New Zealand has fondly adopted the kiwi bird as its national symbol, and there’s a lot to know about this weird little nocturnal bird that ...
Next time you're visiting Auckland, don't limit yourself to the urban areas – New Zealand's largest city is surrounded by off-the-beaten-track destinations that are well worth a look.
Less than 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Auckland is the cute little village of Whitford. With all the essentials – gift shop, café, bottle shop, etc. – Whitford is a tiny hamlet at the heart of an idyllic rural region. Palatial houses dot the hillsides here; this is horse country, home to stables and stud farms, and it’s a favourite place for Aucklanders wanting a house in the country and perhaps a pony for the children. And why not? With its picturesque rolling hills framing views of the sea, it feels like a world apart from Auckland City and yet the shopping malls of Botany Downs and Sylvia Park are only a short drive away.
Just down the road from Whitford is the gorgeous Pohutukawa Coast – Maraetai and (unsurprisingly!) Beachlands are seaside villages with good beaches, and there are a couple of coastal regional parks to explore: Omana Regional Park and Duder Regional Park. Pine Harbour, at Beachlands, is a marina with a sheltered beach, landscaped gardens, a café and a pub, as well as all the essential marine services. A high-speed ferry operates between Pine Harbour and downtown Auckland several times daily.
If your interests tend more towards gastronomic pleasures, take the turnoff at Whitford and head to Clevedon Village. The Clevedon Valley is home to several wineries, while the village itself has a farmers’ market and several boutique food stores. Whether you visit for one day or for several, this idyllic slice of New Zealand countryside is a local secret that’s well worth a visit!