Clas­sic Kiwi coun­try.

CEN­TRAL NORTH IS­LAND – CLAS­SIC KIWI COUN­TRY

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

Think the best of New Zealand is all down in the South Is­land? While it may boast Queen­stown, Mil­ford Sound and Marl­bor­ough, its north­ern coun­ter­part has just as much to of­fer by way of stun­ning coast­line, rolling coun­try­side and ru­ral charm. Don’t waste time with in­ter­nal flights – plan the ul­ti­mate road trip start­ing in Auck­land. St Marys Res­i­dence is the jewel in Auck­land’s crown when it comes to lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion. The pri­vate suites of­fer the best in be­spoke ser­vices, such as in­cred­i­ble food pre­pared by a pri­vate chef. Just a stone’s throw from down­town, it’s the per­fect gate­way for ex­plor­ing this flour­ish­ing water­front me­trop­o­lis.

Known for its black-sand surf beaches on the west coast and lush hill­sides in­land, the Waikato re­gion of­fers a wealth of na­ture-based ac­tiv­i­ties and at­trac­tions sur­round­ing the vi­brant hub of Hamil­ton.

The walk to the Pin­na­cles in the Kauaeranga Val­ley in the Coro­man­del (170km from Auck­land) can be done in a day or stretched out over two. To wit­ness the fa­mous sun­rise, an overnight stay in the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s Pin­na­cles Hut (a ser­viced build­ing con­tain­ing 80 bunks) is the eas­i­est – and most ad­ven­tur­ous – way to do it.

Stop by the CORO­MAN­DEL MUS­SEL KITCHEN for a pot of their fresh­est fare ($23). Wash it down with a crisp Mon­teith’s lager; mus­sel kitchen.co.nz.*

The PIN­NA­CLES HUT has so­lar light­ing, BBQ and gas cook­ers, and acts as a base for one of the most in­cred­i­ble sun­rises you’ll ever see. $14 per adult per night (book in ad­vance); doc.govt.nz.g

Raglan’s SOLSCAPE of­fers shared ac­com­mo­da­tion for hippies-at-heart in tipi re­treats, eco stu­dios and earth domes. There’s even an in-house surf school and yoga cen­tre; solscape.co.nz.

If you’re a Tolkien fan,, drive east to MATAMATA and visit the Hob­biton Movie Set (aka “the Shire”). Tick­ets $79 per adult; hob­biton­tours.com. com.

ST MARYS RES­I­DENCE of­fers cityscape and Waitem­ata Har­bour views; stmarys res­i­dence.co.nz.

Burn off some shop­ping steam in PON­SONBY, home to Kiwi brands Karen Walker, Work­shop and Zambesi.

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