Shot of Lake Rotorua in New Zealand from its southern shore near sunset. Found this spot off Memorial Drive near the town centre of Rotorua.
Lake Rotorua is the second largest lake on the North Island. The lake is an old crater from a volcano that last erupted 240,000 years ago. The view made me forget about the sulphur smell due to the continued thermal activity in the area. Make sure to checkout some nearby hot springs, geysers and hot mud pools.
Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city and urban area, much of which sits within a volcanic field. Because of that there are fifty dormant volcanoes and craters in Greater Auckland. Mount Eden is one of the more well-known ones. It’s Māori name is Maungawhau which means the Mountain of the Whau tree.
Mount Eden is a major tourist attraction and is the highest point in the city, reaching 196 meters at its summit. The crater is fifty meters deep and has been dormant since it erupted 28,000 years ago. It’s unlikely that it will ever erupt again. More than likely an eruption would occur at a new site in the area.
Located about five kilometers outside the city centre, driving, taking the bus or going for a stroll to get to is an easy proposition. There are plenty of walking areas at the top.
Once at the top you can get great panoramic views of Auckland, the harbours and the skyline.
A shot of suburbia as far as the eye can see.
What a lot of people like is unlike the Sky Tower, it’s free and you can go there twenty-four hours a day.
Looking towards the northeast you can see Rangitoto Island, the youngest and biggest area volcano, erupting and forming that island about 600 years ago.
Atop Mount Eden sits a survey marker which attracts a lot of tourist attention, Surveyor’s Monument. A survey marker is placed to mark a key survey point on the earth’s surface and is used in land surveying.
An interesting fact: Up until a few years ago you would have been able to see cattle within Maungawhau. Rats. It’s not everyday you can see cattle and a skyline in the same photo. Of course I had to find some older photos online.
Whenever you’re in Auckland make sure to make the trek over to Mount Eden (Maungawhau). What other craters, dormant volcanoes would you recommend visiting in greater Auckland? Anywhere?
You have another day in Auckland and you’re looking for another beach to explore, one that’s off the beaten path. Head over to the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, about a two hours drive and you’ll reach Opoutere Recreation Reserve off State Highway 25.
Opoutere Beach is the last undeveloped white sand beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. The beach is protected from development by pine forest that runs alongside it’s five kilometer length. You’ll go through this pine forest as it’s a ten minute walk to the beach and coast from the main parking area.
When you get to the coastline, you’ll arrive on the south end of the beach. Opoutere Beach is a white, quartz sand surf beach and a popular remote spot for surfing and swimming. The waters are tranquil and clear in the area and in Wharekawa Harbour which begins at the south end of the beach.
Looking out into the Pacific Ocean you can see several small islands off in the distance including Hikunui Island.
The other parts of the beach (the central and more northern parts) are off the main path and are considered clothing-optional. If you’re a bird watcher checkout the nearby Opoutere Wildlife Refuge Reserve.
It’s a relaxing trip over to Opoutere Beach. You’ll enjoy the pine forest walk and the relaxation of being on a remote beach. It’s definitely worth the day trip. What is your favorite beach to take a day trip to from Auckland? From where you live?
Looking for a day trip destination with spectacular views when in Auckland? Look no further then Piha. Piha, the settlement and beach, are along the wild, rugged west coast of the North Island just west of the CBD. It’s a popular tourist and local destination for those in the city, especially in the summer months. It’s a scenic, winding and narrow ride over.
You’ll see Piha’s beauty as you reach the settlement and beach from up in the hills.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the natural formation known as Lion Rock. It separates North and South Piha Beach. The rock resembles a large male lion and you can climb it to get great views. Lion Rock is the remains of a volcano which erupted sixteen million years ago.
The beach and settlement sit along the Tasman Sea remotely within the Waitakere range. Its sand is black consisting of iron of volcanic origin. Its the most popular and famous place to surf in New Zealand due to the large waves, having hosted domestic and international competitions over the years. Swimming is not advised due to those hard waves.
Piha Beach and Lion Rock is a scenic destination along the Tasman Sea. It’s definitely worth a day trip when in Auckland. What beaches have you been in awe with over the view? What beaches would you recommend seeing in New Zealand?
Posted in day trip, New Zealand, Road Trip, travel
Tagged Auckland, beach, Lion Rock, New Zealand, North Island, Piha, Piha Beach, surfing, Tasman Sea
Just west of Auckland along the wild, rugged coast on the North Island is Te Henga (Bethells Beach). It sits where the Waitakere River flows into the Tasman Sea. The Maori named this beach Te Henga for the way the sand dunes are shaped.
It’s a bit of a walk to the beach and sea from the parking area. As your walking you’ll notice the volcanic sand right away. The beach sand gets its color from the black titanomangenite in the volcanic rocks that are carried by the coastal currents. When your walking you’ll see sand dudes along with quicksand danger signs. Wasn’t going to see if it really was quicksand and kept moving. 🙂
As soon as you reach the beach and coastline you’re in awe.
It was a quiet summer afternoon during the week, but this is the time of year when people from Auckland flock to the area. It’s near the big city, but has the feeling of being remote. Taking windy, narrow roads to get to it adds to the feeling of going somewhere secluded.
Surfing is the most popular activity here. When swimming do so between the flags as the waters are a little rough. There are lifeguards in the summer months.
I became fascinated with all the green clams along the beach.
Some additional travel tips for planning a visit there: There are no gas stations in Bethells Beach so plan accordingly. Also, cell phone service is virtually non-existent.
It was a great afternoon trip over to Te Henga (Bethells Beach). It’s definitely a recommended stop when in and around Auckland. What coastal spots do you like around Auckland? In New Zealand?
Posted in New Zealand, Road Trip, travel
Tagged Auckland, beach, Bethells Beach, New Zealand, North Island, surfing, Tasman Sea, Te Henga, volcanic sand