10 Scenic Driving Destinations In and Near Auckland

Oct 28, 2020
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By Staff writer

Auckland or Tāmaki Makaurau is the best NZ city for a road trip! Take a cultural tour around the world all within a few blocks away. The city houses Maori, Kiwi, Asian, European, and other global cultures. Aside from modern buildings and skyscrapers, it’s also surrounded by nature! Combine all this, and you get the perfect place for a rollercoaster drive!

Buckle up for your road trip in Auckland! Make sure to visit these scenic places in your drive.

Auckland City Centre Architecture

For those that love history, you’ll surely enjoy the Auckland City Centre Architecture! Hidden behind the contemporary buildings of Downtown Auckland, this is a series of old English baroque architecture dating between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

One of the most imposing buildings is the Ferry Building and the Chief Post Office at the Princes Wharf. You also shouldn’t miss the Auckland High Court, which was modelled after the Warwick Castle in England. There’s also the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is often recognised as the first church in New Zealand.

Howick Historical Village

A blast to the past isn’t complete without a trip to Howick Historical Village. Opened in 1980, the village stores some 30+ authentic buildings dating from the 19th century. These structures were carefully disassembled in their original location, and rebuilt on site.

Aside from the buildings, there’s a cafe and gift shop on-site, where you can shop for souvenirs. The village is located at Lloyd Elsmore Park, Bells Road, Pakuranga, Auckland 2010. Call them ahead for available tours and fun activities, or visit their website here.


Just a 50km drive north of Auckland will set you foot in Puhoi. This little township was founded by immigrants from Bohemia (modern-day Czechia) in the 1860s. Unlike most communities that have greatly urbanised over the years, this place has retained its original bucolic roots and character. 

See Bohemia Museum, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the graves of the early Bohemian settlers in the churchyard. There are also art studios and artisan boutiques around the area where you can snag some snacks and souvenirs.

East Coast Beaches

Enough with the throwback — it’s time to head over East and immerse in nature! Roll your windows down and feel the sea breeze along Milford Beach, Cheltenham Beach, and Takapuna Beach overlooking Rangitoto Island.

If you want a quick dip, take a short drive out of the city to Maraetai Beach or Orewa Beach. They have calmer waters with golden sand beaches, perfect for swimming and water sports of families with little kids.

West Coast Beaches

If you want to see rough waves slapping steep rocks, drive to the west coast! The wide stretch of golden sand and crystal clear waters overlooks surfers riding the enormous waves of the Tasman Sea.

Aside from long stretches of golden beaches under the golden sun, you may go to Piha Beach — a volcanic black sand beach with rock outcrops. If you want to enjoy a more serene view without the surfers, head southwest to Karioitahi Beach, which doesn’t get as much notice from tourists.

Auckland Harbour Bridge

A drive across Auckland isn’t complete without crossing the Harbour Bridge. Completed in 1959, it spans more than one kilometre long, standing 43 metres high. This connects downtown Auckland to the northern beaches of the city.

The bridge hosts a variety of thrilling experiences like the Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungee Jump, plunging you 40 metres to the water. If you don’t fancy the drop, you can climb at the top of the bridge with the Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb to see the best views of the skyline.

Viaduct Harbour

Viaduct Harbour is New Zealand’s major marina, so expect to see a lively atmosphere wherever you look. This place hosts the different cup yachting regatta, where professional athletes sprint their boats on the water.

During the normal days, there are plenty of vibrant entertainment and dining hubs along the bay. Many tourists flock to this place to enjoy live music and cultural street food experience in the Flower Market along Quay Street. 


Auckland is known for many iconic tourist attractions, but nothing is more famous than the Hobbiton! While it’s not completely within the city parameters, it takes only less than a two-hour drive to get there. Make sure to load up your tank before driving to this landmark.

Feel the magic of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies in the Green Dragon Inn and several rabbit holes. It gets pretty touristy at some seasons of the year, but it’s surely a scene to behold during less touristy periods.

Mt Maunganui

The two hour and 45-minute journey going to Mount Maunganui will be worth it once you see it for yourself. It’s one of the favourite summer destinations of Aucklanders, and it’s easy to see why. The place offers a laid back yet thrilling atmosphere with all the adventures to try.

For those who want some quiet time, the Mount is the perfect spot to skip the hustle of the city. Feel the sea breeze as you drive along the white-sand Pilot Bay Beach. While you’re at it, make sure to visit the Gourmet Night Market for fresh seafood stocks!


Devonport is just a short drive away from the Auckland Harbour Bridge, but the community feels like its own little world. The pier-side community is located on the rolling green hills and the sea, which is a perfect spot if you want to ease your mind. 

A drive along Devonport will give you the best view of the summit of Mount Victoria and the Auckland skyline, jousting over emerald waters. With Victorian villas with seaside boutiques and cafes of the community, it’s no wonder why it was named as Auckland’s prettiest village.

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