North East of Auckland: Auckland → Waipu

How Long:

5 days - 250km (return loop)


Anytime to enjoy markets and the region's vineyards, wild beach walks, cosy up in a pub, or surf until sunset during summer.

Must do:

  • Matakana farmers markets and vineyards
  • Goat island snorkelling
  • Sawmill Brewery at Leigh
  • Puhoi pub, established 1879
  • Te Arai beach for surf and freedom camp spots
  • Luck out on a gig at Mangawhai Tavern

With the possibility of scoring top quality waves, unique eateries, craft breweries and one incredible pub stop, Auckland's eastern surf beaches are an excellent 5-day trip without venturing too far from Auckland. Our itinerary highlights the best way to see the area and make the most of local farmers markets, only a stone's throw from Auckland.

Auckland — Matakana (70 km)

Weekends are made for moseying around Matakana – a beautiful town just an hour north of Auckland. Fantastic wine, beautiful white sand beaches and a bustling art scene. You could easily spend five days in this one location. It's decision time, so pick one of the many superb craft breweries, sit back and ponder “does it get much better than this?”. Don't miss out on the farmers market every Saturday year-round.

Matakana — Te Arai beach (50 km)

After lapping up a glass of the good stuff at one of the area’s many breweries (Sawmill is a favourite), continue up the coast to Te Arai – one of the most consistent beaches for surf, wildlife spotting and beach time. This DOC conservation area hosts an idyllic camping spot. You’ll need to be self-contained, but in your Big Little Campers rental campervan, you’re primed for the primo spots. Head to the Auckland Council website to book your spot before you arrive. Surf lessons are also offered here so now’s the time to give it a go. Aotearoa Surf has an excellent reputation.

Te Arai — Waipu cove (25km)

Cruise the coastline through Mangawhai Heads (see if the Mangawhai Tavern is hosting any epic gigs while you're in town), Langs Beach to Waipu Cove. There are plenty of clean and friendly campsites along the way. Head for brunch at The Cove Cafe in Waipu and stroll along the miles of untouched white sand beaches.

Waipu Cove — Puhoi — Auckland (110 km)

Meander back towards the big smoke, keeping an eye out for fresh milk and produce along the way. Stop at the iconic Puhoi Pub, established in 1879. Make friends with the many locals who hold up the bar. With the Puhoi Cheese Cafe, Kayak tours on the Puhoi River and immense history of the area, there's something for everyone. Enjoy this little slice of the ‘north’ before heading back to Auckland.

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