If you’ve got visitors and want to show them why Auckland is so special you can’t go too far wrong with…
One Tree Hill
Not many cities either can lay claim to having over 50 volcanoes. One Tree Hill may not be the highest (that would be Mt Eden) but in my view its the most beautiful, surrounded by Cornwall Park and with stunning views over the whole city. Great spot to get visitors familiar with the lay of the land, and see a few sheep and cows on the way!
Classic day trip from Auckland, only 35 mins by ferry to a beautiful island full of beaches and vineyards with it’s own micro climate (generally warmer and sunnier than the rest of Auckland). Transport around can be a bit tricky (car ferry is expensive as is scooter rental, but there is a handy bus).
I always go over with my bike, perfect way to explore the island and free to take on the ferry. There is less traffic on the roads making it safer than many parts of Auckland to cycle, though there are a few hills… To get the full experience (and work out) cycle 25km from Matiatia Bay (where the ferry arrives) to Orapiu Bay (where there’s a wharf for the Coromandel ferry). Once you get past Onetangi there are very few houses, very little traffic, about four large hills and stunning views that make it all worthwhile.
For a shorter ride head to the beautiful Whakanewha Regional Park (12km) and return via a detour to Te Whau Bay for views back toward the CBD.
The West Coast
Again, how many cities have a sub-topical rainforest half an hours drive from the CBD which ends at a series of epic volcanic black sand beaches?
Piha is the most popular, with Lion Rock offering a great vantage point, but they all offer something different, from the epic expanses of Bethells and Muriwai to the lakes and waterfall of Karekare.
Two must stops places on route are the Arataki Visitor Centre (stunning views over the Waitakere’s) and Rose Hellaby House (515 Scenic Drive, few mins drive on from the visitor centre) for incredible views back toward Auckland.