Classic Kiwi country.
CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND – CLASSIC KIWI COUNTRY
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.