Extending from the far reaches of Auckland’s northern suburbs to Waiwera; this scenic stretch of the Hauraki Gulf coast has much to hold the traveller’s attention. Here are our picks for the five best things to do along New Zealand’s Hibiscus Coast.
5 Best Activities Along New Zealand’s Hibiscus Coast
Chill out at the beach
The Hibiscus Coast is littered with beaches; but it’s worth making the extra effort to reach Shakespear Regional Park, blessed with three excellent beaches. Te Haruhi Bay features a beautiful sandy beach, while Okoromai Bay is a tidal beach where you can go cockling. You’ll find Army Bay’s stretch of sand at the north western side of the Park. Boating and kayaking are popular activities in summer. There are also opportunities to dive the shipwrecks located off the Te Haruhi/Okoromai headland. There are a range of walking trails in the vicinity, some, like Lookout Point, which reward hikers with superb panoramic views.
Visit the Tiri Tiri Matangi Island wildlife reserve
Hop on a ferry – 75 minutes from Downtown Auckland or 20 minutes from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula – to explore delightful Tiri Tiri Matangi Island. This predator-free island is a haven for over seventy species of birds. Many of them are rare or endangered, including the korora (little blue penguin), takahe, and kōkako. Each morning, there’s a guided walk which will help you identify species by both sight and sound. Even in a day you can stroll the length of the island’s walking tracks; buying a map will help support the conservation and education programmes that have been set up on Tiri Tiri Matangi.
Ski – in the NZ summer
If you thought that skiing in New Zealand required a trip to South Island in winter, prepare to rethink your plans. Snowplanet’s indoor snow slope is open year-round and a fun destination for all the family along New Zealand’s Hibiscus Coast. You don’t need any winter sports experience at all to have a go at snow tubing. With different sized tubes for hire, everyone can join in. If you prefer to keep the white stuff beneath your feet; there’s a full feature terrain park for expert skiers, while beginners have their own dedicated run. Private lessons are available if you want to brush up on your skills before the 2018 season kicks in.
Soak in Waiwera’s hot pools
Auckland’s most popular thermal water attraction reopens after some refurbishment in late December. Amidst the sheltered Waiwera Valley, the hot pools are geothermally heated. Temperatures vary between pools, the hottest being a toasty 48°C; and the coolest a more refreshing 30°C. Kids will love the waterslides (note that a minimum height requirement of 1.2 metres is in place) while those who want to de-stress will make a beeline for the spa or lazy river for sure. Best of all, the Waiwera Thermal Resort is just over half an hour drive from Auckland.
Enjoy a slice of the past at Silverdale’s Pioneer Village
Pull off the Hibiscus Coast Highway into Silverdale and you’ll find the Silverdale Pioneer Village. Set amongst parkland are a clutch of historic buildings spanning a period from the 1860s to the 1930s. You’ll be able to visit the schoolhouse, constructed in 1909, a 1920s rimu and kauri post office and a parsonage built for the local Wesleyan minister in 1877 which was later put to use as a hay barn.