far, the flight from Auckland to Christchurch is just an hour and a half! From Christchurch, you take the beautiful drive, up through the wineries. Stop for some wine tastings before making the 15 min short hike down to your pod. You’ll be given exact instructions on how to get there after you book. Check out the PurePods here.
Here are my top tips to make the most out of your stay:
Opt in for the dinner & breakfast add-on. They cater to all dietary requirements and making your own meals adds to the sustainable experience.
Pack light but don’t forget the essentials as you don’t want to be making multiple trips back and forth to the car as it’s a 15 min hike.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to settle in so you can watch the sunset with a glass of bubbles.
Shower with the blinds up. There’s no one around for miles and there’s something so ‘freeing’ about it.
While a night’s stay here will set you back $590, it’s a lifetime experience worth every dollar! A perfect excuse to splash out for a weekend on that special anniversary or birthday.
I hope that you’ve absolutely loved this article. A huge thank you to my contributors, Roxanne, Callie and Kim for taking the time to share their favourite things with me and with you. Please leave a comment down below if you’ve enjoyed reading and pop over to Instagram to see what else they get up to.