Go West says the buses and I can’t blame them. Home to some stunning parts of Auckland, it makes a great escape from the city.
West Coast Beaches
Spectacular black volcanic sand beaches stretch along the coastline from top of Muriwai down and around to Huia. Head to the East Coast Bays if you want a relaxing dip in the sea. These are rugged and fierce parts of the coastline, ensuring enough action for an entire TV series called Piha Rescue. They’re the perfect places to confront nature and go for long walks along the beaches, and through the bush over cliff tops. Piha is the most popular but they all have their own character. I particularly like the epic scale of Bethells and Karekare. Scenic Drive is the main road to Piha and Karekare though the name is a little misleading unless you enjoy scenic views of endless bush.
One of the things that makes Auckland so special is having a huge sub topical rainforest half an hour from the CBD. The Waitakeres are an epic expanse of native bush and trees, perfect for tramping around. The two best spots to stop at on your way through for views are the Arataki Visitor Centre (300 Scenic Drive) and Rose Hellaby’s House (515 Scenic Drive).
Te Uru, Titirangi
The latest addition to the Auckland art scene, this is a beautiful building that perfectly complements Lopdell House next door. Strong opening set of exhibitions, and some perfectly judged internal views make this a must do if out west.
One of NZs most famous artists, Colin McCahon built a delightfully traditional kiwi bach in the bush in the 1950s. A world away from the Omaha mega mansions representing the modern kiwi bach, this is a taste of what life was more typically like until very recently.
Debatable whether this is really out west but its on route and worth a mention. One of the largest cemeteries in Auckland and probably the most scenic, with views out over the Manukau Habour, taking in Mangere Mountain, Ambury Regional Park, Puketutu Island and the Manukau Heads.